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The Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA is a peculiar device. On the outside, it’s nothing short of premium and similar to the best chromebook; it’s got an all-aluminum chassis that’s incredibly thin and incredibly light, all with an attractive MacBook-esque design. Internally, however, it’s incredibly low end; the Rockchip RK3399 is sluggish even for chromebook standards, and its screen is a genuine letdown. Its extreme portability and good build quality make it a decent contender as the best chromebook for writers on a tight budget, though its small size harms its appeal.
The Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA is a solid budget offering with phenomenal build quality for the price, an incredibly thin design, and a very light weight thanks to its small chassis. Its performance and its display leave a lot to be desired, but its build quality almost makes those easy to overlook.
The Asus Flip C101PA’s display is above average in some ways and disappointing in others. On one hand, it’s sufficiently bright, and its small size makes it suitable for running Android apps in tablet mode. On the other, it’s disappointingly low resolution, coming in at just 1280×800, and it covers a meager 73% of the sRGB spectrum, leading to non-vibrant colors. If display quality matters, consider the Acer Chromebook 514 or the higher end Asus Chromebook Flip C302 instead; the latter is more expensive and the former is less compact, but both are overall better devices in most ways.
Battery life is impressive considering the device’s tiny 10.1” screen size; it can pull up to 9 hours on a single charge, putting it on par with high end chromebooks like the Google Pixelbook i7. It’ll last an entire workday with ease, and its portability makes it perfect for any use case that involves any kind of moving around. As you can see from our Asus Chromebook C523Na Review, the battery life is pretty good for a smaller device.
Coming in at just 2 lbs., the Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA is incredibly lightweight. This chromebook is comparable to the Asus Chromebook Flip C213Sa in terms of weight.It’s about twice the weight of a similarly-sized Android tablet, but it of course has an attached keyboard and slightly more functional software with regards to productivity. Its weight is especially impressive considering its aluminum chassis, as aluminum tends to lead to denser chassis than plastic.
Its all aluminum build is plenty durable, though its thinness is a bit of a concern; it’s somewhat at risk of bending inside of a bag if it’s not properly secured. Either way, its build quality is nearly unheard of at its price point; you typically don’t see full aluminum builds below the $350 mark, let alone extremely lightweight ones with thinness that would make a MacBook jealous.
Port selection is decent considering its thinness. You’re looking at two USB C ports, one USB A port (locked to 2.0 speeds), a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack. Both USB Type C ports allow for charging, and they support dongles that give the machine display out. Keyboard quality is not very good, with cramped, mushy keys; the laptop is a hair too small to be comfortably used in laptop mode, at least by adults.
The Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA is a strange device that suffers from a big identity crisis. Its build quality is on par with much pricier machines, but its internals are very low end. It’s a bit too small to be comfortably used as a laptop, but it’s a bit too low resolution and its bezels are a bit too big to be used as a tablet. It has support for the Google Play Store which helps improve its versatility, but its performance heavily pales in comparison to laptops employing Intel Pentium chips or even very low end Intel Core SKUs like the Core m3 8100Y. If you need the smallest, lightest thing around, it’s a very good buy; its build quality is excellent, it’s super lightweight, and its performance is fine enough for web browsing. If you need something larger however, or hardware matters at all, you’re better off stepping up to the Acer Chromebook 514, especially if keyboard or display quality is also important.