Asus comes from a well-reputed line-up of some of the best Chromebooks in the business. The Taiwanese manufacturer has, at one point, even dominated this space with devices like the Asus Chromebook CX9 and the Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3.
From what we can tell, this versatile company has made both premium and budget-friendly Chromebooks to boot. This time, though, we have one of its newest devices—the Asus Chromebook CM14 Flip—under the guillotine. It’s priced at $279, so it’s obviously affordable and looks pretty decent on paper.
However, often, decent hardware does not translate to an equally good user experience, and that is what our dedicated review of the CM14 Flip is here to figure out as we take apart the device, narrow its strengths and weaknesses down, and offer our verdict that can potentially influence your purchasing decision.
With no further ado, let’s start immediately with the Asus Chromebook CM14 Flip review.
Asus Chromebook CM14 Flip technical specifications
- CPU: MediaTek Kompanio 520 (2.05 GHz speed)
- Display: 14″ touchscreen FHD (1920 x 1080), 16:9 aspect ratio, anti-glare display, 250 nits brightness
- Graphics: ARM Mali-G52 MC2
- Hard drive size: 64 GB
- RAM: 4 GB eMMC flash memory
- Camera: 720p HD camera with privacy toggle
- Ports: x2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, x1 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, 3.5 mm headphone jack, microSD card reader slot
- Battery: 42WHrs, 2S1P, 2-cell Li-ion, 11-12 hours runtime
- Charging speed: 90% in 40 minutes
- Weight: 3.44 lbs (1.56 kg)
- Price: $279
Asus Chromebook CM14 Flip in-depth review
We’ve gathered the following parameters to form a baseline for judging the Asus Chromebook CM14 Flip. Reading through the subsections ahead will pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for and not looking for in the device. Our initial impressions of the unit have been solid, though. It looks great, feels firm to pick up, and is portable.
Before we proceed with the specifics, here’s our review of the currently hot Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip. This is one of the recent Chromebooks that Asus has pushed out, offering a premium gaming experience with an ingrained readiness for entertainment-oriented platforms, such as Nvidia GeForce Now. Do check that out as well while you’re at it.
From a looks perspective, the Asus Chromebook CM14 Flip is nothing unusual. It comes in two different color variations, Gravity Grey and Grey Green, and they look equally attractive. The top and bottom lids are made out of plastic, but you’ll observe somewhat of a textured surface on the lower section of the device.
Considering its $279 price tag, the device has an appreciable look but certainly nothing in the head-turning category. Let’s explore more of what the design of the CM14 Flip has to offer when gauged from the build quality and its overall weight.
Build quality and weight
The fact that the Asus Chromebook Flip CM14 sports a plastic build doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a sturdy Chromebook. Of course, there are some grievances to it, and you don’t get to pick it up and go like, “Wow, this feels great to hold,” obviously, but at the end of the day, it’s more than capable of holding its own.
First, there is minimal flex and bending to the chassis of the Chromebook, signaling that the build is up to speed regardless of its sub $250 price tag. Moreover, our favorite part about the device’s build is that the CM14 Flip boasts military-grade durability with mil-spec (MIL-STD 810H) compliance.
Per the official product listing on Asus’ website, the unit has survived various endurance tests, including Port Durability, Vibration, Altitude, Panel Pressure, Keyboard Durability, and even a Hinge test. These consistent trials make the CM14 a rock-solid Chromebook to work with and something you can gift your little one for school.
Despite all that, the device is pretty slim and light, measuring about 12.80 x 8.93 x 0.72 inches dimensionally and weighing approximately 3.44 lbs. We’ve tested the device to slide into a backpack while resisting scratches easily, like when you’re out and about.
To talk about the display quality of the Chromebook next, let’s first cast a lens on what we have on paper. The specs sheet of the Chromebook tells us that this is a 14-inch touchscreen with an FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution. The aspect ratio is 16:9, and the panel is anti-glare. In the price bracket of $279, all of the latter is more than just doable.
Using the screen for a fair bit of time now, it’s been observed that the colors are punchy, as in they genuinely pop off, and the viewing angles are admirable, too. The readable text on the screen is visually crisp, and the overall unit seems to be put together well. However, if there’s an issue worth discussing here, it’s the panel’s brightness, which maxes out at 250 nits.
This can be a fair enough turn-off for many, especially those who live more of an on-the-fly lifestyle and have to tend to outside dwelling for the major part of their day. That said, it’s not all too bad, but the difference between this and something like the Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook is easily distinguishable.
Apart from that downside, the screen of the CM14 Flip is touch-enabled and highly responsive, not to mention compatibility with a USI stylus. Moreover, it sports a convertible form factor for 2-in-1 functionality, so you know your use case can be flexible with this device, whether you’d like to use it as a tablet or a standard laptop.
