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ASUS To Launch the ‘Most Affordable Chromebook To Date’

rockchip logoASUS is gearing up to launch the ‘most affordable Chromebook to date’, according to a listing featured in an American educational reseller catalog.

Dubbed the ASUS C201, the new Chromebook is powered by an RK3288 ARM processor from Chinese company Rockchip, comes with 2GB RAM and features an 11.6-inch HD screen.

The listing features discreetly in Phoenix-based tech company Troxell’s 2015 brochure for K-12 education, sitting nestled under boxes promoting more popular Chromebooks.

ASUS C201 Chromebook Details

The Troxell Catalog Page Highlights the ASUS C201

The Troxell Catalog Page Highlights the ASUS C201

Rockchip processors …Chromebooks …has there been a misprint?


The ASUS C201 Chromebook backups earlier hints and demonstrations by the chip maker itself, including one memorable demo of a 13.3-inch laptop running Chromium OS, the open-source version of Chrome OS, shown off last year (and using the RK3288 processor, to boot).

Based on the catalog listing the hardware specifications for the new ASUS Chromebook is as follows:

  • 11.6-inch HD display (1377×768) 
  • RockChip 3288-C SoC @ 1.8GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB eMMC Storage
  • VGA Webcam

No word on ports, though it’s unlikely to have shunned the usual selection of USB, HDMI and SD Card reader.

The ASUS C201 (model number: C201PA) is, like most current Chromebooks, being targeted at education. Googling the model number throws up a handful of inventory listings for a similar touch-enabled model offering 4GB RAM and a 32GB SSD.


The RK3288 feature a quad-core ARM Cortex A17 CPU running at 1.8GHz that is, on paper, a capable processor for a light portable device like a Chromebook (though as seen with the Exynos and Nvidia Tegra K1 range of devices that doesn’t always translate well into real world performance that’s worth singing about).

Indeed, early benchmarks of the SoC put its performance just about on par with the Nvidia Tegra K1 that, in benchmarks conducted for this site, show it to be one of the slowest processors to be found in current gen Chromebooks.

The RK3288 SoC also features a Mali-T674 GPU capable of powering a 4K monitor, delivering decent 3D performance, H265 video decoding and a bunch of other niceties.


But what about price? That is, for now, unknown. The Troxell blurb for the ASUS C201 does mention that it is the company’s :most affordable Chromebook to date” which gives us a ballpark to play with: the cheapest Chromebooks based on RRP have been around ~$199 US.

Chances are you haven’t forgotten those tempting Digitimes teases of upcoming “$149 Chromebooks from ASUS and Lenovo”, though.

With no formal announcement from ASUS on this device, much less any word on pricing or release date, the short excerpt posted above is all we have to go on.

At least, for now.

Huge thanks to Mike “” Cullers

  • tiamat2009

    1377×768 in 2015? Forget it, even if you gave one for free I wouldn’t want to use it.

    • Oleg Yaroshevych

      They call it “HD Display”…

      • BKarno

        1280×720 is an accepted HD resolution, so 1377×768 is HD. By today’s standards, this is a rather low resolution, but it wasn’t that long ago that many HD televisions (even up to 50″) were only 720p native.

        • HarryWarden

          After using the IPS display in the Toshiba Chromebook 2 going back to use my more powerful (but non-retina) MacBook was difficult. Really, there’s almost no excuse for crappy TN displays except in low cost devices like this Chromebook. Can’t believe Apple continues to use TN displays in its MacBook Air line. While they are Apple’s cheapest computers, they still aren’t really what I would consider cheap for a laptop computer.

          • BKarno

            The display in the Toshiba CB2 is excellent; that’s for sure. I’ve helped my daughters college roommate with her 11.6″ MBA on several occasions, and while I was impressed by the machine itself, the screen left a bit to be desired. It’s very good for a TN panel, but like you said, it’s hard to believe Apple is still using them.

