Our first in-person CES in three years is in the books and we’re back at the Chrome Unboxed HQ with a boat load of news to share with you. While we were privy to most of the new devices that were on display in Las Vegas, we were pleasantly surprised by a couple of unreleased Chromebooks that we will cover later in this post.
Almost as exciting as the devices themselves is the fact that ChromeOS seemed to take center stage for many OEMs at this year’s CES in Las Vegas and that’s a very big deal for Chromebook fans. This isn’t the first show to debut premium, consumer-focused Chromebooks but it is most certainly the first to show off this many in such a prominent manner. Let’s take a look at all the ChromeOS devices that made it on our Best of CES 2023 list at the show in Las Vegas this year.
Acer didn’t have a new Chromebook to show us this year but that’s not unusual as the PC giant normally announces its flagship devices at hardware events in the Spring. That said, Acer did bring its new Chromebox to the party and this 12th Gen Alder Lake mini PC had a little trick up its sleeve. Apart from being one of the first 12th Gen Intel Chromeboxes announced, the Acer Chromebox CXI5 features an optional “Add-In-One” monitor solution that gives a user everything they need for a full desktop setup that’s ready from video conferencing out of the box.
The 23.8″ FullHD display is designed to pair perfectly with the Chromebox CXI5 and has a built-in 5MP camera, pass-through ports for your Chromebox and more. The integrated webcam features a privacy shade and the dual microphone array comes with Acer’s noise-reducing AI for clear video calls. The Add-In-One has an optional touch display and Acer informed us that more models were in the works that would give buyers an option for a larger screen and even a rotating display like that found on the HP Chromebase 24.
The Chromebox CXI5 comes bearing the latest 12th Gen CPUs from Intel and can be configured with up to a Core i7, 256GB of storage and 16GB of RAM. Of course, you can always crack it open and beef up that storage and RAM if you’d like a little more umph in your ChromeOS desktop. Around the outside, the CXI5 offers up 4 x USB-A 3.2 ports, 2 x USB-C (USB4), 2 x HDMI, and an ethernet port and an optional Display Port that can be popped into a panel on the back of the device. The CXI5 and Add-In-One will be available later in Q1 with a starting price of $609.99 for the base version of the combo and $289.99 for the base Chromebox.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook
Announced back in December, Lenovo officially to the wraps off of its latest IdeaPad Flex and it comes bearing the first N-series Intel chip to power a Chromebook. As with other Flex Chromebooks, Lenovo could be looking at another big hit in the budget-friendly arena. For a device that will start at $350, the IdeaPad Flex 3i looks and feels way more premium than it should. To add some icing to the cake, these new Alder Lake N-series processors are absolute monsters. We don’t have official benchmarks at this time but our early look showed us scores that destroy a 10th Gen Core i3 and that was a model with the lesser N-series and a mere 4GB of RAM.
- Intel N100/N200 processor
- 4GB/8GB RAM
- 64GB/128GB storage
- 12.2-inch 1920×1200 IPS 16:10 display @ 300 nits
- 2.76 lbs.
- 11.18″ x 8.27″ x 0.72″
- 12 hour battery life
- Up to 1080p camera
- microSD card slot
- 1X USB 3.2 Type C
- 2X USB 3.2 Type A
- Headphone/mic jack
- HDMI 1.4 port
- Wi-Fi 6E
- Bluetooth 5.2
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook is slated for release in May and with a starting price of $349.99, this could be the mid-range Chromebook to beat for 2023.
If there was a belle of the ball, the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook would be it. HP doesn’t set up on the show floor. Instead, their booth is set up at a smaller show away from the actual Las Vegas convention center. This gave us some quality hands-on time with the ultra-premium Chromebook that HP is describing as a “prosumer” laptop. The 14-inch, 16:10 clamshell features a 1,200 nit display which is the brightest panel ever to adorn a Chromebook.
Along with the crispy, bright display, the Dragonfly is equipped with an 8MP camera, 4 absolutely awesome speakers, a fingerprint scanner and a haptic trackpad just like its Elite sibling. Another very unique feature of the Dragonfly is the fact that it offers up four Thunderbolt USB-4 ports and that’s it. No headphone jack. No SD card reader. Nothing and that’s totally okay because it adds to the beautiful, sleek design of this Chromebook that has some serious Pixelbook Go vibes. If ever there were a halo device that wasn’t a Pixelbook, this is it. Stay tuned later today for Robby’s first-look and hands-on of this drool-worthy device.
We went to the ASUS suite at the Venetian fully expecting to see just the new Vibe Gaming Chromebook and possibly a Chromebox. On the way there, we stopped to see our friends at MediaTek and were blindsided by two new ASUS Chromebooks that no one saw coming. We’ll get to those in just a second. First, let’s discuss that Vibe.
The follow-up to the ASUS Vibe CX55 that felt very last-minute, the all-new ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is an entirely different creature. Featuring a 400-nit 144Hz display, RGB keyboard, premium pearl-colored chassis with orange accents, and the latest 12th Gen Intel CPUs, the CX34 could very well take the mantel as the best gaming Chromebook of 2023. We’ll have to wait to get our hands on a review unit but the Flip CX34 is already available for purchase from B&H Photo and Amazon for the very respectable price of $769.99.
ASUS also brought its new 12th Gen Chromebox 5 to Vegas and let’s just say that I’m ready to buy one. As far as Chromeboxes go, this is probably the most attractive ChromeOS mini PC ever made and it comes with a neat new trick that we’ve never seen on a Chromebox – wireless charging. That’s right. The ASUS Chromebox 5 has a 15W wireless charging pad built right into the top of the device. You can use it to charge your phone, earbuds, or whatever wirelessly charging peripherals you have around. I love this idea as it makes the Chromebox a multi-tasker and helps to free up desktop space as I usually have a charging pad on my desk. The Chromebox 5 will be available in Q1 with a starting price of $399.
ASUS Chromebooks CM14 series
These two devices were on display on a small stand in ASUS’ booth but we first discovered them talking to our good friend Victor Tyan from MediaTek. In the middle of their large showroom suite, MediaTek had a gaming setup that was running Fortnite on GeForce NOW. Lo and behold, the external display was hooked to a new Chromebook that we had never seen before. The ASUS Chromebook CM14 and CM14 Flip are 14-inch devices that are the first to be powered by MediaTek’s Kompanio 520 SoC.
Seeing these new chips in action was awesome and the ARM-based processors handled GeForce NOW like a champ. More importantly, these Chromebooks did not look or feel cheap which is awesome. Why? Well, because they will likely be very inexpensive offerings when they’re released later this year. We don’t have exact pricing but you can expect some models to fall into the $300 range.
We don’t have exact pricing at this time but there’s a landing page for the Flip CM14 up already over on ASUS’ website and it looks like this should be a solid device that offers a little bit of everything. ASUS is touting up to 14 hours of battery life thanks to MediaTek’s Kompanio SoC and even if it falls a bit short, this duo of Chromebooks could be very competitive in the budget space when they launch later this year.
That’s our wrap-up for ChromeOS at CES but we have more coverage and hands-on from our trip so stay tuned. What was your favorite product from CES 2023? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think is the coolest tech to come out of this year’s show.