I have by no means been a fan of shopping for dear laptops, even when I may just in reality find the money for them. Identical to with smartphones, there is a positive level the place the added options can not justify the $1,000+ costs, except you might be doing heavy productiveness or gaming. My first pc used to be the ASUS Eee PC 1001PXD netbook, which I used to be lovely pleased with on the time (now the 1024×600 display screen sounds atrocious), however the casing sooner or later began to crack aside. I later switched to the unique Dell Chromebook 13, however the obstacles of the browser-only atmosphere have been an excessive amount of to undergo, so I purchased a Floor Professional 2.
The Floor Professional ended up having a beautiful horrible battery lifestyles, so I purchased a Dell Latitude 3340, which used to be high-quality – till I set to work for Android Police. The 1366×768 show did not give me a lot actual property for writing and researching posts, and the cumbersome design did not lend a hand portability. So as soon as once more, I used to be left with a call – do I spend an outrageous amount of cash for a top class pc, or roll the cube with some other mid-range or used pc?
After the addition of Android app give a boost to, Chrome OS as soon as once more appeared like a viable possibility for me. In the end, I settled at the ASUS Chromebook Turn C302CA (nice identify, I do know). Even after nearly a yr of continuing use, it is nonetheless keeping up really well, and I believe it is the most productive worth Chromebook you’ll be able to purchase.
Nearly each and every Chromebook (Pixelbook excluded) falls into one in all two classes – affordable machines that glance affordable (just like the ASUS C101PA), and mid-range laptops that really feel like top class ultrabooks. There are just a handful of fashions that fall into the latter class – together with the Samsung Chromebook Plus/Professional, the ASUS C302, and Acer Chromebook 15.
At the out of doors, the C302 seems like nearly each and every different ultrabook available on the market. It has a unibody aluminum design, with a 360-degree hinge that permits the display screen to be flipped round. At the again, there is a delicate ASUS emblem on the middle and Chrome branding on the best left.
The left aspect of the pc has a USB three.zero Sort-C port, charging indicator, quantity rocker, continual button, headphone/microphone combo jack, and one speaker. The opposite aspect has a microSD card slot, some other Sort-C port, and some other speaker. Like many different fresh Chromebooks, the C302 makes use of Sort-C for charging, so that you do not have to care for a proprietary continual cable.
I am nonetheless now not keen on any pc ditching common USB ports, however how a lot of an inconvenience that is is dependent totally to your workflow. I nearly by no means use flash drives within the first position, and my MX Grasp mouse connects over Bluetooth. When I purchased this HDMI adapter (for connecting the C302 to my projector) and a couple of Sort-C-to-A dongles, I used to be set.
The C302 is a convertible pc, that means you’ll be able to turn the show round to make use of it as a pill. In pill mode, the keyboard and display screen are held in combination the use of magnets. The massive bezels surrounding the display screen make keeping the C302 on this means very relaxed.
Whilst the C302 does really feel extra top class than the associated fee tag suggests, there are a couple of indicators that you are not the use of a $1,000+ pc. The lid flexes just a little while you press down on it, and the touchpad is just a little wonky (extra on that within the subsequent phase). However general, the C302 is constructed smartly and appears nice.
Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard at the C302 used to be the deciding issue once I selected which Chromebook to get. I went to my native Amazon showroom Best possible Purchase to take a look at the Samsung Chromebook Plus/Professional (they’ve an similar design), and even if I appreciated the taller display screen and stylus give a boost to, the keyboard used to be possibly the worst a part of the device. The backspace key used to be absurdly tiny, and the keyboard used to be now not backlit.
I attempted out the Samsung Chromebook Plus in particular person and WHY IS THE BACKSPACE KEY SO TINY pic.twitter.com/hiilsRHeDd
— Corbin Davenport (@corbindavenport) May 20, 2017
My task comes to rather a large number of typing, so the Chromebook Plus/Professional used to be a non-starter for me. Thankfully, the C302’s keyboard is excellent. Typing feels nice, the structure is relaxed, and the keys are clicky and responsive. Not like the Samsung Chromebook Plus/Professional, the entire keyboard is backlit.
Like as regards to each and every Chromebook, the highest row incorporates keys for media and browser navigation, as a substitute of conventional serve as buttons. There is a continual key at the best proper, which sounds terrible in the beginning, however Chrome OS calls for that you simply grasp it down for a number of seconds prior to the pc shuts down. There is no likelihood of unintentionally turning off the C302.
