ASUS C201PA-DS02 11.6 inch Chromebook (1.8GHz Quad-Core, 4GB LPDDR3, 16GB eMMC), Navy Blue
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ASUS Chrome book C201PA-DS02 11.6" Laptop (Navy Blue), Rock chip 3288-C Quad- Core 1.8GHz processor, 4GB DDR3 on board, 16GB eMMC, 802.11AC, Bluetooth 4.0, Chrome OS
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620 of 640 people found the following review helpful.
A great Chromebook experience for a great price.
I bought the Asus C201 4gb RAM model for 179 when it was on sale in December. After a couple months of use, it's a wonderful Chromebook for the current price and is surprisingly a versatile device in an incredibly portable design. As many other reviewers have went in depth about the various pros and cons, I'll touch on my own experiences and observations with the device itself, useful add-on accessory recommendation, and the functionality and productivity that ChromeOS and the Web App store are fully capable of.
A quick summary is at the end if you just want to skim quickly for a more concise breakdown.
OUTSIDE DESIGN OBSERVATIONS:
COLOR- First off, the color of the outside shell is a real dark blue with the ASUS logo in the center. Cosmetically, it's a pretty sleek design that's also functional with its rounded corners holding the 11.6in screen. For some reason, the color is darker than the images provided on Amazon would lead you to believe, but it still looks nice. The outside shell can be a smudge magnet, so you can get a protective cover to help prevent scratches, dings, and smudges.
PORTS- There are 2 USB 2.0 slots on the right side and on the left side there is an ASUS proprietary charge port, a MicroSD slot (capable of up to 128gb), a micro HDMI port, and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Not including USB 3.0 or even the newest USB Type-C is a strange decision, but for the current asking price, it's not a bad trade off.
SPEAKERS- The speakers are located on the bottom of the front, which is indeed an odd position for speakers since the sound becomes muffled. Odds are though, if you're going to want to listen to music or watch Netflix, you would use a speaker system or headphones, so this design choice wasn't a big deal to me since a lot of Chromebooks (Samsung Chromebook 2) have the same speaker design on the bottom.
BOTTOM- The bottom of the case has 4 round rubber stoppers, so this thing wont slide anywhere on hard surfaces. It's incredibly light weight, sturdy, and portable, making it easy for both students and professionals to carry and use throughout the day.
DISPLAY- The display is 11.6" HD at 1366x768 (16:9) screen resolution. As many others have commented on, one of the first noticeable things is that the display has some weird viewing angles, where the top parts can have darker colors wash out with the backlight and show weird contrast. It usually doesn't take long to adjust it where it doesn't have that washing effect, making watching YouTube videos or Netflix practical for extended periods of time. Is it the best screen or ideal screen for binge-watching shows? Probably not, but it's certainly passable for flights or whenever you have some down time to kill an hour or two and have no other means of watching video content.
KEYBOARD- The keyboard is snappy, responsive, and comfortable to use. The plastic shell around the keyboard looks relatively cheap, but it's surprisingly durable. I don't feel any kind of weird bending or anything off with the keys when typing, so I don't think it's possible for keys to get stuck under the shell without trying or unless there's a manufacturers defect or user error. All the shortcuts you need are on here; refresh key, backward and forward key for web browsing, fullscreen window key, program switching key, backlight and sound adjustment keys, the power button with LED indicator to the right of it, and full QWERTY keyboard.
TOUCHPAD- The touchpad is located below the space bar and covers a decent area, i'd say about 1/3 of the bottom part, which makes it easy to maneuver the mouse and use click actions like single tap, double tap to hold and drag, or can physically click to hold. It's capable of pinch-zoom and swiping left and right with two fingers to go forward or backward on a web page. It's also capable of other gesture commands, which is typically dependent on the capabilities of the program in use. It's a well-implemented and functional touchpad for every day use, especially for the price.
BATTERY- This is one great key feature, and for many a selling point; the battery life is incredible. I'm able to get, on average, about 11-12 hours of one full charge out of it with mixed usage throughout the week. Web browsing, running various apps, listening to music, watching videos, and it performs as advertised with the battery life. I didn't truly believe it when I read the specs, but it certainly lives up to it. Obviously, this is dependent on various factors, so results may vary, but with average use and maybe with brightness set in the middle, you should easily be able to get the same amount of battery life as stated. This makes it perfect for travelling and for students who need a reliable net-capable device to use throughout the day without worrying about the next time you need to charge it. Video drains the battery the quickest, so you'd probably be looking at around 6-8 of constant video streaming, maybe more if that's all you have running on it at once. Needless to say though, it certainly performs as advertised here.
RAM and PROCESSOR- The 4gb RAM model makes running multiple applications and tabs at once much easier since it allows for better multitasking. The processor is a quad core Rockchip using ARM architecture, which makes it less power-hungry than the Intel series chromebooks, so this also helps with battery life since it's more power conscious than the intel counterparts. It runs at 1.8ghz, which isn't as fast as some of the intel ones, but it's comparably almost just as powerful for what it's commonly used for and is certainly just as capable without sacrificing speed or functionality.
