|Model||Chromebook Flip C302|
|User Level||Advanced User|
|Max Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Processor||Intel® Core™ M 6Y30 Processor (2.2 GHz, Dual-Core)|
|Webcam and Mic||HD webcam with Integrated digital microphone|
|Ports||USB 3.1 Type-C (2 Port), Micro SDCard Reader|
|Wireless||802.11 AC WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0|
Asus has a knack for getting things right with their Chromebooks, and the Asus C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip is yet another successful offering from the company’s rich product line.
Known simply as the Asus Chromebook Flip C302, this device earns a premium stature thanks to its powerful components, elegant design and compact size. Its easy to carry around when you are on the go.
With a price tag of over $470, this Chromebook might seem like an expensive buy, but once you get your hands on it you immediately feel that it’s worth every penny.
Well, ever since Google laptops hit the market, many tech companies have kicked around the idea of developing premium Chromebooks. While some of them have gone ahead and developed high-end Chromebooks, somehow their product have fallen short in one way or another.
But Asus got everything spot on with the Chromebook Flip C302. Built with a 360-degree hinge, this laptop can flip into tablet mode – hence the name.
Besides the obviously elegant design, it features:
- a tactile keyboard
- gorgeous screen
- powerful processor
- Linux compatibility
and pretty much everything you need to use it comfortably either as a full-size laptop or a tablet.
In other words it epitomizes the perfect execution of the idea of a premium Chromebook. Finally there’s a product that can genuinely give Google’s Pixelbook a run for its money, despite costing a fraction of its price.
Asus Chromebook Flip C302 Features
1. Design and Construction
With a total footprint of 8.3 x 12 x 0.5 inches, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is a very compact and portable device. The all-aluminum body makes your work even easier because it gives the laptop an impressively light weight of just 2.65 pounds.
It has hinges that fold through 360 degrees to convert it into a tablet. If you are a binge watcher you can choose to fold it into ‘tent mode’ and enjoy your favorite videos or shows.
Overall the hinges do an excellent job holding the screen in place, but you may notice a bit of wobbling when you are typing in standard laptop mode. If the hinges were stiffer they would definitely solve that issue.
On the back of the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 you will see a subtle Asus logo at the middle and a ‘Chrome’ print at the top left. The left side of the laptop has one USB 3.1 Type-C port, volume controls, power button, 3.5 mm headphone jack, and speaker grille. The right side has a second USB 3.1 Type-C port, a microSD card reader and another speaker grille.
The Type C is an all-in-one USB port that supports charging as well as connectivity. The good news is that you can use either port to charge the Chromebook Flip C302. That’s so convenient when at times your power plug is on the right and other times on the left. Besides, you won’t have to worry about dealing with proprietary charging cables, and both ports support video out when used with the right adapter.
There are several multi-hub adapters that offer USB, HDMI and Ethernet ports in various combinations. If you can get one such dongle you will get additional ports that the Chromebook Flip C302 doesn’t have, like HDMI and Ethernet. Most of these adapters come with a Velcro for attaching to the back of the screen.
So that’s the good thing about the USB Type-C ports of the Asus Chromebook Flip C302. The bad news? Well, there are only two ports. When you are charging the laptop you will only be left with one port. Not so convenient when you need to connect several devices like your smartphone and a monitor at the same time. That highlights just how important a multi-hub USB adapter can be.
2. OS and Software Support
The Asus Chromebook Flip C302 comes with Chrome OS as the default operating system. Chrome has always been an interesting OS to use. When it started off it was just a mere Chrome window in full-screen mode. Although the user interface has improved significantly, the OS is still centered on web browsing.
In addition to offering undoubtedly the best browsing experience, Chrome also supports virtually all Android apps. That means Google’s Play Store is entirely at your disposal, which may come in handy when you’re using your Chromebook Flip C302 as a tablet.
So if most of your needs require nothing beyond Android apps, web browsing, sending and receiving SMS, watching videos, playing music and chatting via Hangouts you may find Chrome to be almost sufficient.
