A question we frequently field here at Chrome Unboxed goes something like this: “What’s the best Chromebook for less than $XXX?” Sometimes that number is $200, and sometimes that number is $500. Other times, I’ve answered that same question and the number was $1000.
At $500-$1000, the selection obviously becomes much more broad but also much more difficult. Once you start trying to decide between the Pixelbook or one of the great new devices that dropped near the end of 2018, it becomes a bit less simple to pin down the “right” device.
The same could be said for the sub-$300 category. We really try to keep an eye out for great deals and love the fact that there are decent Chromebook for less than $300 out there, but we also want to warn appropriately against users spending a few hundred dollars on devices that are simply not good.
When ASUS launched the C423 and C223, the prices were insanely attractive and to this day, they still are. For less than $200, you can snag the C223 brand new, but you need to be careful with your expectations of a $200 device, unfortunately. You can watch the video below and make up your own mind, but I can tell you the C423 and C223 are both pretty terrible to use because of their atrocious screens.
I can forgive cheap build, flimsy keyboards, and plastic trackpad if the performance is decent and the screen isn’t terrible to look at. However, with the aforementioned ASUS devices, all the cheap parts are all present and the screen is nearly unusable. Even at an attractive price, I just can’t bring myself to recommend using or buying one.
This Particular C423 Is Different
There is a version of the ASUS C423 that is a very different monster, though, and it is on sale and has been on sale for a bit of time. It is still the same cheap C423, but it upgrades in the most important place: the screen.
This particular version of the C423 is not the terrible 1366×768 panel you see everywhere else. Instead, it is replaced by a very usable, very good 1080p panel that has great colors, viewing angles and brightness. Literally everything else about this device is the same: Apollo Lake 3350, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. With the swap of screen, however, this device becomes infinitely more usable.
And it is only $199. So, cheaper than the inferior model by $30.
There is a caveat: it is a Costco exclusive, so you’ll need a membership or someone who is a member to snag it. But, for the money, the effort is worth it!! At $199, this is easily the best cheap Chromebook you can buy at the moment. Performance is decent, as are the keys, trackpad and build quality. The slim bezels and 14-inch FHD IPS display really look great and, at this price, are truly standouts.
Get it soon, however, as this deal will expire on February 25th!