ASUS has quietly launched yet another new Chromebook, this time it’s a 15-inch C523. This marks ASUS’ first 15-inch Chromebook. In the past, it has mostly done 11 and 13-inch Chromebooks. That makes this a rather special Chromebook, and a great option for those that have been wanting a larger Chromebook, seeing as those 11 and 13-inch models can be a bit small. The C523 falls right in line with the two other Chromebooks it has launched recently, which include the 12-inch C223 and 14-inch C423. This is a somewhat low-end Chromebook from ASUS. There aren’t too many specs listed here, but we do know that it has a full HD, 15-inch display, with up to a quad-core Intel processor and up to 10 hours of battery life. It’s interesting here that ASUS doesn’t actually state which Intel processor it is using, whether that is a Celeron or a Core chipset from Intel. It is likely a Celeron, seeing as the rest of this Chromebook is relatively low-end.
The Chromebook C523 is a pretty lightweight machine, coming in at about 3.2 pounds and about 15.6mm thick, it’s a bit surprising that it is so light, given that it is in an aluminum unibody. This keeps the C523 looking rather premium, even if it doesn’t carry that premium price tag. ASUS is using its FHD NanoEdge display here, which sports a resolution of 1920x1080, and has a pretty narrow bezel, that measures in at about 6mm. There is also a matte anti-glare coating here, that will reduce those annoying reflections, like what you might experience when working in a cafe or a library. This results in the Chromebook C523 having a 80-percent screen-to-body ratio. Allowing the Chromebook to be smaller but still have a somewhat large display to get more done, while you are on the go. Of course, this screen is a touchscreen and supports up to 10 fingers - not that you will use all ten at once anyways. It also has a 180-degree hinge, allowing you to fold the screen back and use the C523 as a tablet, if you wish to do so. It’s important to note that the spec sheet does mention it runs “Windows 10 Premium” this is not true since it is a Chromebook, and the fact that Windows 10 Premium does not exist (only Home and Pro versions exist).
Background: ASUS was one of Google’s first partners, when it came to Chromebooks. For the first few years, it was really only Samsung, ASUS and Acer making Chromebooks with Google, and now they are some of the largest Chromebook makers out there. Acer has really taken on the “budget” portion of Chromebooks with the many options it offers. While ASUS has mostly focused on the more mid-range Chromebooks out there. Now quite hitting the high-end area that has the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook, and Google’s Pixel line of Chromebooks and tablets. Instead, ASUS offers something that looks really nice - if not very close to a MacBook Pro - and great performance, and that’s what you’re getting with the C523 here, and it’s what you’d expect from ASUS anyways. The C523 is the first 15.6-inch Chromebook from ASUS, but definitely not the first 15.6-inch laptop from the company.
Chromebooks still have the reputation of being an alternative to “netbooks”, and that you can’t do much with them either. But now that Google Play is included on these Chromebooks, for things like Android Apps and Games - including Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, Twitter, Asphalt 9: Legends and more - it does make these machines a lot more useful. These days, most people do the majority of their work in the browser anyways. So for the majority of people, a Chromebook is going to be perfectly fine. Google is not replacing Windows with Chrome OS, but offering an option for those that don’t need a gaming machine, and don’t want to spend a ton either.
Impact: ASUS’ Chromebook C523 is going to be a great option for plenty of people. With that larger display, and pretty powerful chipset to go along with a lightweight operating system. ASUS is not mentioning how much RAM is coming with the C523 here, but it should be at least 4GB of RAM with options for more. That is still a good amount for Chrome OS. Surprisingly, Chrome OS is more optimized than Chrome on Windows or macOS (perhaps due to the fact that Google controls the entire OS on Chrome OS, versus on Windows or macOS?). It also comes with some great speakers and battery life. Which is going to make the C523 a great machine to use for going back to school, or even for those that don’t use computers all that much. With 10 hours of battery life out of the C523, it is a bit lower than the competitors out there, but it’s right up there with what you would expect from a Chromebook. With ASUS potentially using a smaller battery, it keeps the laptop lighter so you can carry it more places.
Currently, the Chromebook C523 is going to be coming to the United Kingdom next year, and it is currently available in the US. It is priced at $269 from both Amazon and B&H Photo. It is currently listed at Amazon as “Currently Unavailable” but it is in pre-order status at B&H Photo. According to B&H Photo, the US is getting a model with a dual-core Intel Celeron N3350 1.1GHz processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. So it is definitely a low-end Chromebook from ASUS and for $269, that’s not a bad spec sheet at all, with an aluminum unibody. Other regions may be getting higher-end models - the US may get other models further down the road, this is just what ASUS is offering for right now. Since the product page does mention up to a quad-core processor and this is only a dual-core chipset. But the specs here is still plenty to keep Chrome OS running nice and smooth anyways.