Online retailer Newegg got ahead of itself last week by listing a new Chromebook from Asus that hadn't been officially announced. It didn't take long for online sleuths to catch wind of the leak, listing the details before Newegg pulled the listing.
Fast-forward a week to CES, and Asus is now formally rolling out that Chromebook, the Flip C302. Many of the details provided by Newegg wind up matching the official specs, but it only listed one configuration. In fact, there are other options that make this even more of a premium device than previously thought.
As the name suggests, the Flip features a hinged touchscreen display with 360 degrees of rotation, allowing it to switch from laptop to tablet mode. But that screen has received a serious upgrade from the original Asus Chromebook Flip, increasing in size from 10 inches to 12.5 inches, and in resolution from 1,280x800 to 1,920x1,080 (full HD). Asus also adds a sensor that can change the screen's brightness depending on the ambient lighting of the viewing scenario.
The first-generation Flip offered the type of minimal specs that Chromebooks were first known for -- a Rockchip processor and 16GB of internal storage. But laptops running Google's Chrome OS have increasingly been provided more powerful specs, and Asus has a different buyer in mind for this second-generation edition. As the original Newegg listing revealed, the base Flip C302 is upgraded to an Intel Core M 6Y30 "Skylake" CPU and 32GB of built-in storage (while retaining 4 gigs of RAM).
But what Newegg didn't reveal is that there are other configurations that make the Flip C302 even more powerful. For instance, there were be a configuration with a faster Core M 6Y75 processor with up to 8GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of solid-state storage. The C302 includes Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security and an improved keyboard and an hour more of battery life (10 hours vs. 9 hours) compared to the original Flip. One thing that remains from the first Flip: You get access to Google Play Store, so you can download Android apps as well as Chrome ones.
With its bigger, better display, improved specs, metal chassis, and other enhancements, the Flip C302's higher price compared to the original should come as no surprise. While the first Chromebook Flip cost less than $300, the starting price for the Flip C302 is $499, or the same as a mid-range Windows laptop could cost. Are you willing to pay nearly $500 for a convertible Chromebook? Let us know in the comments section below.