ASUS has now officially launched two new premium Chromebooks — first shown at CES 2021 — aimed at delivering power and productivity, in the form of the ASUS Chromebook CX9 and Chromebook Flip CX5.
Now, both gadgets are packed with some fairly powerful internals. Including up to an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 chipset backed by as much as 16GB LPDDR4X RAM. And each can be coupled with as much as 512GB of PCIe Gen 3 SSD storage. Similarly, each can come configured with up to Intel Iris Xe graphics. And that’s setting aside support for next-gen networking such as Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6.
Additionally, both the ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 and Chromebook CX9 pack the hardware under a backlit keyboard attached to a 14-inch display panel. With up to a UHD display panel available on the ASUS Chromebook CX9. Both devices come with all of the features that have made Chrome OS great, to begin with. But there are some fairly big differences between these two devices as well.
ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 is a foldable powerhouse
ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5, as betrayed by its branding and unlike the CX9, is a 2-in-1 foldable Chromebook. That means that its 14-inch display panel and highly refined keyboard come linked via a 360-degree hinge. Enabling use in clamshell, lay-flat, tablet, tent, or stand mode. When used in clamshell mode, that hinge is built on ASUS’ ErgoLift design. Meaning that it lifts at the back for a more ergonomic, comfortable experience — setting aside the added comfort of backlighting standard.
The screen here is built around the ASUS NanoEdge design. So it delivers FHD-resolution, LED-backlit goodness with a screen-to-body ratio of 85-percent.
But ASUS also says that frame lives up to many of the standards required to meet US MIL-STD-810H standards. Albeit via in-house testing that extends through panel pressure, shock, and drop tests. All at a weight that comes in just over 3lbs and comes complete with a garaged, fast-charging ASUS Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) stylus. That stylus, by the way, lasts up to 45 minutes on a single 15-second charge.
On the ports and connectivity front, this Chromebook is premium through-and-through as well. Starting with the latest Wi-Fi 6 standards and Bluetooth 5.0. And carrying through to the two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports that pack fast-charging, up to 40Gbps data transfer speeds, and dual 4K display output. A standard USB-A port is included as well for those instances where an older cable is required.
Under the hood, ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 is every bit as big a powerhouse as the top devices around. That’s thanks, at least in part, to the inclusion of up to an 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor that’s been backed by up to 16GB of fast RAM. And, of course, by up to Intel Iris Xe graphics.
For storage, up to a capacity of 512GB via PCIe SSD is available with a MicroSD card slot for those who need just a bit more space. And, like the Chromebook CX9, the ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 uses PCIe M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 3.0 storage. So it’s going to be more than fast enough to keep up with demanding workloads.
Finally, the battery life for this foldable ASUS Chromebook won’t quite live up to that of the Chromebook CX9 — as we’ll discuss momentarily. But it will last all day for most users, regardless.
That’s because ASUS says the Chromebook CX5 can last for up to 10-hours on a single charge in spite of the low-profile design at just over a half-inch thin. At least on paper, that should be more than enough to get through a full work day with plenty of time left over for entertainment.
ASUS Chromebook CX9 brings sleek, productivity-first design to the table
Branching out beyond the ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5, the ASUS Chromebook CX9 brings even more to the table. Not least of all, ASUS is including a market-first touchpad on this lay-flat 14-inch Chromebook. And that’s not because this trackpad is attached to a standard backlit keyboard with an ErgoLift hinge either. Or because this keyboard can withstand up to 66cc’s of liquid spill.
ASUS Chromebook CX9 is the first Chromebook to include ASUS NumberPad. That brings a LED-illuminated numeric keypad directly to the touchpad. That can be turned on or off and even allows full cursor use when it is activated. Summarily, allowing numbers to be put in more directly, as well as mathematical symbols, directly from the trackpad. Without the need for an expanded keyboard for a traditional numeric keypad.
In terms of secondary inputs, ASUS Chromebook CX9 includes all of the ports a user could need, from USB-A to USB-C with display output capabilities. It also supports ASUS Pen, built on the latest USI standards. Just in case active stylus input is needed.
In terms of performance and durability, ASUS includes up to an 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor backed by Intel Iris Xe graphics. That’s backed further by up to 512GB of PCIe M.2 SSD storage. As well as 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM. Taken in combination with the other attributes discussed already here, that makes this Chromebook a serious workhorse. As does the design.
ASUS says the ASUS Chromebook CX9, like the Chromebook Flip CX5, is made of aluminum alloy. It weighs in at just 2.31 lbs and measures just over a half-inch thick. Despite the slim, NanoEdge display-enabled design, this Chromebook also stacks up to US MIL-STD 810H standards, including in-house panel pressure, shock, and drop tests.