      • tiamat2009

        In germany that is HD ready… basically a marketing ploy to sell stuff… FULL HD is all I’m interested in in a laptop

    • I’ve used one, and it really isn’t all that bad unless you’re holding it up really close to your face,

    • Yes, you would. 1920x10801i is great on a 15″ screen or larger. 1377×768 actually rides better (for me) on my 13″ CB5-311.

  • Mainstream Chromebooks’ specs (and performance) have been on an upward trend over the last few months. This new model with the Rockchip processor addresses a segment in the education market where schools need to deploy hundreds or thousands of devices to their students. Many school districts can’t afford to spend $300 per device. If this new model is priced around $150 and has a decent build quality to withstand daily student use, Asus may have a winner.

    • JUDGE

      Agree. Schools need good materials at affordable prices. They don’t care about how powerful the embedded CPU could be. It’s not a major point in their choices. They need something cheap to buy but not cheap to have in the kids hands.
      People must think in 1K units to buy at once. People must think that for the available same budget to spend in “classic” Chromebooks, they will have more Chromebooks to share to the kids. The high priced Chromebooks are doing the same tasks that the low priced are doing too. People must think that this model (and the others too) is for schools, institutions, libraries.
      The Chromebook was defined to be THE laptop for the scholars. At any cost. They have filled the gap that many laptops manufacturers have not done in years: to propose cheap, strong, easy to maintain laptops for schools purposes. That’s the main sales argument for the Chromebooks.
      Now, if you, as a private person, need a Chromebook, then you have the choice among a (not so big enough to my taste) list of available machines. Some are really affordable despite their low powered CPU (like my HP 11 G1) and some are not so affordable at all (please Google, send me a Pixel!!!!! ^^). But they do the same tasks, no matter what about the specs. And that’s their second major point to sale.

      • normcf

        You’ve hit the nail on the head. There is quite a difference between the consumer market and the education market. In the education market they need inexpensive solutions that perform the functions they need. Most of the uses for students (like writing documents, research and testing) does not need high performance. Another big expense for schools is maintaining devices (which include software updates, virus protection, reimaging etc) and chromebooks have a far lower cost. The initial cost of the devices is important, but the ongoing cost savings are even greater.

        • *Dope Sick In DC* >>-> #NORMCF You are so right. May I add that… The HUGE DefCon I work for would save untold GOB$ of ca$h buying CB’s for us minions instead of these resource hogging, yet powerful and elegant D3LL LapTops. Everyone has one and very few actually utilize their potential. It’s a sickening cycle that you have to buy these powerful little beasts just so you can run M$ Office. Google has demonstrated that “We” do not need such resource intensive applications to do our daily jobs. My employer is an addict and the certified vendors are the dealer’s, we are the enabler’s for we authorize this behavior with every tax dollar.

      • Fallen Alive

        Well. “The chromebook is the laptop for the scholars”… I thought Chrome OS was the laptop for the cloud… (The biggest market, obviously bigger than only education market)

  • Ice

    The fact that it does not come with an Intel processor on board is a major let down. I am sorry but the processor is more than 75% of what people look for in a computer regardless if it is a Chromebook or a full desktop set-up. Sorry ASUS I will keep using my C200. Also the Exynos processor alone is a very under powered process. Most people want Intel or AMD over this, IMHO if you want a decent Chromebook then I would say go with a Chromebook that has a Intel processor on board. If you ask anyone what they would rather have Intel or AMD they would most likely say Intel. AMD is not a bad processor but Intel is where the true power lies within Intel.

    • Mr Torch

      ARM Processors are perfectly acceptable and certainly plenty of ARM chips are extremely fast as well as energy efficient. My ARM powered LG G3 and Xperia Z tablet are both much more powerful and faster than my Laptop powered by Intel.

