If you don’t run fancy software or games on your laptop, a Chrome-powered computer might be a good alternative. One example is ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA-DB02, a cheap 10.1″ notebook with quad-core processor and 2/4GB RAM. People have said it’s good for basic use, but would that be enough for you? Also, what, if any, are its less flattering aspects? Below you will find my take on that.
What software can it run?
To put it simply, ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA-DB02 can run any software that works on a browser. That’s the spirit of a Chromebook in a nutshell. The processor is ARM-based Rockchip RK3288 featuring quad-core design and up to 1.8GHz clock speed. It’s indeed not familiar Intel or AMD, but early benchmark tests show it’s around 20% faster than the better-known Intel Atom Z3735F. Indeed, there should be enough performance for any browser-based application in this notebook.
Another thing to keep in mind is the RAM. The laptop comes with either 2GB or 4GB low-power DDR3 memory. It’s soldered on board, so upgrading RAM is not going to work. The price difference is minimal, so going for the 4GB version is a good idea. It will give you better multitasking capabilities, for example keeping multiple tabs open will work smoother.
The storage of ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA-DB02 is a 16GB eMMC. Retailers like to call it a solid-state drive, but it’s not a really an SSD, just an embedded MultiMediaCard. It’s somewhat slower and less durable than a true SSD but still more modern than a conventional hard drive. It is soldered on board like the RAM, so changing the drive won’t work here. However, you can always utilize cloud services or stick in a memory card for more storage.
Any comments about the screen?
The laptop has a compact 10.1″ IPS screen with a rare WXGA (1280×800) screen. Normally, such a low resolution is not wanted, but for a 10.1″ display it works. The screen supports touch and flips 360 degrees, essentially turning the laptop into a tablet. On the tablet mode, the keyboard will deactivate, you won’t be hitting the keys accidentally.
Is it any good for gaming?
ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA-DB02 doesn’t work for traditional gaming. You can’t install Windows games without some extensive tinkering, so you are left with browser-based games. Playing those will be no problem, the graphics unit called ARM Mali-T760 is a bit faster than the graphics engine in Intel Atom Z3735F.
What devices can I plug in?
The notebook has two USB 2.0 ports. Those are indeed the slower type, no USB 3.0 is present. You can connect, for example, keyboard and mouse to the laptop, but hooking up an USB printer won’t work. In case you want to print, the easiest option is probably through Google Cloud.
You can connect an external optical drive to the laptop’s USB – no internal DVD is installed – but there are some restrictions here as well. Burning discs won’t work on a Chromebook. Also, playing audio or movie disc won’t work, but reading data type discs is possible.
You may plug in an external monitor or HDTV, there’s a micro HDMI for that. You may need a micro HDMI to HDMI cable/adapter, but an external display will surely work with ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA-DB02.
The right side houses a MicroSD card slot. It supports up to 64GB card, which means you can increase the local storage from 16GB by 64 gigabytes.
Networking of Chromebooks is wireless-only by default. There’s a solid 802.11AC WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1 adapter installed in the machine. If you want to use cable, you can get a cheap USB 2.0 to Ethernet adapter.
Are there other things to consider?
The best thing about ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA-DB02 is the portability. It weighs 2 pounds and is only 0.6 inches thick, somebody who likes traveling finds such specifications pleasant. Furthermore, people have been getting 10 hours battery life on this laptop. You might not need a charger for a day or two.
You can video chat with your buddies, the notebook has an HD webcam. Bear in mind Skype video isn’t currently supported on Chromebook, you can choose Google Hangouts instead.
The shell is aluminum without plastic parts.
Wrapping it up
ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA-DB02 is a typical Chromebook, good if you’re happy with whatever web browser can do but not much more. For example, apart from the actual web surfing, you can watch HD videos off YouTube and play all the browser-based games there are. But many of your familiar Windows-based software will not work here, although some have decent replacements. If you want to give a try to something new that is very inexpensive this Chrome ASUS should do the trick. Otherwise, if you insist on using Windows and its programs, another option might be more suitable to you.