Yesterday, a highly-anticipated package arrived in the office and inside it was the new ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5. Announced back at CES 2021, the CX5 comes bearing the powerful new 11th-gen Intel Core i3 processor and, frankly, we couldn’t wait to crack it open and run some tests to see how big of a performance gain we’d see versus the 10th-gen chips we have around the office.
To say it was an absolute domination is an understatement. Tiger Lake processors are the real deal and this dual core i3 absolutely demolished the quad-core 10th-gen i7 I had on my desk in the HP Elite C1030. None of the benchmarks we ran even came close and this thing is on the low end of what these Tiger Lake devices will deliver. But the fun didn’t stop there.
The outside of this Chromebook looks as good as advertised and feels great, too. The bottom half is plastic, but it is coated/treated in the same way as the aluminum lid and the whole package feels sturdy and looks amazing. There are fan ports around back and on the bottom, but as I’ve always said, I’d rather have those fans and not worry about overheating than see any company try to nix fans in a chassis that can’t handle it.
Crack open the lid and you get to the 1080p 16:9 15.6-inch screen that is better than I expected. We knew going in this would be a 250-nit panel, but the colors are good, viewing angles are strong, and the screen only feels dim when sat next to the window here in the office. And this feels like it will be the only real weak point of this Chromebook.
The backlit keyboard feels fantastic and the trackpad is wide, glass, clicky and responsive. Note that I did crack open my device and adjust the click on this trackpad a bit, but I’m hoping that won’t be the case for most users across the board. I’m just really picky on how the trackpad click feels and I don’t mind doing the work to get it just right. On a $1000 device I feel this should never be necessary, but on a Add in a USB Type A port, 2 USB Type C ports, a full-size HDMI slot, microSD card slot and a headphone/mic jack and you get a great I/O selection as well.
Finally, we tested out the speakers on this thing and I was very pleasantly surprised. They are loud, full and something I would actually listen to. They won’t replace your Bluetooth speaker or Nest Audio, but these speakers will make a great pair for video calls and catching a few YouTube videos for sure. When it comes to Chromebooks, apart from the Pixelbook Go and Pixel Slate, speakers are basically garbage across the board. When a device like this shows up, it is worth noting that laptop makers are fully capable of putting decent speakers inside these devices.
All in all, I’m very impressed by what I’m seeing so far. The build quality is great (this black-on-white motif is stunning), the input methods are solid, the screen is good, and the performance is by far the fastest we’ve ever seen. What’s not to like? I’ll be putting this one through the paces over the next couple weeks for a full review, but if you’ve already read/seen enough, you can snag your own over at Best Buy right now for only $569. All of this Chromebook for that price? Yeah, it’s absolutely a no-brainer.