New Ruggedized Chromebooks for Education Markets by Asus
Chromebooks have been quite popular in the education market in recent years, and Asus has announced a new set of ruggedized hardware intended to capitalize on the trend. The four new systems — two standard laptop form factors, a flip convertible, and a tablet — target a variety of feature sets and price points.
The standard laptop models are the C204 and C403. The C204 is an 11.6-inch system with a 1366×768 display, Celeron N4000 (2C2T, 1.1GHz-2.6GHz) 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage, with 2x USB Type A ports and two USB-C ports. The C403 is a 14-inch system and uses the Celeron N3350 (2C2T, 1.1GHz-2.4GHz). This is an older Intel Apollo Lake chip launched in Q4 2016. It has the same 32GB of storage and 4GB RAM loadout.
The convertible is the Flip C214, with either a Celeron N4000 or N4100 (4C4T, 1.1GHz-2.4GHz) based on Gemini Lake, with up to 8GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage, and a slightly brighter display (250 nits, up from 220 nits). The C214 is listed as using Gorilla Glass 3, while the other two laptops don’t make this distinction. With the additional cores, the C214 is clearly the premium offering of the three (relative to Chromebooks, obviously).
Finally, there’s the new Chrome tablet. The CT100 is a 9.7-inch device with a 2048×1536 display, hexa-core OP1 ARM CPU. OP is a new brand created by Google that’s specifically used for advertising chips to be used in Chromebooks. In this case, the OP1 is built by Rockchip, but that company’s branding is nowhere on the actual product.
You could think of this as the exact opposite of “Intel Inside.” The only thing Google wants you to know is that an “OP” chip is capable of running ChromeOS. Manufacturer and other specs are considered irrelevant, though Asus does at least disclose that this is a six-core chip with a brace of Cortex-A76 CPUs and four Cortex-A53s, with 4GB of RAM and a 32GB storage pool. Unlike the other devices, the CT100 tablet is explicitly and directly intended for children; Asus’ copy makes reference to ruggedizing the device so it could be used by five-year-olds, with a chassis just under 10mm thick (for easier gripping) and stylus input support. Only one USB Type-C port is provided, with a microSD reader and audio combo jack.
All models feature 802.11ac Bluetooth and wireless support. Pricing details have not yet been disclosed, but Chromebooks have a reputation for being affordable, Google Pixel notwithstanding.