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Asus C213N Chromebook - a new touch/flip device.

Yesterday I received a new touch/flip Chromebook, the Asus C213N. This is a device that I first saw at BETT 2017 and its just getting to the point of release. The example I have is a pre-release sample and there is still a little work to do ChromeOS wise - but it's looking good.



Specifications

Intel N3350 dual core processor. A fair step up from the N3060/50 found on cheaper Chromebooks.
4Gb DDR3
32Gb SSD - some space for those Android apps.
Matt 11" touchscreen
Full 360 degree rotation
Two cameras - one one above the screen (the normal position) and one at the top of the keyboard to use in tablet mode.

2 USB C ports - for all those fun USB C devices and charging.
2 USB2 ports


SD card slot (micro)
Headphone jack
Power and volume control
1.25kg - about the same as an Acer R11

Aesthetics

Its black (with a little grey) and plastic. However, it does have rubberised edges to absorb those student induced impacts. The screen hinge is very similar to the one seen in Acer R11 and seems sturdy enough. The smooth black plastic does show fingerprints very easily.

The screen is a matt unit and has good brightness. It does feel a bit weird as a touchscreen as its perceptibly rough to the touch. However, it is very responsive and works well - but does not match the IPS unit found in the Acer R11. Being matt, it does not show fingerprints - at all as far as I can see. Unlike the Acer R11, the screen is not flush with the bezel (this makes replacing it much easier), which makes clicking with your finger in the corners a bit tricky.

I do like the keyboard. The travel on the keys seems longer than other Chromebooks I've used and there is rather more feel to it. The trackpad is fine - and has a very noticeable click to it.

Construction

The device is intended for the education market and as such it been designed to be taken apart. Now, I've not dared to disassemble a sample device, but it looks like it comes apart quite easily and things like the screen should be easy to replace (unlike some Acer touchscreen devices). It also comes with a 3 year warranty, which should help. Another thing to note, is that the battery is replaceable without opening the device - a feature it shares with the Viglen 360.

Performance

This is the first Chromebook I've tested with an N3350 chip. This runs at 1.1Ghz and turbos to 2.2Ghz. This gives it an Octane score of around 11000 - quite a bit better than many Chromebooks at the moment. The device seems quick and fluid in use - my R11 N3050 only scores 7000 and feels noticeably slower in comparison. To put it into some context, its faster than the Samsung Plus or the Acer R13.

PlayStore Apps - Android

Interestingly when I got the devices, it was on v57 beta. Android apps worked straight away. However, the Asus quickly updated to a new version of ChromeOS and the Android apps and Play Store vanished. Neither the stable or beta currently has them. Clearly they are not far away though.

The thing that lets it down for me is the price. We are looking at closer to £300 rather than £200 in the UK. For our 1:1 programme - thats too much probably. I'd love to deploy this device - but the R11 and Viglen 360, while slower are way more competitive on price and both have better screens.


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