I’ve been waiting to see a review of the new Asus C200 Chromebook, mainly because it’s the first device to use Intel’s fan-less BayTrail processor. Brad Linder was happy to oblige my request, with a review of the Chrome OS laptop over the weekend at Liliputing. If ever there was an Intel powered laptop to compete with the ARM-based Chromebooks, this is it.
Linder found the $249 C200 — also available in a larger C300 model with the same specs and price — to be a little light on performance compared to Intel Haswell-powered devices, but it provides outstanding battery life, to the tune of 12 hours. That’s a sizable boost over current Chromebooks that run for between 5 and 8 hours on a charge.
The compromise here is that to get better battery life, you give up a little performance. Says Linder:
“The system can feel a little sluggish when running resource-intensive web apps and multitasking at the same time. So while I was able to open a dozen browser tabs and switch back and forth between then while writing articles in WordPress without problems, switching tabs and opening new tabs started to feel a little pokey if I was streaming music from Songza at the same time.
It’s not always easy to predict when the system will start to slow down — sometimes after using it for a few hours, I’ll be typing a document and suddenly notice that characters show up on the screen a second or two after I press the keys on the keyboard, suggesting that it might be time to close a few browser tabs.”
In terms of benchmarks, the Asus C200 falls between most of the current Intel Chromebooks and the older devices that use an ARM processor. Linder didn’t have numbers for the new Samsung Chromebook 2, but I did find them online, both for the Sunspider and Octane tests; the C200 looks to be a better performer than the Chromebook 2, although the difference isn’t likely that much.
Linder also like the Asus C200 trackpad and keyboard, although the 1366 x 768 screen left a bit to be desired if you tilt the display. Poor viewing angles are unfortunately all too common in most Chromebooks as manufacturers try to keep costs down.
Overall, for $249, the C200 looks to be a good value if you prefer battery life over performance. If you don’t mind getting a few hours less run-time, though, there are a number of other reasonable options, such as the Acer C720 series or one of my current favorites, the Dell Chromebook 11. The Dell costs $30 more but for an extra $20 on top of that — $299 in total — you can get it with 4 GB of memory.