AOpen's Chromebase Mini is perfect for POS devices or professionals.

AOpen’s Chromebook Mini first look – get price and specs

A manufacturer known as AOpen has announced a new device for the Chrome OS gang.

They’re making a new device called the Chromebase Mini. If You’re not familiar with Chromebase, they’re basically reputed as desktops that run Chrome OS. So you have the laptops known as Chromebooks, and you have the desktops known as Chromebases.

The Chromebase Mini has some impressive features that make it seem like some kind of Microsoft Surface-esque computer with a tablet’s build.

Specs and features

For starters, it has a 10.1’’ screen that’s fully touchscreen. It also sports a Cortex A17 processor (1.8GHz) with 4GB of RAM and your 16GB of storage. This setup is pretty typical of Chrome-based laptops, but then again, this isn’t a laptop.

The CPU is a quad-core processor, which is nice.

The Chromebase Mini is essentially a smaller version of the Chromebase pictured above.
The Chromebase Mini is essentially a smaller version of the Chromebase pictured above (via AOpen.com).

You also can choose from recessed wall mounts and several adapters to mount with different payment devices. You can can also choose power via Ethernet adapters as well.

Why these weird choices? It’s because it’s AOpen, which will be covered in detail below.

Back to the features, the most distinguishing part of the laptop is the built-in kickstand, which keeps it propped up for those business meetings over Google Hangouts or Skype video sessions. It’s a pretty convenient thing to have, considering that you don’t have to hold it at an awkward, weird, and tiresome position to have a conversation over the conference call. That’s innovation.

If I were to compare these specs to that of your average Chromebook, it’s about mid-range.

These specs aren’t too bad, but they’re not impressive either. However, word around the web isn’t that the Mini is aimed at the enterprise demographic- this means professionals and the working business people that need some kind of device that’s specifically based on Chrome OS.

A security company making devices shows influence

AOpen isn’t a company that you’d consider when you think about devices like this. According to DigitalTrends, that’s because they’re known as a digital signage company and they’ve designed the Mini to kind of fulfill this specialty. If you think about it, the laptop is small enough to carry around with it’s form factor.

And being that AOpen specializes in stuff like payment processing, you could totally use this as a point-of-sale device for credit card payments and the like. They’ve built stuff for kiosk applications, so this would be  a fitting complement.

Since the target market for this isn’t the regular consumer, they’re not exactly cheap. Instead of being mass-produced for millions of customers, AOpen doesn’t seem to trying to win the market over by price. Instead, it seems to be geared at those who need it (enterprise users).

It does have some nice features though that’d make it useful for the public and professionals. It’s water-resistant and tamper-resistant (again, AOpen speciality kicking in). Both of these features bring the price up.

Given that it’s pretty much a glorified laptops running Chrome OS with a touchscreen, it’s really just another laptop for the typical person. However, for those who do business and need a POS terminal to take payments, this may be the answer you’re looking for. You want something portable? Check. You want something safe and tamper-proof? Check. You want something with a touchscreen? Done.

But, what about a Chromebase Mini for the “normal” person

However, for the typical consumer, it’s got dual microphones for that crisp audio and a full HD webcam (2MP) for those Skype sessions and video calls. The speakers are also stereo as well. These are features that anyone can appreciate.

And for the professional? Business meetings.

It can suit both parties if you want it to. With it’s 10.1’’ screen, it’s enough to see clearly even at 1280 x 800 pixels. It also has 10-point touch support for busy fingers.

It has all the necessary inputs as well, such as Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac WiFi.

Price and release date

The pricing information hasn’t been released yet, but similar products by the company are priced at around $600, so you can expect a hefty price tag for the Chromebase Mini as well.

It’s special though, because it’s one of the first models with a small form factor that’s considered a Chromebase.

And another Chromebase Mini alternative

AOpen is also launching the same device but packed into a compact size. It doesn’t have a display so you need to mount it to one. It looks like a wireless Internet router from the outside, but it’s actually a Chrome-based computer.

It measures just about 5.7’’ x 3.7’’ x 1.0’’ with a fanless case so it’s completely silent. It’s ready to go when connected to any display that’s compatible. It also mounts directly to the back.

So, are you excited for this? Probably not. Unless you’re a professional. Or really into video calling.

 

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (platy@platypusplatypus.com).

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