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Video Review of the $159 ASUS C201 Chromebook


The blue-tiful C201

The ASUS C201 Chromebook is a not a device found topping most people’s must have lists. 

But as our own benchmarks show it performs better than many expect. That, the long battery life (as much as 13 hours) and the cheap price make it a strong contender on paper.

The C201 is priced from $159 in the US ($199/£199 for the 4GB model) and sports an 11.6-inch display, is powered by a quad-core Rockchip RK3288 processor and has 2GB RAM and 16GB of storage.

Standard fare for Chromebooks, granted. But this is an ASUS notebook, not something made by a company whose name reads like a mangled phrase spat out by Google translate.

ASUS C201 Hands-on Video

In case you needed a bit more persuasion — and with shiny new convertible devices running this very same processor on the way, you just well might — we thought it timely to post this video from our long-time buddy Charbax over at the ARM-centric tech site

Charbax is a character but he always gets straight to the point so despite this video clocking in at a digestible 4 minutes he covers pretty much everything you’d want to know.

A great overview of an often overlooked Chromebook — but is it enough to tempt you? Let us know in the comments below.

  • $159? Someone please share their experiences with this! :)

    • stri8ed

      Check amazon. Overall, has great reviews.

      • IifIlfIlIilIliIlfllIlIiIlIIlIl

        You mean like on the internets?

    • calden74

      Don’t buy the 2GB variant whatever you do, not when it only costs 40 dollars more for the 4GB version. I don’t get why people get so cheap when it comes to buying Chromebooks.

      • Tim Gonzales

        I don’t get why it bothers you so much.

        • Randall Collins

          Yeah, I don’t get it either. Before I bought my C201 – 4gb, I had the Asus C200 with 2gb of RAM. It ran perfectly fine. My kids are certainly enjoying it. Yes, a 4gb chromebook will generally run smoother and more efficiently than a 2gb model but the way calden is obsessively ranting, you’d think opening a webpage on a 2gb model would sent it up in flames! lol

          $30 to $50 more for additional RAM might be difficult for some people so if one can only afford a 2gb model, then get it. It works the same and will still give you that wonderful Chrome experience.

          • Danny Gluch

            Its not even about affording it, its about ROI. Adding $40 to the purchase of a $1000 machine is much different than adding $40 to a $160 machine (25% of the initial investment). Will $40 make the machine 25% better or last 25% longer? I’d suggest save the money and if it slows down in a couple years you are 25% closer to buying a replacement with will be significantly upgraded.

          • Randall Collins

            Your logic is somewhat irrelevant. This is a fluid relationship that can’t be measured by trite mathematical logic. But to answer your question, no. There are simply too many variables at stake.

            A $25.00 “improvement” on a $1000.00 machine can yield a significant benefit (eg: extra RAM) with no appreciable increase in investment. But a $50.00 plastic colored case slapped on a $150.00 Chromebook, to give it a more aesthetic appeal, can increase its “value” with no increase in usability or performance. And here’s the kicker: Neither one of my examples can be quantifiably measured any more than your examples.

            So if someone wants to spend extra money for a feature that can provide a measurable difference in the user experience, real or imagined, the cost is meaningless. But hey, saving money is saving money, right? Take that savings and go buy a nice dinner for yourself. You’ll enjoy that more and will most likely have a machine that still functions well in a couple of years. :-)

      • IifIlfIlIilIliIlfllIlIiIlIIlIl

        That way you can tell your friends it has 4GB (and get precisely the same performance as the 2GB model). If you friends are naive, they won’t even laugh at you for wasting the money!

    • liamdools

      Cheaper doesn’t always mean better. In the long run, my C720, a Chromebook praised for its cheapness that I’ve been using since December 2013, now runs like garbage, has two to three hour battery life, creaks, and has had screws strip themselves and fall out. I would guess that something forty dollars cheaper would get worse faster.

    • Andreas Mikael Schoenfeldt

      I imported mine from the US to Norway. I was going to buy the 4GB version, but amazon would not ship that one to Norway for some reason or other. Therefore I ended up with the 2GB version, and I love it! The battery life is amazing. It works great for youtube, netflix, and general browsing. I would not expect to use hundreds of tabs at once, even with the 4GB version. In conclusion: the 2GB version is a bargain!

