The ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 blends some amazing features ever-seen in a Chrome OS-based laptop including a great design, impressive performance and excellent battery life into a single package.
THE GOOD: Solid design. Impressive performance. Excellent battery life.
THE BAD: Would do with a better resolution than 1,366 by 768.
The Chromebook category has evolved over the past two years, with some models selling cheaply while others bump up that price to add one or two unique features, here and there. The ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 still maintains the same affordable price of its predecessors, but the manufacturer keeps the dice rolling with some news features. For instance, classroom-ready, ruggedized design, excellent performance, and longer battery life allow the Chromebook C202SA to grab attention in an increasingly crowded market.
It is a compelling choice for anyone in the market for an affordable Chrome OS laptop for school, but the Acer Chromebook R 11 synthesizes the best innovations including a lightweight convertible design, impressive battery life and a touch screen, for that, it remains our Editors’ Choice.
One aspect about the Chromebook C202SA is that it is slightly bigger and heavier than the ASUS Chromebook Flip. It measures 1.6 x 0.9 x 7.9 inches and weighs 2.2 pounds, against the Chromebook Flip’s 7.2 x 10.4 x 0.6 inches and 2 pounds. The larger size has its advantages, you get a relatively larger screen area and the larger chassis also means there’s more room for the spill-resistant keyboard. In this case, you have the same full-size keyboard seen in most ASUS Chromebooks.
Unlike typical full-size keyboards, here you have a dedicated search button and a row of Chrome functions instead of F1-F12 keys. The laptop has a rugged exterior held together by the 180-degree hinge. If you’re a student who needs some stability in the classroom, the reinforced rubber wrapped edges and easy grip design will suffice as features you can’t easily beat.
One thing I was a little sure about the larger chassis was a wider port selection. I wasn’t let down. The Chromebook C202SA has a brighter side of ports including: one Audio jack; two USB 3.0 ports; one HDMI port and an SD card reader. There is no CD or DVD drive. For connectivity, the system has dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. The USB and SD card slots provide convenient options for local storage as well. The 11.6-inch screen has a 1,366-by-768 resolution, identical to the Asus C200 Chromebook and budget Windows ultraportables like the HP Stream 13 (13-c020nr).
The system includes 100GB of cloud storage and 4GB system memory. You’ll definitely need that cloud storage as the stem only comes with a 16GB flash storage, which is typical of most Chromebooks. Since you cannot install the standard version of MS Office in the Chrome OS, you are able to open/edit MS Office files using the free Quick Office editor, or better still use Google docs or a downloadable version of MS Office available for free.
The Chromebook C202SA is powered by a 1.6 GHz Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 processor with Intel HD graphics. This inexpensive CPU has just hit the market, and we’ll be seeing it in plenty of inexpensive systems and Chromebooks for the major part of the year. While affordability is an aspect here, performance is also a major aspect here, and indeed it helps the system deliver some impressive performance. In fact, its performance is better than most Intel Atom and Celeron processors we’ve seen in many Chrome-based laptops.
In our tests, boot time was faster than most Chromebooks, taking roughly 9 seconds from a cold start. The user experience is surprisingly smooth and robust. Whereas most Chromebooks begin to stutter once you open multiple browser tabs, it was possible to stream video through YouTube while skimming through nine other browser tabs. It’s one of the best Chromebook performance we‘ve seen on an Intel Celeron processor.
Battery life is a major highlight. The Chromebook C202SA managed 10 hours 46 minutes; which is way longer than most Chromebooks: Acer Chromebook 13 (8:20), the HP Stream 13 (9:09), and the Toshiba CB35-B3340 (7:04). Only the Asus Chromebook Flip (11:13) outlasted them all.
The Bottom Line
If in the market for all-day computing, portability and impressive battery life, the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 is a compelling option, provided you’ve got constant Internet access. However, if it’s a must that you use Windows programs such as standard MS Office, the ASUS E200HA is our Editors’ Choice for budget ultraportables.
However, if all you need is to get on the Web, the Chromebook C202SA should be at the top of your list. That said, we still prefer the Acer Chromebook R 11 for those who fancy a touch screen, solid performance and good battery life. All these make it one of the best offerings we’ve seen in these category, thus remains our top pick for Chrome-based laptops.