STORAGE- 16gb (eMMC for those who care) is soldered onto the board itself, so it's not upgradeable (like the Acer Chromebook) with a new M.2 storage chip or anything. However, the MicroSD card slot allows expandable storage up to 128gb.
WIRELESS and BLUETOOTH- Wireless is current standards of 802.11AC and Bluetooth 4.0 LE capable. It also supposedly supports 4.1, but I haven't tested it personally.
CAMERA- The camera is a front facing HD camera at the top of the screen, I think at 720P, with a mic to the left of it.
When you first boot it up, it will ask you to connect or create a gmail account, this acts as your login information to keep you connected to the net and to Google Drive (and other cloud services), which is what the primary purpose of Chromebooks are to begin with. ChromeOS itself is a very simple and lightweight operating system that essentially thrives with online connectivity, but it is possible to be just as productive while offline as well. The Web App store has plenty of useful (and free) apps that allow you to be productive both online and off. A handful of apps by Google are included by default, but to get the most out of it, some digging around on the Web App store is needed to customize it specifically for your needs.
Here are some free Web Apps that I've found useful so far:
GRAPHICS/PHOTO- Polarr Photo Editor 3 is a great photo editor that can be used offline as well and it's feature rich. It's comparable to a lighter version of Adobe Lightroom. Sketchpad is another fun one that can be used offline too, and it's more for drawing than it is for photo editing. Pixlr Editor offers a couple of programs included for free and GIMP (GIMP uses rollapp and requires cloud storage services to be connected to it to be able to edit photos) both require online connectivity and they act more like a lightweight Photoshop, but they're extremely useful and capable for quick image editing and adjustment. Wacom Tablets also work on Chromebooks, but it recognizes the tablets as a mouse input since it doesn't install any drivers, so you won't get the pressure sensing from the pens like you would on a Mac or PC, though, I suppose it's possible to get that feature in future updates.
WORD DOCUMENTS- Aside from Googles ecosystem of Google Documents that's primarily used online (there's an offline mode you can set, but it's not as fluid as some other free options), StackEdit is extremely useful since it can be used on and offline and saves automatically. You can also type in markup language and it'll show it side by side. You can also export what you typed to Wordpress and many other blog services. Another good offline option is simply called Writer (the one with the blue circular logo and a W in the center), which is barebones, simple, and easy to use. It saves it's files in Rich Text (.rtf) format. OpenOffice Writer is also good and offers many options comparable to Microsoft Word, but it can be used online only. StackEdit and Writer are currently my preferences. Another one worth mentioning is called Writebox which is pretty sleek and minimal that can function offline and can save locally as well. Amazon also offers one for free called StoryWriter and it's designed for screenwriting.
VIDEO- VLC offers an app that expands the available video types that can be played. Plex also offers an app if you have an in-home media server setup that you can connect to. Chromecast also has an extension you can install to cast from your chromebook.
SSH/SFTP/REMOTE- I use Serverauditor as an SSH client and SFTP FileSystem for local file transfers. Google offers Chrome Remote Desktop in the Web App store that allows you to control any computers you set up for it on the local network. You can set it up on the computer you want to control and you can log in to it from your Chromebook since it mirrors your Desktop screen and allows complete remote control of it.
EXTENSIONS- FontChanger allows you to change the font for webpages that you can set up for either Global settings or Custom settings for individual web pages. Chrome User-Agent Switcher allows you to emulate many other browsers, so this comes in handy if a page isn't optimized for Chrome, you can switch it to Firefox to make the webpage think you're running Firefox. Ad Block is also a must-have to prevent a lot of annoying pop-ups and unwanted ads. Many companies (Pinterest, Amazon) also make useful extensions to add-on.
CLOUD STORAGE- Google Drive should be the default choice, but Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and Yandex.Disk all offer free storage options.
These are some add-on items you might want to consider to either protect or enhance your Chromebook experience:
COVERS- iPearl makes some pretty decent covers to help protect for daily use and they come in multiple color options. I purchased the Aqua Blue one and it certainly protects it from bumps and scratches: Amazon link to Aqua cover (but plenty of other color options)- iPearl mCover Hard Shell Case Aqua
ETHERNET ADAPTER- Sometimes wireless wont be practical, so luckily USB Ethernet Adapters have been made for Chromebooks for when you might need to hardwire it. TRENDnet offers a pretty reliable one for $13- TRENDnet USB 2.0 Wired Ethernet alternatively, if you'd like to have additional USB ports and wired ethernet connectivity, Unitek offers a slightly more expensive one for $20 and it's backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports on this Chromebook- Unitek 3 Ports USB 3.0 Hub with Ethernet
MICRO HDMI to HDMI ADAPTER- Just in case you ever want to connect to a larger screen to stream Netflix or work on a larger screen/monitor. You can also close the lid on the Chromebook and video content will still stream. Monoprice offers a simple adapter for $8.99- Monoprice Micro HDMI to HDMI Adapter
MICROSD CARDS- These can be found between $20-$60 ranging from 32gb to a max of 128gb. These are useful for expanding storage of your Chromebook. The 64gb MicroSD card is a great value for $22- SanDisk Ultra 64GB microSDXC
+ Sleek, compact design
+ Quick and responsive boot up and operation
+ Lightweight and portable to carry
+ Web Apps offer plenty of productive graphics and document options online and off
+ Phenomenal battery life- 11-12 hours of mixed use
+ Responsive keyboard and multi-gesture touchpad
+ Well rounded portable experience from ChromeOS, with plenty of room to grow.
