ASUS Chromebook Flip C536 review
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The ASUS Chromebook Flip C536 review
Chromebooks largely come in three sizes: 11.6-inch budget-oriented models, 13-inch productivity-oriented models laptops, and 14-inch business-designed workhorses. While 15- and 17-inch Chromebooks have been around for a while, they usually weren’t worth your time or money. Only one recent 15-inch comes to mind: the Lenovo C340-15, which was average in both performance and looks.
ASUS has delivered some of the most notable Chromebooks in recent years, between the still two-year-old ASUS Flip C434 and the stunning (at a staggering price) ASUS Flip C436. This year, Asus has turned its attention to 15.6-inch Chromebooks, with predictable results. Here’s how ASUS channeled years of premium power into the ASUS Chromebook Flip C536, a balanced laptop that has joined our best collection of Chromebooks.
The Asus Chromebook Flip C536 is beautiful white laptop with a black interior, a contrast that creates a bold look that you don’t normally get at this price. The laptop’s lines are simple and sleek and it has very typical angles, but the color scheme makes all the difference and there’s just enough chrome to add accents without being flashy.
Asus has applied some special coatings to the machine, using an electro-deposition process on the lid and bottom that creates a ceramic-like look and feel, and an in-roller process for the keyboard deck that produces a wonderfully soft and warm surface for you. palms. It is a bit like the Dell XPS 13 in this regard, which uses a carbon fiber material to achieve the same effect. The Asus Chromebook Flip C536 is not the most striking laptop, but you will feel like you are carrying a much more expensive product.
The build quality is not that great, which is not typical for Asus. The company usually produces solid laptops like a rock, and it subjects them all to military-standard tests for ruggedness, but the Chromebook Flip C536 falls a bit short. The problem is mainly in the lid, which bends too much and causes some distortion on the screen. There is a little bit of keyboard flexion and the lower chassis has only a little bit to give.
Overall, it’s not bad for the price, but the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a Chromebook in the same price range that’s sturdier. The Asus Chromebook Flip C436 that preceded this model was also more robust (and somewhat more expensive), making this version a small step back. I note that the hinge on the Chromebook Flip C436 made it possible to open the lid with one hand, while the Chromebook Flip C536 version is a lot stiffer and requires two hands. However, it moves smoothly through clamshell, tent, media and tablet modes, and it includes the Asus ErgoLift feature that supports props. up the back for a better typing angle and improved airflow.
The Asus Chromebook Flip C536 has thin bezels along the sides, but the top bezel is thicker and the bottom chin is massive. That makes for a chassis that’s not as small as many other 14-inch laptops, including the Chromebook Flip C436 which is a lot smaller. When I first took the Chromebook Flip C536 out of the box, I thought it was a 15-inch device. It is 0.72 inches thick and weighs 4.17 pounds, compared to the C436 which is 0.54 inches thick and weighs 2.42 pounds.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 713, with its 13.5-inch 3:2 display, is even smaller. Part of the reason the C536 is heavier than the C436 is that it’s made from aluminum alloy instead of the lighter magnesium alloy in the previous model. It also has a 57-watt-hour battery versus the 42-watt-hour battery in the older model. Honestly, it’s a little surprising that the Chromebook Flip C536 has gained so much weight and size from generation to generation.
Asus has built solid connectivity into the Chromebook Flip C536. There’s a USB-C 3.2 port, a USB-A 3.2 port and a 3.5mm audio jack on the left, and another USB-C and USB-A port on the right, matching a micro SD card reader. That is an improvement over the previous model. Wireless connectivity is Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
My test unit was equipped with a Core i3-1115G4 (a Core i5-1135G7 is available), which should provide sufficient performance for Chrome OS. We can’t run our full battery of benchmarks on Chromebooks, but in the Android Geekbench 5 app, the Chromebook Spin C536 only got 1,209 single-core and 2,849 multi-core. That’s not particularly strong, even for Chromebooks that typically don’t do well here. However, it is a lot faster than the Asus Chromebook Flip 436 with its Core i3-10110U scoring a paltry 938 and 1,653 respectively.
Even with that mediocre result from Geekbench 5, I found the Chromebook Flip C536 to be fast enough. I’ve run several Android apps and kept countless Chrome tabs open and never noticed a slowdown. The 8GB of RAM probably helped keep things moving, and the PCIe SSD probably helped too. You can configure the Chromebook Flip C536 with: up up to 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, but our test setup will probably suffice for most Chrome OS users.
Gaming was fine on the laptop. The Core i3-1115G4 is limited to Intel UHD graphics and not the newer Intel Iris Xe, but it still plays Android games like Asphalt 9 without stuttering or dropping frames. It’s a big laptop to use in tablet mode, the most comfortable way to play android games, but it performed well enough.
The Chromebook Flip C536 uses a 14-inch Full HD IPS display in the increasingly outdated 16:9 aspect ratio. Asus does not provide specifications for the screen and I cannot use my colorimeter with Chrome OS laptops. That limits the objective data I can provide.
Subjectively, however, I found the screen bright enough for typical indoor lighting conditions. The contrast seemed good, but not great, with a hint of gray that kept black text from really appearing on a white background. The colors were bright and natural, showing photos and videos with apparent accuracy, as I compared them side by side with others. laptops. Compared to some other Chromebooks, I’d rate the Chromebook Flip C536 as good but not great, with the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 and the Google Pixelbook Go offering more vibrant and enjoyable screens.
Still, I enjoyed using the Asus screen during my review. It won’t please creative types who crave wide and accurate colors, but for productivity, web browsing and Netflix watching with the screen in media mode, it’s a screen that beats its price.
The sound was not that good. The volume was adequate for system sounds and watching YouTube videos, clearing mids and highs. Bass was lacking, as usual, and there was a bit of distortion at max volume. You want to pull out some headphones to listen to music and binge Netflix.
One of the things companies sometimes skimp on when making a cheap one? laptop is the keyboard. I’ve torpedoed some great budget machines with a bad one, and suffice it to say Asus avoided that pitfall here. The keyboard on the Chromebook Flip C536 has good spacing, comfortable keycaps and a clear mechanism that offers plenty of movement and a clickable bottom action.
I found the keyboard accurate, comfortable and quiet during my testing, and there’s even a small number pad if you’re entering a lot of data. You’ll find the usual wide range of Chrome OS keyboard backlighting, and it’s effective and consistent. I liked this keyboard better than any I’ve used on a Chromebook lately, including the Chromebook Flip C436 and the Chromebook Spin 713, and just as much as most Windows 10 laptops.
The touchpad has a wide format, which is a shame because Asus could have fit a larger square touchpad, given all the available space on the palm rest. It’s a decent size but it could have been bigger. Happy makes it up for it with responsiveness and perfect control over the full suite of Chrome OS multitouch gestures. The display is touch sensitive, of course there is an optional active pen that you can buy for inking. It supports 4,096 pressure sensitivity levels and should provide a great experience for handwriting and drawing on the screen.
Asus has in no way built to log in without a password, which is not expected at this price. It would have been nice to have a fingerprint reader though.
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