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Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip review: Gaming looks without the guts

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £699
inc VAT

The Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip is a solid mid-range Chromebook but it’s no gaming superstar


  • Flexible design
  • Decent all-round performance
  • Above-average battery life


  • Low colour depth
  • Dated spec
  • Lacks serious gaming features

Google’s timing might not be the greatest, pushing out a new wave of gaming Chromebooks just as Stadia is kicked into the long grass, but you can’t argue with the results. Google has delivered some of the most exciting Chromebooks in years, including the Acer Chromebook 516GE, and this new model, the Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip.

The Acer is currently not only the best gaming Chromebook you can buy, it’s one of the best Chromebooks around, full stop. The Asus Vibe CX55 promises more of the same, but this time, in a slick 2-in-1 convertible form factor. Is this an even better Chromebook for your money?

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip review: What you need to know

This is a premium gaming Chromebook with a 15.6in 1080p touchscreen, capable of running at a 144Hz refresh rate. Asus offers it in three configurations based around a range of 11th Gen Intel CPUs. The cheapest model has a Core i3-1115G4 inside, then you move up the price range to the Core i5-1135G7, and then the Core i7-1137G7 with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM. 

As with other Chromebooks, there’s no dedicated GPU but that’s because these new gaming models are more focused on game streaming than on running games natively. For storage, you’re looking at a NVME SSD with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB depending on the model you choose.

The Core i5 model I’ve tested here comes with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for just under £700.

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Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip review: Price and competition

The big competitor for the Vibe CX55 Flip is the Acer Chromebook 516GE, which comes in at £850 for its Core i5 version. That’s £150 more expensive, but the Acer has several advantages. Not only does it have a larger 16in screen with a higher 2,560 x 1,600 resolution, but it’s also equipped with the newer 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1240p CPU, although there’s only 8GB of RAM in the base model.

If you’re not fussed about gaming, there are some good alternatives to the Vibe CX55 Flip at similar or lower price points. Asus’ own Chromebook Flip CX5500 is currently priced identically but can often be found on sale for £500 to £600. There’s also a Core i5 version of the excellent Acer Chromebook Vero 514 that you can track down for under £700. It’s a superb business laptop, again, with a 12th Gen Intel CPU inside.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip review: Design

The Vibe CX55 doesn’t come packing the latest hardware, but there’s nothing dated about its physical design. It combines a near-black aluminium lid with a matching slimline plastic shell, and while a more luxurious model might have an all-aluminium build, this one still looks more expensive than it is. It’s also sturdy. Sure, some of the edges around the keyboard might have been more comfortable rounded off, but there’s little to complain about regarding the overall look and feel.

Thanks to its 360 degree hinge and 2-in-1 construction, you can use the Vibe CX55 Flip as a regular clamshell laptop, or fold the screen back against the keyboard to use it in a tablet mode. For gaming, I’m a big fan of the position in-between; with the keyboard propping up the screen in a tent configuration, it’s also perfect for playing with a controller. 

There isn’t a huge amount in the way of connectivity. All you get is a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port on each side with DisplayPort support and USB PD charging, plus a single USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 socket on the left hand side and an HDMI 2.0 output on the right. However, Asus has included Wi-Fi 6 for speedy streaming, along with Bluetooth 5 and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip review: Keyboard and trackpad

Where Acer went big on a proper gaming keyboard, with a nice crisp action and RGB backlighting, there’s a slight sense that Asus has cheated here, delivering what feels a lot like its other Chromebook keyboards, only with fluorescent orange surrounds and legends on the W, A, S, and D keys.

The keyboard has anti-ghosting technology built-in to make sure that inputs are processed exactly as intended, and the combination of a straightforward layout and a decent travel on each keypress means it’s fine for work as well as play. All the same, it’s all very competent rather than exciting.

