Asus takes its Chromebooks upscale with new CX9, Flip CX5 laptops

High performance -- and price -- are the hallmarks of the new Chromebooks, with 11th-generation Intel Core processors inside and a starting price of $749.99 for CX9 and a whopping $1,049.99 for the Flip CX5.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

Asus Chromebook Flip CX5

Although Chromebooks were originally designed to be inexpensive laptops that were light on resources thanks to their reliance on Google's Chrome OS, there is definitely a segment of the market that provides higher performance systems at a higher price tag, of course. There's a question as to just how large that segment is -- recall that Samsung followed up its powerhouse Galaxy Chromebook with a Galaxy Chromebook 2 that was far less powerful -- and, at $550, almost half the price

Nonetheless, Google's own Pixelbook Go -- featuring Intel Core processors and a starting price tag of $649 -- continues to see periodic challengers to its upscale Chromebook supremacy. The latest comes from Asus, which has just launched a pair of new Chromebooks that features the latest hardware and a starting price more than the Pixelbook Go -- and configurations that push that price over $1,000. Both the Chromebook CX9 and Flip CX5 are equipped with the latest 11th-generation Intel Core processors that make the 8th-generation CPUs in the Pixelbook Go look a little long in the tooth.

As a traditional clamshell laptop, the CX9 is the cheaper of the two models, though at $749.99 for the base configuration, that's hardly cheap in the Chromebook realm. For that price, you'll get a 14-inch full HD display, Core i3-1115G4 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of solid-state storage. It comes with a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports along with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and it's the first Asus Chromebook to sport the company's LED-lit number pad that is built into the touchpad -- previously it's been reserved for Asus ZenBooks.

If that's not enough power for you, there's a configuration that jumps up to a Core i7-1165G7 CPU, provides twice the RAM and 512GB of storage, and adds touchscreen capabilities to the display. Asus claims up to 14 hours of battery life for this Core i7 version, a number that befits its hefty $1,149.99 sticker price.

If that price tag doesn't elicit a double-take from you, then you might want to consider the Flip CX5 as well. It comes with similar specs (same processor, RAM and storage as the Core i7 CX9) and 14-inch touchscreen display, but is a full 2-in-1 design with 360-degree hinge. It even includes a digital stylus that isn't included with the CX9. and at $1,049.99 it will cost $100 less to boot, although you do give up the touchpad-integrated number pad, and claimed battery life is less at nearly 11 hours.

Both the CX9 and the Flip CX5 are built ruggedly and have passed a number of MIL-STD-810H US durability tests for protection against bumps and bruises of rough handling. At this point availability seems to be a bigger issue than durability: while the Flip CX5 is coming soon according to the Asus online store, both configurations of the CX9 are listed as temporarily sold out, leaving interested buyers to have to sign up to be notified when they'll become available again.

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