My First Week with the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA

Last Edited: September 2, 2018 | Published: March 25, 2018 by

My First Week with the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA

Pros

  • Intel Core M5 2.7Ghz processor is fast
  • Good build quality
  • Battery life
  • Backlit keyboard

Cons

  • Limited Functionality in Tablet Mode
  • Price
  • Limited Ports

Specs

  • 12.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Chrome OS
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 2.6 lbs

Summary

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4 12.5-inch is well built, and boast some impressive hardware for a Chromebook, but it is pricey and the limited amounts of ports may be a deal breaker for some.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DH54 12.5-inch
$649.00$610.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 21-09-2018 15:16 UTC) Details

For sometime now I’ve wanted a Chromebook. It’s not so much that I needed one, it’s that I’m a tech junkie and like having gadgets and gizmos to fool with. If I’m not tinkering, I’m not happy. Anyway, while I wanted a Chromebook, I could never decide which Chromebook to buy. For awhile I was aiming at a Pixelbook from Google, but the price of these high end Chromebooks was just more than I could swallow, but the low end Chromebooks just weren’t enough for my tastes. Finally, I settled on the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA.

There are many reasons why I chose this model for my first Chromebook out of all the best Chromebook options there, but I won’t go into great detail about it, as that’s not the purpose of this article. I want to spend more time talking about my experience with it, thus far. Suffice it to say, I chose the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA because it gave me all the features I wanted out of a Chromebook, along with decent hardware and tablet-like flexibility.

So what do I think about it after using the Chromebook for a week? The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA offers an impressive Chromebook experience packed with apps and features thanks to the inclusion of the Play Store. It’s battery life and use as a daily tool are perfect for my needs, but it does lack some classic ports that would certainly increase it’s usefulness to my needs.

How I Use the Chromebook

First, I thought it important to highlight exactly how I use this new Chromebook. After all, we already know that for light usage, it’s hard to beat a Chromebook. But what about other uses?

In many ways I was looking for a device that could be everything. I wanted something that could be my entertainment hub, was lightweight, but still had the ability to install some of the software I need to do my jobs. Surprisingly, I found that the Asus Chromebook Flip fit the bill. On top of that, because of it’s rotating hinges, I could easily switch it to a tablet. Which for me, is a huge bonus.

Now I know what some of you are thinking, why not just go with a Windows laptop for a device that can do everything. I understand your point. However, one thing I wanted to be able to do is run Android apps. Sure, there are a few emulators out there that give you this ability, but I’ve found these to be sluggish compared to a real Android experience. Maybe it was my hardware, I don’t know. But needless to say I wasn’t too impressed with the solutions.

The same could be said about my opinion of Chromebooks, until now. I’ve been watching Google’s progress with Chrome OS over the last year or so as they worked to bring Android apps to the platform. Today, I believe their plan is to replace Android in the tablet world with Chrome OS, and it makes perfect sense. The platform is lightweight, stable and you get not one, but two app stores to find the apps you want. But until now I didn’t think it was quite ready for real use. However, Google kicked it up a notch with the release of the Pixelbook, and this new found push has made its way to other Chromebooks such as the Asus.

But back to how I use the Chromebook. Primarily, I looked for this device to be used for most of my writing, something that Chromebook’s already excelled at. In fact, I wrote this article using my new Chromebook. And I have to say I quite enjoyed it. But beyond just my writing and entertainment, I needed a tool that would help me provide support to my clients. It was this area that I was worried about. I wasn’t sure if it would have all the tools that I needed to get my job done. Sure, there were options out there, but would I like them? Would they be fully featured or just shadows of their regular versions?

I’m happy to report that with apps like TeamViewer, full support for Cisco VPN’s and even Remote Desktop connections, I’m easily able to perform my day job, and it’s a real pleasure to use while doing it. Sure, there are a few differences, but they are superficial for the most part. It only took a day for me to get used to using my Chromebook for work, and I enjoyed every minute.

So what’s the bottom line? My new Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA has become a device I can use in all aspects of my work and it gives me all the tools I need for play as well, meaning in most cases this is the only laptop I need for everything I do.

Hardware

Chromebooks have earned a reputation for being low powered, Internet machines. That reputation has been earned, and a large majority of the Chromebooks out there even today are low powered machines designed for basic usage such as web surfing and maybe writing the occasional document and watching a little Netflix.

However, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA, is much more than that. Sure, it is powered by hardware that may be considered low end by Windows 10 PC standards, but because Chrome OS is so efficient, it feels like a machine that is much more powerful. Let me break it down piece by piece so you can understand a little more about what I mean.