General, I will be able to’t call to mind a unmarried drawback I’ve with the C302’s keyboard, excluding that it does not have the Pixelbook’s Assistant key. On that word, the Pixelbook continues to be the one Chromebook with Assistant.
The touchpad is just a little of a distinct tale. It is not in particular massive, at 4 inches throughout (four.Five” at the diagonal), however it is nonetheless completely usable. My primary criticism is that it simply feels affordable. For causes unknown to me, clicking at the facets or best will infrequently sound like I am breaking the entire mechanism.
Possibly it is simply my unit, however irrespective of that drawback, the C302’s touchpad is not the rest in particular particular. However, that is to be anticipated from the rest that’s not a MacBook.
The C302 has a 12.Five-inch 1080p IPS display screen, which is a large improve from the 1366×768 Latitude pc I used to be the use of prior to now. Even supposing 1440p and 4K laptops are changing into common, I believe the C302’s display screen is solely high-quality. Via default, Chrome OS will scale the interface to 1536×864, offering a excellent steadiness between clarity and display screen actual property.
Now and again, I’m going to set Chrome OS to 100% scaling when I am operating on some initiatives, however for essentially the most section I depart it at the default. The bezels across the display screen reason the pc to seem just a little dated in comparison to the Dell XPS 13 or Huawei MateBook X Professional, however the C302 is part the associated fee of the ones laptops. The bezels additionally make the C302 more uncomplicated to carry in pill mode.
My solely actual criticism with the show is the facet ratio. Maximum laptops in recent times have used a 16:nine facet ratio, which is superb for media playback, however now not the most productive for productiveness. The Pixelbook, Samsung Chromebook Plus/Professional, and different laptops use three:2 displays. I might like to have a taller display screen for operating.
On a last word, the C302’s display screen brightness will have to be simply high-quality for most of the people. You most likely will not be able to learn a lot in direct daylight, however I have by no means had an issue getting paintings completed within or within the color.
I’ve the m3 C302, with an Intel Core m3 6Y30 processor and 4GB of RAM. That CPU used to be launched in 2015 and is according to Intel’s Skylake structure, so it isn’t state-of-the-art tech by way of any stretch of the creativeness. For context, this is identical chip utilized by the low-end Floor Professional four, Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, and the early 2016 12″ Apple MacBook.
The principle good thing about this processor is that it does not require any more or less energetic cooling, so the C302 has no lovers in any respect. The pc is totally silent, however similar to with smartphone and pill processors, it is going to thermal throttle (develop into slower) below heavy load to steer clear of overheating. This is not truly a subject matter although, except you are taking part in three-D video games for a longer time period.
So how does it carry out in actual lifestyles? I don’t have any proceedings. It boots up in about 5 seconds, multi-tasking works high-quality, and animations are easy. At maximum, I normally solely have about 20 tabs open (plus an Android app or two), so the 4GB RAM hasn’t ever been a subject matter for me. Chrome OS is most often extra light-weight than Home windows or macOS, so the decrease quantity of RAM is going farther on Chromebooks.
Speedometer check at the Chromebook Turn C302
In case you are all for benchmarks, my C302 scored 52.7 at the Speedometer check. This is the way it stacks up towards different widespread Chromebooks:
- ASUS Chromebook Turn C100: 22.6
- ASUS Chromebook Turn C101: 34.57
- ASUS Chromebook Turn C302: 52.7
- Samsung Chromebook Plus: 36.nine
- Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2014): 25.Five
On Geekbench four, the C302 gained a rating of two,707 for single-core efficiency and 5041 for multi-core. On 3DMark’s Sling Shot check, the rating used to be four,520.
ASUS has additionally launched different variations of the C302 that use a Pentium, Core m5, or Core m7 processor. Individually, the pricing for those different fashions does not make any sense. Best possible Purchase is the one store in the USA promoting the Pentium C302, however it is only $16 less expensive than the extra robust m3 fashion from Amazon. The C302 with a Core m5 prices over $100 greater than m3 fashion, however nonetheless has 4GB of RAM. In spite of everything, you’ve the m7 fashion with 16GB of RAM for a whopping $900. For that worth, you might want to simply get a Pixelbook (which has a contemporary Core i5 processor, and is healthier in nearly each and every regard).
The battery lifetime of the C302 may be lovely nice. No longer solely is the Core m3 chip very power-efficient, however Chrome OS has a knack for lasting longer than related Home windows laptops. In my revel in, the C302 normally tops out at 6-7 hours of utilization. Once more, this may range a great deal relying to your workflow.
