Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA full review
Chromebooks tend to fall into two camps: cheap and cheerful (like the old Asus Flip C100PA) or beautiful but expensive (as embodied by the Google Pixelbook). Now Asus bucks this trend by introducing the mid-price C302CA Flip, which comes in at around the £500 mark.
So, what do you get for sensible, but not budget, money? We find out.
To see the kind of competition the C302CA is up against, check out our Best Chromebook chart.
Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA price
At the moment, you can pick up the Chromebook Flip C302CA from John Lewis for £499.95.
Ordering direct from Asus UK will open up a variety of upgraded models too, with the standard Intel Core M3 6Y30 version, replete with 4GB RAM and 32GB of storage costing £674.99. If you want to double both the RAM and storage then there’s a model available for £727.99.
Or you can move right up to the Intel Core M7, with 8GB RAM and 64GB storage, but this is an eye-watering £938.49.
If you’re new to Chromebooks, and wondering if they are really the thing for you, then read our Chromebooks guide. This lists the current tops models and answers many question about what they are and what you can use them to achieve.
Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA design and build
The elegant lines of the chassis eschew the tapered edges often employed to make devices appear thinner. Instead there's a slim, square-edged design to the aluminium case which is reminiscent of the aforementioned Pixel Chromebook.
Where that device was heavy at 3.35lbs, the Asus C302CA is the best part of a pound lighter, making it far more shoulder friendly.
The 12.5in touchscreen is also a little smaller than the Pixel, as it adopts the more classic widescreen 16:9 ratio, rather than the taller 3:2 favoured by Google's offering. It's bright, detailed, responsive, and very nice to work with.
As this is a member of the Asus Flip series, the hinges allow the device to be used in a traditional laptop fashion, or wrapped right around to make it into a makeshift tablet, replete with a magnetic clip. The movement between these extremes is smooth, and the display is held securely wherever you choose to stop.
We’ve grown used to finding good quality keyboards on Chromebooks, and the C302CA is another fine example. The Chiclet keys are well spaced, just the right size, and are backlit for night-time typing. If you’re intending on using a Chromebook to get some writing done, then this keyboard certainly won’t slow you down.
The trackpad is also a highlight, beating out a good number of Windows PCs we’ve tested in terms of accuracy and reliability. ChromeOS really does seem to have this area worked out in terms of drivers and gesture controls.
The flanks of the C302CA are home to two USB-C ports, one on either side, both of which can be used to charge the device. There’s also a microSD slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, plus volume and power buttons.
It’s an attractive, well thought out design, and one that will no doubt catch many an eye when you’re out and about.
Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA performance
With an Intel Core M3 6Y30 chip driving the C302CA, you would expect the performance and battery life to be good. Thankfully, this is the case.
Running several tabs at once - with music playing in one, a word processor in another, and multiple browser windows open - can cause some Chromebooks to stutter. But, the Asus had no such qualms. It just kept on going with nary a flicker.
This was no doubt aided by the 4GB of RAM installed, which gives even the resource-hungry Chrome plenty of room to work. Using the device for gaming didn’t cause any issues either, apart from the fatigue in our arms after holding it up for a few minutes.
Putting the C302CA through the standard benchmarks returned positive scores of 111.72 on Jetstream and 372.83 on Basemark 3.0, which is some of the best we’ve seen on a Chromebook.
Battery life also impressed, with the Asus lasting well over nine hours in our video streaming test. With lighter use this should extend even longer, making it a solid performer for a full day’s work.
Such is the nature of modern computer use, that for many people ChromeOS is now pretty much all you need from a laptop. It can run Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint through web versions, there’s Google own excellent Office suite, not to mention lots of productivity and entertainment apps and websites that should cover all bases.
You can work offline on a number of apps, and the simplicity of the system makes it a great option for both younger and older relatives asking for advice on a new machine.
Yes, if you want to do Photoshop editing, run iTunes, or use a specific piece of software, then you’ll come a cropper. But, in most instances a Chromebook will be enough. This is even more likely now that Android apps have been added into the mix.
The C302CA is one of the Chromebooks that can now run games and apps found on the Google Play Store. That means that many of your favourite Android titles are available for your desktop.
While many of them are not optimised for the larger screen size yet, there are several that make good additions. The Microsoft Office apps are one example, plus many of the games make full use of the touchscreen capabilities on the Asus, although they can be cumbersome to play.
The Netflix app has the advantage of being able to download shows and movies so you can watch them later, while Adobe Lightroom makes basic of editing photos on the Chromebook a doddle.
Google still class the Android app feature as in Beta, which is something that needs to be addressed quickly if the company wants to really make it count. Chromebooks are often pitted against iPads due to their relative simplicity and easy maintenance, but iOS already has a wealth of apps optimised for similar screen sizes.
Android support could be a killer feature for Chromebooks, but at the moment it remains little more than interesting idea with huge potential.
Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA: Specs
- Intel® Core™ M 6Y30 Processor Chrome OS Integrated Intel® CPU 4 GB RAM 12.5" (16:9) LED backlit FHD (1920x1080) 60Hz Glare Panel with 45% NTSC 32GB eMMC storage Illuminated Chiclet Keyboard Multi-format card reader (SD/SDHC/SDXC) HD Web Camera 802.11 AC WiFi Bluetooth V4.2 2 x USB 3.1 TYPE C ports 2 Cells 39 Whrs Battery USB TYPE C charging port Output :19 V DC, 2.1 A, 45 W Input : 100 -240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal 304 x 210 x 13.7 mm (WxDxH) 1.2 kg with Battery