All of that is setting aside the available 4K UHD touchscreen variant, packing a viewing angle of up to 178-degrees. Or the Harman Kardon-certified audio and added mics for better sound input and conference call or video chat capability. And, of course, the HD webcam can be secured via the included webcam shield. Wi-Fi 6, a full HDMI port, and a fingerprint scanner round out the extra features users can expect from this ASUS Chromebook.
Finally, for battery, ASUS says the Chromebook CX9 has been verified with Intel Evo. And that it can see as much as 14-hours of use on a single charge. Making it one of the longest-lasting Chromebooks ever released by any OEM, at least on paper.
Now, both the ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 and Chromebook CX9 are going to be powerhouses in their own right. And there are plenty of similarities between the two. But that doesn’t mean they’re identical in any sense of the word. The exact specifications for the two gadgets are included below, as provided by the company at launch.
|ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5400)||ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400)|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-1160G7|
|Intel Core i7-1165G7 (12 M cache, up to 4.70 GHz)|
i5-1135G7 Processor (8 M cache, up to 4.20 GHz)
i3-1115G4 Processor (6 M cache, up to 4.10 GHz)
|Operating System||Chrome OS||Chrome OS|
|Display||14″ (16:9) LED-backlit FHD (1920 x 1080) touch|
IPS-level wide-view technology
|14″ FHD (1920×1080), anti-glare, 400 nits, sRGB 100%|
FHD (1920×1080), 400 nits, sRGB 100%, touch
UHD (3840×2160), 550 nits, sRGB 95%, touch
|RAM||LPDDR4x 4266MHz 8GB / 16GB||LPDDR4X 8GB/16GB|
|Storage||128GB / 256GB / 512GB PCIe M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD||128GB – 512GB SSD PCIe Gen 3|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics (for i3 SKU)|
Iris Xe Graphics (for i5, i7 SKU)
|Intel Iris Xe graphics|
UHD graphics for 11th Gen Intel processors
|Wireless||Dual-band WiFi 6 (802.11ax) + Bluetooth 5.0||WiFi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0|
|I/O Ports||2 x Thunderbolt 4.0 Type-C|
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
Audio combo jack
MicroSD card reader
|2 x Thunderbolt 4.0 with USB 4.0 Gen 3 x 2 Type-C|
(Full-function, supports PD + Alt mode)
2 x USB 3.0 Gen 2 Type-A
MicroSD card reader
Audio combo jack
|Keyboard||Full-size chiclet keyboard|
1.5 mm key travel
1.5 mm key travel distance
|Audio||Harman Kardon-certified audio with|
Built-in dual speakers
Built-in array microphone
With Google Assistant voice-recognition support
Built-in array microphone
Built-in stereo 2W speakers with Smart AMP
|Durability, Security & More||Some US MIL-STD 810H standard|
|US MIL-STD 810H military-grade standard|
Spill-resistant and tamper-resistant keyboard
Kensington Lock slot
Titan C Security ChipCertificate
Energy Star, UL, CE, CB, FCCWarranty
Up to 5 years
|Colors||AI Blue||Star Black|
|Dimensions||Width: 12.633 in (320.9 mm)|
Depth: 8.129 in (206.5 mm)
Height: 0.620 in (15.75 mm)
|Width: 12.681 in (322.1 mm)|
Depth: 8.066 in (204.9 mm)
Height: 0.629~0.708 in (16~18 mm)
|Weight||3.10 lbs (1406.1 g)||2.31 lb (1047.9 g)|
|Battery & Charging||45W power adapter|
Output: 15 V DC, 3 A, 45 W
Input: 100~240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal
48 Wh 3-cell lithium-polymer battery
Up to 10 hours of battery life
|45W AC adapter, plug type: USB Type-C|
Output: 15 V DC, 3 A, 45 W
Input: 100-240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal
50 Wh 3-cell lithium-polymer battery pack
Up to 14 hours of battery life
Pricing and availability
Now, despite arguably bringing more to the table in terms of processing power and features, the ASUS Chromebook CX9, sold as model designation CX9400, costs less than the Chromebook Flip CX5. The foldable Chromebook Flip CX5 will be available under model designation CX5400 at an MSRP of $1049.99 directly from ASUS.
The ASUS Chromebook CX9, conversely, is available now and starts out at an MSRP of just $749.99. Making it undeniably one of the most high-value offerings at the time of this writing. Although, there is at least one model SKU — designated CX9400CEA-DS762TU — that won’t be available until Q4 2021.