I am going to start the review for the device itself the Asus C-100 Flip Chromebook, then below you will see a review for the Chrome OS, if this is your first Chromebook as it is for me I recommend you read it, I will explain what you can expect of the OS, without the flowers and birds that Google, the Chromebook manufacturers and those excellent reviewers in the Tech sites tell you.
I bought this Chromebook with the idea of having a simple right to the point laptop / or a tablet with an attached keyboard, It is not the first time that I have a similar device, I owned a HP laptop, that was convertible it was a touch screen, flip tablet/laptop HP TX-2500 model year 2008, so the idea of a flip screen, touch screen, keyboard on screen and physical keyboard is already very old. I did some upgrades and the end it was running Win 8.1 64 bit with a Samsung SSD 250GB, and 4GB memory. (I gave it to my niece who is going to college). Link to: [...]
Why do I say all of this, so you know I have bases for comparison, I also I own a Galaxy Tab (for which I have a case with a Bluetooth keyboard), a One Plus Smartphone, and a touch screen 25” over the top Dell Desktop. (I work with graphics, accounting, word processing and light CAD)
Ok so let’s start with the C-100 Chromebook. The features of flip screen, a physical keyboard, self stand, touch screen display, touch screen keyboard, and the mouse/touchpad are awesome, and those features are comparable to with the laptop that I had before. So in that sense I did not downgrade, I kept the same features.
I installed a Samsung EVO 64GB micro SD priced in Amazon at $27, in my experience 32 GB would have been enough, but the price of the 64GB was very attractive.
Pluses over the old laptop, light weight, thinner, no heat, no noisy fans, smaller size, faster charging time, smaller and lighter weight power supply, thinner power cable for the power supply, faster boot time. You can have it in your lap without getting tired of the weight, and the heat. It will not overheat if you place it in top of a pillow, it does not have fans, or in/out air slots in the case.
You can do a selection with the mouse/touchpad or touch screen at any time, both are active in the laptop mode,( meaning that the keyboard is flat and the screen is upright) on the tablet mode keyboard under the screen, the keyboard functions and mouse track are disabled, but you have a touch screen keyboard available in tablet mode.
Pluses over the Galaxy Tab 10, it has a physical keyboard integrated, its own stand, simplicity, no apps that are constantly updating, no apps tracking your location or preferences, no app permissions, no apps running in the background eating away your memory and CPU resources. Also you can install a regular mouse, which will give you the feel of a complete PC. There is a mini-mini mouse with a retractable cord by Targus, which actually fits in your pocket, about $10.
For the Galaxy Tab 10, I have a case with a Bluetooth keyboard, it is useful, but it does not replace the keyboard on a Chromebook, does not have a touchpad, and the case is one of those that have a flimsy built-in stand that needs to be in a firm surface, and do not touch it too much.
Minus over the old laptop, you cannot install an accounting software, CAD, a Photoshop or PageMaker (old software), or the newer adobe suite. The Chromebook does not have the processing power of a laptop and it doesn’t have an awesome large drive like a 1 TB.
Minuses over the Galaxy Tab, the Chromebook is a little bit heavier, you cannot install the apps that you already have in your android device ranging from the productivity and useful ones to the fart apps.
Minuses over the Galaxy Tab or a PC/Laptop, there is a beautiful desktop for you to have pictures / wall paper of your dog, cat or uncle Buck losing his trousers during the summer pool party, the desktop area is for that only, to see only a wallpaper .
All of that area and you cannot install decent sized shortcut for websites. The only place where you can install a shortcut is in the bottom bar the SHELF as Google calls it, a big name for a little strip called taskbar in a PC. The shelf bar can be repositioned in either side of the screen or in the bottom; the shelf bar cannot be resized as in a desktop taskbar.
Print and scanning on a Chromebook (pay attention to this one)
Can you connect a printer/scanner to the USB ports? NO
Can you connect a printer / scanner via Bluetooth? NO
Can you connect a printer or scanner via WIFI? NO (keep reading)
How do you connect a printer o scanner to a Chromebook?
Check this link [...]
Your printer should be Google Cloud Print Ready check this link [...]
Few printers like in Epson could be firmware updated to Google Cloud Print, that is a Geeky part already, so if you do not know about firmware updates, skip it.
Basically you have two Google choices: 1) a Google Cloud Print Ready printer. 2) Connect to a classic printer, which is a basic way of telling you that you need a PC/laptop with an attached printer both turned on, and you have to configure your Pc/laptop for Google Cloud Print. (which I consider it to be a very idiotic proposition, a PC and a printer running all day in case you need to send a print job from a Chromebook)
There is a third choice, which I actually prefer and it is simpler, since I do not have a Google Cloud Printer Ready (yet), but I do have an Epson print scanner WIFI/LAN. In my case I have the Epson app installed in my Smartphone, so all I have to do is save my Chromebook job (spreadsheet, doc) in Google Drive, open the Google Drive in my phone, use the Epson print app and send the job to print.
