Out of nowhere, ASUS has unveiled the Chromebook C425 and it packs in quite a few features that make for a great all-around Chromebook. At first glance, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for its more well-outfitted brother in the Flip C434. Don’t be confused, however, as the C425 is different in a handful of key areas that you as a potential buyer need to be fully aware of.
First up, the build quality is different. Things are generally in the same places and the chassis are very similar in overall size, but the C425 is mostly a plastic affair instead of the all-aluminum build of the C434. With an aluminum lid and quality plastics, however, the C425 still feels great and exhibits a pleasing build quality. So far, the word “budget” hasn’t entered my mind while using it. While I miss the ability to flip it around into the tent, presentation and tablet modes, I mainly use my Chromebooks in clamshell mode, so I’m not too upset about that.
The screen is the same resolution (1920×1080) and comes with the same ultra-thin bezels as the C434. That is a good thing. This allows ASUS to fit a 14-inch Chromebook into a 13-inch frame, making the overall package more portable and much more pleasing on the eyes overall. While the screen is attractive because of the tiny bezels, it is mostly a downgrade from the screen on the C434. Adding an anti-glare finish helps, but you can’t help but notice the much-dimmer display and less-even viewing angles on the C425. On top of looking worse in nearly every way, it also drops touch support.
In all fairness, this isn’t a bad screen. Viewing angles degrade a tad off-angle, but mainly just in brightness. There’s no color shifting, so I’d assume the brightness changes are due to the anti-glare nature of the display. Colors look good and I’ve not had much issue with the screen indoors so far. The lack of touch has been a real bummer so far, though, and I’ll have to see how that affects my daily usage as I prep for the full review.
The keyboard feels identical to the C434 in both materials and travel, which is to say it is great. The trackpad gets a generous boost in size and comes in as one of the largest we’ve seen on a Chromebook. The surface material is similar to the C434, so that means we’re dealing with plastic and what I would assume will be a mediocre overall experience. Again, time will tell.
Port selection is not surprisingly the same as the C434 with 2 USB Type C ports, a USB Type A port, microSD card slot, and a headphone/mic jack. The speakers sound similar to the C434 as well and that is a great thing: those speakers were great. Internally, we have an 8th-gen Core m3, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage.
Price, price, price
At this point for me, this device will come down to price. At $499 MSRP, I’m not sure ASUS has given users enough for their money. Even if we compare apples to apples, the 8GB version of the C434 is $599 and I’m not yet convinced that saving $100 is worth the loss of screen brightness, aluminum build materials, and a touch display. Sure you get an anti-glare screen and a larger trackpad, but at this point, I can’t see that being a good trade. Oh, and the C434 with 8GB is only $559 right now, so there’s that too.
I’m going to be spending a lot of time with this Chromebook over the next little bit, so we’ll have more conclusive opinions on this device soon. For now, I’m really holding on to hope that ASUS is pricing this thing to go on sale. At $349-$399, this all becomes a much different discussion. Tune in for more on the ASUS Chromebook C425 soon and subscribe to the newsletter below if you don’t want to miss our full review.