Asus Chromebook C201

Score

Sections

Pros

  • Decent performance
  • Affordable
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Disapointing display
  • Chrome OS' app offering is limiting

Key Features

  • Review Price: £200.00
  • Chrome OS software
  • 13-hour projected battery life
  • Quad-core CPU

What is the Asus Chromebook C201?

The Chromebook C201 is the latest laptop from the Taiwanese tech giant Asus to run Google’s cloud-focused Chrome OS.

It

doesn’t aim to rework the Chromebook wheel and, like the stellar

Toshiba Chromebook 2, targets the affordable end of the laptop market .

While

not terribly original, the Asus Chromebook C201 is a compelling value

for money laptop – if it’s used in areas with solid internet

connections.

Related: Best laptops 2015

Asus Chromebook C201

Asus Chromebook C201 – Design

Outside of

Google’s Pixel Chromebook, Chrome OS powered laptops traditionally

feature fairly unassuming, plasticy designs and low-end internals.

The

Chromebook C201 is no different and features a dark blue plastic case

which, outside of its Chrome and Asus branding, doesn’t feature any

notable design features.

While the design does teater on dull, it ticks all the important boxes when it comes to connectivity and portability.

Measuring

in at 287 x 194 x 17.9 mm and weighing 0.98 kg, the Chromebook C201 is

perfectly satchel sized and light enough to carry around without

breaking your back.

It’s also pretty well built. Carrying it

around between meetings, the Chromebook managed

to survive more than a couple of hairy situations.

These

included an accidental drop onto a hardwood floor from a coffee table,

as well as an encounter with the a tube barrier while I was sprinting to

get the last train. In both situations the Chromebook survived mark and

chip free.

Asus’ latest Chrome OS laptop is also reasonably well

connected by Chromebook standards. The Chromebook C201 features a

microSD, micro HDMI, audio jack and two USB 2.0 ports.

Related: 8 Best Laptops for Students in 2015
Asus Chromebook C201
Putting

aside my grievances about there not being a single newer and faster USB

3.0, my only real bugbear with its design is the Chromebook C201’s use

of a proprietary charging port.

The 2013 HP Chromebook 11’s use

of a standard microSD charging cable was a serious selling point that

made it quick and easy to top up the laptops charge. I’m sad more

Chromebook makers haven’t followed suit, though with USB-C being

the new vogue item, I can understand why Asus hasn’t used the older

connector.

For those looking to video call or conference using

the Chromebook C201, Asus has loaded it with an HD front facing web

camera, which proved more than competent for chats on Skype and Hangouts

during my tests.

The keyboard and touchpad proved equally

competent, despite feeling slightly cheap. The plastic keyboard keys

have a reactive and snappy feel and are pleasant to type on. The

touchpad is also suitably reactive and picks up taps, pokes and two

finger gestures hassle-free.

Asus Chromebook C201 – Display

Screen tech is always one of the first areas sacrificed when companies create affordable devices.

This

remains true on the Chromebook C201, which features a 11.6-inch 1366 x

786 HD screen. While it matches the cheaper HD 13.3-inch Toshiba Chromebook 2’s

resolution, using the Asus laptop, I noticed a few issues with the

screen.

For starters, colours on the display are very cool, to

the point they look slightly dull and washed out. Reds are particularly

washed out and lack any real dynamism. Adding to the screen’s issues,

whites have a bit of a murky hue, which hints to me the screen hasn’t

been calibrated very well.
Asus Chromebook C201
I’m also a little disappointed Asus isn’t offering a Full HD option, like Toshiba does with the Chromebook 2.

That

said, the Asus Chromebook C201’s screen is usable. While it’s not the

sharpest, text and icons are legible and I never found myself straining

to read web pages, or documents. Brightness levels, while far from

dazzling are also adequate.

Viewing angles aren’t great, but

being fair to Asus, the screen is on a par with most £200 laptops’ –

it’s just not as good as its main competitor, the Toshiba Chromebook

2.