Moving onto the spill-resistant, anti-microbial keyboard of the Asus Chromebook Flip CM14, we’re pretty surprised with the level of quality offered here. Typing on the device feels nice and firm, and the keys have a good amount of travel to them as well. If you know you can be clumsy sometimes and spill liquid on your laptop, the CM14 Flip will be prepared to handle it.
405 cubic centimeters of water, to be exact, is the maximum capacity that the Chromebook can shrug off and act like nothing happened. We’ve spent a fair bit of time typing away on the device, and never even once did it occur to us that the keyboard isn’t comfortable. It’s the exact opposite.
Moreover, the keyboard has a bit of an Ergo Lift mechanism in place for itself as well. This feature makes the keyboard deck of the device come a little upward when you lift the hinge. It’s catchy and amounts to a better typing experience day in and day out.
And a similar type of story continues with the trackpad of the Chromebook. Make no mistake, it is made out of plastic, but it’s a large-sized component that measures about 5.8 inches and offers an excellent click mechanism. Some cheap Chromebooks have this bad build of not registering a click if you tap on any of the far corners of the trackpad, but that’s nowhere the case with the CM14 Flip.
The port selection on the device is pretty much commendable. It uses a nice collection of a single USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, a duo of USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C ports, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a microSD card reader slot to expand your storage options. Moreover, a standard Kensington lock keeps your device’s physical security intact.
Even if you don’t find the I/O of the device up to scratch, which may be unlikely, please know that you can always get yourself a dedicated USB-C hub for your Chromebook. Doing so will significantly increase your port options for good.
The 720p webcam of the Asus Chromebook CM14 Flip was well on its way to being the usual cut of cameras that most Chromebooks come slapped on with. However, it’s far from that. The manufacturer has equipped this component with a fair bit of smarts, incorporating heightened technology to make your video calling experiences on Meet or Zoom smoother.
The camera of the device sports what Asus calls Focus Auto Exposure, which dynamically adjusts the lighting from the environment to focus on your face and brighten it up for better viewing. It’s an excellent tool to uplift your presentation whenever you have to attend an important meeting. Lastly, there’s a privacy shutter embedded in the camera, too.
While the speakers of the Asus Chromebook Flip CM14 will not blow your mind per se, they will keep you content throughout the service period of the device. They’re reasonably loud, sport a fair amount of clarity, and pretty much A-grade if you factor in the price of the Chromebook.
Most devices in the $250 price range have downright awful speakers. Thankfully, that does not happen to be the case here. In addition, the speakers also happen to be bottom-firing and, even so, perform well to a reasonable extent instead of putting up a stifled listening experience for users.
So, the Asus Chromebook CM14 Flip has been more than just a decent Chromebook up until now, but the type of evaluation coming for it next will ultimately be either a deal-breaker or a deal-maker for this $279 unit. Fortunately for those interested in nabbing the Chromebook, the CM14 Flip is fast and reliable.
Employing a capable MediaTek Kompanio 520 processor with a 4 GB RAM and 64 GB hard drive setup, the CM14 Flip lets you switch back and forth between Android and Linux apps on the go without worrying about stuttering or anything of the like. However, given the limited processing power of the CPU, don’t expect to go overboard.
Otherwise, you’ll only be letting down yourself. The CM14 Flip excels regarding single tasks, which run over one at a time. Of course, this may not apply to all types of users, especially those who multitask with different things simultaneously.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet‘s primary configuration came with a Kompanio 500 and offered appreciable performance as far as a tablet Chromebook is concerned. This one, being a step up from that, works at a faster rate in comparison to the Duet, which, by the way, is another fantastic Chromebook.
Currently, Asus does not offer configurations of the CM14 Flip other than the MediaTek Kompanio 520, 4 GB RAM, and 64 GB storage option listed on Walmart. However, if you head over to the specs sheet page of the device on Asus’ official website, you’ll find that other variants of the device in the RAM and storage compartments have been listed.
This insinuates that more configurations of the CM14 Flip will pop up sooner or later, offering more storage and RAM power over the base model of the device. We’re not sure how much those will be priced, but we expect an increase between $100 and $200.
3. Battery life
Thanks to the 42WHrs, 2-cell Li-ion battery of the Chromebook CM14 Flip, we have fantastic battery runtimes at our disposal that cross the 10-11-hour mark of battery runtime. If you’re cautious about the brightness, you can stretch the device’s usage to 12 hours.
4. Final thoughts
At long last, the answer that you’ve been seeking all those sections in—does the Asus Chromebook CM13 Flip come across as worth it? The answer is a firm yes. Sure, it may not have the best exterior body or the brightest screens, but it performs well as long as you don’t overwork it, sporting an excellent battery runtime.
We’d wager our money on the device any day of the week, and the fact that low-range devices such as this one go on sale all the time, you may want to wait on purchasing the Chromebook until it sees a price drop for the most bang for your buck value possible. Still, at $279, we recommend the unit for everything that it brings to the table.