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Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA review

Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA overview

There’s a purpose why Chromebooks are widespread in colleges — they’re light-weight, speedy, and safe. Chromebooks don’t depend on apps you obtain and set up, resulting in smaller storage capacities, and decrease pricing. The Chrome OS working system is supplied free to OEMs as properly, making Chromebooks extraordinarily price-competitive in a Home windows-dominated laptop computer market.

Enter our Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA overview. This $300 mini-laptop is predicated on an optimized Rockchip six-core processor, 4GB of reminiscence, 16GB of storage, and a battery promising as much as 9 hours of use on a single cost.

The Flip C101PA seems to be a smaller model of the Flip C302CA we reviewed in February. That mannequin had an Intel-based processor, a bigger display, a better decision, and a better price ticket of $500. Asus, it appears, needs to supply the identical 2-in-1 Chromebook expertise for much less. Like its cousin, the extra inexpensive Flip helps Google Play and its library of Android apps. Does that make it a worthwhile various to a pill?

It’s the most effective of each worlds

The Flip C101PA is a merging of two worlds — the web-based app productiveness of Chrome OS (though some can work offline), and the domestically put in apps of Android. All of that is loved on a 10.1-inch display with contact. Technically, it’s a 2-in-1 gadget with a 360-degree hinge enabling you to place it in 4 methods: Laptop computer, Tent, Stand, and Pill.

Total, it sports activities a rounded metallic physique with a silver end. The keyboard space is silver too, complemented by black keys and a black bezel surrounding the display. There aren’t any sharp edges in any way, and you may even see a small, metallic trim working alongside the perimeters of the gadget. The one downside to this compact clamshell 2-in-1 design is the bulging 360-hinge, and the gaps it creates between the display and keyboard space.

When closed, the 2-in-1 Chromebook measures simply zero.6 inches skinny. We did a triple-take when FedEx delivered the unit, as we had been anticipating one thing a lot bigger. It’s extraordinarily small – kid-sized, you could possibly say – but it surely’s a high-quality product in its presentation and general construct.

It’s greater than only a pill

You received’t discover a multitude of ports right here. The left facet merely sports activities the quantity buttons and the ability button.  On the appropriate, you’ll see two USB Three.1 Gen1 USB-C ports, one in every of which is used to recharge the gadget.

The Chromebook Flip 101PA might simply exchange your smartphone as your Fb-trolling instrument.

Different ports encompass a USB 2.zero Sort-A port, a microphone/headphone combo jack, and a MicroSD card slot. Video output is dealt with by the 2 USB-C ports (HDMI, DisplayPort), so that you’ll want the suitable adapter. You may as well forged the display and its contents utilizing a Google Chromecast gadget.

As a result of there’s no Ethernet port, you’re solely counting on a wi-fi connection. The label on the Chromebook’s field says it gives Bluetooth four.zero and Wi-fi AC connectivity, the latter of which depends on a 2×2 setup, that means it depends on two incoming antennas, and two outgoing. Theoretically, it’s able to reaching speeds of 867Mbps, however the Android apps we used to watch the connection all noticed a capped pace of 100Mbps it doesn’t matter what entry level we used.

Get bouncy along with your typing

We fairly favored the keyboard, although it doesn’t present any backlighting. It spans your entire base from left to proper, and there’s no numeric keypad, enabling bigger keys in your fingertips to like. Every key feels delightfully springy when pressed, and as with different Chromebooks, you’ll discover device-specific instructions changing the everyday perform keys. These management display brightness, quantity, and assist navigate via net pages.

Invoice Roberson/Digital Tendencies

The touchpad is small, however that’s anticipated given the scale of the gadget. There aren’t any embedded proper and left-click buttons, however fairly your entire touchpad space is one giant clickable floor. It helps as much as three fingers, enabling gesture instructions like swiping left and proper, drag and drop, scrolling, and sliding. It felt somewhat jerky at occasions when transferring the cursor throughout the display, however labored properly sufficient.

The show will get sensitive

After all, the Flip C101PA shines as a pill. When you flip the display over into pill mode, the keyboard shuts off.

The 10.1-inch show has a density of 150 pixels per inch, a facet ratio of 16:10, and an out-of-the-box decision of 1,280 x 800 (marked as “greatest”). The gadget’s settings allow you to scale the display as if it had been displaying 1,440 x 900, nonetheless, this solely makes interface components smaller, so extra will be match on-screen. The show’s actual decision of 1,280 x 800 doesn’t change.

Sadly, the specs don’t state what kind of display expertise Asus is utilizing in its 2-in-1 Chromebook, however clearly admits it helps solely 50 % of the NTSC colour house. The colour depth and richness related to gadgets sporting bigger, high-resolution shows simply isn’t there, however it’s possible you’ll not discover until you bodily examine the Flip C101PA’s display subsequent to an iPad. It does the job, and is lots shiny even in outside situations.

