Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 review


A 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook is an attractive option for those who can’t decide between a tablet or laptop for daily browsing the internet and sorting email. While we’ve seen some great high-end convertible options, like the Acer Chromebook Spin 514, there are still plenty of quality models out there for those on a budget. They include Asus’ Chromebook Flip CM3 (starting at $ 329; $ 429 as tested). This sleek, budget-friendly 2-in-1 convertible laptop delivers performance so good, you might forget you’ve got something that costs less than $ 500.

More than a basic Chromebook

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 makes a positive first impression. The metallic silver of the chassis complements the black of the keyboard and display bezel well, and it looks quite good as both a laptop and a tablet. Inside, our review unit only has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, which is quite normal for a budget Chromebook. The convertible’s $ 329 variation is almost identical to our review unit, with just two major differences: 64GB of on-board storage up to 32GB.

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Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 open

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The CM3 uses a Mediatek processor, instead of the usual Intel or AMD offerings. ARM processors from Mediatek and Qualcomm are typically found in low-cost Chromebooks like this, and generally perform as well as other low-end chips like the Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon. Most aren’t unbearably slow, but there’s a massive power gap between them and the midrange chips from AMD and Intel, and an even bigger gap between them and Apple’s silicon, which is also based on ARM. (Here’s how to pick the best laptop processor.) Still, the CM3 is one of the best performing ARM Chromebooks we’ve tested, as you’ll see below.

If you haven’t guessed by the name alone, the Chromebook Flip CM3 uses Google Chrome OS. If you’re already an avid Google user, you’ll have no problem seamlessly syncing your Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play accounts. While many Windows apps may seem unavailable at first glance, there are many Android equivalent programs available for download from the Google Play Store. With a few downloads and heavy use of browser-based apps, you’ll be able to match the basic functionality of a budget Windows PC.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 Cover

(Photo: Molly Flores)

At just 2.5 pounds, the Asus Chromebook CM3 is a featherweight, weighing half a pound lighter than our previous Editor’s Choice winner, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, and almost a pound lighter than the HP x360 14a Chromebook. (Okay, the CM3’s screen is two inches smaller than what these competitors offer.) But the compact size is a highlight for people who value portability: the CM3 measures just 0.7 x 10, 6 x 8.5 inches (HWD). As a tablet, it’ll be a bit bulkier than an Apple iPad, but don’t forget it’s more versatile as well, since it’s a full-fledged laptop with a keyboard.

Bottom of the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Underneath the tablet you’ll find two rubber bands that keep the machine firmly planted on your desk. The two ErgoLift hinges hold the keyboard and screen together and allow 360-degree movement, providing just enough resistance so you don’t feel like you’re breaking the machine in half. Overall, the build quality is more than adequate.

Good touchscreen, awkward touchpad

Turning our attention to the screen, you will find a 3: 2 LCD panel with a resolution of 1366 by 912 pixels. It’s a somewhat odd resolution, but better than the 1366 by 768 pixel count found in most inexpensive Chromebooks. The nominal maximum of 220 nits provides adequate brightness, although a non-glossy display would have been preferred to better filter out glare from ambient light. The touchscreen is fast and responsive, with a finger or the included Asus digital stylus. To complement the functionality of the screen, a 720p webcam tucked into the frame of the screen.

Asus Chromebook Flip Right Side

(Photo: Molly Flores)

With decent screen quality and a responsive touchscreen, the Asus Chromebook CM3 already looks like a winner, but there are a few weak spots including the clunky touchpad. It’s not as bad as the dismal you’ll find on the HP Chromebook 11a, but the CM3’s pad is spotty and frustrating to use at best. Even after playing around with the sensitivity options, it just didn’t follow my gestures as easily as I wanted. It makes subtle movements a chore, forcing you to rely on the touchscreen or an external mouse for greater precision.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 Keyboard

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Fortunately, the keyboard does not suffer the same fate. The chiclet keyboard’s keys are spaced enough apart that it doesn’t feel too cramped, and it even provides satisfying feedback when typing. A row of system commands line the top of the keyboard, and the oversized Ctrl and Alt keys are always a plus to have on smaller machines. Overall, we didn’t have much of a problem with using the keyboard during testing.

The Chromebook’s speakers, placed just below the keyboard, deliver crisp, clear sound, especially at full volume. I noticed that the chassis vibrates slightly when listening at full volume, but it wasn’t too annoying.

When it comes to I / O ports, the machine doesn’t have a lot of them, but its variety is surprising. On the right side, you’ll find a single USB Type-C port next to the volume control buttons and a power button.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 left side

(Photo: Molly Flores)

On the left side you’ll find a headphone jack, a USB-A port, another USB-C port, and a microSD card reader. A total of two USB-C slots is generous and a pleasant surprise to find on a budget machine, although you’ll have to use one of the USB-C ports for charging.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 left side

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 review: strong ARM-ing over the competition

The Chromebook Flip CM3 has proven to be an impressive machine so far, but how does its performance compare to other Chromebooks? To find out, we compared it to Acer’s Chromebook Spin 311, Asus Removable Chromebook CM3, HP Chromebook 11a, and HP Chromebook x360 14a in our benchmark tests. While not all of these Chromebooks in this bundle are 2-in-1 convertibles, they all share similar specifications and starting prices.

The first Chromebook benchmark we use is CrXPRT 2, a downloadable app that measures how quickly a system performs everyday tasks like applying effects to photos and encrypting files. The CM3 got the top marks in this test, proving that it can easily handle everyday tasks with ease.

The next benchmark we use is browser-based Basemark Web 3.0, which rates how well a PC can run web applications. The CM3 is doing well here but is short compared to the HP Chromebook x360 14a.

While we normally run UL’s PCMark benchmark in our Windows PC test, for Chromebooks we are rolling out the Android version, downloaded directly from the Google Play Store. Both tests simulate daily workflows such as word processing, web browsing, and data analysis and yield an overall performance score. The CM3 takes the lead again, testifying to its impressive ARM processor, with the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 not too far behind.

Our next test also comes directly from the Google Play Store. The Android version of Geekbench 5 is like its Windows cousin: a processor-centric test designed to simulate real-world applications ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 blows the competition out of the water in this test, easily claiming the top spot.

Everyone knows Chromebooks aren’t powerful gaming laptops, but that won’t stop us from running the next benchmark, GFXBench 5.0, which is a cross-platform GPU benchmark that tests low and high gaming routines. level. The CM3 did its best, but every machine in this test performed poorly, both in the 1440p Aztec Ruins test and the 1080p Car Chase test. If you’re looking to gamble on the go, your best bet is a Windows-based dedicated gaming laptop.

Our final test puts the battery through the wringer. We are showing a 720p video of the open-source movie Blender Tears of steel with screen brightness at 50%, audio volume at 100%, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off until the system turns off. If the computer does not have enough storage to hold the video file, we play it from an external SSD drive.

While the fourth grade has won almost every test so far, it crumbles under the pressure of video playback, beating well ahead of the 7-hour mark.

A budget baron

There’s no better feeling than finding a diamond in the rough, and the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 just might be that diamond for those looking for a cheap but capable laptop that can also function as a tablet. Impressive performance makes this Chromebook a joy to use, although the touchpad, glossy screen, and short battery life steal some of its thunder.

While there are plenty of premium Chromebook options to consider, like Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713, if you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3. It’s a great buy despite its shortcomings and should appeal to students, teachers, and general internet users looking for an affordable internet machine.

The bottom line

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 is a great 2-in-1 convertible Chrome OS laptop with fast performance, a reliable touchscreen, and an included stylus.

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