Getting in on the latest trend toward the upper ends of the Chromebook market previously only occupied by Google's Pixelbook, ASUS indicates that several variations of the device will be made available. Each of those will include several design changes intended to build on the progress the company has made in the past while leaving behind many of the budget-friendly features and components found in the company's previous Chromebooks. That also means it isn't necessarily going to be cheap, but it will offer an experience that's much better suited to using Chrome OS for more than basic browsing and entertainment.
Refinement on a premium build
The exterior of ASUS's Chromebook Flip C434 is intended to deliver a refined and comfortable experience starting with its 320 x 202 mm by 15.7 mm thin, 3.19 lb all-metal chassis. That's a relatively minimal design but centers around a 360-degree hinge for tent, stand, tablet, or laptop mode but that hinge isn't built like others on the market. Rather than betting on a standard flat-bottom design, ASUS is introducing an 'ErgoLift' hinge that lifts the rear portion of the keyboard for an angled, ergonomically-friendly feel when typing in that mode.
The full-size chiclet keyboard has a similarly ergonomic 1.4mm of key travel and an intelligent backlighting system so that it can be used in any environment easily without eyestrain. Just below that are two high-end stereo speakers. Set front and center, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and 5mm bezels for an 87-percent body to screen ratio, is a 14-inch LED backlit IPS display panel. That's touch-enabled and capable of showing the full sRGB color gamut at 300 nits brightness. An HD webcam is included just above the display.
Joining the recent trend of powerhouses
ASUS isn't the first to start packing top-tier components and other specs into its Chromebooks but it certainly isn't being left behind either. Internally, the Chromebook Flip C434 will ship with an eighth-generation Intel Core M3-8100Y, Intel Core i5-8200Y, or Intel Core i7-8500Y processor coupled with Intel HD Graphics 615 for visuals and up to 8GB LPDDR3 1867MHz memory. eMMC storage will be included at up to 128GB with the option to expand via microSD card up to 2TB.
The Chromebook Flip C434 comes powered by a 48Wh battery charged up via either of two USB 3.1 Type-C ports -- which each pull double duty for display output functionality and data transfers too. A single USB 3.1 Type-A standard port is provided in the edge as well as a 3.5mm audio combo jack the above-mentioned micro SD card slot. The entire package is given protection via a dedicated H1 chip and connectivity can be accomplished over a wide area or locally via Wi-Fi 802.11ac or Bluetooth 4.0.
The arrival of the Chromebook C434 isn't entirely unexpected since it was first leaked back in November with the expectation that it would launch alongside several other Chromebooks and the company's first ever Chrome OS tablet. The speculation turned out to be at least partially true with the announcement of a series of new devices and one tablet with model numbers matching those leaks toward the middle of last week in the leadup to with CES 2019. While those devices are squarely aimed at the education sector, the new ASUS Chromebook C434, also matching leaked model numbers, is not. The Chromebook Flip C434 is intended for home or business use and more demanding tasks associated with that.
ASUS hasn't provided any specific details regarding the launch or pricing of its Chromebook C434 but has said that its new top-end Chrome OS device is scheduled to launch over the 'coming months'.