Most of the time, our work revolves around the web, we do emails using Gmail, write documents using Google Docs, access our files on Google Drive, watch videos on YouTube, or put it simply, our web browser has become the main operating system for our daily computing tasks, hence the existence of Chromebooks, a category of laptops that uses Google’s Chrome OS, or rather, the Google Chrome browser that aims to do almost everything that a typical computer does.
I have been using the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 for a while now and it is the best Chromebook that you can already find it in Malaysian tech stores, not only it looks a hell lot better than Windows laptops of the same price range, but should you spend over RM2000 on a computer that can’t run your beloved Windows apps?
Before we answer that question, let me just tell you this once again, the Chromebook Flip C434 is such a beautiful object that you will simply forget that it doesn’t run Windows. The build quality is solid with an all aluminium chassis, the screen bezels are sleek for a 14-inch display, the keyboard is super silent and comfortable for typing and is way more solid than a MacBook Pro keyboard, and there’s a good amount of ports for a Chromebook – Two USB-C ports with USB Power Delivery charging, a full-size USB 3.1 port, and a MicroSD card reader.
The display that ASUS employs isn’t a cheap one either, it is a Full HD LED panel that covers 100% of the sRGB color space, the touch response is also really precise and the hinges are strong enough to sustain flips over the years of ownership – Yes, this is a 2-in-1 form factor that lets you treat it as a tablet and laptop, but unfortunately it doesn’t support any stylus input like the Surface Pen and ASUS didn’t make one for it. Also, you’ll be glad to know that the hinges also tilts the laptop a little to make typing a pleasure.
The Chromebook Flip C434 uses a Core m3-8100Y SoC that is paired with 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which on paper might not sound powerful if you have such hardware running Windows but more than sufficient for a Chromebook, I could open a dozen of Chrome tabs without encountering slow downs or require to reload pages as I’d usually face on a Windows machine with 4GB of RAM, it also streams 4K videos on YouTube like a champ and better than a 2019 MacBook Air that’s equipped with a more powerful CPU.
Apart from work, the Chromebook Flip C434 is a great entertainment machine, the loudspeakers maybe firing sound downwards but it is way better than many sub RM3000 laptops, its doesn’t have a bassy output that you’d expect from a Macbook speaker but it is clean and loud to not require an external speaker, I especially enjoy playing my Spotify jazz playlist on the laptop’s speakers.
One of the beautiful things about Chrome OS is the ability to run Android apps, you can download apps through the Google Play Store just like you do on your Android phone and run them, but unfortunately this is where problems tend to happen, as Android apps run on emulation rather than leveraging on the laptop’s raw power, you can encounter freezes and crashes without warning, playing Android games that require more graphics power will result in dropped frames or unplayable frame rates. This leads to the next problem – the Chrome Web Store, though you can find most of the essential apps here, most of them are extensions and do not work offline if you aren’t connected to the Internet.
Otherwise, the Chromebook Flip C434 is a beautiful web browsing and productivity machine, ASUS claims that it can last 10 hours on a single charge and I find that to be close enough based on my usage, there isn’t a measurement tool that I can use to testify, but I only usually need to charge the laptop every two days with an average 3.5 hours of combined usage per day, it also doesn’t discharge much when it goes on standby.
At RM2399, the Chromebook C434 Flip is an expensive device by Chromebook standards and a difficult choice to recommend, considering that you can easily get a Windows laptop with better specs on paper that isn’t limited by software. However, what will make you want to own the Chromebook C434 Flip is the good build quality and web browsing battery life within that price range, which makes it a compelling choice if your work is mostly on the web.
- Solid build quality and beautiful craftsmanship
- Colorful display and great brightness
- All-day battery life
- USB 3.1 ports
- Silent and comfortable keyboard
- Loudspeakers are better than most Windows laptops
- Handles a dozen Chrome tabs like a champ
The Not so Good
- No HDMI port