Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA Review Editor's Choice

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Speedy performance; Sleek lightweight design; Bright 1080p display; Solid battery life

The Cons

Pricey; No USB Type A ports

Verdict

The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA is a light and fast (but expensive) 2-in-1.

With Android app support moving out of beta and becoming a standard part of Chrome OS this year, Chromebook 2-in-1s are becoming extremely important. The 12.5-inch convertible Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA is ready to run Android apps or dozens of Chrome tabs, with strong performance and a sense of style. This $499 bend-back 2-in-1 ($449 to start) sports a classy aluminum chassis, bright full-HD display and a solid Core m3 CPU for multitasking. If you're willing to spend the money for a premium Chromebook, the Flip C302CA is your best choice.

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Design

The aluminum Chromebook Flip C302CA looks and feels like a MacBook, so it might fool anyone who doesn't see the big Asus logos on the 2-in-1's lid and bezel. The Chromebook's 360-degree hinge feels stable and makes it easy to transition the bend-back convertible among laptop, stand, tablet and tent modes.

Weighing 2.6 pounds and measuring 0.6 inches thick, the Flip is lighter than the Acer Chromebook R 13 (3.2 pounds, 0.6 inches), the Dell Chromebook 13 (3.2 pounds, 0.7 inches) and the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook (3.2 pounds, 0.8 inches).

The Flip charges and connects to peripherals via either of its two USB Type-C ports, which sit on the left and right sides. Asus placed the notebook's headphone jack, volume and power buttons on the machine's left side and a microSD reader on the right.

The lack of Type-A USB 3.0 ports signals that Asus is looking firmly toward the future, but that means you better buy adapters if you want to attach older devices. Each of the competing Chromebooks features a USB 3.0 port. 

MORE: Best Chromebooks Available Now

Display

The Flip's 12.5-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel panel provides crisp images, solid brightness and decent color. When I watched a trailer for "The Fate of The Furious," I noted strong red and blue police sirens, a vibrant green signal light, and a warm orange fire engulfing exploding cars. The display also showed off fine details like small beads of sweat on Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's head and the glimmer of the glittery brake-pedal of Vin Diesel's muscle car.

According to our colorimeter, the Flip reproduces 76 percent of the sRGB spectrum, a mark that's above the numbers from the Acer Chromebook R 13 (64 percent) and the ThinkPad 13 Chromebook (63 percent). The Dell Chromebook 13 (96 percent) and the average ultraportable (98 percent) render more colors.

The Flip delivers relatively accurate color, with a score of 1.6 on the Delta-E test (lower is better), which tops the ultraportable average (2.2). However, the Acer Chromebook R 13 (1.1), Dell Chromebook 13 (1.4) and ThinkPad 13 Chromebook (1.1) did slightly better. 

This convertible's panel emits up to 292 nits (a measure of brightness), which is slightly below the average for ultraportables (303 nits). The Acer Chromebook R 13 (254 nits), the Dell Chromebook 13 (270 nits) and the ThinkPad 13 Chromebook (257 nits) are all dimmer. This brightness allows for a wide range of viewing angles, as I could clearly see the screen's images at 75 degrees to the left or right.

Keyboard, Touch Screen, Touchpad

The Flip's island-style, full-size, backlit keyboard offers an excellent typing experience. On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I clicked my way to 77 words per minute, which is close to my average (80 wpm). The laptop's keys function so well because they provide 1.6 millimeters of travel, within the range of what we prefer (1.5-2mm). We do wish the keys required more than 49 grams of force to actuate, because amounts closer to 60 grams make for a better click.

The Asus Convertible's touch screen tracked my input accurately as I moved windows around the desktop and played some 2048. The display also supports back and forward swiping for navigating the web in Chrome.

The Flip's 4.1 x 2.3-inch, buttonless touchpad enables precise navigation and provides a solid feel to each click. It also supports smooth two-finger page scrolling and three-finger tab navigation.

Audio

The Chromebook Flip's speakers blast enough volume to fill a medium-size conference room with a sweet version of Migos' "T-Shirt." The track's bass sounded sturdy, its vocals came through clearly and drum cymbals hit crisply.

Performance

Our review configuration of the Flip packs an Intel Core m3-6Y30 CPU and 4GB of RAM, a combination that enables plenty of multitasking. I saw no lag after I split my screen among 15 Chrome tabs (including ones for Slack, Gmail and TweetDeck) and a 1080p YouTube video.

The $499 Chromebook Flip earned a score of 127 on the JetStream benchmark for JavaScript performance. That's better than the $399 MediaTek MT8173C-powered Acer Chromebook R 13 (59) and the $430 Intel Celeron-powered Dell Chromebook 13 (86). But it's lower than the $704 Core i5-powered ThinkPad 13 Chromebook (171) and the average ultraportable (161).

