2.5 star rating

ASUS Chromebook C200M Review

Pros: Inexpensive; Long battery life; Good keyboard
Cons: Inexpensive; Long battery life; Good keyboard
The Verdict: While inexpensive and long lasting, the ASUS Chromebook's lackluster display and below-average performance make it a tough sell.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

For some, using a computer means casually checking email, surfing the Web and watching YouTube videos. If that describes your habits and needs, the $249 ASUS Chromebook C200M may be a compelling option. This ultraportable offers more than 12 hours of battery life in an attractive 11-inch package, but how does it compare to similarly priced Chromebooks?

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Design

The ASUS Chromebook C200M is affordable, but it doesn't look cheap from the outside. The lid uses a metal-like black plastic material adorned with a silver ASUS logo. Under the hood is a matte silver deck with an island-style keyboard. The only light is a small green LED for power.

ASUS Chromebook C200MThe C200M's hinge is a bit bulky and inelegant, reminding us of an old-school netbook. We wish the bezel around the 11.6-inch display were thinner; there's some wasted space here. A silver-ringed 720p webcam sits above the screen.

Measuring 12 x 7 x 0.8 inches and weighing 2.5 pounds, the C200M is quite portable. The $299 Dell Chromebook 11 is a bit bulkier, at 11.6 x 7.9 x 0.9 inches and 2.6 pounds, as is the Acer Chromebook C720p, at 11.34 x 8.03 x 0.78 inches and 2.98 pounds.

Display

ASUS Chromebook C200MThe ASUS Chromebook C200M certainly isn't the brightest bulb in the box. At 220 lux, the C200M is brighter than the Toshiba Chromebook's measly 183 lux. But that's dimmer than the 251 nits average for most ultraportables. Viewing angles weren't great either. Colors started to reverse from about 40 to 45 degrees.

During an HD trailer of "Guardians of the Galaxy," explosions and nebulas appeared muted instead of awe inspiring on the C200M. The ship's edges weren't particularly sharp, and we observed some jumpiness in the video.

According to our color tests, the C200M can display only 59.7 percent of the sRGB color gamut (closer to 100 percent is better). The screen displayed colors with a Delta E accuracy rating of 10.7 (0 is perfect), which is far above the 6.6 average for ultraportables.

Audio

Dual speakers sit along the bottom left and right edges, which amplifies the sound when the C200M is on a hard, flat surface. We had no complaints about the subtleties of the chimes and string instruments in the background of Sinead O'Connor's rendition of "Black Coffee." Also, Jace Everett's booming bass came through with chilling vibrancy on "Bad Things."

While the audio sounded pleasant, it was loud enough to fill a small conference room, but not much more.

The C200M hit 79 dB on our audio test, which involves playing a tone and measuring it from 13 inches away. That is below the category average of 86. By comparison, the Toshiba Chromebook and Dell Chromebook 11 both reached a blaring 94 decibels, and the Acer C720p hit 91 dB.

Keyboard and Touchpad

ASUS Chromebook C200MThe island-style, black keys on the C200M are nicely sized and spaced, creating a comfortable typing experience. The keys, which offered a nice deep 2mm of vertical travel and required a satisfying 65 grams of force to depress, were springy and comfortable. On our typing test, we averaged 63 words per minute with 97-percent accuracy, which is exactly in line with our average.

As a Chromebook, the C200M also features a dedicated row along the top with Chrome OS-specific keys for brightness and volume control, while also sporting Refresh, Forward and Back buttons. These come in very handy by providing all sorts of shortcuts, including one for grabbing screenshots. Not surprisingly for a budget notebook, the keyboard isn't backlit.

MORE: Chromebook vs. Tablet: Which Should You Buy?

The 4.1 x 2.4-inch, buttonless touchpad was responsive, perhaps too much so as it went zipping around the screen at a pace that made us a bit dizzy. Luckily, that's easy to adjust in the settings. The touchpad is comfortably larger than that on the Dell Chromebook 11 (4 x 2.25 inches) or the Acer Chromebook C720p (3.5 x 2 inches), but smaller than the one on the Toshiba Chromebook (4 x 3.75 inches).

Heat

After streaming a Hulu video for 15 minutes, we measured a temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit on the Chromebook's touchpad, and a bit warm 93 degrees between the G and H keys. While both were below our comfort threshold of 95 degrees, the underside reached exactly that threshold temperature. The Acer C720p got similarly warm, while the Dell and Toshiba Chromebooks stayed cool.

Ports and Webcam

ASUS Chromebook C200MThe ASUS Chromebook C200M comes with the ports you'll need. Along the right side you'll find a power port, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, an SD card slot and a speedy USB 3.0 port. On the left edge is a USB 2.0 port and a lock slot.

The notebook's 720p webcam isn't stellar. A headshot taken in our office looked washed out, as the sun reflected off our pasty white skin. None of the selfies offered much detail.

Chrome OS

ASUS Chromebook C200MGoogle's Chrome operating system is amazingly simple. After you boot, which only took us 8 seconds, the system asks for your Google account password. Then you're greeted by a blank screen with a few icons on the lower left bar. If you click the square where the Start button appeared on Windows 7 notebooks, you can see all your apps and the app store.

The bottom right bar houses the time, Wi-Fi and battery status. Clicking the bottom right corner will get you to the settings for everything from wallpaper and privacy features to printer management. This is also where you go to turn the C200M off.

ASUS Chromebook C200MChrome OS is intended for users whose primary goal is to get online. While Google does offer a few apps that work offline, most open in a Chrome browser window and require a Web connection to function. So, if you're concerned with email, surfing the Web or streaming 720p video, this may be the OS for you. Also, because apps are in the cloud and heavily sandboxed, Chrome is considered fairly secure.