  • Sean Lumly

    The next chromebook I buy, will likely be a mid-range $500 device (if such a category exists). The Asus C200 has served me really well, and I’d like to improve on its performance and screen-size (without a sacrifice to battery life) with my next device. But this will not be for some time.

    The Acer c201 seems nice for entry-level, but it is targeted to a user that has very different needs and preferences than myself.

    • Winnz

      Is the Toshiba Chromebook 2 not enough? I mean a great screen, great battery life and mediocre performance is all you would need it would seem. What is it you want with those extra 200$?

      • Sean Lumly

        It looks good, but I would like a lower weight coupled with high res, and 10 – 12 hour battery life. The Asus C200 gets really close to this vision, but the performance is a bit lower than my liking, and the screen could be a higher resolution..

        Perhaps you had a particular variant in mind that I might not be aware of?

        I’m not in the market now, but at some point I will be.

    • calden74

      Wait for the new HP’s to come out with Nvidia’s X1 CPU. It’s as fast an i3, I just bought the new Shield TV and the benchmarks don’t lie, this thing is incredible and will be perfect for Chrome.

      • Sean Lumly

        The CPU cores are the ARM Cortex A57, but I don’t doubt that the performance is impressive (the GPU is pretty great as well). I will look forward to seeing the performance!

    • systemBuilder

      The i5 Chrome c910 is what you are looking for. All the features of the pixel at half the price, with a 15.6″ display.

      • Sean Lumly

        Thanks for the recommendation! Right now, I am fine with what I have 11.6″ Asus C200. 13″ would be nice, but only if it were very thin, light and compact. 15″ is way larger than I would want in a laptop, though.

        I agree, a “category-killer” 13″ would be very nice..

  • stri8ed

    Error in article. Its an Asus not Acer.

    • Gah! I do that far too often. Corrected.

      • Brad

        Wait til Asix starts producing Chromebooks, then you’ll really get confused! ;-)

  • ωααrοnω

    Totally, completely, absolutely love mine. (4gb) I have an expensive laptop that stays safe at my office most of the time now and this $200, 2lb machine goes everywhere with me! It’s plenty fast, the keyboard and trackpad are excellent, and the build quality is better than I expected. I do wish the screen were better, but it’s completely adequate for my needs. Highly recommended.
    Oh, and the 11-13hr battery life seals the deal!

  • Young CRV

    Had mine for a week. First Chromebook. The price was right.

    • Young CRV

      BTW, I bought the 2gb model and have had no problems with that amount of RAM at all. I did google and do the “enable swap” command. Just in case people were looking at the 2GB vs 4GB models.

      • calden74

        Why, the 4GB model is only 40 dollars more, I honestly just don’t understand peoples buying decisions. Your phone probably has more RAM than your computer.

        • Paul McDonald

          In my family of 6, we have two Acer C720s, one Toshiba Chromebook 2 (not the full HD), one LG Chromebase and one original Samsung Series 3. They are great machines, and we all use them interchangeably and although all are 2G models, we don’t experience any performance problems, though we do have 100M broadband service which probably helps. I am a little puzzled by your comments. Certainly with Windows extra memory makes a difference, though Windows 7 and after, it is less of an issue. Do you have more than 1 Chromebook? Or were you talking from a Windows background. The Chrome OS is 700MB, Windows 8 OS is 20GB. So Windows 8 OS is 25 times bigger than Chrome OS. Hence 2G memory is sufficient for Chrome OS.

        • Christopher Knapp

          Some can’t purchase the 4GB model. I have been looking everywhere for it in Canada, and the 2GB is all anyone carries here.

  • Jay Gatsby

    bought the 4gb model about a week ago. Great little machine. Build quality is excellent – trackpad is reminiscent of mac. screen resolution is good with plenty of brightness. battery life amazing. almost no heat. couldn’t be happier. Price is bonus but this is a just a great machine.

    • JUDGE

      When I saw the videos of this Asus, I was stunned by the quality of the screen despite being, again, a TN panel. Maybe, glossy panel are BETTER than mate panel when it’s a TN panel. The best, as always, is the ISP technology. HP is bringing back the IPS option on its new HP11 G4.

