What’s the essential thing about ASUS C201PA-DS01? It’s a Chromebook. Hence, not everybody will benefit from it. On the other hand, many will (probably) find it better choice than a traditional Windows-based laptop. But who those people are? What does this notebook do better than its competitors equipped with a Microsoft product? Let’s see about that here…
It’s not powerful components Chromebooks are known for. ASUS C201PA-DS01 doesn’t have Intel or AMD, but a Rockchip RK3288 processor featuring four cores and 1.8GHz clock frequency. There are not many benchmarks available yet, but rumors are it belongs to the absolute low end category of Chromebook processors. However, these laptops are not meant for heavy use, and users reported that web browsing for example works generally smooth.
Other core components include 2GB DDR3L memory and 16GB eMMC storage. Again, not great, but should suffice for basic web surfing, text editing and even video streaming off Netflix and Hulu. Keep in mind the hard drive is indeed an embedded MultiMediaCard, not a real solid-state drive, so you’ll end up with performance somewhere between mechanical hard drives and true SSDs.
Display and graphics
ASUS C201PA-DS01 is small like the majority of Chromebooks. The glossy 11.6″ display features a 1366×768 resolution and user reports said it’s comfortable enough to use.
How are the gaming capabilities? As you might know, playing Windows games is unheard of unless you tinker. Browser games should however work, although again, don’t expect miracles from the poor Rockchip processor.
ASUS C201PA-DS01 seems to include two USB 2.0 ports for peripherals. Micro HDMI is also there so you can hook up a larger monitor. The SD/MMC card reader can be used with digital cameras and other similar devices.
The laptop has a great 802.11AC WiFi adapter and Bluetooth 4.0 for networking. True to Chromebooks, there’s no RJ-45, although USB-to-Ethernet adapters will work.
Another thing this unit doesn’t have is an optical drive. If you have to use discs, an external DVD drive is a must. Keep in mind DVD burning is off limits for a Chromebook. So is watching movie discs (as of beginning of 2015), but you can download much of content from streaming services.
0.3MP camera is fixed on top of the screen. Skype video isn’t officially supported, so you should consider Google Hangouts if you want video chats.
What else to keep in mind?
The best part of this unit is portability. It weighs 2.3 pounds which is nothing compared to “traditional” Windows notebooks. To be honest, I haven’t seen lighter Chromebooks before, either. Battery life is 13 hours in the specifications. It should be very close to truth.
To keep the costs at bay, ASUS didn’t illuminate the keys on this model. And due to small size, there’s no numeric keypad on the right hand side.
Summing it up
ASUS C201PA-DS01 doesn’t cost much, even for a Chromebook. Indeed, it offers limited performance, just enough for web browsing and some video watching. Ports are fine, although the AC WiFi adapter should be great. Traveling with this unit is a breeze at bit over 2 pounds weight and well over 10 hours battery life. All in all, you get a decent starter laptop for the price. Give the ASUS a try if you’re looking for a simple Chrome-powered notebook on a budget!