The Display

I wanted to begin with the display, as I have to say it’s one of my favorite parts of the Asus Chromebook Flip. First, just let me say that the display is beautiful. The display is a 12.5-inch FHD 1920×1080 touchscreen powered by Intel HD 515 graphics. Now, some reviewers are calling this a middle of the road display, but on this laptop it looks amazing and I love just looking at the screen.

Type is crystal clear and movies look amazing. The display does appear to be a little dim on the middle of the road setting, but that was easily fixed by turning up the brightness.

I have to admit it took me a few days before I even tested the touchscreen. I just didn’t want to mess up the beautiful screen with my ugly fingerprints. I know, silly right? I finally did give it a try and the touchscreen is responsive and feels just like I’m using an Android tablet or smartphone. The display rests on hinges that can flipped to turn your device into a tablet or even set it up in tent mode for easy watching. All of these worked amazingly well and the responsive of the display to its orientation changes was perfect. All in all, the display is one of my favorite things about the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA, and it’s a true pleasure to use day in and day out.

Processor and Memory

The Asus Chromebook Flip comes in different flavors, but the one I chose came with an Intel M3 processor and 4GB of RAM. While that may seem rather low compared to some modern gaming powerhouses out there, it’s more than enough for Chrome OS. Chrome OS is one of the most efficient operating systems I have ever seen, and that means that you don’t need as much power to make it run amazingly well.

Thankfully, Asus has included enough power for it to not only run great, but it should work rather well for quite some time before the processor begins to show its age. A lot of this will depend on how quickly Google advances the development of Chrome OS, but I do believe I have a laptop here that will last me for a few years before I need to upgrade.

Battery Life

According to Asus, the battery will last a full 10 hours before needing a charge. Now, in my initial tests, this holds true. So that means you could make this device last a full work day before you need to recharge it, making it a great option for remote employees or even college students going to class. However, because I turned up the brightness of my display, my battery life has taken a bit of a hit, although I need more tests to see exactly how much of a hit it has taken. Thankfully, recharge times are pretty quick so it’s easy to get a little charge and then get back to work.

Storage

This is always a big complaint from many Chromebook owners, and I do understand their point, but Chromebooks are designed to be used in conjunction with cloud storage, and if you use it that way, you will never have to worry about space. But, Asus does try to help you out here, at least a little.

The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA comes with 64GB of storage, which is great if you plan on using both Chrome apps and Android apps, as they can take up a bit of space. So far, storage hasn’t become a problem for me, but I imagine one day it will be an issue. Luckily, I make use of multiple cloud storage options so I don’t expect to have too many problems with storage.

The drive itself is lightning fast, aiding in an even faster boot up time, and with 64GB, you will find you have more storage than you do on most Chromebooks, unless we are comparing this device to a Pixelbook. If you do need more storage, there is an SD card reader that you can use to supplement your local storage, but don’t be expecting to upgrade this device to a giant SSD or anything like that. It’s just not built for that.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The trackpad is nothing special, but definitely comfortable and functional. One thing I would have liked to see on the trackpad is the use of multi-touch gestures, especially with Android apps. The ability to pinch to zoom in and out would come in handy, but instead we are treated to basic trackpad functionality. Sure it works and it feels good, but on today’s modern laptops, it does feel somewhat lacking. However, this isn’t a deal breaker for me as I tend to stick with a mouse in laptop mode and then use the touchscreen for these types of apps.

The keyboard, on the other hand, is pretty darn impressive. The keyboard itself is full-sized, giving you plenty of room for typing. The keys have decent travel and their soft finish feel good to use. All in all, I’ve enjoyed typing this article using the keyboard. The keys are backlit, making it perfect for lower light conditions, and each press feels responsive. All in all, the keyboard is definitely one of the best aspects of this device, and I love using it.

Apps

This is the biggest one, and that’s why it deserves it’s very own section. After all, it’s your apps that really transform any device into a true workhorse or entertainment machine. I’m happy to report that the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA has exceled at both.
First, you have access to two app stores on a Chromebook – The Chrome Web Store and the Play Store. The Chrome Web Store has all the apps and extensions you need to extend the power of Chrome OS, while the Play Store, as you all know, contains all the wonderful Android apps that you can now install on your Chromebook. For this section, let me break down each section and give you my thoughts on each one.

Chrome Web Store

First, let’s talk about the Chrome Web Store. If you have been a Chrome user for any amount of time, you are probably familiar with this store. This store contains all sorts of apps and extensions for both Chrome, the web browser, and Chrome OS. While there are a few stellar options on this store and a wide range of games if you want a little entertainment on your Chromebook, I still find this store lacking compared to other app stores, even the Microsoft Store. Yeah, I said it.

Still, I have found a few good options, one of them being TeamViewer. This version of TeamViewer is just better than the Android version, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Google’s suite of apps also works really well, but there’s no surprise there. Despite a few decent choices on the store, I do believe that I wouldn’t find my Asus Chromebook Flip quite as useful if this is the only choice I had for apps. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. It’s been only a week and, who knows, maybe I will find something to make these apps more useful. If you have app suggestions, comment and let me know what you think I should try.