  • Mobile_Dom

    really not afan of this Charbax guy.

    on the other hand, the perf of the RK3288 chromebooks has been insane, and even on the 2 gb models, 2 finger scrolling doesnt seems to struggle, video playback seems far more than acceptable and battery life to boot! and with these coming in at even lower cost than the Intel ones for similar if not the same performance.

    lets just see hwo long it takes these to come to the UK.

    also, this makes me think that the Chromebit wont be as underpowered as many had feared.

    • JUDGE

      It’s available on Amazon France at €250.00 (VAT inc.), so, maybe it’s available on the UK website too.

  • calden74

    Why do they still bother putting only 2GB of memory in these new ChromeBooks, you would have to be an absolute idiot to not buy the model with 4GB of RAM. Especially when it’s only 40 dollars more, even those who can not afford it can easily wait until they can, it’s 40 dollars we are talking about. With that 40 dollars you are getting a much, much better experience, 2GB of RAM is no longer sufficient. Heck, even my Android Tablet has 3GB of RAM and I’m dumping it the second a model with 4GB of RAM becomes available. Why all this need for RAM, web apps, simple, basic web surfing, sure I guess, 2GB is fine, though I personally wouldn’t own a machine with that much RAM. Use AudioTool, MS Office, Pixel, Photoshop, Zoho, etc, than you’ll start feeling thee need for more RAM real quickly. STOP producing machines with only 2GB of RAM, what does it costs for an extra 2GB, what, 5 maybe 7 dollars to the manufacturer. If not, than at least give us the ability to upgrade the RAM ourselves, why all of a sudden is notebook RAM soldered, you know Apple started this trend so they can charge their horrendously huge prices, I friggen hate it and as should everyone else. Example: I saved almost 2500 USD by buying my memory and 14 Core Intel Xeon processor seperatly for my Apple Mac Pro, 2500 USD, let that sink in for a second. Not only did I get a faster processor as Apple only sells the 12 Core variant but 64GB of RAM, and saved enough to buy a fully loaded MacBook Pro. I of course opted for the Google Pixel i7, 16GB, 64GB SSD. Sorry for the rant, I’m just sick of seeing 2GB of RAM still being utilized, it’s as bad as the iPhone only using 1GB.

    • Pablo Álvarez

      Although I agree with pretty much everything you said, you gotta remember some people only get these for watching videos, checking emails and using facebook. Not everyone has 20+ tabs open all the time and even if it’s only $40, not wanting to pay for performance they’ll never use is perfectly understandable. I think it’s great there’s still an option for cheaper models even if I wouldn’t buy them.

    • dourscot

      Used several Chromebooks and the 4GB RAM makes no difference unless you run a lot of tabs at once. The price difference on some models is also far greater than you suggest.

      What I did notice is that the extra RAM takes a small chunk out of battery life.

      • calden74

        Really, I can bring a ChromeBook to it’s knees with a single tab opened. It all depends on the web app your running. Some take up more ram than others. There is more to the ChromeBook than just casual surfing. Try listening to Spotify and while typing up a 5 page document in MS Word and see how far 2GB of RAM takes you.

      • JUDGE

        For an ARM based Chromebook, 4 Gigs is the strict minimum to properly work with a lot of tabs open. Chrome OS is not optimized for such CPU architecture. Maybe in the updates to come…

    • IifIlfIlIilIliIlfllIlIiIlIIlIl

      You don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about. There is absolutely no need for more than 2GB. Performance is not affected by doubling it. Basically, they put out the 4GB models for people who want to pay more and think they are getting something. You fell for it.

  • Saith Villalobos

    I’ve had mine for the better part of a month now. I bought it when it was $169 at Amazon (they lowered the price the day after dang!) and I have to say it blew my expectations away!. I actually bought it as a part of an experiment, I own a small company and was curious to see if I could give these to my employees (and I will), and the end result was me getting rid of my Lenovo S400 and using this as my daily driver. The keyboard and trackpad are excellent, i got used to the layout in about a day or two. I run my whole business from here and have several tabs open all day long like QuickBooks, Mail, Calendar, Keep, Skype, Whatsapp, either Spotify or Youtube and surf the web on 5 or 6 other tabs and never had any slowdowns or anything (this is the 2GB model). The internet connection I have is only 2Mbps and thats my only gripe. The battery life is also great, I start my day at 7AM and finish like 9PM and it holds all the way. This is my first ChromeBook and certainly not the last. Looking forward to buy a ChromeBook Pixel. Overall it’s the best Laptop I could buy for that kind of money. I’m even thinking of importing them to my country, Costa Rica and start selling them!