The audio is greatest in tent mode

Backing this display are two audio system mounted on the underside of the keyboard. The sound is nice, provided that the audio system are sometimes pointing away out of your ears. The audio punches up via the keyboard, however you’ll be able to’t assist however get a slender sensation when processing the audio in your mind. That is as a result of dampening of the treble because the sound strikes via metallic and plastic earlier than reaching your ear.

Invoice Roberson/Digital Tendencies

The very best non-headphone audio you’ll hear from the Flip C101PA is when the gadget is about to tent mode. On this case, the keyboard is positioned behind the display, exposing the 2 audio system on the underside that are then pointing in your route.

Whereas audio high quality depends upon how the gadget is used, we’re happy with quantity and high quality general. It received’t impress audiophiles – or anybody, actually – but it surely’s a minimum of usable, which is healthier than many gadgets within the Flip’s class.

The processor is little, and massive

Backing the large audio and 10.1-inch display is Rockchip’s six-core RK3399 all-in-one processor. It falls inside a brand new classification system referred to as “OP,” which implies the chip is optimized particularly for Chromebooks. Given Rockchip’s processor falls underneath the OP1 umbrella, we assume it’s one of many first to suit into this new classification system.

What’s attention-grabbing about this chip is that it’s based mostly on ARM’s processor structure referred to as large.LITTLE. There are primarily two clusters of processor cores contained in the chip: 4 clocked at 1.51GHz for regular, low-power use, and two clocked at 2.02GHz for high-performance situations. All six cores don’t work concurrently. The 2 power-sucking cores kick in solely when heavy processing is required.

You get the most effective of two worlds in a compact gadget — the advantages of an Android pill, and the safety of a Chromebook.

After we loaded up Geekbench four to check its efficiency, the processor scored a mere 1,333 within the single-core take a look at. As a result of the benchmark is Android-based, the outcomes can solely be instantly in comparison with processors working in smartphones. Plus, you must also contemplate that Android isn’t native to Chromebooks, so we might not see the processor’s full potential utilizing the app. With that in thoughts, we nonetheless assume the outcomes are price discussing.

Rockchip RK3399’s single-core benchmark fell between Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 and Samsung’s proprietary Exynos 7420 chip. It even fell behind the latest Home windows 10-based Acer Swap Three, which managed a 1,385 rating in Gerekbench utilizing Intel’s Pentium N4200 processor.

Within the multi-core benchmark, the Chromebook solely scored Three,200, placing it between the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and Samsung’s Exynos 5433 processor. It fell behind the brand new Acer Swap Three, which reached a better four,502 rating in Geekbench.

After all, for $300, you probably don’t count on the Flip to be a efficiency monster. It’s quick sufficient for watching Netflix, writing paperwork, engaged on faculty assignments, and enjoying low-resolution video games. It’s a pill, not a laptop computer, at its core.

This flippin’ 2-in-1 lacks house

The mannequin we examined solely supplied 16GB of house, 6GB of which was consumed by Chrome OS and Android. That leaves round 10GB of accessible house to make use of, so that you’ll must depend on the MicroSD card slot for added capability. It helps the SDXC customary, that means you should use MicroSD playing cards with capacities of as much as 2TB (the most important card you should purchase proper now could be 400GB).

Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA In contrast To

That mentioned, Chromebooks are designed for utilizing purposes based mostly within the cloud, not put in domestically on the gadget. The specs present that Asus gives a 32GB model as properly, however that’s nonetheless not a variety of house given the Flip C101Pa helps Android apps. Then once more, 16GB of storage shouldn’t be a shocking quantity given the gadget’s general price, and its tablet-based roots.

Android gaming is first rate

The Flip C101PA depends on the Mali-T860 MP4 element built-in into the Rockchip processor, which is barely clocked at 600MHz. You’re merely not going to run video games at a 1080p decision with this chip, however we benchmarked it anyway, to see what the built-in graphics might do.

For starters, we loaded up Epic Citadel for Android, which consists of assorted scenes unfold out via a fortress and its courtyard. It’s an older benchmark, and in 2017 isn’t visually anxious, so we’re not stunned the 2-in-1 managed a mean framerate of 60 frames per second utilizing the Extremely Excessive settings. We noticed the identical framerates utilizing the 1,280 x 752 and 1,440 x 856 resolutions.

Invoice Roberson/Digital Tendencies

In 3DMark, we loaded the Ice Storm benchmark and noticed 60 frames per second within the first section, and 50.Three frames per second within the second section. Ice Storm solely benchmarks the gadget at 1,280 x 720 decision, so we determined to provide the Sling Shot take a look at a strive, which checks at 1,920 x 1,080 decision. The built-in graphics choked miserably, cranking out a mere 6.9 frames per second within the first section, and three.1 frames per second within the second section. Ouch.

Total, it appears the Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA can deal with some mild gaming, however received’t carry out properly in severe titles. Given its worth, although, we expect modest gaming efficiency is excusable.

