PROS / Thanks to its convertible design and Android app support, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA is one of the most capable Chromebooks around.
CONS / A few competing Chromebooks offer better performance.
VERDICT / The ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA tops even the best Chromebook laptops with a convertible design and Android app support, in addition to solid performance and good battery life.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA would be formidable on its own, with its premium design and strong overall performance, but as a combined touchscreen Chromebook and full-featured Android tablet, it’s even more impressive. That added flexibility makes it the best Chromebook for the money and earns it the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Performance & Specs
The Flip C302CA is outfitted with an Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor, a mobile processor well-suited to the light-duty Chrome OS and designed to be energy efficient. The dual-core processor offers speeds up to 2.2GHz and is paired with 4GB of RAM for some of the best performance we saw in a Chromebook.
In the JetStream performance test, the Flip C302CA returned a score of 127.32 points, putting it toward the front of the pack in terms of speed and multitasking ability. In our graphics rendering test, WebGL Aquarium, the Chromebook produced 50 frames per second (fps) while rendering 2,000 floating fish. This combined performance is among the best we saw in any of the Chromebooks we reviewed and should be more than sufficient to provide a smooth, uninterrupted browsing experience, even when running multiple media-heavy tabs or using apps and extensions.
The system is equipped with 32GB of internal storage, which is a common allotment since the Chrome OS is built around cloud-based storage options such as Google Drive. In fact, new units come with an offer for a free 100GB upgrade of Google Drive storage space.
In a departure from the plastic construction seen on so many early Chromebooks, the Flip C302CA is pretty luxe for a laptop in its price range, with an all-aluminum chassis and a glass-covered capacitive touchscreen, which makes tapping and touching the display comfortable. The Flip C302 measures 11.96 x 8.26 x 0.53 inches whether closed or folded into tablet mode and weighs just 2.64 pounds.
The most compelling aspect of the Flip C302CA is its 2-in-1 design. Thanks to a pair of 360-degree hinges, the slim aluminum laptop can open up flat and bend all the way around for use as a tablet, with additional display modes in between. This expanded capability is enhanced by a decent battery life of nearly 9 hours in our testing.
It’s also one of the first new Chromebooks with support for Android apps from the Google Play store. This effectively makes it both a Chromebook and an Android tablet, and it opens up a world of tools and apps that weren’t available to Chrome OS users before. However, there is one caveat: The Android support in this model is still in beta as of this writing, so it requires you to turn on developer mode and select app support from a menu of experimental features. In the near future, this sort of app support will be baked in with no special settings required, but at the moment, it does require a couple of extra steps from you.
The laptop’s 12.5-inch display looks good, with an IPS panel offering vibrant colors and wide viewing angles. It’s also just about the perfect size for a convertible device – large enough for comfort as a laptop but small enough to easily carry as a tablet.
The Flip C302CA ditches the usual USB ports, opting instead for two USB Type-C ports. These newer ports offer faster data transfer; can be adapted to a variety of uses, including external storage and video output; and double as the power connection for charging the laptop. While this new standard is superior to USB 2.0 and 3.0, it requires some sort of adapter dongle for use with any of your older peripherals. The laptop also boasts a microSD card slot, which lets you use the memory card from your phone to easily transfer photos and video.
Help & Support
ASUS covers the Chromebook Flip C302CA with a standard one-year warranty. The company has a well-earned reputation for providing reliable products and solid customer support. Dedicated technical support staff can be reached through phone, email or live chat on the ASUS website, as well as through social media, though you will be referred to another support channel if you choose this route. While our colleagues at Laptop Mag gave ASUS’ social media support lower marks, the level of overall support is fairly good thanks to knowledgeable support staff.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA combines a premium laptop design with solid performance and decent battery life, making it an excellent Chromebook laptop on its own. Add a touchscreen, convertible design and all the apps in the Google Play app store, and you’ve got a top-rated Chromebook that’s also one of the best laptops available for the price.