    • Degru

      I’d reconsider if you really need the pixel before buying it. It is rather expensive for a Chromebook, considering what it is capable of.

      Of course, if you really want a super super fast Chromebook, and a really nice 3:2 aspect ratio screen, then it is for you.

      • Saith Villalobos

        Yeah, I know its far too expensive for a Chromebook, but it is also the only with premium non-plasticky finish and high end hardware. And with that screen resolution its either a MacBook Pro or some other equally expensive windows laptop, and since I manage all my business in the cloud, its a really appealing option!

    • calden74

      Really just buy a refurbished Lenovo X230T, it’s the last model Lenovo made with the tablet function. Anyway it makes an incredible ChromeBook, people don’t realize this but you can grab the source code yourself and install Chrome OS an virtually any x86 notebook. I just happen to think the x series from lenovo runs it the best. All of the hardware is supported including the cellular card if you happen to grab a model that has it. You can get a pretty tricked out one for less than 500 bucks on eBay now. Great battery, touch screen, faster than the Pixel if you get the version, up to 16GB of RAM, removable battery with options like a batter slice that will give you up to 20 hours of battery, you can’t go wrong. Don’t be filled into thinking the Pixel is your only option, I would also look a the ThinkPad T series if you prefer a larger notebook. Even though I have a Pixel 2, I use the Thinkpad a lot more, it’s just so darn good.

      • Saith Villalobos

        Thanks, I will look into it. I also like de design on the Thinkpad laptops, its just immortal. I’m going to look after the T450 and the Pixel to make a choice.

  • Bume1982

    < ▬▬▬▬★★★★.+iomgchrome+ *********Reset your job with modvive


  • MichelleJJones@

    Text Me.. if you want omgchrome job < w­­­­­w­­w.S­­h­­i­­f­­t­­J­­o­­b­­9.­­­­­c­­­­­o­­­­­m

  • Caseas

    < ?????? +dilbert +*********…..


  • IifIlfIlIilIliIlfllIlIiIlIIlIl

    Using a hosted audio tool (something that 0.1% of Chromebook users will do) is for a laptop, not a Chromebook.

  • Manny B

    I’m looking into purchasing my first chromebook decided to go with the Acer chromebook 15 but now can’t decide if it’s worth spending the extra $100 difference for the i3 processor compared to the Celeron processor. I plan on doing everything I can with the chromebook including installing Crouton running Linux(will that run better with the i3?) also downloading large file movies, music, stream video (will download speeds increase with the i3?), run a good amount of tabs at once and want to experience fast Web browsing. Also would like to take advantage of the 802.11ac spectrum since I now have a router with that wifi tech (would the 5GHz work better with the i3?) I am not tech savvy & I would greatly appreciate any help from anyone! Thanks! K

    • kendra.tindell
  • Rogermthoms

    we read this chrome < w­­­w­­­w.­­­­N­e­t­C­a­s­h­­­9­­.­­­C­­­o­­­m

  • DB01

    Does anyone know when the Asus Chromebit is coming out?

  • jodi.donne


  • Todd Morgan

    My parent bought me the Asus C201 for my birthday. I’m a long time Linux user and this is my first Chromebook. For the price, it’s a GREAT machine. The battery life is insane and it’s very usable for all sorts of tasks. I’ve been bringing it to work (Linux admin/programmer) lately to see what I can use it for in a work environment. It’s not an ideal machine, but I can get more tasks done with it than you might think. So far, I’m impressed.

  • Jake Bryan

    I’m going with this Chromebook b/c it has an ARM processor and I would like to put Arch Linux on it

  • There’s no need to be convinced as I’m typing on one right now. It’s perfect!