Update: See the "Durability and drop test" section of this review to find out how the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 fared in our Chromebook drop test. Hint: Not great.
Our favorite convertible Chromebook just got even better. With a larger display, longer battery life and stronger performance, the new Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (reviewed at $569) is a big improvement over its excellent predecessor, the Chromebook Flip C302CA. Furthermore, the Chromebook Flip C434 has a sleek aluminum chassis and its 14-inch panel is both vivid and bright.
These welcome changes have produced one of the best Chromebooks we've ever tested. Not only that, but the Chromebook Flip C434 is also easily one of the best laptops available at this price range -- Chromebook or otherwise.
Asus Chromebook Flip C434 Price and Configuration Options
The base model we reviewed costs $569 and comes equipped with an Intel Core m3-8100Y CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. Asus will also offer the Flip C434 with Core i5-8200Y and Core i7-8500Y CPUs, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of eMMC storage.
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.
The Chromebook Flip C434 could easily be mistaken for one of Asus' pricier Zenbook Ultrabooks. When I look at its matte-silver aluminum finish with chrome trim, I can't think of another laptop in this price range that looks as elegant as the Flip C434.
The first thing you'll notice when you open the laptop are the barely-there bezels that surround the display. We've seen this before, but with a screen-to-body ratio of 87%, the Flip C434 is one of the most compact 14-inch laptops we've tested.
On the inside of the Flip C434, you'll find a silver keyboard and chrome trim outlining the deck, as well as the touchpad, volume and power buttons and the hinges. The C434's design won't blow you away, but the uniform silver/chrome aesthetic at least does enough to distinguish itself from the MacBook's look, something we couldn't say about this Flip's predecessor.
The C434 can "flip" 360 degrees into tablet or tent mode. Interestingly, the laptop's two sturdy chrome hinges lock into place at 180 degrees. From there, the display rotates backward until the transition into tablet mode is complete.
The Flip C434 also features Asus' ErgoLift hinge, which lifts the back of the keyboard for a more comfortable typing experience. I've lauded the clever innovation in previous reviews, but, sadly, the effect is hardly noticeable on the Flip C434.
The Chromebook Flip C424 is slim and lightweight, especially when you consider the size of the machine's display. At 12.6 x 8 x 0.6 inches and 3.1 pounds, the 2-in-1 is just as thin but heavier than the 12.3-inch Samsung Chromebook Pro (0.6 inches, 2.4 pounds) and the 12.5-inch Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA (0.6 inches, 2.6 pounds). The 12.3-inch HP Chromebook x2 (0.6 inches, 3.1 pounds) is about the same size and weight as the Flip C434.
Durability and drop test
We dropped 11 popular Chromebooks to see which are the most and least durable. Sadly, Asus' Chromebook Flip C434 got dead last in our Chromebook drop test. The laptop suffered severe damage to its aluminum chassis, the touchpad buttons broke, and the screen cracked (which resulted in a block of dead pixels) when we dropped the laptop from 2.5 feet and 4.5 feet onto carpet and concrete. Needless to say, you'll want to avoid dropping the Flip C434 and pay extra attention when you hand it to a child.
There's not much space for ports on the Chromebook C434's superthin chassis, but it offers all the essentials, nonetheless.
That includes a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a USB-C port and a headphone jack on the left side of the chassis, along with a second USB-C port and a microSD card on the right side.
Both USB-C ports support charging, so you can plug in from either side of the Flip C434.
With such slim bezels on this machine, my eyes were drawn to the Flip C434's 14-inch, 1080p touch screen, which is fairly bright and vivid, if short of groundbreaking.
When I watched a trailer for Detective Pikachu, nearby skyscrapers cast a lurid blue glow on the Pokemon's electric-yellow fur. A closer inspection on this sharp display revealed a subtle chevron pattern in the lovable Pokemon's detective cap, which sat above adorable watery eyes that rival in cuteness those of Puss in Boots. The glossy panel is quite reflective, so you won't want to use the Flip C434 outside on a sunny day.
The 14-inch display covers 93% of the sRGB color gamut, according to our colorimeter. While the Chromebook x2 (114%) and Chromebook Pro (118%) have more-vivid displays, the Chromebook Flip C434's panel is more vibrant than those on its predecessor, the Chromebook Clip 302CA (76%), and the average Chromebook (83%).
The Flip C434's display similarly falls in the middle of the pack for brightness. With a peak rating of 286 nits, the Flip 434's screen is more luminous than the average Chromebook (235 nits); however, the displays on the Chromebook Pro (376 nits), Chromebook x2 (403 nits) and Flip C302CA (292 nits) shine brighter.
The touch screen precisely tracked my erratic swipes as I navigated from one Google Chrome tab to the next, checking sports scores and viewing Overwatch on Twitch. While the Flip C434 is small for a 14-inch laptop, it's still quite cumbersome as a tablet.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The island-style, backlit keyboard on the Flip C434 offers a solid typing experience, despite providing just 1.3 millimeters of key travel (our preference is from 1.5 to 2mm).