It’s a fantastic on-the-go clamshell

Total, you get a variety of bang in your buck for such a small, cheap gadget. The zero.6-inch thick convertible design makes the Flip C101PA extremely moveable, and it weighs a mere two kilos, so that you’re not combating a cumbersome, heavy system. The rounded edges and metallic chassis provides to its straightforward portability, particularly for youths who’re vulnerable to dropping and bumping their gadgets.

It’s extraordinarily small – kid-sized, you could possibly say – however a high-quality product in its presentation and general construct.

By comparability, Acer’s $450 Swap Three 2-in-1 measures zero.39 inches thick with out the detachable keyboard, and zero.64 inches with the keyboard intact. It weighs 1.98 kilos as a pill, and a pair of.76 kilos as a laptop computer. Exterior the plain processor and working system variations, Acer’s 2-in-1 packs a bigger display at 12.2 inches, making it barely much less moveable than the Asus Chromebook.

On the battery entrance, Basemark’s anxious take a look at drained the battery over 324 minutes. Subsequent, utilizing the iMacro Chrome extensions – which repeatedly hundreds web sites till the battery dies – the Chromebook lasted 484 minutes, over an hour longer than the bigger Chromebook Flip C302CA. The Flip C101PA did a greater job in our video loop take a look at too, lasting 536 minutes versus the Flip C302CA’s 485-minute length. It even outlasted the Acer Swap Three, which managed solely 290 minutes.

Recharging the battery takes round 90 minutes.

Nope, no bloatware right here

The fantastic thing about Chrome OS is that you simply don’t have bloatware put in proper out of the field. By default, Chromebooks embody Google’s web-based purposes similar to Gmail, the Chrome browser, YouTube, Google Docs, and so forth. Non-Google net apps embody the “Legends” video games from Spacetime Studios, Tweetdeck, Fb, and so forth.

Invoice Roberson/Digital Tendencies

Google Play can also be put in on the Chromebook out-of-the-box. Android apps initially run in a smartphone-like windowed mode. You possibly can maximize these apps to fill your entire display, however provided that you restart the app. Not all apps are optimized for tablet-sized screens — similar to Titan Quest, which crammed the point of view and interface into one nook of the display whereas leaving the remaining house black.

We skilled efficiency points whereas utilizing sure options of Chromebook. As an example, we wished to verify the display’s brightness degree, however the part merely wouldn’t develop to disclose its settings regardless of what number of occasions we clicked and tapped. This occurred fairly just a few occasions all through our interplay with the gadget, so we’re undecided in the event that they had been associated to software program, sluggish processor efficiency, or a mix of each.

Guarantee

The label on the again of the Chromebook signifies a one-year guarantee. In accordance with Asus, this covers failure and manufacturing unit defects for 12 months ranging from the time you buy the product.

Our Take

The Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA is a pill at coronary heart regardless of its 2-in-1 kind issue, solely it’s based mostly on the web-focused Android-loving Chrome OS platform as a substitute of a full-fledged Android set up. It competes with comparable merchandise such because the Samsung Chromebook Professional and the Acer Chromebook R 11, however serves as a fantastic various to comparable Home windows-based gadgets as properly. It seemingly units out to switch your pill and Bluetooth-based keyboard setup, or as a sturdy, light-weight, safe computing gadget for the scholar.

Is there a greater various?

For those who’re prepared to spend the additional bucks, the bigger Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA mannequin could also be a extra performance-friendly choice. It has the identical 2-in-1 “flip” design, however packs a better decision and an Intel Core-branded processor to deal with the load. You may even splurge on the Acer Chromebook R 13 packing a 2-in-1 kind issue, a 13.Three-inch FHD display (1,920 x 1,080), and twice the storage for $400. Nonetheless, based mostly on our overview rating, the Flip C101PA could also be a greater resolution than Lenovo’s IdeaPad 100S that prices just a few extra bucks.

Regardless of the underlying mobile-focused processor, the Flip C101PA competes with inexpensive Intel-based 2-in-1s sporting Home windows 10, like Acer’s latest Swap Three. There’s a $150 distinction between the 2, however with Acer’s product, you’re shopping for into the Intel processor, display dimension, display decision, additional space for storing, removable keyboard, and Home windows 10. In the meantime, hackers usually don’t goal Chrome OS, and given the platform is free, you see decrease pricetags on Chromebooks. Within the case of the $300 Flip C101PA, you get Android compatibility, too.

How lengthy will it final?

Within the smartphone and pill world, gadgets are out of date simply months after you purchase them. This is applicable to mobile-focused Chromebooks, too. The gadget itself is a superb long-term product in that it’s sturdy, stays up to date via Google, and is very safe. But it surely received’t final perpetually, as you’ll ultimately see Android apps refusing to replace as a result of your present is out of date.

Do you have to purchase it?

For those who’re in the marketplace for a light-weight, tablet-like gadget, then the Flip C101PA is a steal for $300. Regardless of its limitations, it delivers a very good expertise at its worth level. It’s a easy, perform gadget with no severe flaws, and we expect that’s all most budget-conscious readers need.

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