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ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review 14
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
aa2020 recommended

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review: Come for the gaming, stay for the rest

It's a great Chromebook, but is it fit for gaming?
By

Published onMarch 26, 2023

aa2020 recommended

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip

The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is a stunning Chrome OS laptop with amazing performance and an outstanding design, delivering a great premium experience. While it isn't a truly great gaming laptop due to platform restrictions and an integrated GPU, if you want a top-spec Chromebook with fluid cloud gaming support that's capable enough to play Android games but also excels as a productivity machine, the Vibe CX34 Flip is an easy recommendation.

What we like

Elegant design for a gaming machine
Durable build and splash-proof keyboard
Outstanding performance
Awesome screen
Impressive audio
Included garaged stylus

What we don't like

Battery life not great compared to other Chromebooks
Big, bulky, and heavy
Bad stylus battery life
Low-res webcam
Chrome OS isn't great for local gaming
aa2020 recommended

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip

The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is a stunning Chrome OS laptop with amazing performance and an outstanding design, delivering a great premium experience. While it isn't a truly great gaming laptop due to platform restrictions and an integrated GPU, if you want a top-spec Chromebook with fluid cloud gaming support that's capable enough to play Android games but also excels as a productivity machine, the Vibe CX34 Flip is an easy recommendation.

ASUS has a strong influence in the gaming market. Its computers are loved by gamers, often offering great value, performance, and lovely designs. The company also offers many accessories, PC components, and other products catering to the gaming community. Now it’s trying to dominate the nascent gaming Chromebook market with products like the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip.

Does this new gaming-focused Chromebook have what it takes to win the hearts of gamers? Let’s dissect the concept and decipher who this Chromebook is for in our ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review.

About this ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review: I tested the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip (CX3401FB) over a period of three weeks. It was running Chrome OS112.0.5615.18 beta. The unit was provided by ASUS for this review.

What you need to know about the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip on a table at a coffee shop
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip (Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage): $769.99
  • ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip (Core i5, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage): $869.99

Launched at CES 2023, the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is a Chrome OS laptop that caters to gamers. It has powerful specs (for a Chromebook) and a gamer-centric design intended to deliver an overall great experience for local gaming, while also being optimized for cloud gaming to run more demanding titles.

It costs $869.99 in the USA if bought from ASUS directly, though a cheaper version with less storage and RAM is available from Amazon and B&H. The model I tested was the top version in the US with a 12th gen Alder Lake Intel Core i5 processor with integrated Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Other variants are available in different markets. For example, some come with an Intel Core i3 processor, and other higher-end models include the Intel Core i7 chip. 128GB of storage is also an option in other markets.

The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is only available in Pearl White and comes with an included stylus with its own garage.

What’s good?

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip closed on a table at a coffee shop
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

First, let’s talk about the product itself. I’ll get more into the whole gaming aspect and the very concept of a gaming Chromebook in a separate section, because that topic deserves its own focus. The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is, by far, the best-designed Chromebook I’ve tested to date, and I’ve tested many.

The Vibe CX34 Flip is built beautifully. While made mostly of plastic, it doesn’t feel cheap at all, and it doesn’t look cheap either. It has a clean white design with a simple logo. You honestly wouldn’t be able to tell it is a gaming Chromebook if it wasn’t for the orange WASD buttons and other orange accents — this is far from the RGB nightmare of some gaming laptops. Its elegant aesthetics ensure it looks at home in any environment, even an office. It feels durable, too; and it is. The unit is MIL-STD 810H compliant, which means it should be able to withstand a beating gracefully.

The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is, by far, the best-designed Chromebook I've ever used.

Design aside, the computer is super-powerful for a Chromebook. This model has a 12th gen Intel Core i5 processor — an upgrade over the 11th gen chip found in ASUS’ previous Vibe machine, the larger Vibe CX55 Flip — and 16GB of RAM. Combine that with the simplicity and efficiency of Chrome OS, and this thing flies. I thought regular Chromebooks were already fast, but I was actually impressed to see what more powerful and newer components can do on this operating system. Apps and websites launched close to instantly. And it has Wi-Fi 6E, which means it can take advantage of better internet performance if you have a compatible router and a fast enough internet connection. I have Wi-Fi 6 and a gigabit connection, and it worked amazingly.

