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Small wonder, little competition: Asus Chromebook Flip

World's first 10-inch touchscreen convertible Googletop

A matter of convenience

The Flip’s battery life is very impressive, the best of any Chromebook I’ve tested. Loop a 720p MP4 file and the 31Whr battery will keep the lights on for 12 hours. In mixed use I was only charging the Flip every three or four days. The Flip doesn’t just have more endurance than any other Chromebook I’ve used, it has more than pretty much any other laptop I’ve used.

Asus Chromebook Flip

Tent mode. Because it looks like a tent

Being a Chromebook the Flip is all about the cloud, so you only get 16GB of storage, or just under 10GB after system requirements. Having a microSD card slot means that adding extra storage isn’t a problem, though.

How well does Chrome OS work on a touch screen? So so. The layout is the same as on a regular laptop so there's no real touch optimisation to speak of. At least the screen resolution doesn't make everything too small to tap and the panel is very responsive to the touch.

Asus Chromebook Flip

The panel selector makes the selection of web apps easy using the touchscreen

To my way of thinking, touchscreen convertible Chrome devices like the N20p and Flip are really more about the convenience of holding them as tablets rather than using them as tablets. As a touchscreen UI, Chrome can't hold a candle to Android. Or Windows 10. That being the case, and the Flip only having a 10.1-inch display, why not just buy a 10.1-inch Android tablet and a Bluetooth keyboard? Why indeed.

The last, and biggest, issue I have with the Flip is price. In the USA the Flip is a $249 (£160) machine (for the 2GB RAM version, $279 for the 4GB) but in the UK you’ll need to part with £249. Granted, that price includes VAT, but I still can’t get over the feeling that in Blighty the Flip should really carry a sticker price under £200 because that sort of money will also buy you a HP Stream laptop with a 13.3-inch touchscreen and Windows 10.

Asus Chromebook Flip

The keyboard and trackpad are small but perfectly formed

The £230 HP Stream x360, the most obvious competition for the Chromebook Flip, seems to have been discontinued in the UK. Do I detect a trend? Maybe small convertibles just don’t sell no matter what the operating system. But you can still find it in the retail channel and it has an 11.6-inch screen and, again, it runs full-fat Windows.

The Reg Verdict

I’m in two minds about the Flip. I like the size, the build, the style, the battery life. The keyboard, speakers and display are all rather good too. But for the money you can get Android tablets with the same size but higher resolution screens and bigger, more powerful Windows 10 machines.

Yes, the Chromebook boots faster and is more secure but the HP Stream-series laptops are far more versatile. As it stands, the Chromebook Flip is a nice bit of kit that either needs a bigger screen or a lower sticker price to be wholeheartedly recommended. ®

Asus Chromebook Flip

Small wonder, little competition: Asus Chromebook Flip

Small and light convertible 10.1-inch Chromebook with a Rockchip CPU, epic battery life and lovely metal bodywork. Bit on the pricey side in the UK though.
Price: £249 RRP

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