However, if you're going to do a lot of photo editing, or if you will run legacy apps of any kind, you'll want to look elsewhere. The app selection is simply not yet up to par with other operating systems.

Apps

ASUS Chromebook C200MThe Chrome Web Store contains more than 33,000 apps (including Chrome extensions), according to a count from January on ChromeOSApps.org, a website that follows the platform. That's a far cry from the 100,000-plus apps for Windows 8. However, we were pleased to see familiar faces, such as Evernote, Mint and Spotify.

MORE: Best Chrome Apps 2014

ASUS Chromebook C200MOne caveat is that many apps for Chrome OS won't work offline. Or if they do, they offer limited usability. For instance, while we could play "Angry Birds," there was no saved data, so we had to start from scratch. And Evernote and the NYTimes apps were inaccessible offline. However, the Chrome Web Store features 59 packaged apps in the "For Your Desktop" section, which means these apps will work without an Internet connection. Key players in this area include Pocket, WeVideo Next and Sunrise Calendar.

Performance

ASUS Chromebook C200MDuring our use of the Chromebook C200M, we spent a lot of time twiddling our thumbs. For instance, during seven rounds of "Angry Birds," we twice had to wait several seconds for the next level to load, yet other times levels loaded almost immediately. We also found that some apps loaded more sluggishly than others.

This Chromebook pairs a 2.4-GHz Intel Bay Trail-M dual-core N2830 CPU with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of flash storage. Sadly, these components offered lackluster performance on our various synthetic benchmarks. The system scored a low 1,533 on the Peacekeeper browser test, which is well below the 2,203 ultraportable average. The Toshiba Chromebook scored a much higher 2,920, and the Acer C720P scored 2,749. But the Dell Chromebook 11 takes the cake on this test, with a score of 2,969. All three of those systems feature a 1.4-GHz Intel Celeron 2955 CPU, which is based on the more powerful Haswell architecture that's used in mainstream laptops.

On the Sunspider Javascript test, the ASUS Chromebook C200M ran in a sluggish 560.6 milliseconds. The Toshiba Chromebook completed the same test in 348 ms, the Acer in 343 ms and the Dell in 387.1 ms. All of those are faster than the 472-ms ultraportable average.

Battery Life

ASUS Chromebook C200MASUS claims the Chromebook C200M should last at least 10 hours on a charge. We were happily surprised to see the machine last an impressive 12 hours and 25 minutes on our Laptop Mag Battery Test (Web surfing via Wi-Fi at 100 nits of screen brightness). That's just a tad longer than the 13-inch Apple MacBook Air's epic time of 12:20, but shorter than the Dell Chromebook's 14:45. The ultraportable average is just longer than 8 hours, while the Toshiba Chromebook's score of 8 hours also pales in comparison. The Acer Chromebook C720 lasted 6:20.

MORE: 10 Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

Bottom Line

ASUS Chromebook C200MThe $249 ASUS Chromebook C200M offers exceptional battery life in an inexpensive and highly portable laptop, and normally that would be enough for a recommendation. However, competing Chromebooks offer more for the same price. For instance, the $299 Acer C720p has a touch screen and much better performance; the $299 Dell Chromebook is also more powerful and manages to deliver longer battery life, and the $279 Toshiba Chromebook offers a larger display. Even when it comes to budget notebooks, some are better values than others.

Tags: ASUS Chromebook C200M, Chromebook C200M, Chromebooks, laptops, reviews

Technical Specifications
ASUS Chromebook C200M
www.asus.com


The central processor unit, or CPU, is the brain of your notebook.
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CPU
2.4-GHz Intel Bay Trail-M dual-core N2830
Operating SystemGoogle Chrome
The amount of memory our reviewed configuration comes with.
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RAM
2GB
The maximum amount of memory this notebook supports.
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RAM Upgradable to
Amount of data your storage drive can hold.
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Hard Drive Size
16GB
The rotation speed of a mechanical hard drive.
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Hard Drive Speed
Your notebook’s storage drive (hard drive or solid state drive) holds your operating system, your programs, and your data.
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Hard Drive Type
SSD Drive
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Your notebook display is the primary viewing device for your laptop computer.
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Display Size
11.6
The number of pxiels (wxh) displayed on your screen at once.
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Native Resolution
1366x768
An optical drive allows you to play or record to DVDs, CDs, or Blu-ray discs.
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Optical Drive
The speed of the optical drive.
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Optical Drive Speed
Graphics chips are responsible for processing all images sent to your computer’s display.
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Graphics Card
The amount of memory available for graphics processing.
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Video Memory
Wi-Fi connects you to a router or hotspot for wireless Internet access.
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Wi-Fi
802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Model
Bluetooth allows you to connect to wireless devices such as headsets, smart phones, and speakers.
Bluetooth
Bluetooth 4.0
Mobile broadband connects you to the Net from anywhere, even places with no hotspot.
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Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size4.1 x 2.4
Ports allow you to connect to external devices such as monitors, printers, MP3 players, and hard drivse.
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Ports (excluding USB)
DC-in; HDMI; Headphone; Kensington Lock; SD card slot; USB 2.0; USB 3.0
USB ports allow you to connect many external devices, from MP3 players to external hard drives.
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USB Ports
Warranty/Support1 year limited
Size12 x 7.9 x 0.8 inches
Weight2.5 pounds
AUTHOR BIO
Anna Attkisson, Managing Editor
Anna Attkisson, Managing Editor
A lover of lists and deadlines, Anna Attkisson heads up features and special projects for Laptopmag.com, in addition to covering social networking and accessories. She joined the LAPTOP staff in 2007, after working at Time Inc. Content Solutions where she created custom publications for companies from American Express to National Parks Foundation.
Anna Attkisson, Managing Editor on
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