With an ultra-affordable sub-$300 price and an impressive variety of capabilities, the ASUS Chromebook Flip is one of the smartest gifts you can pick up this holiday season – even if you’re just getting it for yourself. It’s a great Chromebook and a solid Android tablet, earning it a top spot under the Christmas tree. Find the Flip at Tiger Direct and get 3% cash back when you sign up for Purch Perks.
The ASUS Flip gets its name from its 360-degree hinge that lets you use it as a laptop and a tablet, as well as at additional hands-free positions in between. The 10-inch touchscreen display looks good with 1280 x 800 resolution, and it has better-than-average brightness and color accuracy. While every Chromebook on the market has browsing and web apps instead of traditional software, the Flip is one of the first to support Android apps from the Google Play Store. This one feature allows you to use any app you might already use for your smartphone or Android tablet, greatly expanding the overall functionality of the device.
If you’ve handled inexpensive Chromebooks or tablets in the past, you’ll be surprised by the build quality of the Flip’s aluminum chassis. There’s none of the usual flexing or the disposable feel you get with plastic construction; instead, the brushed metal surface makes the Flip feel far more luxurious than its price tag would suggest. It’s also very lightweight, measuring 10.6 x 7.2 x 0.6 inches and weighing just 1.96 pounds. That’s small enough to slip into a purse or large coat pocket, and with more than nine hours of battery life – nine hours 19 minutes in Laptop Mag’s testing – you can use the Flip all day without having to charge.
Despite the laptop’s small size, the keyboard is almost full size, letting you type comfortably. The Chrome layout differs slightly from a Windows machine, with the Caps Lock button serving as a designated search key and a row of Chrome function buttons where the F1 through F12 keys would usually be. The keys themselves have good travel depth and responsiveness, with just enough spring behind them to make typing quite comfortable. The tiny 3.4 x 1.8-inch trackpad supports gesture controls and is just large enough to be functional without feeling overly small.
Inside is a Rockchip RK3288C processor, an inexpensive 1.8GHz quad-core CPU that nonetheless offers pretty great performance. The laptop comes in two versions: one with 2GB of RAM and the other with 4GB, and we recommend the 4GB model. Both models also come with 16GB of onboard storage, and since Chrome users use cloud storage for all of their documents and files, the capacity isn’t a problem.
The Flip boasts a micro HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, a microSD card slot and a headset jack. A 720p webcam sits above the display, and the charging port uses a proprietary connector that is reversible, making it easy to plug in without fumbling to get the orientation right. The compact Chromebook has 802.11ac Wi-Fi for online connectivity and supports Bluetooth for connecting to all of your wireless devices like speakers, headphones and mice.
With solid specs, high-quality construction and design, and a variety of features, the ASUS Chromebook Flip is a great choice for anyone who wants a simple laptop for browsing the web, and it comes at a great price. If the ASUS Chromebook Flip wasn’t already on your Christmas list, you might want to send a follow-up letter to Santa.