To me it just doesn’t make the cut. Why? Simple, it offers very limited functionality. A photographer, animator or artist will note it doesn’t have any video editing or drawing software apart from Lightroom. That means you won’t get a reliable Photoshop or GIMP alternative.
It doesn’t support programs that are important to web developers, like Git and Visual Studio Code. If you are an avid gamer you won’t be so thrilled about Chrome OS either because it doesn’t have any desktop games.
In short, if you want to get the best from the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 your best bet is either scrapping the whole OS and installing Linux or doing a dual boot of Linux and Chrome OS. It definitely has the power and oomph to run any Linux distro and Linux applications.
Powered by an Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor that ticks at 2.2GHz, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is an exceptionally fast computer. It takes just over 10 seconds to boot up and be raring to go. Based on Intel’s Skylake architecture, this processor was released in 2015 for tablets and notebooks.
Its biggest advantage is that it doesn’t require active cooling. That explains why the Chromebook Flip C302 doesn’t have any fans. Despite that, it is a completely silent computer. But you may notice some thermal throttle (a situation where a computer becomes slower when operating under heavy load) when you are running resource-demanding applications like modern games. It does that to avoid overheating. Still, the laptop offers a smooth experience, and chances are you won’t even feel the thermal throttle.
Complementing the Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor is a 4GB DDR3 RAM. I bet most people, especially gamers and those who run heavy applications, would love to see more RAM on this computer. Unfortunately if Asus did that chances are this Chromebook would have an astronomical price tag. It’s really a matter of balancing the best performance and a price that’s affordable to most.
Having said that, 4GB of RAM is sufficient for most computing scenarios. Especially since the dual-core processor has a 4M cache. It won’t strain the RAM even when multi-threading. You can hop from one tab to another or from application to application without affecting performance.
That ability is also partly due to the fact that this Chromebook uses an SSD hard drive which is known for its superiority in data transfer, reading and storage. It comes with a 64GB SSD, which for most users is more than sufficient. If you feel otherwise you can supplement it with a microSD card and Google Drive.
4. Keyboard and Navigation
The Flip C302’s keyboard is great for all kinds of typists, but more so touch typists. It’s a full-size, backlit keyboard whose keys have a little travel – just 1.4 mm. That makes them very responsive and easy to click. Plus the layout is pretty comfortable, so typing reports, emails or any other long document feels like a breeze.
As is the case with almost every other Chromebook, the top row of the keyboard doesn’t have the traditional function keys. Instead, it has keys for navigating the browser and controlling media. At the top right corner there’s a power button which when you hold down shuts down.
Besides palm rejection, the touchpad doesn’t have anything special. But it responds excellently to even the gentlest press or tap. At four inches in length, it’s not exactly a big touchpad, but it’s still usable for all hand sizes.
5. Display and Sound
The 12.5-inch backlit LED screen is covered with a Gorilla Glass for added protection. It’s pretty sharp and reproduces crispy clear images thanks to its 1080P capability. Chrome OS scales the resolution to 1536 x 864 by default, but you can always adjust it to a resolution that you are most comfortable with.
A resolution of 1080P is obviously not the best in today’s market considering high-end laptops boast 1440P and 4K displays. Regardless, the clarity of the Chromebook Flip C302 is still superior to the 1366×768 that most laptops have to offer.
The touchscreen is very responsive, you won’t experience any issues there. The only complaints you might have relate to bezels and the aspect ratio. The screen’s bezels are so prominent to a point that they make it look rather dated, especially when compared to other laptops like Dell XPS 13. On the upside, the bezels make it a lot easier to hold the computer when it is in laptop mode.
With regards to aspect ratio, the Chromebook Flip C302 uses a 16:9 ratio, which has become the industry standard in recent times. While that ratio works fine for media playback, it’s not the best for other projects like web development and art stuff. A 3:2 screen would be more suitable because it offers a taller interface to work with. That explains why high-end laptops like the Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro and Pixelbook have an aspect ratio of 3:2. Even so, the Flip C302’s screen works fine for most people and can be used comfortably indoors and outdoors where there’s a shade.
