If you haven’t been paying attention to Chromebooks for a few years, you may not have noticed that the category has evolved quite a bit. You can still find basic Chromebooks that are small, inexpensive and a little underwhelming—at least compared to the sleek new laptops in the Windows and Apple worlds. But there are now Chromebooks that offer a much more premium experience, with brilliant displays and cutting edge design. The popular ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 is one of these new Chromebooks that’s making waves by offering a great Chrome user experience in a convertible laptop that looks and feels almost luxurious.
After spending a few weeks with the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434, here’s what I thought about it (spoiler: it’s a pretty nice laptop).
Premium Chromebook experience
Looking at the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434, I never would have guessed it’s a Chromebook. It’s a sleek laptop, with a metal case and diamond-cut anodized aluminum edges. It’s light, solid and stylish.
While screens are one of the areas where manufacturers cut costs on lower end laptops, the Chromebook Flip C434 has a beautiful display. It’s a 14-inch Full HD Nano-Edge panel that gives the laptop an 87% screen to body ratio. The keyboard and trackpad are also high quality and the typing experience gets a boost from the ErgoLift hinge that raises the back of the laptop slightly for better ergonomics. And that ErgoLift hinge also makes the convertible “flip” aspect of the Flip C434 better than most. Rotating the display is effortless, and it remains where positioned. You can use this Chromebook as a traditional laptop, in tent mode, stand mode or tablet mode.
The 8th generation Intel Core M processor with 4GB of RAM and integrated Intel UHD Graphics 615 is plenty of horsepower for Chrome, offering snappy performance. Onboard storage is 64GB, which gives lots of room for local file downloads or Android apps. Battery life is 10 hours, so you can leave the charger behind. That charger uses USB-C, and the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 has a pair of USB-C ports, plus USB-A and a Micro SD card slot. Dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi ensures streaming and online performance is smooth.
In short, this really is a premium approach to Chromebook design and it results in a great user experience.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 Key Specs (as tested):
How different is Chrome OS from Mac or Windows?
If you are accustomed to working on a Windows laptop or a MacBook, the switch to a Chromebook doesn’t take much getting used to. The user interface is easy to understand and while using a Chromebook is a unique experience, there are elements that are a bit like Windows and some that are similar to macOS.
A little like Windows
When you look at the Chrome home screen, the layout may be a little familiar to Windows users. There’s a start button on the bottom left, and the bottom right corner has system buttons and a clock.
And a little like macOS
The middle bottom of the Chrome home screen is populated with key app icons, making it similar in that way to macOS. Click the app icon to launch it. Naturally, the Chrome web browser is front and centre. Like Apple, Google controls the user experience (even with third party hardware).
Convenience and no learning curve
The thing I like most about Chromebooks (besides affordability) is the ease of use and convenience. Sign on with your Google account and you’re good to go. Navigation is easy to figure out, and most of your time will probably be spent in the Chrome web browser. If you need to save a document you’re working on in G-Suite for offline access, you can do that. You may not be able to run Windows software, but you have access to Android apps through Google Play. And security is a non-issue. Google pushes updates that keep Chromebooks always up to date with the latest security measures.
My house is standardized on iMacs, but we bought my daughter a Chromebook for school and it has turned out very well. She picked it up right away, with no learning curve. She can do anything she needs to for class on the Chromebook with G-Suite, it gets great battery life, and it cost a lot less than a MacBook (a factor that’s worth considering, given that kids are slinging these laptops around in backpacks).
Who is this Chromebook aimed at?
Back to the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434. This is a very capable Chromebook, but it lacks the processing power of most Windows PC and has modest onboard storage. If you need to run software like Adobe Photoshop—or Windows for that matter—you should be looking at a Windows laptop (or possibly a MacBook) instead of a Chromebook.
However, it excels at basic productivity tasks, web browsing, and video streaming. That makes it ideal for students, especially since many school now use Google’s G Suite for assignments. It would also make a great laptop to have around the house for general use.
No wonder this Chromebook is so popular
Best Buy customers give the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 a 4-star rating with comments like “This Chromebook is so fast and the screen is stunning.” I have to agree with the sentiment. Chromebooks started out as low-cost alternatives to Windows and Mac laptops, but over time they have broadened their appeal. You can still buy inexpensive Chromebooks, and most are still considerably more affordable than traditional laptops, but there are now more upscale options. The ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 is a stellar example of a Chromebook that remains affordable, yet offers a truly premium laptop experience.