Chromebooks are becoming more and more popular and their success can be explained by several factors: price, battery life, and performance. Asus is not a novice manufacturer in this field and expects to have its share of the cake. It is now selling its new model, originally announced at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. The top-of-the-range Chromebook Flip C434 offers a 360-degree hinge that allows you to use the computer as a tablet. But has the Taiwanese manufacturer got it right? How does the Flip C434 perform on a daily basis? Find out in our full review!
- ✓Elegant design
- ✓Excellent battery life
- ✓Connection technology
- ✕Limited tablet mode
- ✕High price for a Chromebook
A top-of-the-range Chromebook
Due to its top-of-the-range positioning in terms of materials, performance, and finish, the Chromebook Flip C434 has a higher price than is normal for a Chromebook. It will cost at least $569.99 for the entry-level configuration in the U.S. In the UK, prices start at £599.99. For this price, you get the version with an Intel Core M3-8100Y 1.1 GHz processor (4M Cache, up to 3.4 GHz), 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.
For our review, we tested the version with the 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor, with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.
A laptop and a tablet
Asus doesn't change a winning formula. This Chromebook Flip C434 is already replacing the excellent Flip C302. Like the C302, the Flip C434 features a 360-degree hinge that allows it to be used as a tablet. It's a dual-action system that slightly lifts and tilts the keyboard into the typing position when the display is rotated into laptop mode.
While the dimensions have not changed much (15.7 mm thick and 1.45 kg), the new Chromebook benefits from progress in terms of the display. It now offers a 14-inch bezel-less diagonal, compared to 12.5 inches on the previous model. The width of the bezels on the sides has been reduced to 5 mm.
Entirely made of metal, the Chromebook Flip C434 integrates aluminum on its cover, on the top and on the bottom of its chassis. The final design is homogeneous in appearance, whether the C434 is used in computer or tablet mode.
In practical terms, the Chromebook Flip C434 is one of the most premium Chromebooks on the market and its 16:9 format makes the machine compact and easy to carry in a backpack.
It is therefore not surprising to find a backlit keyboard with a fairly long keystroke (1.4 mm keystroke distance). For typing, I was more than happy when using the Flip C434. My only complaint is the backlighting of the keyboard and its intensity. Sometimes, for example, the keys were not distinguishable because of the light coming from the display. The plastic touchpad below the keyboard is large enough but does not reach the size or fluidity of a Macbook or Matebook, but the Asus ErgoLift hinge, which lifts the back of the keyboard for a more comfortable typing experience, is comfortable.
The ChromebookFlip C434 offers connectivity options with two USB Type-C ports as well as a USB Type-A port for external devices. It's a welcome range that means you won't have to buy adapters or dongles as accessories. There are also two speakers integrated into the base of the computer and a headphone jack. A micro-SD slot is also included (but not protected).
A very nice screen
The IPS display of the Asus Flip C434TA is simply excellent . Its extra-slim bezels allow you to enjoy a 14-inch screen in a 13-inch template. Its Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) provides an excellent image. I could have hoped for a QHD definition, but it doesn't bother me that much on a daily basis and it is necessary to make some concessions or risk seeing the price of Chromebook go up even further.
There is also nothing to complain about with the brightness or the viewing angles, which are more than sufficient. Its 16:9 format is perfectly suited for video streaming. At the top, above the screen, there is a webcam offering a pretty basic HD definition but which will do the job for a few video calls (asking more of it seems crazy to me anyway). Finally, the screen is also touch-sensitive and its responsivity is excellent.
Two modes in one
The interesting feature of this model is the ability of its display to flip over for use in tablet mode. If the idea is good, the execution is a little less so. The fault lies notably in such thin borders, which sometimes lead to accidental taps, and especially its weight which handicaps the Flip C434 the most from being used in tablet form. T he tablet experience quickly proved to be painful .
A multi-window mode is also missing in the tablet mode and you must use the virtual keyboard. Finally, many applications and games cannot be downloaded to the device, so this is not necessarily the best use for this Chromebook.
If you are looking for a tablet, I recommend that you look more towards the Galaxy Tab S6 or iPad Pro.
Chrome OS on board
Not surprisingly, it is the Chrome OS operating system that is found in this Chromebook. The system, due to its comparatively light weight, offers a fluid and mainly cloud-based experience. It is always possible to store documents thanks to the expandable memory of the Chromebook. Some like its simplicity and speed of Chrome OS, others don't like the lack of customization.
For more information, I suggest you read the following articles that go into more detail about the OS:
A powerful engine under the hood
This premium aspect is also reflected in the performance. Asus has decided to put the 8th generation Intel processors under the hood here. Three configurations are available: i7-8500Y, i5-8200Y or M3-8100Y.
This convertible notebook computer, therefore, includes a powerful processor and a RAM of up to 8GB and up to 128GB of storage (support for microSD cards is up to 2 TB). My test with the i5/8GB version was flawless. It provides smooth performance even when many Chrome tabs are open in addition to Android applications. You will not encounter any problems for office work and even for editing simple images with Gimp.
The computer is also completely silent because it is a machine without fans. The unit also does not overheat, unlike many of its competitors.
In terms of audio, the sound remains correct, clear and perfectly audible thanks to two speakers that provide stereo sound. However, it is not the best computer in this field and others are doing better. The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 just does the job. No more, no less.
9 hours of battery life
Finally, let's end this review of the Chromebook Flip C434 with one of the device's strong points, namely its battery life. Asus promises 10 hours. In practice, I have experienced more than nine hours of trouble-free use, all with a screen brightness of about 70 percent, connected to a stable Wi-Fi network and without mostly Android applications in the background.
To charge it, a USB-C charger is required. Allow about an hour for a full charge.
Yes, the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 ranks among the best Chromebooks on the market. The new upgrade from the Taiwanese manufacturer has taken up the best features of its predecessor (the C302) while offering new settings that optimize its design and performance. The strength of Chrome OS and Google's recent efforts on its system suggest a bright future for this type of computer.
However, this nice result is tarnished by two things: tablet mode, which is ultimately not very useful, and the price, which will cool the enthusiasm of users and fans of Chromebooks...at least in Europe.
This article was amended on 17 September 2019. Since that day, this has been the final version of our review, but the comments written during the hands-on period have not been deleted.