More than ever, the Chromebook market is overflowing with options – from convertibles to tablets to gaming Chromebooks, it can be tough to sort out one Chromebook from the next. And for devices like the Asus Chromebook CM34 Flip, I’d say the ability to stand out in the crowd is even more difficult. It’s a convertible that does most things quite well and gets those thing right without breaking the bank. As a $500+ Chromebook, it would struggle to get your attention. But at a reduced price of $300 multiple times since its launch, this device is wildly great, and should be on your short list for certain. Let’s talk about why.
Design and Build Quality
The CM34 Flip is largely what we saw in the far-more expensive Vibe CX34 Flip from earlier in the year. The chassis is mostly the same shape, but the color is clearly very different – going the route of the navy paint job manufacturers seem so excited about these days. While I like the white of the CX34 a bit more simply because it makes a bit of a statement, this navy color looks great and is pretty good at keeping all but the greasiest of fingerprints away.
Though it’s very sturdy and rigid, it comes off a bit like a tank, weighing in at just over 4 pounds. That makes it heavier than the 16-inch Acer Chromebook 516 GE, so if you’re looking for a thin and light laptop, this one might not be the best fit. Overall, it’s perfectly portable, but at 2.07cm (0.8 inches) thick, this one’s not wining any awards for its daintiness. But again, the overall feel is substantial, the hinge is strong, and it simply feels well put together.
A solid screen
One spot ASUS dialed things back a bit is on the screen. That’s not to say it’s bad, but it’s also not a standout, either. It is what I’d ask for in a Chromebook in this price range – meaning it doesn’t detract from the experience one bit. At 14-inches, the 16:10 aspect ratio and 1920×1200 resolution are a fantastic pair. Add 300 nits of brightness and you have a screen that does what you need and little else. With solid colors, wide viewing angles, and enough brightness for most environments, there are no complaints, here.
Below that screen is a very capable, very comfy keyboard and trackpad that have been surprisingly good to use. I’d like a bit more click feedback on the keyboard, but I’ve been highly accurate on it for the past few weeks. As always, the backlighting is a nice touch and the sturdy chassis gives you a solid foundation for the keyframe to shine.
Similarly, the mylar trackpad is wide, smooth and perfectly seated. The click is responsive and I’ve had no issues whatsoever pulling off all my normal multitasking gestures, points, clicks, and scrolls. Once again, nothing to really complain about.
Webcam and Connectivity
Above the screen sits the 1080p webcam with a privacy shutter and it is – like most webcams – just fine. The extra resolution versus the more-standard 720p is nice, for sure, but don’t assume this will get you much better overall quality than the competition. The color temperature is nice and warm, however, and low light performance has been decent as well. For meetings online, it gets the job done for sure.
And that brings me to the speakers, which are shockingly good, here. They aren’t upward-facing or highly touted, but they deliver. ASUS has been putting nice speakers in their Chromebooks for years, and the CM34 Flip is no exception. Sound is loud, clear and quite full, too. For meetings or YouTube content, these speakers are easy on the ears.
Finally, rounding out the outer portions, the CM34 Flip delivers a fantastic array of ports to keep you connected in every way you need. There’s beloved full-sized HDMI port, dual USB Type-C ports, a single USB Type A port, headphone/microphone jack, microSD card slot, and a Kensington lock. It’s the type of port selection that usually means you can go dongle-free, though I’d love to have seen just one more USB Type-A port, here.
ASUS Chromebook CM34 Flip Key Specs and Features
- AMD Ryzen 3 7320C
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB PCIe SSD storage
- 14-inch 16:10 300 nit 1920×1200 touchscreen
- 2x USB Type-C (3.2)
- 1x USB Type-A (3.2)
- Full-size HDMI
- Headphone/microphone jack
- MicroSD card slot
- Kensington Lock
- 1080p webcam w/privacy shade
- 31.96cm x 23.53cm x 2.07cm (12.58″ x 9.26″ x 0.81″)
- 4.07 lbs
- 63 Wh battery
- Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.3
- AUE: June 2033
The CM34 Flip is one of the first Chromebooks to use AMD’s new Chromebook-specific Ryzen 3 7320C CPU. On paper, it’s not the strongest CPU out there by a wide margin, but I’ve been shocked by how well this Chromebook gets around. I’m certain the 8GB of RAM helps, but this Ryzen 3 has really impressed me, and even with benchmarks, it does far better than expected. I’m getting Speedometer 2.1 scores of 170 on and off the charger, so that puts it right between a 10th and 11th-gen Intel Core i3.
What this means in real life is you can throw most of what you want at this Chromebook and it will handle it very well. As I’m typing this, I have a mix of over a dozen Chrome tabs, a project in Corel Vector, Spotify, WhatsApp, Discord, Google Analytics, and Google Keep all open between 5 virtual desks across two displays. And I’m not running into performance issues at all – even with my second, QHD screen pushing 120Hz. Simply put: don’t worry with performance, here.
Lastly, we have to talk about battery life. Even with the screen cranked up at or near its max, I was seeing a whopping 10-11 hours of actual use. I’m not talking about a benchmark test or single-task activities, here, either: that’s 10-11 hours of use with all my stuff running and me actually using the device for everything I do on a daily basis. While we expect this sort of battery life from an ARM processor, x86 chips tend to fall a bit short. But not this one: it’s a solid, all-day Chromebook for sure.
Priced at $499, the Asus Chromebook CM34 Flip is a fantastic value. Yeah, it’s a bit thick and heavy for a 14-inch convertible, but those are small nags that won’t bother most people. And when you put together all this device offers and the starting price, it’s easy to see its appeal. But multiple times since it launched, it’s been dropped to a ridiculuous $299 – enough times to make it feel kinda normalized. And when it’s on that sort of sale, this Chromebook becomes an absolutely exceptional piece of hardware that – for the money – you’d be hard pressed to find a rival for.