Asus Chromebook Flip CM5 review: stealthy and rugged AMD Chromebook with a big screen


The Asus Flip CM5 Chromebook is ready for cloud gaming.

Josh Goldman / CNET

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM5 is unlike what you might be used to seeing in the world of Chromebooks. It’s not bland gray and plastic like the entry-level models, but it’s also not thin and silvery aluminum like most high-end Chromebooks. The Flip CM5 has a 15.6 inch touchscreen and it is a two-in-one compatible with a USI stylus.

The body is topped with a dark gray anodized aluminum alloy cover and the interior, when you lift the cover, is all black with a soft touch finish. Asus has also locked the color of the WASD keys to orange, and the power and volume buttons on the left side are color-matched. It’s something you might find on any of the company’s entry-level gaming laptops, but definitely not on a Chromebook.

Like

  • Rugged build quality
  • Comfortable backlit keyboard
  • Good assortment of ports, fast wireless connections

Do not like

  • Dark and shiny screen
  • Heavy for a Chromebook

For years, people have been told to stay away from Chromebooks if they want to play games, and rightly so. The most you could do was play some simple browser-based games – fine if you kill the time between lessons, but not what most people are looking for in a gaming laptop. But then came the support. from Google Play and with it a whole bunch of mobile games. Then the addition of Linux support opened up more gaming options (including Minecraft).

Now with cloud gaming services like Stadiums, GeForce now and Xbox Game Pass Being able to run on Chromebooks all you need is a strong internet connection and you can have a good gaming experience. You still can’t easily play demanding, graphics-intensive games directly on a Chromebook, but you certainly have more options. And that’s where the Asus Flip CM5 Chromebook comes in.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM5

The Flip CM5 has ports including a USB-C on each side for charging.

Josh Goldman / CNET

Asus Chromebook Flip CM5 (CM5500FDA-IS588T)

Price as reviewed

$ 600

Display size / resolution

15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 touchscreen

CPU

2.1 GHz AMD Ryzen 5 3500U

Memory

8 GB 2400 MHz DDR4 (on board)

Graphic

AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 graphics card

Storage

128 GB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD

Networking

802.11ax wireless, Bluetooth 5.0

Connections

USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (x2), USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 (x2), HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm audio jack, microSD card slot

Operating system

Chrome OS

While the Flip CM5 lacks the graphics performance of a Windows gaming laptop, it does have solid performance for a Chromebook. In addition, with 802.11ax fast wireless (Wi-Fi 6), you get lag-free streaming experience. This is Asus’ first Chromebook with an AMD processor and graphics that perform between the models we tested with the 10th Gen Intel Core i3 and Core i5 processors. The setup I tested will first be available at Costco in August for $ 600. This price converts to around £ 434 and AU $ 813.

A $ 500 CM5 configuration is available, but it upgrades to a slightly slower Ryzen 3 processor, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of slower eMMC flash memory for storage. This setup would still be fine for general use, but spending an extra $ 100 if you can, you’ll get a much better Chromebook.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM5

The CM5 is tall but still quite thin.

Josh Goldman / CNET

Chromebooks have a reputation for being lightweight and having a long battery life. The CM5 is a little less suitable for travel as it is bigger and just over 4 pounds (1.9 kilograms). The 15.6-inch display is nice to have, however, and while it’s a bit too big and heavy to be used on your arm or in your hands like a tablet, it fits perfectly on your lap or on a tabletop. table. Plus, the two-in-one design means you can tent it or place the screen upright with the keyboard behind it. The two positions allow the keyboard to be pushed out of the way, which is nice for playing with a Bluetooth controller.

Battery life was decent in our streaming video test, hitting 10 hours and 2 minutes, which matches Asus’ claims. However, our test reduced the screen’s 250 nits brightness to 50%, which is pretty low. Even at full brightness, you’ll have a hard time seeing past glare on the glossy screen.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM5

Josh Goldman / CNET

Pretty much everything else with the Flip CM5 is pretty awesome, though. The keyboard is comfortable and backlit. And if you’re gaming in the cloud with a mouse, the highlighted WASD keys are nice to have. The glass touchpad is also smooth and responsive. If you want to write or draw on the screen, you can. It supports USI active styli and although Asus does not include a stylus, he’ll sell you one for $ 70. I tested with a Lenovo pen for $ 33 it worked well, however.

The webcam and built-in mics are mediocre at best. There are a lot of picture artifacts even in good lighting and you will need to really speak up to be heard by others on your Zoom or Meet chats. On the other hand, the speakers can get loud without warping and sounding great too.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM5

Josh Goldman / CNET

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM5 looks great, it’s well built, and the 15.6-inch screen gives you room to work and a better entertainment experience whether or not you plan to play on it. It’s bigger and heavier than your average Chromebook. And the dark and shiny screen can make working outdoors a bit strenuous, and increasing the brightness to combat glare will shorten your battery life. It’s nice to see something a little different in the category though, and the CM5 stands out in more ways than one.

About Jon Moses

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