Best Of CES 2019: ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

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ASUS brought its popular Chromebook Flip series back to life in a larger format with internals to back up the claims made by its ultra-premium design.

ASUS showed up ready for competition at this year's CES 2019 in Las Vegas and ended up announcing the event's sole premium Chromebook, with the return of its Flip lineup. The 14-inch 2-in-1 format Chromebook Flip 434 is a true successor to the widely popular Chromebook Flip C302 in an aluminum shell that's been refined well above expectations. Featuring a 5mm bezels and an 87-percent screen to body ratio, the new gadget also packs a punch in specifications to match its facade. ASUS hasn't revealed details about when the Chrome OS convertible will become available or dropped any hints about its pricing but it stole the show in its respective category in spite of the launch of the world's first AMD Chromebooks.

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Looking beyond ASUS's decision to include a backlit chiclet-style keyboard standard as an accent to the touch-enabled 1920 x 1080 display, the Chromebook Flip C434 is a device that's made to be used. The 360-degree hinges on the device have been reworked to lift the rear-end of the keyboard in laptop mode, giving the device an ergonomic feel that should equate to comfortable typing even during long sessions. That could end up being a real hassle when placed on a lap since the rear panel only measures a percentage of the device's overall 15.7mm thickness and might dig into the legs when held in that configuration. Only getting some hands-on time would solve that mystery but at 3.19lbs the new ASUS should be more than hefty enough to feel premium and light enough to use in tablet mode instead. Using the Chromebook as a tablet should offer a great experience for accessing Android applications and that will only get better as Google continues optimizing the OS for that use.s

Android and web apps, Linux software, and other features are driven by a noteworthy eight-generation Intel Core M3-8100Y, Intel Core i5-8200Y, or Intel Core i7-8500Y processor depending on which configuration is chosen. That implies this won't be a budget device when pricing is finally revealed, as does its inclusion of up to 128GB of storage and 8GB RAM. Those will lend to a smooth experience that will most likely justify the cost, although it is puzzling that ASUS chose to include much older LPDDR3 1867MHz memory instead of the newer DDR4 RAM found in its competitor's devices. Alongside those components, ASUS has also decided to mostly include the latest standards for connectivity whether that's both USB-C and USB-A ports or the Chromebook's H1 security and Wi-Fi 802.11ac chips. The company went with an old standard again in its inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0 but that won't make a huge difference to most users.

ASUS's rock-solid offering easily stole away with Android Headline's title for "Best of CES 2019" with a stunning take on a modern flagship Chromebook. That's not only due to an utter lack of competition either but because the company obviously paid a lot of attention to every detail in the ASUS Chromebook C434's design and incorporated best-in-class components to top that off. Whether or not the device is a great value will depend on its pricing when it finally begins to roll off the line and out to consumers. Regardless, the ASUS Chromebook C434 is going to be a laptop to watch and a strong competitor for the remainder of the year.

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