ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 review: Premium productivity for less

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434
(Image: © Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Chromebooks still have a reputation for being low-spec, low-priced machines with little-to-no upkeep, but where Chrome really shines is when you put in something that has real get-up-and-go. Chrome OS runs great on mediocre hardware, so when you introduce a great processor and plenty of RAM, you get a lightning-fast, no-strings-attached computer that can do everything — and do it in style.

I have used Chromebooks as my everyday computer for over 18 months, and after two weeks with the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434, I can confidently say it's the best blend of power and portability I've ever seen in a Chromebook. If you can't justify $900 for a Pixelbook — and really, who can in 2019? — but have wanted to invest in a Chromebook that is ready to help you tackle the digital world, the ASUS C434 is for you.

The Good

  • Backlit keyboard
  • Slim bezels
  • Large, smooth trackpad
  • Great for split-screen
  • Good battery

The Bad

  • Downward-facing speakers are tinny
  • Laptop sits awkwardly at times

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 Price & release date

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 has been out since March 2019, and while the price normally bounces between $500-$600 depending on supply — like most Chromebooks it sold out off and off between March and July amid the flood of user looking for a good work from home laptop — I'm expecting the C434 to see a good discount on Prime Day 2020 and Black Friday 2020 because it was the top Chromebook deal of Prime Day 2019 and again on Cyber Monday 2019.

The C434 has a successor, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436, but for most folks, the C434 is still the better value unless you absolutely need an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor. The new model is beautiful and more premium, but it also ditches the USB-A port and the reasonable price range, so for those of us who just want a quality 14-inch Chromebook with a good screen and decent durability, the C434 is just the more practical choice.

Flip the script

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 What shines brightest

Great day or night

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)
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CategoryASUS Chromebook Flip C434
Display14 inches1920 x 1080LED-backlit NanoEdge16:9
ProcessorIntel Core m3Intel Core i5
GraphicsIntegrated Intel UHD Graphics 615
Memory4GB / 8GB 1867MHz LPDDR3
Storage64GB / 128GB eMMC
Expandable StoragemicroSD card
ConnectivityWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)Bluetooth 4.0
KeyboardFull-size backlit
Ports2x USB-C USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 11x USB-A USB 3.1 Gen 11x Audio combo jack
BatteryLi-Ion 48Wh (10 hours)45W USB-C AC adapter
Dimensions321 x 202 x 15.7 mm(12.64" x 7.95" x 0.62")
Weight3.19 lbs (1.45kg)
ColorsSpangle Silver

ASUS has been in the Chromebook game for years, with its Chromebook Flip series being one of the most popular on the market. There's a good reason for this: the Flip series may have a wide range of price points, but they all offer excellent value and the convenient adaptability of a solid 2-in-1 form factor. The C434 is clearly on the premium end of the scale, priced between $530 for the 4GB / 64GB model and $600 for the 8GB / 64GB version.

Even though 4GB has been more than enough for my 20-tab sessions, the option for 8GB of RAM is welcome. I wish 128GB models were more widely available, but 64GB is more than enough to get by — especially with a microSD slot handy for expanding your storage when you need to load up on movies and music for a cross-country road trip or international fight.

The 14-inch screen here is 1080p and beautifully bright, even in the Florida sunshine, and it'll go from early afternoon long into the evenings when I get on a tear. In two weeks, the only time I've ever come close to the low battery warning was the day I forgot to charge it the night before. ASUS advertises 10 hours of battery life and I usually found myself averaging 8-11 hours on a single charge, which is wonderful for a laptop this size.

Speaking of size, this is essentially a 14-inch laptop hiding in a 13-inch shell. The bezels on the top and sides of the screen are slim and the 16:9 aspect ratio helps it squeeze into a smaller footprint better than the more popular 4:3 ratio premium Chromebooks like the Pixelbook and HP Chromebook X2 have used of late. Throw in a sleek aluminum body and you get a 14-inch laptop that's only slightly longer than my 11.6-inch C330 daily driver and shines brightly thanks to its "Spangle Silver" finish.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 What lurks in the shadows

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

For an all-metal Chromebook, the C434 feels a bit more delicate than the plastic Chromebooks I've used before, especially with the way that its hinge folds back. I'm used to 2-in-1 hinges that fold out, then around, but the hinge on the C434 insists upon bending around before bending back. This is why there are those two silicone dots on the back-bottom edge of the screen: because the laptop will be resting upon them most of the time.

This isn't too much of a problem when you're using the laptop on a solid, flat surface like a desk or dining room table, but on uneven or perforated surfaces — like a patio table, park bench, or your lap, this could lead to your laptop teetering a bit more than other 2-in-1s. Those dots aren't very big, get dirty quickly, and they feel extra awkward when you consider it means that the laptop balances on those two tiny dots instead of two wider silicone feet on the bottom of the laptop.

For a 14-inch 16:9 Chromebook perfect for binging YouTube or Hulu in bed, the speakers are a bit of a letdown. They get tinny quickly and face downward, getting muffled or blocked easily when using the laptop on the couch or bed, and anytime I wanted to watch more than the random YouTube review, I found myself reaching for headphones.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 Should you buy?

Sleek, sexy, Chromebook

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

This is a Chromebook that can do it all in style and do it for far less than premium powerhouses like the Pixelbook and Lenovo Yoga C630. The 14-inch 16:9 screen is the perfect size for multi-tasking on the go, and while 3 lbs is a teeny bit heavy for an everyday carry, it's a nice portable size and the battery life is superb.

4 out of 5

It's hard to understate how wonderful using a Chromebook with a backlit keyboard is, and while aluminum is prone to scratches, the C434 is still the Chromebook I want with me through long days and longer nights cranking out articles and feeding my fanfiction addiction. For $530, no other Chromebook is nearly as perfect than the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

This shiny premium Chromebook is great for college students and salarymen alike, allowing you to split screen research and reports — or split-screen Twitch and Twitter, anyway. The backlit keyboard is a gem here, though the speakers under it will have you reaching for headphones.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.