Asus Chromebook Flip C434 vs. Flip C302CA: Should You Upgrade?

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Updated: We also put the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 up against the Google Pixelbook. Read that face-off here

The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA has been a long-standing entry on our Best Chromebooks page. The 12.5-inch notebook impressed us with its compact aluminum chassis, good performance and solid battery life when it launched in early 2017. But the Flip C302CA is in danger of losing its spot to the new Chromebook Flip C434, which improves upon its predecessor in (nearly) every way.

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Asus went all out with the C434, giving it a redesign, a larger 14-inch display and new components. But is the Flip C434 worth the upgrade, or should you stick with the trusty Flip C302CA? Here's how two of our favorite 2-in-1 Chromebooks stack up.

Asus Chromebook Flip C434 vs. Flip C302CA: Specs Compared

  Asus Chromebook Flip C434 Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA
Starting Price (as configured) $569 $449 ($499)
Colors Spangled Silver Silver
Display 14 inches, 1080p 12.5 inches, 1080p
CPU Intel Core m3-8100Y Intel Core m3-6Y30
RAM 4GB 4GB
SSD 64GB 64GB
Key Travel 1.3mm 1.6mm
Ports USB 3.1 (Type-A), 2 USB Type-C, microSD, headphone 2 USB Type-C, microSD, headphone
Webcam 720p 720p
Size 12.6 x 8 x 0.6 inches 12 x 8.3 x 0.5 inches
Geekbench 4 6,968 N/A
Battery Life (hrs:mins) 9:58 8:52
Weight 3.1 pounds 2.7 pounds

 

Design

The Chromebook Flip C434's design deviates enough from the Flip C302CA to avoid the embarrassing distinction of its predecessor as a MacBook look-alike.

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The biggest improvement to the new model is the set of thin bezels that flank the display, resulting in a screen-to-body ratio of 87%. This keeps the overall dimensions of the Flip C434 to a minimum, at just 12.6 x 8 x 0.6 inches. Yes, the 3.1-pound Flip C434 is still larger and heavier than the 12 x 8.3 x 0.5-inch, 2.7-pound Flip C302CA, but you're gaining a ton of screen real estate for a slightly larger chassis.

Other changes made to the design of the Flip C434 are more subtle. Asus swapped out the black keyboard with a silver one, giving the new model a stealthy metallic aesthetic. And chrome trim outlining the deck and touchpad of the Flip C434 adds another level of sophistication to the chassis.

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Asus trickled down its ErgoLift hinge from its premium ZenBook Ultrabooks to the Flip C434. The feature is designed to lift the rear of the keyboard for a better typing experience; however, the effect is barely noticeable on the Flip C434.

As their names suggest, the Flip C434 and Flip C302CA have flexible hinges that enable tent and tablet mode.

The Flip C434 is the more luxurious laptop, but that shouldn't take away from the Flip C302CA's merits. When it was launched, the Flip C302CA was the only sub-$500 Chromebook on the market with a flexible aluminum chassis that was as sleek as those on premium Windows 10 Ultrabooks. The Flip C434 simply takes that premise and builds upon it.

Winner: Chromebook Flip C434

Ports

Asus addressed one of our few complaints about the Flip C302CA by generously adding a USB 3.1 Type-A port to the Flip C434.

Asus-Chromebook-Flip-C434-ports

Otherwise, these two laptops share the same connections, including two USB Type-C ports, a microSD card slot and a headphone/mic combo jack.

Winner: Chromebook Flip C434

Display

The displays on both of these laptops offer a respectable viewing experience, but I'd prefer to binge-watch my favorite shows on the Flip C434.

Asus-Chromebook-Flip-C434-display

That's partly because of the laptop's thin bezels, which drew my eyes to the wide display. In comparison, the Flip C302CA has a thick lower bezel that looks like it's suffocating the screen.

Sure, the Flip C302CA has a higher pixel density than the Flip 434, but we'd take the extra screen real estate over a negligible improvement in sharpness.

MORE: Best Asus Laptops

The Flip C434's 14-inch, 1080p panel is not only larger than the Flip C302CA's 12.5-inch, 1080p touch screen, but it's also more vivid. According to our colorimeter, the Flip C434's touch screen covers 93% of the sRGB color gamut compared with the Flip C302CA's 76%.

