The Asus CX34 - I've been using it in the real world
Having been a Chromebook user since they first arrived on the scene and using ChromeOS as my Daildriver for over 5 years I wanted to move from my excellent Acer 513 Flip Chromebook to something I could do much more with.
There have been a lot of good high-end Chromebooks released over the last year and with Chromebook Plus now a thing, ChromeOS devices are only going to get better.
What is this?
Asus describe this device with the following elevator pitch
ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip pairs incredibly realistic visuals and exceptional performance to deliver unmatched cloud gaming experiences and nonstop productivity on the go. This remarkable device features an immersive 16:10, 144 Hz WUXGA display, an anti-ghosting keyboard with four-zone RGB lighting, and ultrafast WiFi 6E technology. ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip has a durable chassis and a distinctive look that includes exclusive orange-accented WASD keycaps that add flair. Get the most out of the new cloud gaming and work-from-home era with ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip ― use it to access over 1000 games through cloud gaming platforms like NVIDIA GeForce NOW2 and Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Essentially this is a Chromebook Cloud Gaming laptop, ironic from Google the company that ditched Stadia.
There are a few things you need to know about this laptop, the primary of which is. It is heavy. This is NOT a thin and light ultraportable device. This device is noticeably heavy to pick up. You can still use it as a laptop, it is nowhere near as bad as the Windows Gaming Desktop replacement "laptops" I'd put it closer to a more beefy business laptop.
The keyboard is (personally) a thing of beauty to type on I find it perfectly tactile has the right amount of response and feels so nice to type on.
The screen is bright,
BrandASUSProduct Dimensions31.95 x 2.09 x 23.49 cm; 1.8 KilogramsBatteries1 Lithium Ion batteries required. (included)Item model numberCX3401FBA-N90125ManufacturerASUSSeriesChromebook 14ColourPearl WhiteForm FactorLaptop, ChromebookStanding screen display size14 InchesScreen Resolution1920 x 1200 pixelResolution1920x1200 PixelsProcessor BrandIntelProcessor TypeCore i7Processor Speed4.7Processor Count10
Why make the purchase?
I've been using Chromebooks as I've mentioned several times for a long time, however in most cases the devices have been lower-end ones, the most recent example of this was the Acer513 a Snapdragon-powered device which was great for longevity of battery life however I've been looking for something with a little more grunt in it which I can also make more use of the Linux Shell.
Buying a "Chrome Gaming Latoptop" has given me a device with a beautiful screen, and more power to CPU things than the Snapdragon chip.
What have I been doing with it?
Since purchasing the device I've travelled to Canada with it and used it for editing some photos, I've got Nextcloud running under docker containers on it with the Linux Shell and also got a local WhisperAI install for creating transcripts out of Audio on it.
It works really well for video conferencing, and the speakers make listening to music while out and about nice, however, it's the battery which has stunned me as I was able to fly from Calgary to London and watch several HD moves on the laptop with no issues with battery life.
Would I recommend this Chromebook?
Put simply, no
Hear me out on this, it's a great laptop, it might be a little sharp and heavy, as I've covered, but the screen, sound, power and battery more than make up for that. However, Google themselves have consigned such devices to the pile marked no based on their new Chromebook Plus branding.
This laptop blows several of the Chromebook Plus devices out of the water on specs, looks and screen. It is not a Chromebook Plus device because it only has a 720p webcam (a webcam which is implemented better than one Chromebook Plus device at 1080p)
By creating the have and have not tier system, by buying this device you are getting a great laptop but none of the Chromebook Plus features and that's a hard pill to swallow when spending this amount of money on a premium device.
If Chromebook Plus had not existed, yes 100% I'd recommend it, now.. No, i'd spend the money on an HP Dragonfly Pro
Asus has built a solid, great looking device here, the screen, sound and battery are far better than many on the market. Had Stadia still existed it would have been a killer on this device. I'm not going to send it back, I do like it, I love the look and feel of the keyboard and it's so nice not having just another black or silver ChromeOS slab.. but for the addition of a 1080p webcam this would have been possibly one of the standout devices of the year..