ASUS has done a complete 180 with its latest Chrome OS offerings. In recent years, the company’s flagship Chromebooks have been disappointing, to say the least. Between the sub-par build quality and egregious price tag, the Chromebook Flip C436 has never, not once, graced a list of recommendations in this office. This year, however, ASUS has produced what could very well be the best Chromebooks of 2021. Of course, I am talking about the ultra-premium ASUS Chromebook CX9 and its versatile counterpart the Chromebook Flip CX5400.
Honestly, ASUS could have phoned in the rest of the season and just put in some work on its next generation of Chrome OS devices. However, the company just quietly dropped another 11th Gen Tiger Lake device that looks a lot like the aforementioned Flip CX5400 but with some notable differences. It appears that ASUS may be pulling a page out of its old playbook by reiterating on a flagship device in order to offer many of the key features while lowering the “premium” bar just a hair. Before I explain, here’s a quick teaser for the all-new ASUS Chromebook Flip CX3 that just popped up on the company’s website and was discovered by our friend George E.
My first takeaway from the video is that this model is a little chunkier than the CX5400. Upon further investigation, that is the case. the CX5400 is 1.57 cm thick while the new CX3400 comes in at 1.99 cm. It may not sound like much but it’s enough to give the laptop a noticeably thicker profile. Apart from that, this Chromebook looks strikingly similar to the CX5400 but there are some significant differences between the two. First and foremost, this Chromebook has a markedly lesser display. The ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5400 rocks a 300 nit panel with 100% sRGB and an 85% screen-to-body ratio. The newer model adds a little to the bezel which brings it down to an 80% ratio but that’s still a respectable screen. More importantly, the panel only puts out 250 nits which is borderline meh depending on how decent the hardware is. It’s probably okay but I hate seeing sub-300 nit displays on premium devices.
Next, we have the chassis. This Chromebook is being touted as “rugged” with that familiar US MIL-STD 810H military-grade standard which means that it has passed at least some of the rigidity tests. That’s likely the reason for the thicker chassis. With zero mention of aluminum in the listing or the video, I’m betting that this Chromebook is mostly, if not all plastic. This gives me the feeling that this model could be similar to past devices like the C433 that “dumbed down” some of the specs from ASUS’ flagship in an attempt to offer a more affordable price while still offering many of the latest features. That said, there isn’t an official price listed for the CX3400 at this time but an overseas listing has the Core i3, 8GB/128GB version listed for €669.99 which equates to roughly $780 US. Hopefully, that won’t be the case when this Chromebook actually hits the market. At that price, I can’t see recommending this model over the CX5400. Still, it’s awesome to see ASUS continue to push out Chromebooks that lean toward the premium end of the spectrum.
ASUS Chromebook Flip CX3
- Chrome OS
- up to Intel Core i7-1160G7
- Intel® Iris Xe Graphics
- up to 16G LPDDR4X RAM
- up to 512GB M.2 NVMe™ PCIe® 3.0 SSD
- 14.0-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) touch display LED Backlit, 250nits, NTSC: 45%
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C support display / power delivery
- 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
- Micro SD card reader
- Garaged USI stylus
- Backlit Chiclet Keyboard
- 720p HD camera with privacy shutter
- 5MP world-facing camera
- Wi-Fi 6/BT 5.2
- US MIL-STD 810H military-grade standard
- AI Blue
- Android and Linux app ready
- AUE June 2029*
Like the CX5400, the CX3400 will come with options up to a fanless Core i7 and 16GB of RAM. Unlike the CX5400, this model will offer a 4GB version if that’s something that you’re interested in. For months, Robby has been tracking a device codenamed ‘Collis‘ and we were certain that it was being produced by ASUS. However, we couldn’t figure out why the company would create another device when the CX5400 was already on the market. This answers that question and I have no doubt that this is ‘Collis’ and our hunt is over. Stay tuned for more on this device as we get some more details from ASUS. You can see the full product page here.