Chromebook Flip C436 review: ASUS missed the sweet spot – ABOUT MAG 2020

In use

Every time I write about a convertible Chromebook, I have to precede things saying I find little use in placing a relatively large and heavy device in tablet mode, so that this work has little influence on my assessment. That said, the Chromebook Flip C436 has a strong, smooth hinge, whether it’s to flip the screen all the way around or just use it as a laptop. And the latest version of Chrome OS 81 actually improves tablet experience with some new gestures and settings in the user interface. Tablet mode has long been a sore spot for Chrome OS, with many lag-switching apps and moving around the user interface, but it’s actually quite smooth on the C436.

More important is the C436’s performance as a laptop – and with the powerful hardware built in here, this was one of the best Chrome OS experiences I’ve ever had. The $ 799 base C436 comes with a 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. This is more than enough Chromebook for most people, but the $ 999 model I’m testing includes a Core i5 processor, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage. In both cases, ASUS is using Intel’s most powerful U-series processors instead of the low-power Y-series chips found in the previous flip. That means better performance, but the fans also speak up regularly, even though I wasn’t pushing things too hard.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C436

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Even this base model represents a major update compared to Flip 2019, which had a relatively insignificant m3 processor and 4GB of RAM. It is not surprising that the $ 999 Flip C436 I used did not have any problems keeping up with my workflow, which does not require a lot of the processor. I usually have some Chrome windows with six to 10 tabs in each and several Chrome apps in their own windows. These include Todoist, Keep, Hangouts, Telegram, Trello, Tweetdeck and Slack; I also usually stream music using the Spotify or YouTube Music apps for Android. The C436 has the same processor as the Galaxy Chromebook, but twice as much RAM. This meant that I basically never experienced any slowdowns or hiccups.

Last year’s Flip was a computer that I could throw in my bag if it was charged and I didn’t have to worry about the battery running out, but unfortunately I can’t say the same for the Flip C436. I got nine hours of work in the oldest Flip with your processor m3, but this year’s model lasted only six hours in my tests. This is not terrible, but far from the exceptional performance I got from the older Flip or from Google’s Pixelbook Go. When running a playback test of an HD movie downloaded to the Flip’s local storage, it lasted seven hours and 55 minutes before hanging up. This is not bad, but overall the laptop falls far short of ASUS ‘estimates.

The competition

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Throughout this review, I’ve been comparing the Chromebook Flip C436 to the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook. At the time of writing, the Flip C436 configuration I reviewed is priced at the same as the Galaxy Chromebook and has the same processor and 360 degree hinge. Samsung’s offer has less storage and RAM, but it is smaller in all dimensions and lighter as well. But probably the biggest differences are the 4K screen and the portable pen, two things you can’t find on the ASUS model. There’s a lot to like about the Chromebook Galaxy, but its terrible battery life means it’s hard to recommend.

Of course, Google has some models that are worth considering. Pixelbook 2017 it was a great computer when it launched, but it still costs $ 999; it is a little difficult to recommend a laptop that is over two years old at the moment. It is very well designed and can run Chrome OS well, but unless you really want a convertible form factor, Google’s Pixelbook Go is probably a better choice.

The Go doesn’t have a 360 degree hinge, but it does have a newer processor than the original Pixelbook. Go is a great Chromebook, with a great keyboard and long battery life. The basic $ 649 model has only Intel’s m3 processor and 64 GB of storage, but that’s probably enough for most people; spending $ 849, things go up to an 8th generation Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. It’s still less than the $ 999 Flip C436 I tested, but then again, it should be more than enough for most.

If these models are too expensive, consider the 2019 ASUS Chromebook Flip C434. The company says it will still be selling it, even though it is out of stock in my recent research. The processor is not as powerful and has less RAM and storage, but it still offers a great screen, keyboard and better battery life than the C436. Priced above $ 500, it is a solid option.

Paula Fonseca