Asus Chromebook Flip C100 review

A flipping premium Chromebook for almost nothing

Asus Chromebook Flip review
Great Value

Measuring in at just 0.6 inches (15.6mm), the Asus Chromebook Flip is an astoundingly thin laptop – largely thanks to its fanless design. As a 10.1-inch device, it also has a smaller footprint of 10.6 x 7.2 inches (262.8 x 182.4mm; W x D) along with being a featherweight device at 1.96 pounds (890g).

The Lenovo N20p and Acer Chromebook C740 are both 11.6-inch machines, so naturally they would be larger, measuring 11.6 x 8.34 x 0.70 inches (294 x 211x 17mm) and 11.34 x 8.03 x 0.79 inches (288 x 203 x 20mm), respectively. However, they seem downright fat, with the N20p weighting 3.08 pounds (1.4kg) and the C740 not far behind at 2.87 pounds (1.30kg).

Asus Chromebook Flip review

Here is the Asus Chromebook Flip C100 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

Spec Sheet

  • CPU: 1.8GHz Rockchip 3288-C (quad-core, 1MB cache)
  • Graphics: ARM Mali T624
  • RAM: 2GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • Screen: 10.1-inch, WXGA (1,280 x 800) IPS multi-touch display
  • Storage: 16GB eMMC
  • Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, micro HDMI, audio jack combo, microSD card reader
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • Camera: 720p HD webcam
  • Weight: 1.96 pounds (890g)
  • Size: 10.6 x 7.2 x 0.60 inches (W x D x H) (262.8 x 182.4 x 15.6mm)

For $249 (about £160, AU$337) the Asus Chromebook Flip offers a pretty snazzy package compared to most of its plasticky competitors. Of course, this Chromebook is a very different beast on the inside as well. Whereas almost every other Chrome OS-powered machines have used Intel processors (with the exception of a few Samsung Exynos-equipped machines), the Asus Flip comes rocking an 1.8GHz Rockchip processor

What you see above is the entry level spec Chromebook Flip. Asus also offers a higher end model, equipped with 32GB of flash storage and 4GB of RAM for $300 (about £193, AU$407). The storage bump might not make much sense when practically all your data will live in the cloud, but double the memory will be well worth the extra 50 smackers.

Asus Chromebook Flip review

Acer's latest Chromebook 11 C740 costs a bit more, at $279 (£180, AU$379), and, for your money, you're getting a bit more screen real estate with this 11.6-inch rig. It also comes equipped with a new Broadwell-generation, 1.5GHz Intel Celeron processor – plus 4GB of memory from the get go.

The Lenovo N20p Chromebook first hit the block at a heady $329 (£249, AU$380) price tag, but thankfully the retail price has since dropped to a more standard $229 on Amazon in the US. For the money, you'll get a rig powered by an older-generation, 2.16GHz Intel Celeron chip. It also comes with an 11.6-inch touchscreen that matches the Acer C740's 1,366 x 768 display resolution.

Just by going build quality and processor power on paper, the Asus Flip has a leg up on its competition. Knowing specs can only tell us so much, let's have to look at the benchmark results to see how this hybrid Chromebook actually performs.

Asus Chromebook Flip review

Performance

Despite my apprehension over the rather untested ARM processor from Rockchip, I was pleased with the Chromebook Flip's performance – mostly. The notebook had no problems keeping up with my usual browsing tendencies, including keeping 15 tabs open and Google Music streaming in the background.

However, at times media rich social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, send the Flip into a crashing fit of hanging screens. Similarly, data-heavy Google Sheets would also sometimes throw a wrench into the Chromebook's gears; causing the laptop to halt and prompt the screen to go completely black before resuming its original task.

A full system reboot, which also flushes the memory, would often help alleviate these issue. So, upgrading to 4GB of RAM may be all but mandatory. It's also worth noting that these issues cropped up sparingly, and for the most part, the Asus Flip ran splendidly without incident.

Asus Chromebook Flip review

Benchmarks

Here's how the Asus Chromebook Flip performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • Octane: 6,795
  • Mozilla Kraken: 5,447
  • Sunspider: 686

Again, the Flip holds its own. Benchmarks from other outlets have shown that this particular Rockchip processor can wipe the floor even with Intel Atom processors, and our results seem to reflect this.

The Flip's benchmark results nearly doubled those of the Acer 740 in almost every test. In the Mozilla Kraken and Sunspider tests (two tests that measure JavaScript engine performance), the Flip scored 5,447 points and 686 points, respectively. The C740 by comparison only scored 2,137 points in Kraken and 335 in Sunspider.

Asus's hybrid Chromebook only faltered with 6,795 points in the Octane benchmark, which also measures the JavaScript engine's performance. The C740 was able to render a much better result of 13,700 points.

Unfortunately, at the time of review, we were not able to fully test the Lenovo N20p. However, other outlets put this multi-mode Chromebook's performance between the Flip and C740. For instance, the N20p Sunspider test results fall in the range of nearly 500 points and a Octane score of approximately 8,000 points.

Asus Chromebook Flip review

Screen speakers

Unfortunately one of the Flip's biggest faults are the massive bezels. You can't miss them running around the perimeter of its 10.1-inch display, and they're a huge detractor (as well as a distraction) from the laptop's otherwise excellent screen. The display get's awfully bright to combat any screen glare – and viewing angles are decent.

While the colors on this display aren't as eye popping as the vibrant WQHD display on the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi, the Flip avoids the dull visual problems that most Chromebooks are saddled with.

The Asus Flip even rocks out with a decent set of cans for listening to tunes and watching media. However, there is a minor issue with their placement on the laptop's bottom front edge, which only directs sound to your ears when you using the Chromebook as either a laptop or a tablet.

Asus Chromebook Flip review

Battery life

Lasting power is also excellent on the Chromebook Flip at 8 hours and 10 minutes. I used the laptop throughout a long work day with over 10 Chrome tabs open at time, typing up this review in Google Docs, playing songs on Google Music, streaming a feature film plus a processor crunching Google Hangout video call that spanned one hour.

On the weekend, I also used the laptop to play two movies and browsed the web for another three hours afterwards. Despite using the machine for seven hours straight, I was still left with more than 50% battery life. If you're looking for a long lasting machine, the Flip will easily give you more than a full day of use.

The Lenovo N20p proved to offer just as good battery life, ranging between six and 8.5 hours of usage. Meanwhile, the Acer Chromebook C740 can easily run for more than nine hours, whether you're just streaming video or tackling a day's worth of tasks.