The Asus Chromebook Flip 2-in-1 is a unique computer because it’s a laptop, and can also be used as a tablet, so it offers the best of both worlds. But talk is cheap. Here is the nitty-gritty on the Asus Flip.
Under The Hood
The Asus Flip offers some impressive specs for the price. The basic model gives you 2GB of DDR3 RAM, or you can upgrade to get 4GB of RAM for only $30 more. You also get 16GB SSD storage. While this might not sound like much, keep in mind that it’s a Chromebook. Most of your stuff like documents, music, movies, books and other necessities will live in the cloud – powered by Google Drive. However, if you’re really worried about not having enough memory, you can expand the internal storage with an SSD card, up to 64GB (according to Asus). A lithium-ion battery that will give you a respectable 9-10 hours of usage on this machine, which is par for the course for Chromebooks.
It should be noted that the Asus Flip is not an Android device. It runs on Google’s own Chrome OS. This is important because if you’re expecting to download all of your favorite Android apps from the Google Play store, you’ll be sorely disappointed. However, you can download many apps from Google’s Chrome app store.
The Asus Flip is a surprisingly well-built computer for its price range. It feels solid, as it should since it’s made of all metal. The silver color is sleek and modern.
One should note, however, that this is a small Chromebook. The screen measures in at just 10.1 inches. You can find a lot of tablets on the screens the same size. And this Chromebook has an equally small keyboard. The 10-inch keyboard is not full-sized, so typing for long periods of time might start to strain the hands and wrist after a while. But the keys are spaced far enough apart that typing is still a breeze.
The hinge is what separates this Chromebook from all the others. You can turn it from a laptop into a tablet simply by flipping the keyboard back. Or you can prop up the screen tent-style, which is great for watching movies or other media. When using it in tablet mode, the keyboard is disabled, allowing you to use the touchscreen. The chassis that flips the keyboard and screen around is solid and feels well built. However, when using the Chromebook in laptop mode, the screen has a tendency to shake, especially when trying to use it in a car or other places you might encounter some bumps. But if you’re typing out your term paper in a coffee shop or your dorm room, this isn’t a problem.
The Asus Flip also sports a number of side ports that extend the functionality. It has a standard USB port for transferring files between the computer’s hard drive and external devices like a thumb drive or external storage drive. You can also use the HDMI port to connect to a larger display, like a TV, to play movies or even show presentations. To see this in action, check out Endgadget’s video.
Using The Touch Screen In Tablet Mode
Because this is not an Android device, some have reported that using the touchscreen while in tablet mode is a bit awkward. This operates the Chrome OS, so you’re not going to have the wide selection of apps that you’d find on the Google Play store. So most of you’re using will be in the Chrome browser settings. You do have the Chrome app store to download various apps, many of which can work offline. But that does not necessarily mean it’s going to feel like an Android device.
That said, the Asus Flip doesn’t skimp on touch screen features. For example, it has multi-touch, allowing you to pinch your fingers on the screen to zoom in or out on maps, photos and the like. The multi-touch is responsive, without any noticeable lag.
Chromebooks are meant to be used online, utilizing cloud storage for a majority of what you do. With only 16GB of SSD storage, you don’t have a lot of hard drive space for media, documents, photos, and music. And if you’re looking to use traditional laptop computer programs, like Photoshop, Microsoft Office, and others, the Chromebook is not for you.
Like all Chromebooks, the Asus Flip can be used offline in a somewhat limited capacity. You can enable offline mode in Google Docs, allowing you to view and edit your documents. Google Calendar can also be used offline, but it’s view only. You cannot add or edit events to the Calendar in offline mode. If you know you’re going to be without Internet access, you’ll need to manually enable offline mode on whatever applications you plan to use. This means thinking ahead.
Overall, the Asus Flip is a quality Chromebook/tablet hybrid at a budget price. The internal specs combined with a solid build makes this an enticing option. College students will find the flexibility especially useful, as well as being easy on a college student’s budget. For basic tasks like writing papers, listening to music and watching movies, the Chromebook does a great job.