Asus is following up last year’s excellent Chromebook Flip C434 with the even higher-end Chromebook Flip C436. As the name might suggest, the C436 is only taking a small step forward in terms of specs and build. There’s nothing super impressive here as far as changes go — but since last year’s model was already our recommendation for the best Chromebook you can buy right now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The C436 appears to have roughly the same magnesium alloy body as its predecessor, just slightly slimmer and lighter. Asus says it’s the slimmest and lightest 14-inch Chromebook available, with a weight of just 2.4 pounds and a thickness of 13.7mm. Like last year, it has a 1080p touchscreen display surrounded by trim bezels on the top and sides.
This year’s model includes 10th Gen Intel processors. Asus says it’ll spec up to an i7, though it makes that claim about the C434, too, and I’m mostly seeing m3 processors in the available models. It can also be specced out to 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The new model comes with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, both updates over last year. This model also adds a fingerprint sensor and stylus support. The laptop still includes two USB-C ports, though it appears a traditional USB port has been removed, perhaps as part of slimming the laptop down.
Battery life is also getting an upgrade. The new model is supposed to last up to 12 hours on a charge, up from 10 hours on last year’s model. That spec partly allows the laptop to qualify under Intel’s Project Athena program, which is supposed to highlight next-gen laptop features, but mostly just means they have good battery life. Notably, only i5 and i7 models of the C436 qualify under the program.
These are small upgrades year over year, but they ought to make for a compelling Chromebook, especially given the quality of last year’s model. While higher-end build quality and specs have long been available in Chromebooks, they’re still less common than cheap ones designed to sell to schools and students. The C436, with its fingerprint sensor and metal build, looks more like a premium Windows laptop than most Chromebooks out there.
Asus plans to start selling the laptop in the first or second quarter of 2020. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but there’s likely to be a wide range. You can get a low-end version of the C434 for around $550.
Samsung also announced a high-end Chromebook at CES today — the Galaxy Chromebook. My colleague Dieter Bohn called it “one of the nicest pieces of laptop hardware I’ve touched in a very long time.” Its pricing reflects that, starting at $999.