The keys are large and nicely spaced, and they have 71 grams of actuation force (up from a measly 49 grams on the Flip 302CA), which gives them a tactile click. I prefer a slightly lower actuation force, since the keys felt sticky to my fingers, but that's a matter of preference.
I typed at 115 words per minute with an accuracy rate of 94% on the 10FastFingers.com test. That's a good result, but it doesn't quite meet my 119-wpm, 95% accuracy average.
Outlined in chrome, the 4.1 x 2.4-inch touchpad on the Flip C434 was a tad jumpy at times but responded quickly to my swipes and taps as I browsed the web. I also had no problems using Chrome OS gestures, like pinch-to-zoom and two-finger swipes to move back and forth between pages.
The bottom-firing speakers on the front of the Flip C434 pump out clear sound that's loud enough to fill a large room. I tapped my foot along to the energetic rhythm the speakers brought to Glass Animals' "Pools." The low-frequency bass tones were a bit weak, but vocals sounded clear and I could distinctly hear each of the instruments, even in the chaotic chorus.
The speakers had some difficulty with the piano chords in Sampha's piano-driven ballad "(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano," which sounded distorted. It's a shame because the buzzy noise marred otherwise-excellent sound quality highlighted by the clarity in Sampha's emotive falsetto.
Our Chromebook Flip C434 review unit, equipped with an Intel Core m3-8100Y CPU and 4GB of RAM, had enough oomph that I could comfortably browse the web while running simple tasks. I quickly loaded 18 Google Chrome tabs and watched a 1080p stream of Israel's failed moon landing while three other HD videos streamed in the background. I noticed some minor lag when switching between tabs, but the Chromebook Flip C434 did a great job overall.
The 2-in-1 produced mixed results on our benchmark tests. With a score of 6,968 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, the Flip C434 crushed the Chromebook category average (4,380) and edged out the Chromebook x2 (6,637).
The Flip C434 also performed below average on our WebGL Aquarium graphics test, powering 5,000 fish at 37 frames per second. While that passes our 30-fps playability threshold, other laptops, like the Chromebook Pro (48 fps), did even better.
Chrome OS and Android Apps
Google's operating system has aged like a fine wine in the past few years, transforming from an OS aimed at K-12 into a viable alternative to Windows 10 and macOS for everyday users. The catalyst for that change was the launch of Android app support, which gives users the ability to download their favorite mobile apps onto their laptops.
The execution hasn't been perfect -- certain apps don't scale well on larger, higher-resolution displays -- but their inclusion gives Chrome OS a wider appeal, especially among younger generations who grew up using Google services on their smartphones. While its functionality has improved, Chrome OS remains a lightweight, easy-to-use operating system centered on the Google Chrome browser.
The Flip C434 extended its predecessors' already respectable runtime (8:52) by more than an hour, enduring for 9 hours and 58 minutes on our Laptop Mag battery test. That's longer than the Chromebook Pro (8:05) and Chromebook x2 (8:50) times and the lofty category average (9:02).
Asus somehow fit a webcam on the thin bezel above the C434's display. As a result, the 720p camera, which captures only average images, still beats the heck out of any nose cam.
My beard looked like a brown blob in a selfie I snapped in our dimly lit office, and my eyes looked glazed over. On the other hand, my hoodie was the correct tone of purple and the lights hanging above me were properly exposed. When I moved the laptop closer to the window, the sun brightened my face, revealing significantly more detail, like wrinkles around my eyes.
The Chromebook Flip C434 remained cool during our heat test, which involves playing a 15-minute video in full screen. The touchpad maintained a comfortable 83 degrees Fahrenheit, and the center of the keyboard (87 degrees) and bottom panel (92 degrees) also stayed below our 95-degree comfort threshold. Only the lower-left corner (99 degrees) warmed to concerning levels.
Warranty and Support
The Chromebook Flip C434 is my new favorite Chromebook. The 2-in-1 laptop improves upon its already excellent predecessor by offering a larger, 14-inch display in a similarly sized aluminum chassis. Along with a relatively bright and vivid 1080p panel, the Flip C434 has powerful speakers and lasts for nearly 10 hours on a charge.
But no laptop is perfect. At $569, the Flip C434 is on the pricey side for a Chromebook, and it scored mixed results on our performance benchmarks. Nonetheless, the Chromebook Flip C434 is a standout 2-in-1 that gives Mac and Windows users a compelling reason to switch to Chrome.
If you prefer a detachable and have some room in your budget, then go with the $599 HP Chromebook x2, a 12.3-inch hybrid tablet with a bright display, long battery life and a comfortable detachable keyboard. And if you want to save money, then the Samsung Chromebook 3 might be the laptop for you. While the Chromebook 3 doesn't offer the same performance as the Flip C434, this $179 is a steal thanks to its long battery life and bright display.
Overall, the Chromebook Flip C434 is an excellent 2-in-1 laptop and the device I would recommend to anyone making the switch to Chrome OS.
Credit: Laptop Mag