    • Sebastiaan Franken

      If you’re going to compile that complete Linux kernel on a device I agree with you. It’s nice to have a lot of powerrrrr when you need it. But let’s face it, ChromeOS and 95% of it’s users aren’t going to do anything remotely CPU intensive on these devices so a lower-powered (yet more efficient, ARM doesn’t have the overhead that X86 has) is more than enough for them. I’ve used a Samsung Chromebook before I bought my HP 14 and I still like it, it’s the screensize that got to me. I really couldn’t work on the tiny screen, which is why I chose the HP.

  • moe

    i was hoping for a ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi chromebook, or some form of iteration of it.

  • DC_Rat

    The ad doesn’t say “the most affordable Chromebook to date.” It says, “ASUS’s most affordable Chromebook to date.” Granted, ASUS’s most affordable Chromebook may very well end up being the most affordable Chromebook, but not necessarily.

  • Skane

    $99 is the perfect price-point for consumers but manufacturers would lose money on it. The problem is that eliminating Windows removes a lot of functionality but not much cost.

    • Austin Davolt

      Windows sucks… sorry to be the one to break it too you :(

      • ChromeDude

        Correction – Windows 8 sucks, and most likely Windows 10 will as well, but 7 was actually reasonable, and give me XP anyday

        • mark

          Windows 8 brings the benefits that chrome os does (fast boot, no need for 3rd party virus checker, built in cloud storage/back up). Compared to 7, if you don’t like the new start menu, either install a free utility or it’ll be fixed in 10 anyway, otherwise it works like 7. (And on chrome you launch things by clicking on icons, so it isn’t really relevant here to complain about that.)

          XP was just 2000 with a crappy ui.

          • Juha Ahonen

            I don’t agree. Based on my own experience with this kind of cheap HW Crome os is still real fast but Windows (even win8) lags big time. Not to mention: 2Mb RAM + Windows = fail.

          • ChromeDude

            I think you mean 2 Gb, but yeah, you’re right, my HP 11 Chromebook doesn’t lag until I have at least 6-7 apps running at once and it only has 2 Gb RAM. Mind you, there are probably some really old computers that ran on 2Mb!

      • mark

        Not everyone has the same opinion, sorry to be the one to break it to you.

        • rumah makann

          Agree. Not everyone think the same. For me chromebook is my main notebook and windows sucks.

          • Austin Davolt

            I still think windows is a bad os.

        • Austin Davolt

          I cant think of one reason someone would choose windows or mac os x, windows is slow and prone to viruses, mac os x is just overpriced unix with a sleek interface.

          • Nick

            Software compatibility. Some software just isn’t available on Ubuntu/Debian.

          • geepat

            Overpriced in comparison to what?

          • Austin Davolt

            Everything, the hardware on macs are overpriced. I could build a computer and install Ubuntu or Debian for like half the price and double the power.

          • geepat

            You mean an ultrabook with the same trackpad, keyboard, SSD speed, battery life which costs less? Funny, I would buy one in an heartbeat if it was optimized for Windows, but sadly it doesn’t exist yet.

        • CHROME OS IS LIFE <3

    • rumah makann

      You think wrong.
      You only think chromebook only eliminate the windows price.

      You should also think that windows wont be happy with ARM CPU. Windows is heavy, boated, full of virus.

      Using chromebook is peacefull state. You dont have to worry about viruses

      With chromebook
      Manufacture making money with $100 chromebook
      User happy with $100 chromebook performance
      And most importantly no viruses

      • Austin Davolt

        I would also like to see laptops with Debian or Ubuntu installed.

        • Sebastiaan Franken

          System76 does just that

        • JUDGE

          The only bad point for laptops being switched to Linux is about the wifi chip. If only ALL the manufacturers could send the specs to the open community, that will be perfect. Also, I think that the distros manufacturers should sell their distro on an USB stick. That would greatly help everyone to install Linux on any machine without the need of a second computer to download the ISO and to burn it on a CD or on an USB stick… After all, €15 is not an awful price to get an official branded product with a colourful logo printed on the USB stick!!!

