Asus Chromebook Flip review: Small Chromebook, big value

  • 12.5-inch screen
  • 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution

Its viewing angles are also extra wide, so no matter what angle you're at, you can still see what's on the screen. This comes in handy with the 360-degree hinge; no matter what configuration the laptop is in, the screen is clearly visible.

asus-chromebook-flip-c302ca-7303-001.jpg

Flip over the keyboard and use it as a tablet.

Josh Miller/CNET

Fast for a Chromebook

This iteration of the Asus Chromebook Flip (a much better version than the older model) has the look and feel of a more expensive laptop with the internal components of a high-end Chromebook. The review unit we tested had the Intel M3 6Y60 processor. The model with the Pentium processor and 32GB of storage costs $450 (converts to about £360, AU$590).

  • Intel Core M3 6Y30 or Pentium 4405Y processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB of eMMC storage
  • SD card reader
  • Intel HD Graphics 515

I was able to have 10 to 12 tabs open that were simultaneously active, including a few that were streaming video, and experienced no slowdown. The only time I experienced lag was when I was downloading video and had 6 to 10 tabs and apps open at the same time.

Chromebooks compared

Acer Chromebook R 13 Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook Asus Chromebook Flip C302C HP Chromebook 13 Samsung Chromebook Pro
Price as reviewed $400 $845 $499 $819 $549
Display size 13.3 13.3 12.5 13.3 12.3
PC CPU Media Tek M8173C Intel Core i5-6300U Intel Core m3-6Y60 Intel Core m5-6y57 Intel Core m3-6y30
PC memory 4GB 8GB 4GB 8GB 4GB
Storage 32GB 32GB 64GB 32GB 32GB
Operating system Chrome OS Chrome OS Chrome OS Chrome OS Chrome OS

Google Octane

Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook
30415
HP Chromebook 13
27178
Samsung Chromebook Pro
22586
Asus Chromebook Flip C302C
22281
Acer Chromebook R 13
10350

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

JetStream

Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook
179.72
HP Chromebook 13
154.68
Asus Chromebook Flip C302C
127.55
Samsung Chromebook Pro
120.79
Acer Chromebook R 13
54.827

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Streaming video playback (in minutes)

Acer Chromebook R 13
782
Asus Chromebook Flip C302C
595
Samsung Chromebook Pro
537
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook
495

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Paired with Chrome OS, its relatively low-end CPU provides stellar performance for most activities and with Android apps right around the corner, Chromebooks are getting a real boost in value. At the time of the review, the Asus Chromebook Flip could only download Android apps in beta mode, but it's a welcome addition. If you join the Chrome OS beta, there are some great Google Play apps you can add, from Instagram to Photoshop Express.

Based on our experience using Google Play apps on the Samsung Chromebook Pro, games and multimedia apps work reasonably well, although you'll want to close excess browser tabs before running intensive Android apps.

asus-chromebook-flip-c302ca-7303-001.jpg

Backlit keys are a useful feature.

Josh Miller/CNET

There are USB-C ports on the left and right edges of the laptop (two total), which is how the laptop charges and connects to external drives and displays. It's a bold future-forward move, since USB-C is expected to become the most popular standard within the next few years, but keep in mind that these don't support Thunderbolt 3. Unfortunately it also means that if you need to use USB Type-A, DisplayPort, HDMI or VGA, you'll have to buy an adapter.

The Asus Chromebook Flip averaged 9 hours, 55 minutes in our battery testing. That's longer than the Samsung Chromebook Pro's 8.9 hours, but not enough to beat the Acer Chromebook R13's whopping 13 hours. Efficient Intel processors plus the stripped-down Chrome OS share the credit here.

asus-chromebook-flip-c302ca-7303-001.jpg

Its versatile design is a big selling point.

Josh Miller/CNET

Cream of the Chromebook crop

The Asus is pricier than other Chromebooks, but for good reason. Its quality construction, rich feature set and capable performance make it worth an extra investment over the lowest-end $200-$300 Chromebook models. It's an appealing option for anyone interested in an affordable laptop for casual use, however it's also got some good competition.

The Samsung Chromebook Pro is arguably the best Chromebook around, and the Acer Chromebook R13 ($419 at Amazon) has very similar design to the Asus, but it has a longer battery life. The Asus isn't the only high-end Chromebook with premium styling and quality construction, but it is the most travel-friendly of the bunch. If you can live within the general constraints of Chrome OS, you can't go wrong with the Asus Chromebook Flip.

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