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Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA Review
World’s first 10-inch convertible Chromebook
The growing Chromebook market is only just beginning. It revolves around the Chrome OS, and netbook sized laptops. The main selling point of these devices is that they are affordable but capable of doing the things anyone would do on a regular sized laptop or desktop. The Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA does that and shines against the competition in more ways than one.
The Chromebook market is getting some momentum with impressive new entries. The Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA brings several new things to the table. These include a touchscreen, a foldable screen, a relatively fast processor, and long battery life. Packed inside an aluminum casing, tt looks elegant and absolutely lovely.
The Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA’s main strength is its relatively fast processing which comes along with a long battery life. Usually there is a compromise between the performance and the battery life. The better a computer performs, the more energy it requires. This time, the Flip C100PA shows that it can be noticeably faster, with a 9 hour battery life.
• Long battery life.
• Foldable to a tablet.
• Relatively fast for its niche.
• Quick bootup time.
• Relatively large trackpad.
• Uses a multitouch touchscreen.
• Aluminum body.
• Small storage capacity.
• Smaller resolution than the competition.
Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA Technical
The features of the Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA are fairly standard. It runs Chrome OS on a 1.8 GHz Rockchip Quad-Core Processor. It has a choice of 4GB and 2GB RAM. It has a 10.1” touch screen capable of a 16:10 WXGA resolution. The screen allows for a wide angle of viewing, with a native resolution of 1280×800 pixels. It has WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 4.1. It has a USB 2.0 port, as well as a micro HDMI port, and a slot for a micro SD card.
At the center of the performance/power compromise is the ARM-based Rockchip quad-core processor. While most chromebooks are powered with an Intel Celeron M, the Rockchip was used instead due to power considerations. It gave a long battery 9 to 11 hour battery life, with above average performance.
Chromebooks are not supposed to be flashy or sexy. The Asus Chromebook is sexy without even trying. It is burnished aluminum, unlike its competitors which use plastic. That alone would make it to the top of the class. Most laptops or notebooks with aluminum block chasis use the body as a heat sink as well. This is also the case here. With a small body, there is not enough surface or holes to vent heat. The aluminum helps keep the heat manageable.
With a long battery life, you can go on a camping trip for the weekend and it should be able to get home before any need of a recharge. The power is more than enough to view an HD video. It also has an HDMI port, to connect to your HDTV for viewing movies, or just for a large monitor.
The rest of the machine is within expectations for a Chromebook. It does not have a hard disk, instead it makes use of 25GB of SSD. However, it does have a slot for a microSD card, and aUSB port for additional secondary storage. With affordable 128GB microSD available in the market, it is very easy to insert a large capacity microSD in the slot provided. The USB port can be used for external storage as well.
Although it comes with either 2GB or 4GB of RAM, this is more than adequate for what Chromebooks are meant to be used for. This is supposed to be a slimmed down machine for students, or for working on files stored on the cloud. In addition, this is not an OS X or a Windows machine. Chromebooks work around a Linux kernel with Google Chrome as the primary interface. That means that the OS should be smaller, and with an even smaller memory footprint. In addition, Chromebooks handle RAM very well.
Using a spreadsheet on the Chromebook is possible, however, installing a large app would be troublesome. The good news is that it connects well with the internet. You can be connected quite fast on this machine. Instead of installing an office productivity app, it would be better to keep your files on the cloud, and access it online whenever you need to.
The 16:10 aspect ratio is not uncommon. However, the resulting 1280×800 pixels resolution looks smaller than a 1366×768 resolution. On paper, the 25,000 additional pixels should not matter. However, with more HD movies adopting the 16:9 compared to the 16:10 aspect ratio, watching an HD movie on the Asus Chromebook would show letterboxing to maintain the ratio.
It seems that the reason Asus went with the 16:10 aspect ratio is to increase the size of the keyboard and the trackpad. When you first see the keyboard, the trackpad would attract your attention. It is seriously large for a Chromebook. Even the keyboard is a tad larger compared to the competition.
You will need the large keyboard once you start moving the screen around. In tent mode or stand mode, you would need to use the virtual keyboard on the screen. This is one of the C100PA’s limitations. The virtual keyboard feels smaller once you start typing on it.
As a touchscreen the Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA falls a little short of expectations. However, most touchscreens are a few hundred dollars more expensive, so it can be given some leeway. The multitouch features may seem flaky, and at times, it might not perform as well as expected.
The Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA is a solid performer and a great addition to the list of Chromebook computers. With its large hinge, it is configurable as a tablet or a notebook. It looks durable, and is definitely versatile. It is above average when it comes to processing performance, and at the same time keeps a seriously long battery life. The aluminum body makes it better protected than other notebooks in its class.
Priced below $300, it is affordable, with a feature set which is hard to beat.