Price (RRP): $from 1500
There was a time that Chromebooks (low-powered laptops with Chrome OS) were the province of students and the financially challenged. The ASUS Chromebook Flip C436FA presents a pretty good case to change that perception albeit at a price rivalling mid-range Windows laptops.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C436FA is available with 10th generation Intel Core i3-10110U (2.1/4.1Ghz), i5-12010U (1.6/4.2Ghz) or i7-10510U (1.8/4.9Ghz) processors. The U-series processors require a fan – an odd choice in a Chromebook.
What is a Chromebook?
It runs a very light Chrome OS were mainly Google’s app (exclusively from the Play Store) run in the Chrome web browser, cloud-based ‘container’. For the most part, you will need an active internet connection. Although many of Google’s mainstream apps run off-line.
Low-cost Chromebooks only require 2-4GB RAM, 32-64GB storage, a low-power 32-bit, X86 Intel Celeron, Core M or similar. Chrome can also run on ARM processors
But this is not low-cost and has specifications you would expect in a good mid-range Ultrabook. It is an Intel’s Project Athena design for long battery life, always-on, laptops.
It has the power to run many Android apps locally under an ‘emulator’ requiring more processing power, touch screens, RAM and some storage. This has been at the expense of the legendary battery life.
Would I buy one?
Before you rush out and buy, see if you can take one for a test drive.
If all you do is word processing, email, calendar, etc., then the Chrome G Suite may be fine. You should consider one if you were thinking of Windows S, Android or iPadOS.
If you are a heavy Windows or macOS user, it won’t be for you. Nothing that runs on Windows or macOS will run on Chrome OS – unless there is an app that does similar things. Note that the G Suite has support for Microsoft file formats.
My opinion – and I am not a Chromebook user. After using the Chromebook for two weeks, there is no way it can replace my Windows Surface Pro 7, dual 27” screens and run big Excel spreadsheets or handle large Word docs. Apart from that, it found printers, networks and did most of what I needed.
Australian review: ASUS Chromebook Flip C436FA, i5, 8/256GB (SKU 90NX0PS2‑M01430)
- ASUS Australian Chromebook website here (yes there are lots of models)
- Product website here
- Price: From $1500
- Stockists: Not all models are in stock at JB Hi-Fi, Good Guys, Bing Lee, Betta, Harvey Norman, Joyce Mayne, Retravision and most local computer stores can purchase ASUS
- Warranty: 12-months ACL
- Country of manufacture: China
- ASUS (Est 1989) is a Taiwan based designer and manufacturer of computer components, PCs, servers, laptops and more. It is the world’s fifth-largest Windows computer maker – with Lenovo, HP, Dell, and Acer.
A note on price
The price depends on the SKU, e.g. i3, i5, i7 and RAM (8/16GB) and storage (128/256/512GB) and optional Pen. The model, as tested, is approx—$ 1800. While widely regarded as one of the best, fully featured Chromebook, it is also one of the most expensive.
At this price, you can buy a pretty good Windows 2-in-1 touch laptop.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C436FA Base specifications
|Colour||Aerogel White or Transparent Silver|
|Processors||10th generation Intel Core i3-10110U (2.1/4.1Ghz), i5-12010U (1.6/4.2Ghz) or i7-10510U (1.8/4.9Ghz)|
Intel UDH Graphics VP8/9, HEVC
128/256/512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe 3.0×2 lane plus microSD slot to 2TB
100GB of Google One cloud storage free first year+
|Screen||14” 1920×1080, 160 dpi, 16:9, 100% sRGB IPS 360° hinge ‘Flip”|
|Ports||2 x USB-C 3.2 Geb 1 (5Gbps) with ALT DP display and PD|
|Keyboard||Full-size backlit, 1.2mm travel, 40g actuation|
|Sound||Stereo Harman Hardon tuned speakers 3.5mm combo audio|
.9MP. f/2.0, 1.43um, 69.1° FOV 720p camera
|Comms||Wi-Fi 6 AX 2×2 MIMO|
BT 5.0 3-axis Accelerometer,
5V/3A, 9V/3A, 15V/3A, 20V/2.25A 45W USB-C PD 3.0 charger
|Size||319.5 x 205.3 x 13.7 mm x 1.1kg|
|Missing||HDMI Ethernet port|
All can be added by a USB-C 3.1 Gen1 Dongle
Tests and observations
Note that some of our test software suites did not work on Chrome OS, limiting our testing regimen. We use FAIL, PASS and EXCEED against test paradigms. PASS means that it meets the levels we expect for the price or level.
Look and Feel – EXCEED
Premium, mag alloy and the 360°hinge works well as tent, flat or as a clamshell.
It does not flex, but the alloy finish could be prone to scratches.