Asus is no stranger to the laptop world. The Taiwanese giant launched a bunch of new…
Asus Chromebook Flip review
The 12.5-inch Asus laptop is a capable Chromebook with an all-aluminum 2-in-1 design and touchscreen. It looks and feels like a sleeker, more expensive product and, to be fair, for a Chromebook it kind of is.
Starting at $500 (converts to about £400, AU$655) the Asus laptop is no bargain-basement Chromebook; it’s a high-end model with a posh design and decent components. While it might be pricey for a Chromebook, it’s the perfect alternative to a low-end Windows 10 ($139.95 at Amazon.com) laptops for those who only need a machine for simple online-based tasks. The $549 Samsung Chromebook Pro ($499.00 at Amazon.com) is a better laptop, but if you want something smaller, the Asus Chromebook Flip is your best bet.
The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA (not to be confused with this older Asus Chromebook Flip) is a really good-looking laptop. Its metal body construction looks effortlessly cool and it also feels solid, despite being perfectly petite in size and weight.
- 2.43 pounds (1.1kg)
- 0.53×11.96×8.26 inches (13.5x304x210mm)
I love the Asus’ compact build. It’s the perfect size for taking to go and the stylish metallic design — a very attractive alternative to a plastic laptop — won’t cramp your style. I use a 13-inch MacBook Air for work and I’d hate to carry anything heavier to and from work everyday. I’d prefer a design like this to the Air’s; it’s truly the ideal size for anyone who has to commute with a laptop often. Plus, you get the extra feature of a 360-degree convertible hinge, something you won’t find on most laptops in this price range.
Like the original before it, the C302 is built from an all-aluminium chassis, though, this time it has an anodized finish rather than a brushed texture. Overall, it has a clean, no nonsense aesthetic and it folds up to a nearly symmetrical slab of metal.
Thankfully, the original Chromebook C100’s long, bar-shaped hinge has been dropped for the ’s multi-gear, metal mechanism. The smaller, two-piece mechanism makes this machine feel like less of a toy while helping it to blend in as a regular notebook.
Android apps on tap
Having a usable tablet mode is becoming ever more common in Chrome OS devices as Google has steadily increased the platform’s Android integration. Unfortunately, the C302 does not come with access to the Play Store right out of the box, and we had to switch over onto Chrome OS beta channel in order to download apps.
Other than that small hiccup, the hybrid Chromebook is fully equipped to drive right into the Android ecosystem. We swiped and tapped into our favorite apps just as we would on any Google tablet. To our surprise, the hybrid Chromebook is also outfitted with gyroscopes, allowing us to play motion-controlled games like Asphalt 8.
The C302, with its Core m3 processor, performs nearly twice as fast as the with a Celeron processor. That said, this hybrid doesn’t quite have the gusto to keep up with the Intel Core i5-powered or the Core m5 chip inside , though it’s only a quarter less power.
Numbers aside, the 2-in-1 Chromebook performs admirably even with two open Chrome windows with 12 open tabs each. Along with our heavy browsing habits, we also had Google Music playing in the background and the Slack Android app open.
Chromebooks are famous for their long battery life, and the C302 is one of the best examples of why. In fact, it’s the longest-lasting premium Chromebook we’ve tested yet that ran for 10 hours and 46 minutes on our standard local movie playback test.
By comparison, the Acer Chromebook 14 ended its run an hour and 10 minutes earlier, and the HP Chromebook 13 only managed to last for just a minute over eight hours.
With our regular everyday workload, the C302 ran just shy of hitting the eight-hour, all-day battery life mark. However, any combination of running fewer tasks, turning off the keyboard backlight or lowering the screen could dramatically increase usage time on this machine.
From top to bottom, the Asus Chromebook C302 is our most favorite Chromebook yet. It meets high standards set by the HP Chromebook 13 and other premium Chrome OS machine with a classy design and high-spec parts – yet it does all of this at a lower price.
Our only legitimate complaint about this hybrid Chrome OS machine is it’s mediocre speakers, but it’s an issue we take with 80% of laptops. In other transitory problems, we wished Android app integration would have been more seamless, but for now, it’s an ongoing process. We’re sure Google will add Play store access to a stable Chrome OS build for this particular Chromebook as it has with others in the past.
If you’ve been on the fence about buying a premium Chromebook, this one has 100 reasons (read: dollars, pounds … you get it) to make you jump for it. Although it isn’t a huge price difference, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 rises to its premium stature with a gorgeous screen and a better keyboard than you would find on some .
This is the first Chromebook that genuinely feels as comfortable to use as a tablet as it is a traditional laptop. While the Samsung Chromebook Pro nearly renders this model moot with a sharper screen and built-in stylus, we have yet to see how it performs. For now, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is king of the Chrome OS hill and it’s well worth your utmost attention.