Though we won’t be making it to CES 2024 this year – for a variety of reasons this time around – that doesn’t mean we don’t get to bring a bit of CES to you right here from our studios. We expect ASUS to have their new, monster Chromebook Plus – the ExpertBook CX54 – on display out in Vegas this year, and since we won’t be there in person, ASUS was kind enough to send one over for a look right now!
That’s right! We have what could become the new King of Chromebooks for 2024 in the office and we’ve put together some early impressions of this wildly-impressive new Chromebook. There’s a lot to cover on this one, so let’s just get started, shall we?
Build quality is top-notch
Like you’d expect from a top-of-the-line device like this one, the build quality is as good as it gets, here. The entire chassis is a powder-coated aluminum alloy that feels soft-ish to the touch and really repels fingerprints. It doesn’t just feel nice, though: it’s very thin, very light, and ultra-rigid. At only 1.69cm thick and just 2.84 pounds, this is the epitome of thin and light without any sacrifice in the overall feel or function.
Speaking of function, even though this Chromebook is crazy thin, it still packs in all the ports, too. There are 2 USB 4.0 Type C Thunderbolt ports, 2 USB 3.2 Type A ports, a full-sized HDMI 2.1 port, microSD card slot, headphone/mic jack, and a Kensington lock. For a device this thin, that is quite the array, and it definitely gives it the leg up on other thin, high-end devices for sure.
Fantastic display, keyboard and trackpad
Once you execute the one-finger lift of the lid, you’re met by the 14-inch 16:10 QHD screen that hits a whopping 500 nits of brightness. The model we have is not a touchscreen and comes with a nice matte finish layer on the screen that wards off any unwanted glare. With an 89% screen-to-body ratio and 100% DCI-P3 coverage, there’s no denying that this is one of the nicest displays we’ve ever seen in a Chromebook.
Below that screen is a fantastic backlit keyboard and massive glass trackpad. The combo of the two feels every bit as premium as you’d expect, and the flanking fingerprint scanner is a nice addition as well. When opened up, the ergo-lift hinge is in full effect, lifting the bottom portion of the CX54 up off the desk a considerable amount.
The first Intel Core Ultra Chromebook
With the new Intel Core Ultra 5-125U inside (paired to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of NVMe storage), that extra bit of airflow could be helpful since I really have no idea how these new chips from Intel will perform under load. From the little bit of time I’ve spent with it, however, everything feels snappy and quick and it looks like even with some brighter screen settings, 8-10 hours of battery should be realistic.
This is still an early evaluation, however, so don’t base too much on these early impressions. The real takeaway here is that the ASUS ExpertBook CX54 Chromebook Plus is as impressive in person as it looks in photos. Unlike the CX9 from a few years ago that had amazing specs and was a bit of a turn off because of the overly-industrial look and feel, this device manages to marry an angular body with a very approachable look and feel.
More testing will need to be done, and we’re not sure at the moment if this is the actual CX54 we’ll be doing that with. And there’s a ton more we still don’t know as well, like whether or not this device will make it to general retail channels, how much this (or any other) configuration will cost, and when we’ll actually be able to buy the thing. Those answers and more will be on the way in the coming weeks, but I can confidently say that if the pricing and availability are right, this device could give the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook a real run for its money in the high-end Chromebook space.