Before yesterday, if you told me that we’d be covering anything other than #madebyGoogle hardware this week, I would have laughed. After all, when big players are making big announcements at big, publicized events, you don’t tend to think of other companies dropping small, quiet announcements of new hardware.
However, in this instance, you’d be wrong in making that exact assumption. I was and, frankly, this new hardware by ASUS completely caught me off guard.
Found by +Brandon Lall in the Chrome OS reddit thread, the ASUS C423 literally appeared out of nowhere. Brandon (who’s tips have proven very useful in the past) brought this thread to our attention and, as it turns out, no one has heard anything about this new Chromebook up until now.
Granted, ASUS hasn’t really made much of a big deal out of Chromebook releases in the past, but this one really flew under the radar.
What we’re looking at, in a nutshell, is a repackaged Acer Chromebook 15. Judging by the processor options, port selection, this new ASUS Chromebook looks to be competing directly with Acer.
Here are the specs:
- Intel® Celeron® Dual-Core N3350 Processor or Intel® Pentium® Quad-Core N4200 Processor
- 4GB/8GB RAM
- 14-inch (1366×786 non-touch or 1920×1080 with touch) anti-glare display
- SD Card Slot
- HD Webcam
- Integrated 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2)
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 1 x COMBO audio jack
- 2 x Type-A USB 3.1 (Gen 1)
- 2 x Type-C USB 3.0 (USB 3.1 Gen 1) with display and power delivery support
- 322.6 x 228 x 16.1 mm (WxDxH)
- 1.34 kg
Not really a powerhouse, but if you remember our review of the Acer Chromebook 15, you know that it is a solid overall performer, assuming you go for the Pentium model. I’ve not been impressed at all with the Apollo Lake chipsets, so I’d steer anyone clear of that model.
The possibility of the Pentium and 8GB of RAM could make for a great device is ASUS keeps the price down. Given this one is not convertible and is mostly plastic (ASUS is touting only an aluminum lid), I’d assume we’ll see competitive pricing. Add to this ASUS’ claim of 10 hours of use and you have a nice round package.
Right now you can snag the Acer Chromebook 15 for $349, so ASUS will have to match or beat that to be competitive. With the Acer 15, you are getting a backlit keyboard and very good speakers, but ASUS is bringing a much smaller and lighter form factor to the table.
With the plastic body and very narrow side bezels, the 14-inch display should still yield a device that has plenty of screen with a much more portable feel.
Obviously, we’ll hold judgment on this one until we get a review unit in hand. Luckily, we have an Acer Chromebook 15 around the office to compare once we do. ASUS has not confirmed a release date at this point, but I’m sure we’ll know more soon.