I quite like the trackpad. It’s just under 13cm wide and 7cm deep, with a smooth surface your finger glides across. It’s great for navigating Chrome OS and browsing the web, even if you will need a mouse or a controller for gaming. I’ve found my old, now obsolete Stadia controllers work perfectly for this.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip review: Display and sound

If the screen on the Acer Chromebook 516GE was surprisingly great, the display on the Vibe CX55 flip is underwhelming. It has its strengths: it’s crisp and clear and the 15.6in size is still great for games and Netflix. However, at 1,920 x 1,080 the resolution is nothing special, while the brightness peaks at 296cd/㎡; better than average for a mid-range Chromebook, but nowhere near the Acer’s impressive 406cd/㎡.

More seriously, colour handling is barely mediocre. The screen can only reproduce 61% of the sRGB colour palette and a dismal 43% of DCI-P3, while colour accuracy is just OK, with an average Delta E of 4.81. The screen is nice and punchy with a contrast ratio of 1,848:1, but the Acer gives you richer image quality with a lot more impact. Let’s not be too critical. I still had a great time playing games in low or subdued lighting and streamed movies and TV shows don’t look bad at all. But where the Acer’s image quality was special for the money, the Acer’s is, again, merely competent.

I’m more impressed with the sound system, which produces audio that’s deeper and has more body than the Acer’s, with a nice, wide stereo spread that makes it feel a lot more immersive. It’s better on a hard surface, as this seems to crisp up the slightly muffled bass, but you can whack up the volume and have a good time playing games and watching movies whatever surface it’s sat on.

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Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip review: Performance and battery life

Where the Acer Chromebook 526GE hit us with a 12th Gen Core i5 CPU, the Vibe CX55 Flip sticks with the older 11th Gen line-up. You can see the difference in some of our benchmark test results, where the Acer scores 1454 (single-core) and 7556 (multi-core) in Geekbench 5 to the Asus’ 1015 and 5045, and 232 to 195 in WebXPRT4. In our multitasking test, the Acer scores 217 to the Asus’ 153.

However, the Asus actually comes up tops in some respects. Its BaseMark score, 1227, is actually higher than the Acer’s 1146, and it scored 195 in CRXpert 2 against 172 from the Acer. In day-to-day use while browsing and working, I’ve never once found it close to feeling slow.

Crucially, where both the Asus’ Core i5-1135G7 and the Acer’s Core i5-1240P have the same 80 Iris XE units running at 1.3GHz, the Asus was consistently faster in 3D benchmarks. With the onscreen benchmark, that’s attributable to the lower screen resolution but even offscreen (at 1080p) the Asus gave us 97fps and 95fps in the GFXbench Aztec and Car Chase benchmarks against 87fps and 83fps from the Acer.

This doesn’t really matter for game streaming, where all the hard work is being done at the server end. Here, the Asus did a fantastic job of streaming Cyberpunk 2077, Control, and Stadia from GeForce Now, or Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 from Xbox Games Pass. There’s always something impressive about running games at 1080p with RTX effects enabled on a laptop without a dedicated GPU.

However, having some gaming grunt does mean you can install the beta version of Steam for Chrome OS and play some older or less demanding games at smooth frame rates. Dishonored and lovable Diablo-clone, Grim Dawn, both played brilliantly on the Vibe CX55 Flip, although I suspect you’d be pushing it with anything more recent than 2016.

Playing games locally also whacks the battery life. I lost 42% in just under an hour of gaming. However, with streaming you get a whole lot more. Gaming this way kills the battery at a rate of 15% per hour at full brightness. Playing HD video at a reduced brightness of 170cd/㎡, I got 8hrs 56mins of playback before the battery conked out.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip review: Verdict

It’s hard not to feel slightly disappointed by the Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip. Where the Acer Chromebook 516GE felt like a best-of-breed gaming Chromebook that could also tackle anything else, its Asus rival feels like a decent mid-range Chromebook that’s been given a gaming facelift.

In fact, it’s not a huge step on from the older Chromebook Flip CX5500, which is now well over a year old. While its battery life, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and audio still put it ahead of many mid-range Chromebooks, you’re not getting the same overall levels of performance and screen quality that you get from the Acer machine.

That said, it is less expensive, and with a three-month trial of GeForce Now’s Ultimate tier included it’s still good value for game streaming and everyday use. But why settle for good when you could spend a little more for exceptional, or find something that’s just fine for less?

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