With regards to sound, the built-in speakers of the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 are small. That’s expected for a laptop that’s this slim and compact. But don’t let that deceive you. They still manage to pump out some serious sound. Equally important is the fact that they don’t come in the way when the laptop is in tablet or tent mode.
6. Battery Life
If there is one feature where the Chromebook Flip C302 blows all other laptops out of the water it has to be its battery life and charging speed. When fully charged, the battery can last for a whopping 10 hours.
It’s important to mention that 10 hours is what you will get when running Chrome OS. It’s a very lightweight operating system with few background programs. That said, even if you install a Linux distro you’ll still be able to squeeze an impressive 8 hours or more. And up to 5 hours when on heavy load.
When it comes to charging speed, the Flip C302 is just plain faster. Just about 30 minutes of charging will get you enough power to work for up to 2 hours. That boils down to the included charger which has a charging speed of 20V/2.25A. So, if you’ve been stuck with a laptop that can barely get you enough working time when it’s not plugged, it’s time to consider a switch to the Asus Chromebook Flip C302.
Comparing Chromebook Flip C302 with Similar Laptops
There’s only a handful of laptops that can compare to the Chromebook Flip C302. Google’s Pixelbook sets the standard for most Chromebooks, but with a price tag of about $1,000, it’s not an affordable laptop. The same goes for Samsung’s Galaxy TabPro S which also costs around $1,000, but I will still compare the Galaxy TabPro S with our highlight product later on in this review.
Acer’s Chromebook 15, on its part, is quite affordable. More often than not you will find it costing slightly cheaper than the Chromebook Flip C302. So if your budget doesn’t allow you to get the latter you can go with the Chromebook 15. It’s built with a 1.1GHz quad-core processor. On paper, the Chromebook 15 should be better at multi-threading because of its four cores. However, in real life the Flip C302 performs better in almost every aspect.
The good people at IGN ran tests on both laptops and the Flip C302 blew the Chromebook 15 away. In the Kraken test, the C302 only needed 1,626 milliseconds, which was about half of the 3,043 milliseconds that the Chromebook 15 took. The same results were recorded in both the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test and the Speedometer test. The two laptops scored 45,645 vs. 30,236 and 84.17 vs. 39.89 (Flip C302 vs. Chromebook 15) respectively.
Now, let’s circle back to the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. Just like the Chromebook Flip C302, you can use a Galaxy TabPro S either as a laptop or as a tablet. They both use Intel’s Core m3-6Y30 processor, and that means they are both dual-core computers that clock at 2.2GHz. So, in terms of performance, you can argue that both can handle the same types of applications.
So why does the Galaxy TabPro S cost more? That mainly boils down to its super-elegant design, better display and bigger storage. While the Flip can only manage a resolution of 1920 x 1080P, the Galaxy TabPro S takes it a notch higher to FHD (2160 x 1440). It has a better looking screen with an aspect ratio of 3:2 and fewer bezels even when working as a laptop. Besides, you get up to 256GB of SSD. That is a whopping 4 times of the 64 GB offered by Flip.
In sum, if your budget can’t get you the Chromebook Flip C302 perhaps you could consider Acer’s Chromebook 15. You won’t get the same performance but you will have a nice laptop (that fully supports Linux) nonetheless. And if money is not an issue you could consider the Galaxy TabPro S just for its elegance, better display and bigger storage.
The Final Word
Despite the few cons that I’ve mentioned in the post, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 has very few negative things. Actually most of them neither affect its performance or your experience as a user. Judging by its construction it’s evident that after years of use this Chromebook will still hold up very well.
That, combined with its amazing performance and classy design, is the reason why it is perhaps the best Chromebook when it comes to bang for the buck.
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