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Asus Chromebook Flip C434TA review: A flipping good 2-in-1

Expert Reviews Staff
3 Dec 2020
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
599
inc VAT

Want maximum screen-to-body ratio? Then this “14in Chromebook in a 13in chassis” is for you

Pros 
Slim ergonomic design
Crisp 1080p Full HD resolution
Cons 
Poor sound quality at high volumes
Low-power processor
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Asus is the force behind some of the most popular recent Chromebooks, including the dinky, tablet-sized C101 convertibles and the 12.5in C302CA two-in-one. The Chromebook Flip C434TA is the successor to that last model, promising you a compact 14in Chromebook in the body of a 13in device.

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Asus Chromebook Flip C434 review: Features

Open it up and you’ll see how the trick is done: using a narrow bezel screen that keeps the display-to-body ratio at an impressive 87%. You can still flip that screen around and use it in a tablet mode, or in the usual tent or stand configurations instead. At 15.6mm thick, it’s noticeably slimmer than its convertible competitors – with the exception of the Google Pixelbook – and while that 1.45kg weight means it’s not ideal for holding as a tablet, it’s fine for casual surfing or streaming video when you’re on the sofa.

The all-metal body is free of worryingly flexible elements or rough edges, and the C434TA really does feel built to last. Our only concern was that the hinge on our test model was a little loose, struggling to hold the screen up at some angles. This may be because it’s a review sample and is, therefore, subject to an unusual amount of abuse, but take note.

The Flip’s slim lines don’t leave much space for connectivity, but the Asus does the basics, with two USB-C ports, a microSD card slot and a USB-A port on the left-hand side. Next door, you will find the audio socket and a physical on switch and volume control – handy for using the Flip C434TA in tablet mode.

The screen is very much the focal point, and it doesn’t disappoint. The 1080p Full HD resolution is perfectly crisp on a screen this size, while a 281cd/m2 brightness is strong enough to cut through reflections on the gloss-finish screen. We wouldn’t recommend it in sunny conditions, though. Colour performance isn’t quite up there with the strongest contenders, but with 86% sRGB coverage and an average Delta E of 1.94, it’s certainly not bad. It’s great for Netflix, everyday image editing and productivity applications, and you could argue that 14in is a real sweet spot, giving you plenty of screen space for multiple windows without affecting your mobility too much.

The keyboard is just as good. The action will be a little light for some tastes, and there’s not an awful lot of travel, but get used to it and you’ll soon nudge close to normal typing speeds. It’s also backlit, which isn’t a given at this price. The touchpad, meanwhile, is big, smooth and accurate in use.

Only the sound leaves us disappointed – or perhaps “baffled” is a better way to put it. On the one hand, it’s spacious and there is some welly, as if the speakers are firing out to either side. On the other, it can also sound boxy, growing more congested and muddled as you whack the volume skywards. You get some warmth and detail, but at high levels it’s an unholy racket.

Asus Chromebook Flip C434 review: Performance

The Flip C434TA uses Intel’s Core m3-8100Y low-power processor, with two cores running four threads at up to 3.4GHz with boost. With 4GB of RAM fitted, the Asus produced middling benchmark scores, below the Acer Chromebook 13 and Dell Inspiron Chromebook with their Core i3 processors, and even further below the Lenovo Chromebook Yoga C630. Does this matter? Maybe not. Even with multiple Chrome OS tabs open, the C434TA doesn’t feel laggy; that said, if you want serious horsepower then the Lenovo is your best option.

However, Asus’ decision to opt for a low-power processor hasn’t borne fruit in terms of battery life. The C434TA came towards the bottom of our test table, with only the big-screen Chromebooks and Acer Chromebook 13 bringing up the rear.

Asus Chromebook Flip C434 review: Verdict

Still, 7hrs 33mins isn’t to be sniffed at, and the Flip C434TA does well in every other way. It’s a cracking premium convertible Chromebook, even if the Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 takes top spot in this Labs.

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