Play Store

The Play Store works almost exactly as it does on an Android tablet or smartphone. Almost every app is available to you, but you may run into one or two here and there that you won’t be able to install because they haven’t created a version compatible with the Intel chipset. However, this usually only applies to the small time apps. The major apps from most of the big time publishers are available to you and can be installed with just a couple of clicks.

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have found the Chromebook as useful without the Play Store, as most of the apps I use for much of my work are found there. Sure, there are a few exceptions, but for most of the heavy lifting of my work and play, the Play Store is where it’s at. Still, not every app runs and some apps are a little funky. For example, the Netflix app sometimes doesn’t give me controls to adjust what I’m watching, but for the most part everything I’ve tried works rather well. I’m actually typing this article on Microsoft mobile Word app. While it isn’t quite as feature-rich as the desktop version on Windows, it’s more than enough for my needs.

The fact is if you look at my Chromebook, it has more Android apps that it does Chrome, but that’s okay. After all, that’s what Google wants us to do. Still, they do have their quirks but you can expect that to improve with every Chrome OS release.

App Bottom Line

The bottom line is that without the Play Store, I don’t think I would ever find a Chromebook all that useful, beyond light basic usage. The Chrome Web Store may have a lot of choices, but most of them frankly aren’t worth your time. Be very choosy with these. If I were you, I would go with the Android versions wherever you can. In some cases, that’s your only choice. Still, I do find that with a few installs from the Chrome Web Store to supplement the Android apps from the Play Store, I have a machine that can pretty much anything I need it to do, with the exception of Photoshop, which I haven’t found a good alternative to yet. I’m still searching. If any of you have a suggestion for a Photoshop replacement for a Chromebook, I’m all ears.

A Few Negatives

I know I have spent the last several thousand words gushing about how much I love my Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA, and with good reason. It’s a great laptop packed with features and great hardware. However, nothing’s perfect. So I felt it important to highlight a few of the negatives. That way you know what you’re buying if you do decide to pick one up.
First, let’s mention the display. Sure, it’s beautiful, but I do find it a little on the dark side. The middle setting was too dark for my tastes. Sure, I brightened it up, but that is impacting the battery life, and I can tell.

Second, is the sound. Now I’m no audiophile, but I do want decent quality in my laptop speakers. The quality is decent enough, but nothing to write home about, but I find the speakers a little on the quiet side. While everything is clear and remained that way when I turned up the volume, I would have preferred a little more power.

Finally, let’s talk about ports. Yes, it comes with 2 USB-C connectors and an SD card reader, but that’s about it. That really limits what you can connect to the laptop. In fact, I had to go out and buy a new Bluetooth mouse just so I could have mouse control, because I’m not a big fan of trackpads and didn’t want to spend all my time touching the screen unless I was using a tablet app or in tablet mode.

Pros

  • Fast Intel Core M 2.2Ghz processor
  • Solid Build Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Backlit keyboard

Cons

  • Limited Functionality in Tablet Mode
  • Price
  • Limited Ports
  • Low amount of RAM

Specs

  • 12.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Chrome OS
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 2.6 lbs

Summary

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4 12.5-inch is solidly built, and includes high end specs for a Chromebook, but its price and port limitations may be a turn off for some.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4 12.5-inch
$499.00$474.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 21-09-2018 15:16 UTC) Details

Final Thoughts

Honestly, as much as I wanted a Chromebook and as much as I did my homework about the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA, I still wasn’t sure how well it perform as a laptop, a tablet, or anything in between. As it turns out, it’s been a great purchase, and though I’m only one week end, I can see this becoming one of the main machines I use day in and day out.

Because of the combination of the Chrome apps and Android apps, my choices are really almost endless. Sure, not every Android app works correctly, and some of the usual controls you may expect out of an app running on an operating system, everything works well enough to remain very functional. I have been able to setup everything, both for my life in technical support along with my life writing for all of you wonderful people.

Honestly, that surprised me the most. I figured I would be able to use this as an entertainment device and as a device I could use for my writings, but the fact that I am able to use it for everything, frankly impressed me. While it will never equal Windows for things like gaming, and even more advanced support that I have to provide, it’s already become one of my go-to tools for daily work. On top of that, it just feels good to use, and that is more than enough reason for me to really give this Chromebook a shot.
If you are considering buying a Chromebook, don’t just think you need this one. There are many great Chromebooks out there for a variety of budgets with many different features. Check out our Best Chromebooks Buying Guide to find one that’s right for you.

About the author

Matt Garrett

Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.


See all posts from Matt Garrett