What does a primary school student really need from a PC? These days, you can do almost everything in a web browser, and more and more educational institutions are turning to Chromebooks by the day. Asus wants a piece of that pie, and its Chromebook Flip C213 is primed and ready for schoolkids who need a basic portable PC.
Like the original Chromebook Flip that we reviewed in the past, this machine is a convertible. Its 11.6" touchscreen has what Asus calls a 360° hinge, meaning that the display can be folded back against the bottom of the Chromebook and used like a tablet. An optional Wacom EMR stylus is available for institutions that need pen input, and the display can come covered with Gorilla Glass for durability. Asus will also offer a cheaper version of the machine that skips the glass and pen input for a simple anti-glare coating. Both versions are covered in a special scratch-resistant anti-fingerprint material, and include rubber grips to help keep it from slipping out of little fingers.
The Chromebook Flip C213 is powered by an Intel Celeron N3350—although Asus avoids calling it a Celeron by using the chip's Apollo Lake codename. We haven't seen too many machines using Apollo Lake SoCs since their cousins using the same "Goldmont" CPU architecture were unceremoniously killed off by Intel. This particular part uses two of those cores running at 1.1 GHz, with bursts up to 2.4 GHz. Intel specs the N3350 for a 6W TDP, so the C213 probably won't be a speed demon. It should be perfectly fit for purpose as an educational Chromebook, though.
That Celeron SoC's integrated graphics power an 11.6" display with a 1366×768 resolution that Asus specs for 178˚ viewing angles, although the company doesn't specify the underlying panel technology. It gets 4GB of memory and 32GB of eMMC storage, both fairly typical for Chromebooks at this point. More unusually—at least for a Chromebook—the C213 has a fair amount of external connectivity: two USB 3.0 Type-C ports, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and a microSD card slot. Students will be able to use an "HD" front webcam for video conferencing, or snap higher-quality photos with a five-megapixel rear camera. Wireless connectivity includes both Bluetooth 4.0 and 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
That power-sipping Celeron should also help with battery life, an important quality for an on-the-go machine meant for all-day use. Asus says the 46-Whr battery in the Chromebook Flip C213 should last for up to 12 hours of continuous use. The machine's not super light at 2.7 lbs (1.2 kg), but it will probably spend most of its life on a desk anyway. According to Asus, you can pick up a Chromebook Flip C213 for $349 right now, although we couldn't find it at e-tail just yet.