Asus Chromebook C425 (C425TA-DH384) Review
The refreshed Asus Chromebook C425 (C425TA-DH384) delivers premium features at a very reasonable price. Provided Google chrome OS meets your needs, it’s hard to ignore this one. For the price, you’d get a Windows-based notebook PC, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a thin-and-light design, all-day battery life
- Reliable performance
- Snappy keyboard and touchpad
- Excellent battery life
- Solid build quality
- A bit expensive
- Overly stiff hinge
The Asus Chromebook C425 is an upscale Chromebook with a 14-inch screen designed for college/university students. It’s priced higher than our fan-fave and Editors Choice, the Acer Chromebook 14, but it brings to the table a sleek design, excellent portability and very good I/O port selection. Once you add a backlit keyboard and long battery life (around 12 hours) to the mix, the Chromebook C425 becomes a sure alternative to budget notebook PCs in its price range.
With an upgraded Intel Core M processor, this Acer feels snappy enough for most undemanding tasks, thanks to Google’s feather-light Chrome OS. For as long as the OS meets your functional needs, the Chromebook C425 provides a first-rate way to get things done for less money.
Asus’ new Chromebook looks and feels nice on a desk, as it does on your lap too. It shares the same aesthetic with the Asus Chromebook Flip 434, and that’s a nice thing. However, unlike the Flip C434 that gets an all-aluminum construction, the Chromebook C425 only gets an aluminium lid and the rest of the body is made of plastic. That doesn’t make it cheap in any way. In fact, it makes the overall Chromebook light at 2.8 pounds, but you’re still left with the desire to have a metallic body especially at the machine’s price point.
Also, unlike the Flip C434, there is no 360-degree hinge here; instead, you have a clamshell device with 180-degree, fold-flat lid that works as it should. It measures 12.6 x 8.2 x 0.7 inches, which is about the same dimensions on the Acer Chromebook R 13 that’s only 0.61 inches thin, but weighs slightly more (3.28 pounds).
The Chromebook C425TA-DH384 is a 1080p panel, with a 1,920-by-1,080-pixel native resolution cast on a 4-way NanoEdge display. That translates to a 14-inch screen that easily fits into the body of a 13-inch laptop footprint, and that’s how premium ultrabooks are carved nowadays. That resolution is ideal for a 14-inch-diagonal screen, offering you better clarity and finer detail than the 720p displays found on less expensive Chromebooks.
With a 1080p native resolution, you’re assured of a bright and vibrant picture, that are not oversaturated, further enhanced by wide viewing angles thanks to the in-plane switching (IPS) technology.
The left edge has a USB Type-C power for power and data, a USB Type-A 3.1 port and an audio combo jack. If you want to enjoy quality sound, use the audio jack (or the internal Bluetooth 4.2), otherwise you’ll have to do with the subpar sound quality of the two built-in speakers.
On the right edge, you have another USB Type-C port (supports DisplayPort over USB Type-C), and a MicroSD card slot. No video adapters are included for the USB Type-C port here, even if there were, I’d still prefer a familiar dedicated HDMI or DisplayPort connector. Wireless comes via 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.
Keyboard & Touchpad
This Chromebook gets a comfortable keyboard with full-size keys that have a light, springy feel and white backlighting. If you’re coming from a notebook PC, this keyboard should look familiar, and shares a layout with most other Chromebooks. It’s the usual Chrome OS orientation without a Windows key, of course, but you have a Search key that almost works like Start, which allows you find almost anything and launch shortcuts alongside other keys.
Below the keyboard is a 6-inch buttonless touchpad. It’s big enough for comfortable swiping and mousing, and it looks a bit undersized sitting, as it does, in the middle of a wide palm rest. Still, it tracks your mousing motions accurately, and executes clicks quietly and effectively, too.
The Asus Chromebook C425 is equipped with an Intel Core M3-8100Y with Intel HD Graphics 615 instead of the typical Celeron or ARM (mobile) processor you find on most Chromebooks. Considering Google Chrome OS’s minimal hardware requirements, this system feels faster than Windows laptops in the same price range. To that, add 8GB of RAM and 64GB flash storage and you have a capable productivity gadget for days.
As configured, you can stream a trio of 1080p videos smoothly and run half-dozen other tabs on the background, where you can view websites, check email and stream music without slowing down the system. However, 4K videos will occasionally buffer, but that’s expected even when streamed at 1080p.
The Chrome OS gives you full access to the Google Play store, and is offered with automatic updates, a free built-in antivirus and 100GB free Google Cloud storage for 12 months.
Battery life is excellent. The Chromebook C425 lasts just above 11 hours 34 minutes (Asus bills it at 12 hours), which is among the longest we’ve seen in a 14-inch Chromebook with a backlit keyboard.
The refreshed Asus Chromebook C425 delivers premium features at a very reasonable price. Provided Google chrome OS meets your needs, it’s hard to ignore this one. For the price, you’d get a Windows-based notebook PC like the Acer Aspire 5, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a thin-and-light design, all-day battery life, a full HD touch display, and a backlit keyboard as in our Chromebook C425. Most budget-oriented Chromebooks tend to skimp on one or more of those conveniences, too.
Is there a better alternative?
If you’re comfortable with the Chrome OS, the Asus C425 offer more value for the money. If you need more, you could consider the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (C434TA-DSM4T) that offers a 14-inch touch-screen, an all-metal build, same full-day battery life, and a 2-in-1 convertible design. It remains our Editors’ Choice for midrange Chromebooks.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you don’t fancy the touchscreen and convertible design on the Chromebook Flip C434, the Asus Chromebook C425 is the next big thing to score this year, providing all day battery life and solid performance.