          About the OEM MS prices, they start at €15, it depends on the units ordered and about which Windows edition. The OEM sold via computer shops are sold with a great margin for MS!!! The near correct prices are the licences sold to the administrations. You know these prices, you know near the true licence OEM prices.

    • ChrisGX

      There is really no point in taking a position on a fiction of your own making – the price is $US199 – even allowing you are responding to another post. Also, it is the manufacturers who decide the prices. If they can’t make a buck they stop making the device. Without the Microsoft surcharge it is interesting just how low notebook prices can go.

      Some functionality is being lost – mostly trivial. I’d wager, within a short time no one will advance that point anymore, though, because ChromeOS, like Android, will attract a lot of developer support. More than enough support to make choosing a Chromebook rather than a Wintel notebook very easy.

    • Sebastiaan Franken

      A OEM Windows licence costs ~80$ per device. For a $99 device.. that’s hefty

      • jeffmaz

        Windows license is free for a $99 device.

  • Austin Davolt

    I would like to see a $100 chromebook, would be a nice gift for my younger brothers, they might break it and I would hate to spend like $300 for it just to break in a month or two. Would also make a good screw around with computer.

    • Nick

      not $100, but for a long time now, you could get a refurb C720 for $150. It may be cheaper now.

    • Cirrell Battle

      A 100 dollar Chromebox would be awesome. The cheapest I’ve seen a Chrome OS device is 130, new on eBay. The more people we can get to try Chrome OS, the better!

    • Smartika

      I might be interested in buying a Chromebook for $150 only if it came with 32 GB storage minimum.

      In a perfect world all Chromebooks in 2015 should come with:
      Low-end = 32 GB storage
      Mid-range = 64 GB storage
      Pixel = 128 GB storage

      This is reasonable considering the average PC comes with 1 TB and you can find cheap PC Laptops with 500 GB.

      Please make 32 GB minimum storage for Chromebooks.
      Thanx in advance.

  • Cormac Krupa-Gillmor

    I’m looking for a top 5 list of chromebooks, personal opinions please.

    • rumah makann

      Portability… 1kg (2.2 pounds for the metrically challenged) original hp cb11 (arm cpu) is the best

      • Cormac Krupa-Gillmor

        But it is so slow…

  • rumah makann

    I wonder how samsung new 14nm Finfet exynos cpu would perform in chromebook

  • ChrisGX

    There market for chromebooks is developing in a lopsided way at the moment. A lot of low end devices are appearing but few high end ones. This is a strategy suitable to manufacturers of Wintel computers that don’t like the apple cart being upset – you just add on a couple of cheap and simple chromebooks to your list of products that are attractive to price sensitive buyers who are not put off by the limited functionality and your work is done. If a chromebook manufacturer really wanted to do computer users a favour they would release products using leading edge technologies, e.g. Tegra X1 chip, say, or low power screen technology, that could really disrupt this complacent and costly market of feeble Wintel products.

    • Smartika

      Actually No, look, the Low-end of the market is the bread and butter, it’s a good thing.
      Leading edge is probably expensive and only a few can afford to buy that, so it’s probably not a good way at this point.

      You know why people still buy Wintel? because Wintel have bigger disk storage.
      If Chromebooks had a bigger storage then Chromebooks would do better.

      Anyway, Chris I liked the low power screen u mentioned, thanx.

  • Curtis Jonesjr

    Im all for cheap chromebooks but there has to be a limitation as well,the reason i say that is because it will get to a point that the cheap hardware will start to effect the OS,for example, samsung series 3 vs c720.Im afraid that these REALLY cheap ones will be even slower and weaker then the series 3 model bringing a negative stigma to chromebooks.

  • Guest

    chrome offer…. I started working from home, doing various simple jobs which only required desktop or laptop computer and internet access and I couldn’t be happier… It’s been six months since i started this and i made so far total of 36,000 dollars… Basicly i profit about 80 dollars every hour and work for 3 to 4 hours a day.And the best part about this job is that you can decide when to work yourself and for how long and you get a paycheck weekly.—>