ASUS Chromebook Flip (C302CA-DH54) Review

     
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4.55

Chromebooks have been in the market for years, and their popularity does not seem to dwindle. Perhaps the reason is affordable pricing and simplicity: without paying an arm and leg you get decently snappy and compact laptop for home and light entertainment use. Such is ASUS Chromebook Flip, which in addition to being a laptop also doubles as a tablet. This review is about the C302CA-DH54 model with Core m5 processor, but the other models are pretty similar to this one, too.

Pricier than Most Chromebooks, For a Reason?

Often, Chrome-powered laptops are in the low end of price spectrum. However, this Chromebook Flip is a bit more expensive, in the same range than a proper Windows laptop. This is explained by the fact the performance exceeds your typical budget Chromebook. For example, in this ASUS, the processor performance is brought by Intel Core m5-6Y54, an ultra-low voltage dual-core chip of 1.1GHz clock frequency and 2.7GHz turbo boost. Its performance is comparable to some older Intel Core i3 processors, so the m5-6Y54 is well capable for home and entertainment use.

There is 64GB worth of storage you’ll get on this model. It’s an embedded MultiMediaCard, eMMC. Some call it a poor man’s version of a solid-state drive. In terms of performance, it’s somewhere between HDD and SSD. I’d rather see a real solid-state drive on a laptop, although considering Chromebook’s scope of use such eMMC is understandable (you won’t be installing large games or applications on Chrome OS). The memory stands at a reasonable 4GB DDR3, a fine amount for web surfing. Bear in mind both drive and memory are soldered on the board so they can not be upgraded.

Compact, Sharp Screen

In terms of compactness, this ASUS Chromebook Flip rules. Its screen diagonal is 12.5 inches, a true ultrabook size. Even though the display is so small the resolution is still a professional-grade 1920×1080. In my experience, 1080p on such a compact screen will look marvelous. It’s a glossy display, meaning that outdoors use will (probably) be fine even in sunshine. Also, one specialty is the 360 degree hinge and touch support, meaning you can flip it to any mode: from laptop to tablet.

Want to play games on this rig? You are mostly confined to browser-based games. While there are workarounds on how to install Windows-based executables (like games) on a Chromebook, they require some tinkering. In addition, the graphics engine is nothing to celebrate about, an integrated Intel HD 515. Even if you tinkered and installed Windows games here, you wouldn’t be able to play many games because the graphics engine is quite weak. So, don’t buy this rig for gaming.

Review on Video

Couple of Ports to Connect Essential Peripherals

Notebook this small can not host a great selection of ports. Indeed, there are only two USB 3.1 Type-C ports to hook up your peripherals. On top of that, headphone/mic jack welcomes your audio device. So, as you can see, HDMI output – or any kind of video output – is not available. However, you can still connect an external monitor, but it will require USB-C to HDMI or DisplayPort adapter from your part. There are also other adapters that extend the laptop’s USB-C port to regular USB if you require them.

ASUS Chromebook Flip (C302CA-DH54) features wireless adapter that supports 802.11ac standard – long range and strong signal, in other words. It has Bluetooth 4.0 as well, so a BT mouse can be connected for example. If you want Internet connection via cable, you could use USB-C to RJ-45 adapter.

Since Chromebooks have limited support for DVDs altogether it’s understandable that optical drive is left out of this laptop. Anyway, they support many external optical drives if you want to access your data (but no audio/video) discs. There is however a handy microSD card reader included – it supports at least 128GB SD cards for data transfers.

All Day Battery Life

In addition to being compact, another thing Chromebooks are known for is their battery life. Often, these laptops sport all-day battery life, and in the case of this Chromebook Flip the manufacturer claims 10 hours operating time. After reading reports from users who have used this computer for some time, it seems that 8 hours can be reached on normal use. It’s in the same category than other, modern convertible laptops. The battery unit (39 Whrs 2-cell here) seems to be integrated, so replacing it won’t be practical at all.

As a side note, the laptop has fanless design, meaning it will run completely silent. The keyboard is illuminated with a single color.

Pros:
Fast for Chromebook - The Core m5 processor is not bad choice at all. Web surfing and watching videos will be effortless task. The 4GB memory is well enough for that kind of use.

Screen spot-on - Full HD resolution on a 12.5" display is going to look gorgeous. And don't forget you can utilize it in tablet mode, too.

Runs long on battery - It runs for 8 hours or more so you don't even need to bring power cord to work or school.

Cons:
Still not for gaming - It's tough to install Windows games on Chromebooks, and also the integrated graphics engine on this unit can not run many titles as well as you'd like it to run.

In terms of utility and performance it’s hard to beat ASUS Chromebook Flip (C302CA-DH54). You will get a snappy Chrome powered laptop for home and light entertainment use, but perhaps even a sweeter thing is its crystal sharp (yet compact) 12.5 inches Full HD display. People who bought this rig have left favorable reviews about it, and the screen. The notebook’s memory can be expanded with its memory card reader. Gaming aside, this laptop will be a fine choice for people looking for a portable alternative for Windows computer.

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