I’ve never been a fan of buying expensive notebooks, even after I could actually afford them. Exactly like using smartphones, there is a certain point where the additional features cannot justify the $1,000+ prices unless you’re doing heavy productivity or gaming. My first notebook was the ASUS Eee PC 1001PXD netbook, which I had been pretty happy with at that time (today the 1024×600 screen sounds dreadful), but the casing finally started to crack apart. I later switched to the first Dell Chromebook 13, but the constraints of the browser-only environment were too much to bear, so I purchased a Surface Pro 2. With my experience writing the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 Review to make your better purchase.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 Review : Features
The 1366×768 screen didn’t give me much real estate for writing and researching posts, and the bulky design did not help portability. So once more, I was left with an option – do I spend an outrageous quantity of money for a premium laptop, or roll the dice with a different mid-range or used computer?
After the addition of Android app support, Chrome OS once again looked like a feasible choice for me. Finally, I settled on the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA (good name, I know). Even after nearly a year of constant use, it’s still holding up very well, and I think that it’s the ideal value Chromebook that you can buy.
Almost every Chromebook (Pixelbook excluded) falls into one of two categories – cheap machines which are unapologetically cheap (such as the ASUS C101PA), and mid sized laptops which feel like premium ultrabooks. There are just a handful of models that fall into the latter group – like the Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro, the ASUS C302, and Acer Chromebook 15.
On the outside, the C302 appears like nearly every other ultrabook available on the marketplace. It’s a unibody aluminum layout, using a 360-degree hinge that allows the display to be flipped around. On the back, there’s a subtle ASUS emblem at the middle and Chrome branding in the top left. It looks quite like a MacBook Pro.
The left side of this notebook has a USB 3.0 Type-C interface, charging indicator, volume rocker, power switch, headphone/microphone combo jack, and one speaker. The other side has a microSD card slot, yet another Type-C port, and another speaker. Like many other recent Chromebooks, the C302 uses Type-C for charging, so you don’t need to take care of a proprietary power cable. Both interfaces can be used for charging, and support video out (if you have the ideal adapter).
I’m still not a fan of any laptop ditching regular USB ports, however just how much of an inconvenience this is depends upon your workflow. I almost never use flash drives at the first place, and my MX Master mouse connects over Bluetooth. Once I bought this HDMI adapter (for linking the C302 to my projector) and a few Type-C-to-A dongles, I had been put.
The C302 is a convertible notebook, which means that you can reverse the screen around to use it like a tablet. In tablet mode, the computer keyboard and screen are held together using magnets. The large bezels surrounding the screen make holding the C302 in this way very comfy.
Though the C302 does feel much more superior than the cost indicates, there are a few signs that you are not using a $1,000+ notebook. The lid flexes a bit when you press it, and the touchpad is a little wonky (more on that in another section). But the C302 is constructed well and looks great.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 Review : Software
Chrome OS is an intriguing operating system. It started off as simply a full-screen Chrome window, and while it is still based around web browsing, the constant UI improvements and inclusion of Android program support have made it fairly excellent. Web apps still provide the best possible experience, but the total Play Store is at your disposal if a thing can not be done in the browser.
As much as it’s grown, I believe most Chromebook owners will still concur that Chrome OS is all about compromise. There aren’t any video editors or (good) Photoshop alternatives. As a web developer, I am still annoyed that there’s not any method of installing Visual Studio Code or Git to a Chromebook, short of allowing Developer Mode and running Linux. You also won’t find any desktop games offered for Chromebooks, and very few Android titles encourage keyboard input.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 Review : Display
The C302 includes a 12.5-inch 1080p IPS screen, which can be a massive upgrade from the 1366×768 notebook laptop I had been using previously. Though 1440p and 4K notebooks are becoming commonplace, I believe the C302’s screen is just fine. By default, Chrome OS will scale the interface to 1536×864, providing a good balance between readability and screen real estate.
Sometimes, I will place Chrome OS to 100% scaling when I am working on some jobs, but for the most part I leave it to the default. The bezels around the screen cause the laptop to look somewhat dated in comparison with the Dell XPS 13 or even Huawei MateBook X Guru, but the C302 is half of the cost of these notebooks. The bezels also produce the C302 a lot easier to maintain in tablet mode.
My only real complaint with the display is that the aspect ratio. Most notebooks in recent years have used a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is great for media playback, but not the best for productivity. I’d love to have a taller screen for functioning.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 Review : Performance
This CPU was released in 2015 and is based on Intel’s Skylake structure, so it’s not cutting-edge tech by any stretch of the imagination.
The most important benefit of this chip is that it does not require any kind of active cooling, so the C302 does not have any fans at all. The notebook is completely silent, but like using smartphone and tablet computers, it’s going to thermal throttle (become slower) under heavy load to avoid overheating. This is not really an issue though, unless you are playing 3D games for an extended period of time.
Just how does it work in real life? I don’t have any complaints. At most, I generally only have about 20 tabs available (plus an Android app or two), so the 4GB RAM has never been a problem for me. Chrome OS is generally more lightweight than Windows or macOS, therefore the lower amount of RAM goes farther on Chromebooks.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 Review : Battery life
The battery life of this C302 can be pretty great. Not only is that the Core m3 chip quite power-efficient, but Chrome OS includes a knack for lasting longer than similar Windows laptops. In my experience, the C302 usually tops out at 6-7 hours of use. Again, this can vary greatly based on your workflow.
The facet of the C302 that surprised me the most was not the performance, build quality, software, or even battery life – it was the charging speed. Every laptop I have ever owned always took hours to fully charge, and the C302 blows them all out of the water. The included charger has a maximum speed of 20V/2.25A, which tops off the laptop’s battery in blisteringly-fast speeds. Thanks to the C302’s strength efficiency, the charger from my 2016 Pixel can top up the Chromebook in a nice pace.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 Review : Conclusion
Are Chromebooks for everyone? Absolutely not, however they do not need to be. The ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 is a fantastic notebook for individuals who can perform without legacy desktop software, or anybody trying to find a third party computer. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of more expensive notebooks, but it’s fast and has great battery life. It’s also built to last that I need to know, I have had it for a year.
While the Pixelbook remains unquestionably the very best Chromebook money can buy, the C302 is perhaps the very best value Chromebook. More than that, it may be one of the best value laptops interval.
If you want to obtain a Chromebook Flip C302, you are able to do this from the links below. As mentioned previously (in the Performance section), I just suggest the Core m3 model and not the Pentium, m5, or m7 versions.
Read More: The laptop that brought me back to Chrome OS