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Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review: Too good to leave to the gamers

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 flip
Our Rating :
£599.99 from
Price when reviewed : £699

A superb gaming Chromebook in a slightly more portable and versatile form factor


  • Excellent keyboard and stylus
  • Strong all-round performance
  • Stylish design


  • Resolution could be sharper

It’s a little late to the party, but the Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is another Chromebook designed to work as an alternative to a Windows gaming laptop, providing the appropriate screen, speakers, connectivity and styling but relying on cloud streaming services such as GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming instead of onboard muscle.

The best of these Chromebooks, particularly the Acer Chromebook 516GE, have been great not just because of their gaming credentials, but because they’ve been brilliant Chromebooks regardless.

If the machines we’ve seen so far have had a downside, however, it’s that their big screens and heavier than usual weights have hampered their portability and all-round usability. They make great desktop replacements, but you probably wouldn’t want to carry one around all day long.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review: What you need to know

The Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 takes a slightly different tack, bringing the screen size down to a more manageable 14in and the weight to 1.8kg. It’s still neither thin nor light by Chromebook standards but it is a more versatile option, while still bringing you the benefits of good performance, a comfortable keyboard and a screen that shouldn’t cause you any eye strain.

Asus Vibe CX34 - keyboard pictured from above

It also delivers a 2-in-1 convertible design with a 360-degree hinge and a 14in, 1,920 x 1,200 touchscreen running at a 144Hz max refresh rate. And the core specification is stronger than your average Chromebook, with an Intel Core i5-1235U, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. You can also find it in a faster version with an Intel Core i7-1255U for roughly £899, while Asus makes a toned-down variant without the “Vibe” branding and with an Intel Core i3-1215U for around £599.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review: Price and competition

The obvious competitors are the Acer Chromebook 516GE, which you can now find for roughly £649 for the base Intel Core i5 model. Meanwhile, Lenovo’s IdeaPad 5i Gaming Chromebook starts at around £549 for the cheapest Intel Core i3 variant, rising to £699 for the Core i5 version. Beyond those, you might want to consider non-gaming Chromebooks, including the Acer Chromebook Spin 714, which also starts at £599 for the base Core i3 version, and has a similar 14in display. What’s more, the latest version comes with 13th gen Intel processors, when every other Chromebook manufacturer is still working with 12th generation CPUs.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review: Design

For the Vibe CX34 Flip, Asus has returned to the aluminium chassis and matte white finish of the old Chromebook Flip CX55. It looks fantastic and feels more luxurious than many more shiny aluminium units.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip showing YouTube onscreen

It’s a little heavy at 1.7kg, with a larger 319 x 235mm desktop footprint than you’ll find on some 14in models, but it’s tough, certified to meet MIL-STD-810H and it has a comfortable wedge-shaped profile. Like most Chromebooks it doesn’t take a whole lot of cooling, which keeps things almost eerily silent and your lap from getting overheated. And as with all of Asus’s Flip laptops, you can use it in standard clamshell, tablet, tent and stand modes, just by folding the screen back and around.

Where slimmer Chromebooks tend towards minimalist connectivity, the Asus crams in an impressive selection. There’s a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port on both sides, along with an HDMI 2.1 output and a microSD card slot on the left, plus a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port on the right. There’s also an audio socket for a headset, so you’re not left wanting for anything much. Better still, Asus has gone for Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, so you won’t find yourself held back from a high-speed connection if you’re working with the latest Wi-Fi kit.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review: Keyboard and trackpad

The bigger the screen and the Chromebook, the more likely a manufacturer is to waste the available space by cramming in a numeric keypad, but Asus hasn’t done this with the CX34 Flip. Instead, you get a nice, spacious keyboard with large, flat-topped Scrabble-style keys, sizeable Shift, Ctrl and Return keys and a bit of space around the cursor keys. It’s RGB backlit, too, while the WASD keys have been coloured a bright orange to help them stand out.

The action might be a little shallow for some people but I found the travel, the firm base and the springy feedback made for speedy, comfortable typing. Asus also wins some extra points with a wider than usual 130 x 66mm touchpad that’s smooth, glossy and perfectly responsive. And if that’s not enough, you even get a stylus, stored in a slot on the left-hand side, which works with the touchscreen to provide handwriting and note-taking support.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review: Display and sound

On paper, the Vibe CX34’s screen doesn’t sound that impressive. It has a Full HD+ 1,920 x 1,200 resolution rather than the crisper QHD, basically to fill out the 16:10 aspect ratio. However, it seems weirdly bigger than it actually is, and while playing games, browsing and working, I found the clarity and contrast superb.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip from topIt helps that it’s bright, reaching a maximum 425cd/m2 in tests, with a low black level of 0.3cd/m2 ensuring an impressive contrast ratio of 1,315:1.  What’s more, the colour performance is fantastic, with 95% sRGB coverage, 72% DCI-P3 coverage and excellent colour accuracy. Playing games and watching streaming video, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t looking at a higher-resolution screen.

How about the sound? Well, it’s good, if not quite great. There’s more bass and warmth than you’ll get from your average budget Chromebook, along with plenty of clarity and detail. For casual gaming and Netflix streaming at low to medium volume levels, it’s perfectly usable. However, at higher volume levels it sounds a little constrained and you’ll still want a headset for a proper gaming session.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review: Verdict

Just when I thought the Acer Chromebook 516GE was an unbeatable gaming Chromebook, the Vibe CX34 flip comes along and gives it serious competition. The screen is fantastic, the size isn’t an issue, it’s speedy enough for any realistic Chromebook task and the keyboard and touchpad haven’t put me off during several days of work.

While I’d still be tempted towards the Acer 516GE for its bigger, higher-resolution screen, the Asus is going to be a more manageable and practical device for many people. More mobile Chromebook users might want a slightly thinner, lighter option, and the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 has this covered, along with a little more performance. Yet this Asus is one of the best 14in Chromebooks out there, whether you’re buying for work, study or play.

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