The facet of the C302 that stunned me essentially the most wasn’t the efficiency, construct high quality, instrument, and even battery lifestyles – it used to be the charging pace. Each and every pc I have ever owned all the time took hours to completely fee, and the C302 blows they all out of the water. The incorporated charger has a most pace of 20V/2.25A, which tops off the pc’s battery at blisteringly-fast speeds. Because of the C302’s continual potency, even the charger from my 2016 Pixel can best up the Chromebook at a tight price.
Simply 30 mins of charging can normally get me two hours of labor time, one thing that no different pc I have owned may just pull off. The C302 is not essentially by myself on this regard; David stated the Pixelbook used to be “almost certainly the fastest-charging pc I have ever used, by way of a protracted shot.”
There may be truly just one facet of the C302’s battery lifestyles that I am not pleased with – standby. If I depart it by myself for greater than an afternoon or two, it is going to be useless (or just about useless). This is not a large drawback in any respect, so long as you keep in mind to close down when stowing the C302 away, however it is nonetheless one thing to remember.
Chrome OS is a fascinating running machine. It began off as not anything greater than a full-screen Chrome window, and whilst it is nonetheless focused round internet surfing, the continual UI enhancements and addition of Android app give a boost to have made it lovely nice. Internet apps nonetheless give you the easiest imaginable revel in, however all of the Play Retailer is at your disposal if one thing cannot be completed within the browser.
Up to it has grown, I believe maximum Chromebook homeowners will nonetheless agree that Chrome OS is set compromise. There are not any video editors or (excellent) Photoshop choices. As a internet developer, I am nonetheless frustrated that there’s no method of putting in Visible Studio Code or Git on a Chromebook, in need of enabling Developer Mode and working Linux. You additionally would possibly not in finding any desktop video games to be had for Chromebooks, and only a few Android titles give a boost to keyboard enter.
That being stated, the vast majority of duties I take advantage of a pc for can also be completed on a Chromebook. I will be able to write Android Police posts in Chrome, message other folks thru Hangouts (together with SMS, since I am on Challenge Fi), watch films, chat on Slack and Discord, edit footage with Lightroom, test social media, and arrange far off computer systems/servers thru Microsoft Far off Desktop and JuiceSSH.
For me, Chrome OS is horny most commonly as a result of it is the least horrible desktop running machine I have attempted. Home windows is a large number of legacy bulk, deficient design, and mistaken priorities (no person cares about Paint three-D, Microsoft). macOS seems to be nice and is constructed on a forged Unix core, however the is pricey and you are driven into the Apple ecosystem. Linux is customizable and works on the entirety, however nonetheless lacks lots of the programs I would like on my desktop – to not point out my favourite video games.
Chrome OS, individually, is an almost-perfect secondary OS. After I simply need to watch YouTube in mattress or write posts from the park, I do not want fifty techniques working within the background. All I would like is a internet browser, some Android apps, and kick-ass battery lifestyles. Chrome OS delivers on all 3. After I wish to edit a picture in Photoshop, paintings on a site, or play a couple of Overwatch suits, my Home windows desktop is able and ready.
There are indisputably a couple of closing quirks with Android apps on Chrome OS. Gaining access to exterior garage (together with the pc’s microSD slot) does not all the time paintings, and you’ll be able to nonetheless run into older apps that can not be resized with out the re-launching. However the capability hole is changing into smaller and smaller. For instance, Chrome OS not too long ago added give a boost to for Android VPN apps. In different phrases, while you get started an Android app that creates a VPN connection, each Android apps and Chrome will use that connection.
Chrome OS continues to be impulsively making improvements to, particularly on the subject of contact display screen usability. I am particularly excited for the impending Linux container and stepped forward PWA give a boost to.
Are Chromebooks for everybody? Completely now not, however they do not have to be. The ASUS Chromebook Turn C302 is a smart pc for those who can do with out legacy desktop programs, or somebody in search of a secondary pc. It does not have all of the bells and whistles of dearer laptops, however it is rapid and has nice battery lifestyles. It is usually constructed to remaining – I will have to know, I have had it for a yr.
Whilst the Pixelbook continues to be certainly the most productive Chromebook cash should purchase, the C302 is possibly the most productive worth Chromebook. Greater than that, it could be one of the crucial easiest worth laptops length.
If you wish to purchase a Chromebook Turn C302, you’ll be able to achieve this from the hyperlinks beneath. As said above (within the Efficiency phase), I solely counsel the Core m3 fashion and now not the Pentium, m5, or m7 variations.
ASUS Chromebook Turn C302CA