The Flip performed OK on the WebGL Aquarium graphics test, rendering 2,000 fish at a rate of 50 fps. That beats the Acer Chromebook R 13 (20-40 fps) and the Dell Chromebook 13 (48 mps), but the ThinkPad 13 Chromebook (60 fps) ran the animation more smoothly. We should note that this benchmark made the Flip emit a slight whirring noise, something we don't often see.

Battery Life

The Chromebook Flip lasted 8 hours and 52 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test. That showing beats the ultraportable average (8:03) and puts the Flip close to the ThinkPad 13 Chromebook (9:08). However, the Flip's time falls short of those set by the Acer Chromebook R 13 (11:00) and the Dell Chromebook 13 (13:25). 

MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

Webcam

The Flip's 0.9-megapixel webcam shoots grainy images with mixed color reproduction. When I tested the camera in our well-lit office, it captured the dark blue of my shirt but left our red wall looking orange.

Heat

This thin-and-light Chromebook stays cool under pressure. After I streamed 15 minutes of HD video on the notebook, our heat gun found acceptable temperatures, below our 95-degree Fahrenheit comfort threshold. The touchpad measured  81 degrees F, while the center of the keyboard and bottom hit 85 and 87 degrees, respectively.

Software

The Flip C302CA runs Chrome OS, Google's lightweight alternative to Windows, which currently relies on the Chrome Web Store for apps. The notebook will gain Android app emulation later this year, and the 2-in-1 will be able to make the most of those apps, with its touch screen and bend-back design.

Configuration Options

Our $499 review unit of the Flip C302CA includes a 0.9-GHz Intel Core m3-6y30 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. For $449, you can get the notebook with a Pentium processor and 32GB of storage, though you might lose some of the multitasking-enabling performance found in the Core m3 model.

Bottom Line

There's a lot to like about the Chromebook Flip C302CA, including its elegant aluminum design, sharp screen, solid battery life, strong performance and bend-back design. When the Google Play Store finally rolls out to Chrome OS in earnest, the Flip will be even more compelling than it is today.

You can save $100 and still have access to Android apps with the Acer Chromebook R 13, though that notebook lags behind in speed. The Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook with Core i5 is much faster, but it costs more, and its nontouch screen means this machine won't be as well-suited to Android apps. However, if you want a powerful Chromebook 2-in-1 that's ready for Android apps, the Flip C302CA should be at the top of your list.

Photo credits: Jeremy Lips/Laptopmag

CPU Intel Core m3 6Y30
Operating System Google Chrome
RAM 4GB
RAM Upgradable to
Hard Drive Size 64GB
Hard Drive Speed
Hard Drive Type eMMC
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Display Size 12.5
Highest Available Resolution 1920 x 1080
Native Resolution 1920x1080
Optical Drive
Optical Drive Speed
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 515
Video Memory Shared
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Wi-Fi Model 802.11ac dual band 2x2
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size 4.1 x 2.3 inches
Ports (excluding USB) USB Type-C
USB Ports 2
Card Slots microSD
Warranty/Support 1-year limited warranty, ADP (Accidental Damage Protection) included
Size 11.9 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches
Weight 2.6 pounds
Company Website https://www.asus.com/us/Notebooks/ASUS-Chromebook-Flip-C302CA/
Add a comment
12 comments
  • walaa81 Says:

    nice laptop l likke this model

  • ebrahemom Says:

    nice Laptop i like it but its better to give hard disc more size 👍

  • Abdul Raheem Says:

    Nice laptop want to check the demo

  • DietheMale Says:

    Its really amazing I love the styles I think this is the best model!

  • Ajayi jacob Says:

    Ï love the laptop It is good for browsing

  • Kenfastx Says:

    Nice~elegant and giant looking like!

  • Neil N Says:

    Just purchased this for $469 on Amazon, I'm sure I will like it!

  • Paul S Says:

    You cannot evaluate color rendition in a typical office where fluorescent lighting is dominant. The human brain automatically makes adjustments to perceived color using for reference tings that it recognises, like a piece of white paper or human skin. This is dynamic white balance correction. Video webcams on Chromebooks lack the firmware to do good dynamic white balance correction. If your skin tone looks good in fluorescent light, be grateful.

  • Matthew Says:

    Yeah, there's no fan, and don't use the Best Buy link to purchase. For the same price you get the the m3 processor and twice the storage, I purchased mine off Amazon. I've been using this machine for about a week now and can say it's far and away the best Chromebook I've ever used, really not that expensive when you compare the internals to cheaper Chromebooks that don't have 2 in 1 capability or a touch screen, a must have with upcoming android app capability, already available on dev channel, but a little buggy for sure. I do agree the lack of type A USB ports is a little annoying, small price to pay for an overall incredible laptop.

  • Thomas Says:

    Yeah I find that bit about a fan confusing. What fan?

  • Harry Says:

    Do you recommend switching to beta channel in order to reach the playstore?

  • Griffin DeJohn Says:

    "We should note that this benchmark made the Flip's internal fan speed up loudly, something we don't often see."

    Wait, what? It has a fan?

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