In what is quickly turning into the hottest debate in Chromebook history, the question of Samsung versus ASUS is only just now heating up.
The Current Situation
For those of you landing here with little prior knowledge, let me get you up to speed quickly.
At CES just last week, ASUS and Samsung both unveiled new Chromebooks that are, in a word, awesome. Priced similarly, built well, and dressed to impress, these devices are creating more “which one should I buy” concerns than any previous launch we’ve ever seen.
We’ve had the ASUS Flip since December 31st and used it daily, even at CES. Our review will be coming soon as the Core m3 variant has arrived as well. They are identical machines, save the processor difference.
We were also able to run some tests and spend about 30-45 total minutes with the Samsung Chromebook Plus (not Pro). It is equipped with the lesser ARM processor where the Pro will be outfitted with the Core m3 like the ASUS.
That is clearly a lopsided comparison.
However, we wanted to issue some thoughts on this subject now as we await a proper review unit from Samsung and are able to deliver a true head-to-head video and review of both.
Let’s break down some key specs and features for both, as these devices are very similar and yet different in some key aspects.
SAMSUNG CHROMEBOOK PRO/PLUS
RK3399 ARM/Intel Core m3
12.3″ 2400×1600 (3:2) IPS @ 400 nits
2 USB-C, Headphone/Mic, MicroSD
ASUS CHROMEBOOK FLIP C302
Intel Pentium/Core m3/Core m7
12.5″ 1920×1080 (16:9) IPS @ 300 nits
2 USB-C, Headphone/Mic, MicroSD
Some Comparison Thoughts
- Both devices are light, thin and attractive
- Both are highly portable
- Both are built of all aluminum
- Both have 360-degree form factors
- Both have great screens, keyboards and trackpads
Wins For Samsung
- Internally stored, active stylus for great pen input
- 3:2 screen ratio is MUCH better for websites and tablet mode feels more natural than the 16:9 on the ASUS
- At 400 nits, the screen is much brighter
- The high-res display is sharper and crisper
- Samsung + Google collaboration could mean deeper support for Android in the coming months
Wins for ASUS
- 1080p display scales well, looks great, and demands less from the processor
- Base model performs much better than the Samsung’s base model (better processor, less pixels to push)
- Keyboard is backlit
- More high end options are coming (m7, 8GB RAM, 128GB internal storage)
- Comparable m3 model has 2x storage vs. the Samsung Chromebook Pro (64GB vs. 32GB)
- Build feels solid and very high-end – a bit more substantial than the Samsung
- ASUS gives 1 year of accidental damage protection
- Available right now
So Which One?
Right now, that is one of the most difficult decisions in the Chromebook world.
Here’s what I’ll say right now: if you are looking for a work device that will be your daily driver, the current m3 ASUS Flip seems the clear winner. After using it for a couple weeks, I’m comfortable saying that the m3 version is a legitimate daily driver. Dock it at a desk with a monitor, keep it on the go, play with Android apps (in beta channel for now): this thing does well with just about anything.
But, with the Samsung Chromebook Pro looming, I can’t help but be drawn to it. For me, I keep a Chromebox at my desk, so my Chromebook doesn’t have to be a daily driver. The Samusung Chromebook Plus might be enough for my mobility needs. The addition of the stylus, 3:2 brighter screen, and the clear focus on making the Android app experience the best possible make me feel like the Samsung will be a better mobile choice for me.
The bottom line is, you will likely won’t be sad about owning either of these devices. Consider storage, backlit keyboards, screen resolutions, and processors when making the decision. For many, the Samsung Chromebook Plus will be a great device at a great price. For others (like me), the $549 Pro will be a perfect fit. And yet, others who want a device that is primarily for production uses, the ASUS could be the better fit.
I honestly don’t think there is a way to lose here. Consider the differences, consider where and when you’ll use it, and try to make your decision.
As soon as we have a Samsung in the office, we’ll be sure to show you both side-by-side and give you a better idea at that time. Until then, choose wisely!