This round isn't quite a clean sweep. The Flip C302CA's display has a peak brightness of 292 nits, which is a few notches brighter than that of the Flip C434 (286 nits).

Winner: Chromebook Flip C434

Keyboard and Touchpad

If there's one thing we want back from the older model, it's the Flip C302CA's stellar keyboard. With 1.6 millimeters of travel, the keys on the Flip C302CA's backlit, island-style keyboard depress beyond our 1.5-mm preference. The same can't be said for the keys on the Flip C434's keyboard, which, at 1.1 mm, are quite shallow.

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On the flip side (pun intended), the Flip C434's keyboard provides a more satisfying click, due to the 71 grams of actuation force (we prefer over 60 grams) required to depress the keys. With an actuation force of only 49 grams, the Flip C302CA's keyboard doesn't offer the same tactile feedback.

The touchpads on the Flip C434 (4.1 x 2.4 inches) and Flip C302CA (4.1 x 2.3 inches) are about the same size, and we didn't have any problems swiping on either surface to navigate the web or perform Chrome OS gestures.

Winner: Chromebook Flip C302CA

Performance

With updated CPUs, the Chromebook Flip C434 offers a nice performance boost over the Flip C302CA. 

Asus-Chromebook-Flip-C434-performance

The Chromebook Flip C434 scored a 6,968 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, which tops the Chromebook category average (4,380) by a wide margin. We added Geekbench 4 benchmarking to our testing regime after we reviewed the Flip C302CA, but user-submitted data on Geekbench Browser shows that a Chromebook Flip C302CA with a Core m3-6Y30 CPU generates a multicore Geekbench 4 score of around 5,000.

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The Flip C434's integrated UHD 615 GPU offers a minor graphics boost over the UHD 515 GPU inside the Flip C302CA. On the WebGL Aquarium test, the Flip C434 loaded 5,000 fish at 37 frames per second, whereas the Flip C302CA ran 4,000 fish at 32 fps.

Winner: Chromebook Flip C434

Battery Life

The Chromebook Flip C434 endured for more than an hour longer than the Flip C302CA on our Laptop Mag battery test, extending its predecessor's solid 8:52 runtime to 9 hours and 58 minutes. Both laptops surpassed the Chromebook category average (8:41), but the Flip C434 is better for long trips or when you don't want to bring a charger to work.

Winner: Chromebook Flip C434

Value and Price

When it first launched, our Chromebook Flip C302CA review unit was available for $499 with a Core m3-6Y30 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. There was also a less expensive base model for $449 that came equipped with a Pentium CPU and only 32GB of RAM.

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Since then, Asus has released a $650 midtier model with a Core m5-6Y54 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage, as well as a $979 decked-out SKU with a Core m7-6Y75 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage.

MORE: Best Laptops Under $500

Asus will similarly release three models of the Chromebook Flip C434 with Core m3-8100Y, Core i5-8200Y and Core i7-8500Y CPUs. At $569, the base model Flip C434 — armed with a Core m3-8100Y CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage — has a slightly higher starting price than its equivalent Flip C302CA configuration.

According to an Asus representative, the Core i5 version will be available in May and is expected to cost around $650, while the Core i7 model will launch in June for around $700.

Winner: Chromebook Flip C302CA

Overall Winner: Asus Chromebook Flip C434

  Asus Chromebook Flip C434 Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA
Design (10) 9 8
Ports (10) 7 6
Display (15) 13 11
Keyboard/Touchpad (15) 12 14
Performance (20) 17 14
Battery Life (20) 17 15
Value (10) 8 9
Overall (100) 83 77

 

I wouldn't usually recommend buying a new laptop after just two years, but the Chromebook Flip C434 is a special case. Upgrading from the Flip C302CA to the Flip C434 gets you a sleeker design, a larger, more vivid display, better performance and longer battery life. The Flip C302CA is still an excellent 2-in-1 laptop that has a better keyboard, more compact chassis and lower starting price than the Flip C434. However, if you're choosing between these two Chromebooks, we strongly recommend the new model.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Author Bio
Phillip Tracy
Phillip Tracy,
Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.
Phillip Tracy,