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Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA review: A versatile laptop with lots to love

The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA is ahead of its time. All Chromebooks shipping in 2017, including the Chromebook Flip, can run Android apps natively. We’ve tried Android apps on Chrome and can see lots of potential for broadening a Chromebook’s capabilities. We really wanted to review this feature on the Chromebook Flip, but as of this writing, the technology remains in beta. 

Meanwhile, we can still appreciate the Chromebook Flip for its higher-end components and performance. They’ll cost you—$499 for our model (a lower-end version costs $449). For the money, however, the Chromebook Flip offers a far better user experience than the more popular $200 Chromebooks can, one you might still like in a few years.

asus chromebook flip c302a tablet movie Melissa Riofrio/IDG

The Chromebook Flip’s 360-degree hinge means you can use it as a tablet. 

The specs story

To start, we’re going to run through the primary specs for the Chromebook Flip C302CA and talk about what they give you for the price: 

CPU: Intel Core M3-6Y30 0.9GHz. This is a 6th-generation (Skylake) mobile processor with two cores and four threads, 4MB of cache, and a maximum burst clock speed of 2.2GHz. This won’t burn any barns, but it will get through mainstream tasks capably, as the performance tests below prove. A lower-end option is a Pentium 4405Y, and a higher-end option is Core M7-6Y75. 

RAM: 4GB LPDDR3. This is an adequate amount of memory for mainstream tasks, but if you pile on the browser tabs or stream extensively, you could hit a wall. A higher-end Chromebook Flip model offers 8GB of RAM, but obviously costs more. 

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515. This is a mainstream integrated graphics solution, not as powerful as Intel’s Iris integrated graphics, but it’ll get you through streaming video.

Storage: 64GB eMMC with TPM. The eMMC flash storage is inexpensive, but not very fast. The 64GB amount is better than the 16GB or 32GB you might find on cheaper models. The Trusted Platform Module is a security feature that can encrypt sensitive information like login credentials. 

Display: 12.5-inch FHD 1920×1080 touchscreen. This is where a lot of the money goes. After surviving a motley parade of low-end Chromebooks with grainy 1366×768 displays, we welcome the Full HD display on the Chromebook Flip. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio, a wide 178-degree viewing angle, and a high 300-nit maximum brightness. We actually measured 310 nits with our meter, but we also noticed that the screen darkens quickly: The middle setting seems dim, while the best settings are medium-high or high. Note that the higher resolution means your icons and text will be smaller, and the display will also demand more of your battery, especially if you have to crank brightness to high routinepan

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