Scanning this is another elephant, and an important one for me, I am more interested in scanning than actually printing from a mobile device.
Can you scan directly with Google Cloud? NO
I can scan with the Epson app on my phone and save it to Google Drive, and open it in the Chromebook.
I can scan with Epson Connect from the Chromebook.
I am sure that other brands of printer will offer you with their choices, but since I did my homework with Epson, that is what I will explain you.
First here is a link for Epson printer compatibility chart [...]
The next Link is for Epson Connect the software that allow you to scan and print any way you want: [...]
Basically you go to your printer/scanner, scan the doc, send it via email to you or others (other choices are available) just read.
Or just use your phone with the printer scan app, and save it to Google Drive.
Finally let’s decide if the Asus C-100 Flip Chromebook is for you, and if the Chrome OS will satisfy your needs.
I am extremely happy with the ASUS C-100 Flip, it is the best of two worlds a tablet and a basic laptop with its own stand, and I wouldn’t change it for any other Chromebook.
It was not easy to get accustom to it, I was missing the apps easy access that I have in the tablet, but after a week of using a full keyboard and a mouse. It was hard for me to go back to the tablet.
A Chromebook without the features of the C-100 does no cut it for me, on the other hand keep in mind this is just a 10”, and your needs may require a larger screen
How do you know if a Chromebook is for you?, it is easy, if you have a tablet or a PC (desktop /laptop) try for a week to do everything you need to do in a chrome browser, if you feel comfortable with it, and it covers your needs, then the Chromebook is for you.
If you have a decent Smartphone like an Android Kit Kat or newer OS and over 4.5” screen size, with decent specs memory and storage, you will realize that between your phone and the Chromebook you have it all, there is no need for you to duplicate functions having two devices doing the same thing, and one will help you to compensate the other.
A Chromebook is for you, if you do not need dedicated software in which you work such as CAD, powerful office suites, or powerful graphics editing, and your docs, music and pictures fit in a 64 - 128 GB micro SD, and /or in the cloud.
Chrome WebStore (apps / extensions and themes) AKA tourist trap, my recommendation is to install everything that is actually published by Google and Microsoft.
After that is just a punch of useless shortcuts, that promises the world and deliver nothing, plus the annoying fact that they take you to a website with ads, something you could avoid by just going right to the website yourself.
Install the Google and Microsoft office suites and cloud storage, take your pick or choose both, they will sync with the ones in your laptop/pc, and android device.
Tip reset screen automatic orientation
So after do in all the exploration which included messing with all kind of settings, installing and removing worthless stuff from the Google Webstore, my Asus C-100 didn’t like it (my fault), the result was that my screen did not change orientation automatically and the keyboard kept working in the laptop mode position, while in tablet mode.
So I reset the device to a factory configuration, still the problem was present.
Do not freak out, here is how to fix it without calling Google or Asus.
Press the refresh key (keyboard) is the fourth left to right on the top row (the circled arrow), at the same time press the side power switch. It will reset, refresh and everything will go back to normal.
You are you in your own here, whatever change you do in these settings, it’s your own doing, do not blame it on me, you have been warned.
Additional features in Chromebook, Chrome OS are in the browser chrome://( name of the menu)
chrome://version/ it will give you the version of the chrome
chrome://chrome-urls/ List of Chrome URLs (extended settings and info)
chrome://flags Experimental features
There are 2 issues with the Chrome OS / Web browser in the Chrome book:
1) You cannot make shortcuts of your favorite web sites (Amazon, eBay, CNN or whatever you like) for easy access on the shelf bar, Google makes you think that in order to do so you need to install an app (which is basically an icon that directs you to a web site)
2) The other problem is that when you look at your bookmarks what you find is just a list of stuff that you have saved.
In Chrome://flags you may choose to enable two settings.
1) Enable the new bookmark app system
Enabling this one (remember to save it), will add a new choice, with the browser open; go to the menu, more tools you will find now, a choice for Add to shelf.
This will allow you to go to your favorite web page, go to menu, go to more tools, click on Add to shelf, a popup window will show with the name of the site (edit the description to something short, it is important, for example just Amazon), depending on the website few will offer you with their own icon, otherwise the default icon will be the first letter of the website in this case for Amazon will be the letter A, leave it marked as open as a window, click on add (open as a window, will make it look cooler like an app, and the browser search bar will be hidden). The Icon shortcut will be installed in the Shelf bar, also in the App Launcher. If you typed a short name on the description as I told you before, when you place the courser over the tiles it will highly the name fully, so if you have two icons with the letter A, you will be able to know which is he one that you want to click on.
2) Enable Enhanced Bookmarks
Enabling this one (remember to save it), will add on the bookmark bar an icon with a yellow star called bookmarks, it will open all your bookmarks in large icons instead of a list.
If you like my review and tips, let me know, your comments are welcome, Happy Chroming
Update September 2016
Google has made available the Google Play for selected Chromebooks (the Asus flip series C100 is one of the few that is available for), it is in beta and requires you to upgrade the Chrome browser to latest version, after the update you will see in settings, advance options, a box that you need to check for the Google Play to work.