+ Constantly updated for the best stable experience
+ Perfect for students, travelers, and just average daily use
- No full HDMI- requiring micro HDMI to HDMI adapter to be purchased separately
- No USB 3.0 or Type-C- Probably cost prohibitive to include at the asking price
- Weird viewing angles for the Display causing colors to wash out towards the top
4/5 Stars: -0.5 for display issues and -0.5 for ASUS proprietary power plug, not including even one USB 3.0/Type-C, or at least a full HDMI out.
I hope this has been informative and helpful so you're not as lost as I was in choosing the perfect Chromebook!
172 of 177 people found the following review helpful.
Great for a college student on tight budget; all the necessities
I've had this ASUS Chromebook for about 3 days, and I absolutely love it. It does all the basics that I need and want a laptop to do. I'm actually typing on it at this very moment to do a review. The pictures that I attached I actually sent from my phone via a very useful app called "Pushbullet".
Size: Perfect for me, personally. I went down a size from my last laptop that was around 13 inches, and I have to say that this is just as good size wise. It is very thin so a lap desk would be best instead of just in your lap. The tread on the bottom is also kind of slick on certain surfaces, though it DOES have pads on the bottom. It's just a very...slick laptop regardless.
Typing/ Keyboard size: Good enough for me. I have average sized hands for a female and can still type as fast as I do on any other keyboard, maybe even easier. Keep in mind that THERE IS NO CAPS LOCK BUTTON(that I'm aware of). I had to use shift to make that all capitalized. There are a few other not-really-needed keys missing like "page up/page down" but they are not a necessity and can be used with Control Commands (alt + up button/ down button).
OS: You won't be able to do any hardcore gaming on this, the Chrome operating system is pretty basic. You will need to download certain applications on the chrome webstore to open certain files (Example: you obviously need an emulator to play ROM games, which yes I have been doing just fine.) I use this mainly for doing my schoolwork and essays via Word Online, which is free if you give your student email. Everything is saved through Google Drive. I would recommend this laptop for a student-on-the-go with a tight budget, but it has a lot of great recreational uses such as accessing spotify or netflix online. I'm still new to it, so there was a learning curve with me the first 20 minutes or so that I had the laptop and I am still finding more and more useful things that it can do. It's so far super fast to load.
Battery life: So far the battery life has been great. I've been listening to music for the last 3 and a half hours unplugged in my room and light searching the web and battery life is on 85% still. I think the time estimate of how long you have for battery life on the screen varies because of change in activities on the computers, but supposedly if I continue to use this laptop at the pace I have been using it, then there is approx. 9 hours left.
To put it simply? As someone who has not had a fully functioning laptop in years, I'm in love with this chromebook.
616 of 648 people found the following review helpful.
Couldn't be happier with this Chromebook
Couldn't be happier with this Chromebook. I am a heavy Apple user, but was eyeing a Chromebook for months as a lighter, power-friendly alternative for both travel and bouncing around the office. After doing a ridiculous amount of research, I was expectantly awaiting the release of this model due to it's light weight and quoted 13 hours of battery life. Now that it has arrived, I'm happy to say that it has completely lived up to expectations on both fronts. It is super light and lasts forever. The build quality is also really solid for a sub $200 device.
The keyboard and trackpad were both a great surprise. I was initially unsure about typing for long hours on the c201's keyboard, but within a few hours I was typing rapidly, accurately, and comfortably. The trackpad is also a star. It's comfortable and fluid, and works about as well as the one on my Macbook Pro. Overall, both the keyboard and trackpad make the device a pleasure to use.
I'm not a Linux user, which is why I was comfortable going with a non-Intel chip, but I hear if that's what you're after this may not be the processor for you. I can say that with the 4gb version, it has kept up to every task I've thrown at it so far (Netflix, youtube, tons of Google docs, and browser based screenwriting apps). In my opinion, if you need much more, you probably shouldn't be looking at a Chromebook anyway. But if you're comfortable with the always-online nature of Chrome OS, than this chromebook definitely has you covered in terms of performance.
I could easily see this becoming the go-to device in the house, getting more use than both my Macbook Pro and my iPad.