The ASUS Chromebook Flip (C100PA-DB02) packs everything we love about the Chrome-OS family —inexpensive, Web-connected, extremely simple devices, Rockchip-powered— and adds all-day battery life, affordably.
PROS: The new Rockchip RK3288C delivers impressive performance. Long battery life. Aluminum construction. Touch screen.
CONS: Display resolution is lower as compared to most competing chromebooks.
The ubiquity of Internet access, along with the undisputable reliability and affordable cost means that you won’t give up too much to replace your Web-browsing laptop or desktop with a Chrome OS-based system like the ASUS Chromebook Flip (C100PA-DB02). As we see super-slim Chromebooks with newer designs, touch-screens and multi-mode hinges, the prices have also shot up, than before.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip, on the other hand, brings to the Chrome umbrella an impressive, lightweight convertible design, solid performance and superb battery life for far much less, than the competition. It combines cutting-edge innovations in the budget category into one system, affordably, and for those reasons the ASUS Chromebook Flip is our newest Editors’ Choice.
The Chromebook Flip sports an aluminum construction, of which it eschews the plastic construction we’ve seen on most Chromebooks. Above the aluminum body, the Flip is exceptionally slim. The sturdy laptop measures 0.61 by 10.35 by 7.18 inches (HWD), and weighs 1.96 pounds, making it slimmer and lighter than almost anything we’ve seen on these sides of value tablets.
The design looks much similar to that of the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e, but instead of two dual- axle hinges that connect the display, it does with one long hinge running across the chassis length. That gives it extra flexibility, with the added benefit of tablet functionality, thus, several different ways to use the device.
It gets its name thanks to the 360-degree hinge, which allows you to fold the display around and back into multi-modes usage, including Stand and Tablet modes. Due to the compact design, when folded around into Tablet mode, the system is still sleek and portable, in fact, you’ll be surprised at how it is extremely easy to hold. Its 10.6-inch display uses an In-Plane Switching (IPS), which is among the better ones we’ve seen in chromebooks. However, the screen’s 1,280-by-800 resolution is on the lower side than most Chromebooks—since even cheaper ones at least opt for 1,366-by-768 resolution—but on a 10-inch display the difference isn’t even noticeable.
The viewing angles are fairly viewable, and we are now seeing touch support, a feature we’ve seen on just a couple of Chromebooks like the newest Google Chromebook Pixel or the Acer Chromebook C720P, but it remains a new feature in the category, and often unheard for the price. To the touchscreen, add a pair of stereo speakers, with clear audio, albeit at low volume. Even when pumped up to the maximum, the speakers are still low, and on that instance headphones might be the best.
The keyboard is very good, almost full-size and it doesn’t feel cramped, just enough depth for those who travel more often. It has the usual Chrome layout, with little touches, like a dedicated search key instead of Caps Lock, and Chrome functions instead of F1 to F12 keys. It is also optimized for the Chrome OS, with gesture support and two-finger tapping for right-click functions.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip is equipped with a 1.8GHz Rockchip RK3288C, a fairly in-expensive processor that has just hit the market. We hope we’ll be seeing more of this processor in this quarter as manufacturers brace themselves to release inexpensive systems and Chromebooks. However, in as much as affordability is a factor in using this processor, its performance is surprisingly nothing short of impressive, especially when compared with the Intel Atom and Celeron processors we’ve always seen on many Chrome-based laptops.
That said, the compact Asus Flip offers a surprisingly smooth and robust user experience, with fast boot time (8 seconds) from a cold start till every window is fired up. While most Chromebooks will get sluggish as you start streaming media or open more than two or three tabs, I was able to stream YouTube videos whilst surfing through 9 other webpages. Apparently, it’s one of the best Chromebook experience I’ve had in this side of competition with superior features such as Intel Core i3 processor.
Port selection on the Asus Flip, just like its weight, is on the light site, with only two USB 2.0 ports, and a headset jack, but you also have some two features that we always see in full-size laptops: a micro-HDMI port and a microSD slot. Connectivity comes via dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1.
For storage, there’s only 16GB eMMC, typical for less-expensive Chromebooks. This isn’t a deal-breaker, going by the reliance of Google Drive and apps like apps like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Plus, the Flip comes with 100GB offer of Google Drive storage (free for two years), and the USB ports and microSD card slot you have plenty options for local storage as well.
In our tests, I was impressed by the Asus Chromebook Flip’s battery life. On normal use, it lasted 11 hours 26 minutes, which is way better than most Chromebooks, for instance the HP Chromebook 11 (5:29), Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e (6:17), the Acer C720P (7:20). However, it was unable to outlast the more expensive Google Chromebook Pixel’s 12 hours 9 minutes. On a single charge, the 11-hour battery is more than enough to take you through not only a full day of college classes or work, but well into the evening. It suffices as a perfect system that you can stash in your bag for a weekend trip and not worry having forgotten your charger at home.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip (C100PA-DB02) packs everything we love about the Chrome-OS family —inexpensive, Web-connected, extremely simple devices, Rockchip-powered— and adds all-day battery life, affordably. Pair this with great features like a 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen display, a micro-HDMI port and an aluminum body with a svelte, convertible form factor, and the ASUS Chromebook Flip is the clear Editors’ Choice replacing the HP Chromebook 11, as the best inexpensive Chromebook yet.