I do not recommend it for the 2GB Asus Flip, the Google Play its a memory hog, I was left it almost no memory and my Asus flip was crawling.
Those that own the 4GB may have a chance at making it work, but you will be left with only 2GB out of the 4 GB.
I think that the Google Play on chromebooks it is a great idea, but I think that will be for future chromebooks, that will be capable of handle it.
If you decide to install it, and you do not like the experience, you will have to reset your chromebook to factory settings, in order to totally remove the Google Play, just un-checking the box again will not do it.
Update memory resources 20 Jul 2015
Avoid installing worthless stuff as in “add to chrome”, “Apps” , “themes”,” extensions” Is going to eat your Chromebook memory,
You should have about 1 to 1.2 GB of memory available with 5 chrome tabs open.
Pay attention to Google docs and available offline, if you do not need it, turn it off.
If you start installing worthless stuff you may end with 500 MB of memory available while the browser is running.
Work with Bookmarks, it does not affect the memory.
Update August 26, 2015
Some fellow Amazoners have pointed a couple of times, the fact that you can use an app Arc Welder, to run android apps in a Chromebook. This is a job in progress by Google, which still Beta
The Arc Welder is available in the Chromebook web store.
If you want to play with it here is the link, I recommend that you read everything, if you do not understand it, then leave it alone.
The link is:[...]
Update October 8, 2015
I received a question from a fellow Amazoner with regards to the WebCam and Skype, to make it easier I just copied and pasted the information that I gave her.
The Chromebook, has a webcam, speakers and microphone built-in.
Skype does not have an app that works yet with the chromebook, they have a beta skype for web, visit [...] , unfortunately last time that I checked today before answering your question, the skype still in beta, and it did not worked for me.
I highly suggest you use Viber, is another VOIP. I use both Skype and Viber.
The Viber identifier is a mobile phone number, instead of a user name like the Skype.
You can make free and paid calls with the Viber.
You can make WebCam calls with Viber on a Chromebook.
Once you install first the Viber on a smarthphone, it will allow you to install it also in a PC, tablet or Chromebook that do not have telephone access, but do have internet access.
One of the advantages of the Viber, is that it will pull the contacts from your phone so its is much easier to work than with the Skype.
Other advantages, you can be on a call on a PC, and you may transfer the call to a phone or a tablet without hanging up.
You can install the Viber in your smartphone take it for a ride and test it, it does not have annoying adds, it is not intrusive, I consider it safe.
Think about the Viber, as a Skype with the features of the Whatsapp. The Viber app is available in the Chrome Web Store for Chromebooks.
Try it first before you go on your trip. Even though it is very simple, everything has a learning curve.
Update December 8, 2015
KEYBOARD SIZE COMPARED
A fellow Amazoner asked me a question related to the size of keyboards, here is for all to read.
I do not fell that the physical keyboard in the Chromebook is too cramped, I certainly I miss the right hand number keyboard typical of a full layout keyboard, if I need to do some serious works with it.
If I compare the QWERTY layout of the physical keyboard of the Chromebook to a STD size keyboard (a PC), the keyboard is not that much shorter.
It all depends in how much work you need to do, if you need to type a 10 pages report everyday definitely I will prefer to use a full size keyboard. But if it’s only few short emails, the physical keyboard of the Chromebook will be enough.
The screen keyboard in tablet mode is a different thing, I can hardly type a short email in it, for me is a keyboard that works for internet search pages while on tablet mode, and that it’s the reason why I opted for the Chromebook, instead of a 10” tablet. The Screen keyboard is much smaller that the physical keyboard on the Chromebook.
Now also remember that the Chromebook is Bluetooth ready, so you may get a full size Bluetooth enabled standard keyboard, which you may pair to the Chromebook, or any other device.
There is also a rollup, flexible wired keyboard, which you can plug in the USB port of the Chromebook (I have never tried them, so I do not know how good they are)
I have pretty large hands (gloves XL), and I do not have problems using the small physical keyboard on the Chromebook, but I also don’t use the Chromebook for heavy work; for that I have a PC.
Pictures are worth a 1,000 words. Please see the pictures below comparing the screen keyboard size to the physical keyboard, a full desktop PC keyboard vs the Chromebook, I cropped the pictures of the full keyboard, eliminating the number keyboard, in order to compare apples to apples. Sorry all for the crappy Pics, but you will get the idea.
Blue / 10.1-Inch IPS OGS, 1280x800 WXGA 350 nits / NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.2 quad / 1GB DDR3 / NVIDIA Tegra 3 / 16GB Flash with 5GB lifetime ASUS WebStorage / No Optical Drive / Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) / 802.11ABGN / 1.2M front 5M back / Bluetooth 3.0 / 3.75V*1 Li-Polymer battery 5070 mAh(19Wh) with up to 8.5 hours life / No keyboard (Dock) / 1YR North America