ASUS have been a strong supporter of Google’s ChromeOS, offering options for most budgets. Heading into the more premium end of the market, the ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5601, 12th Gen Intel) was announced at CES last year, but is now available in Australia

Featuring a massive 16” FHD+ resolution touch display there are models available with options for 12th Gen Intel Core processors with 8GB RAM and 128GB M.2 Gen 3 SSD, it’s not quite up to the current gen, but still offers a lot of power for ChromeOS.

There’s a full sized backlit keyboard with a numeric keypad and a quad-speaker system tuned by Harmon-Kardon on-board with plenty of ports available to attach peripherals. 

Pricing for the i5 model starts at $1,243, though ASUS have sent me an i3 model to check out. I’ve been using it for three weeks and here’s how it went. 

Hardware and Design  

The chassis on the Chromebook feels solid with an aluminium lid on top connected to the keyboard deck with a 360-degree hinge. The keyboard deck is constructed from plastic which feels good when resting your hands on it.

At 2.16kg it’s not the lightest laptop out there, but it does have a 16” display and fits in line with many models in this size category. It’s fairly compact though, fitting easily into my backpack which usually baulks at these laptops with larger displays. If you haven’t got a bag, or want some additional protection for your new Chromebook there’s also a nice folio slip case in the box too.

The lower deck includes a backlit keyboard which is fairly nice to type on with 1.4mm Key-travel. It took a little while to transition to this style of keyboard from what I’m used to but it’s nice once you are. It’s also splash resistant which is a nice bonus. The numeric keypad is welcome, though it’s a little cramped if you’re doing a lot of data entry. 

The touchpad is a little plasticky and can be a bit hard to use and I’d love to see a nice glass touchpad on future models but it works well.

The lid houses the large 16” FHD+ resolution ‘three-sided NanoEdge display’ which is in a 16∶10 aspect ratio. It’s a touch display which is nice to use, especially with Android apps available. The display is glossy which looks great under most conditions , but does reflect any light behind you which makes working in front of a window difficult. It also attracts fingerprints and as a touchscreen it’s worthwhile giving it a regular wipe with a lint free cloth. 

Overall though, this display can really ramp up the brightness to mostly combat this, and it has good touch response and looks great when you’re watching movies. 

Above the display you do get a FHD webcam which includes a privacy shutter for when it’s not in use. It’s an improvement on the lower quality webcams we’ve previously seen, though does struggle a bit with backlighting.

The Harmon Kardon-certified quad-speaker system is mounted at the top of the keyboard below the display in a bar, with side speakers mounted at the front of the deck.  It’s a decent quality sound system, offering a good quality sound even when using tablet or tent modes. 

Also on the sides is the nice selection of ports. You get a USB-C  (3.2) port with display and power delivery support on either side and a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port on the right. On the left you also get a HDMI 2.1 port and a 3.5mm combo audio jack next to the Micro SD card reader.

I love the positioning of a USB-C port either side, allowing you to plug in the USB-C charger from either side. The rest of the ports work well for attaching peripherals and more ports are always welcome.

 This is of course a Chromebook Flip and you get the 360° ErgoLift hinge, which lets you easily transition the display into different modes starting with the laptop mode and moving through tent, shelf and tablet modes. 

I personally love shelf mode, with the Chromebook acting nicely as a second screen while gaming sitting on the coffee table next to me. It’s also a good tablet for the couch though it can be a little unwieldy but the big screen makes reading news, catching up on Instagram or watching movies easy. 

The hinge is really easy to manipulate with little resistance when you move it but sticking in position when you want it to. Tablet mode activates automatically as you move the hinge, and then back to normal laptop mode as you move it back.


The review model includes an Intel Core i3-1215U Processor clocked at 1.2 GHz and Intel UHD Graphics. There’s 8GB LPDDR4 RAM (not upgradeable) with a 128GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD for storage, as well as a Micro SD 4.0 card reader. 

The performance is good, even with 8GB of RAM I could open a lot of browser tabs and it still kept rocking. Boot is of course fast as usual with only a few seconds between the ChromeOS splash screen and the login prompt.

I ran the Chromebook CX5 through the Speedometer2.0 benchmark and here’s how it went.

Battery and Charging

There’s a 57WHrs, 3S1P, 3-cell Li-ion Long life rechargeable lithium polymer battery inside the Chromebook CX5 with a Type-C, 45W AC Adapter included in the box. 

Battery life on the CX5 is actually pretty good considering the size of display you get. I easily got through a full eight hour day with room to spare doing all the usual work in Google Docs, Youtube and general web surfing I’d normally do on the web. I worked with the display brightness around 50% which was enough unless you were working in full sunlight. 

Charging the ASUS Chromebook CX5 with the 45W Charger isn’t exactly fast with a full top up taking around an hour and fourty-five minutes. You can get around 20% charge in 15 minutes if you need a quick top-up though. 

ChromeOS, Google Play, Linux and Steam

THe ASUS Chromebook CX5 runs ChromeOS from Google with Google Play the device set to the stable channel and will receive updates around every four weeks for the life of the Chromebook. 

The Chromebook CX5 fully updated runs ChromeOS 113 with Android 11 installed to run Google Play.

There are limits on software updates for Chrome OS from Google with eight years the norm. According to the update settings on the CX5 (Settings > About Chrome OS > Additional Details): 

Google Play

Chromebooks of course now come with Google Play access, giving you access to a wider array of functionality including apps for banking, games and even some video editing options that are sorely missed in the browser. 

That said, not all the games and apps work perfectly on Chrome OS. Not all apps and games are optimised for ChromeOS or you may not even find them in the Play Store (Bankwest and St George), or they’re missing graphic assets when you use them. The apps that do work though, add a lot to usability for ChromeOS and hopefully we’ll see Google continue to work with developers on compatibility. 


For advanced users though, Google has included Linux support with the option to install the Linux Development Environment. For anyone with a little Linux experience it adds a lot more functionality to ChromeOS

I’ve used Linux to install apps and utilities not normally available on ChromeOS including LibreOffice for a full-featured offline office suite, Firefox for an alternative browser, Audacity for audio editing and even the Linux version of VLC. 

Linux adds a fair bit of functionality, though you may have to do a bit of research to install these apps. 


As part of their aim to expand functionality of Chromebooks, Google has worked with Valve to include Steam support on ChromeOS. The ASUS Chromebook CX5 Flip CX5601 was included as supported in the Beta release which expanded availability last year. 

To install Steam you’ll have to jump onto the Beta Channel, then enable the #borealis-enabled flag and then it’s as easy as loading Steam from the ChromeOS app launcher and logging in with your Steam account. 

Now…with an Intel UHD GPU, the performance of the CX5 isn’t quite fantastic with games like Sons of the Forest which just crashed, but I did have some fun with the Command and Conquer Remaster which had some issues but ran pretty well. 

Overall, Steam is a step in the right direction but without hardware accelerated GPU support Steam will remain an interesting addition but ultimately not a lot of use. 

Should you buy it?

For ChromeOS users, the ASUS Chromebook CX5 is a pretty decent option for anyone after solid design, a big display with good performance and battery life. 

There’s also a case to be made for ChromeOS for more average users with the majority of users able to live most of their lives in a browser. With the addition of Android apps there’s also even more functionality. All that said, sometimes there’s applications that only run on Windows or Mac, so if you’re considering a switch, have a look at what you use regularly.

Overall, the ASUS Chromebook CX5 is a big option for those that want a nice large display. It’s great for media playback and web surfing on that screen and with the growing functionality Google is adding in with Linux, Steam and Google Play it’s a compelling option for more people.