I even used it for RAW photo editing, and it gave me no hiccups running Lightroom mobile. It actually seemed to perform better than on my Windows laptop with very similar specs, even if only by a bit. Can it game, though? Again, we’ll talk more about that later.

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip in stand mode on a coffee table
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The 14-inch 16:10 LCD touchscreen is gorgeous, even with a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. Not to say that the WUXGA panel is bad, but many gamers prefer something like QHD or even higher these days. Still, that’s a lot to ask from a Chromebook, and it looks very nice in person. Plus, it has a 144Hz refresh rate, so you’re able to hit some pretty high frame rates in some games (albeit without variable refresh rate support), and general navigation is fluid. It also gets reasonably bright at 400 nits via LED backlights, but I still wasn’t able to view the laptop screen comfortably in direct sunlight. It’s likely most people won’t be using it in the sun very much, but it’s worth noting if you actually will.

ASUS has made a big deal about its collaboration with Harman/Kardon for the speakers, and the results are as good as we expected. The audio is full and loud for a Chromebook, with no distortion to be heard, even when the volume is maxed out. The speakers still don’t get loud enough to be appreciated comfortably in a noisy area, but they’ll work great in a relatively quiet room. Of course, you can do better with good external speakers and there’s a headphone jack for loud and intense gaming sessions, but these will work perfectly in a pinch.

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip keyboard
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip comes with a backlit chiclet keyboard. ASUS says it’s spill-resistant, but I didn’t dare test that. As far as typing goes, the experience was pleasant, overall. It’s not an outstanding keyboard by any means, but it is better than average. The spacing is comfortable, it’s pretty clicky, and the key travel is pretty nice.

Ports are another area where the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is pretty outstanding. It features a USB-A 3.2 gen 2 port, as well as a couple of USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 connections. You can use one of these to expand usability with a good adapter. There is also a 3.5mm headset jack and a microSD reader. As if those weren’t good enough, you also get an HDMI 2.1 port, which supports 4K resolution monitors, as well as higher refresh rates. ASUS doesn’t specify max monitor refresh rates, and sadly, I have no 4K monitor to test, but the HDMI 2.1 specification could in theory handle upwards of 120Hz at 4K, though the Vibe CX34 Flip won’t get close to being able to push that many frames at such a high resolution.

Ports are important for gaming, and this one goes above and beyond when compared to most traditional Chromebooks. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 has two USB-C ports, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm headset jack. Really, only other gaming Chromebooks and higher-end options like the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 can get close to it.

What’s not so good?

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip review in tent mode
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

My first complaint is not really a genuine complaint, but more of an observation. As the name entails, the screen can be flipped all the way to use in tablet mode, if preferred. You can also use tent mode and all the in-betweens. This would make you believe the device is made with a certain level of mobility in mind, but despite being smaller and lighter than the previous CX55 Flip, the Vibe CX34 Flip is still pretty large and heavy to use in tablet mode.

It weighs 1.81kg (3.99 lbs), which is rather heavy when you compare it to more svelte, mainstream competitors like the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, which is 1.23kg (2.71 lbs). And most other convertible Chromebooks weigh less than 3 lbs. The body is also 20.9mm (0.82 inches) thick, while something like the aforementioned Galaxy Chromebook 2 measures in at 15mm (0.55 inches) in thickness. The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is a big, beefy boy!

I was also not a huge fan of the battery life. ASUS claims up to 10 hours of battery life on a full charge. In my experience, I was averaging more like seven to eight. That said, I was mostly gaming, editing RAW photos, actively browsing, or watching videos. Some of these are very resource-intensive tasks for a Chromebook, especially one with such powerful specs and a really nice screen with high refresh rates.

You will enjoy the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip's stylus, but not for long. Its battery life is pretty bad.

Regardless, seven to eight hours, or even 10 hours, is still not bad. It just isn’t outstanding in the world of Chromebooks. Many modern Chromebooks can handle 12 hours or more, though gamers know they will often have to sacrifice battery life for performance.

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip stylus coming off its housing
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

One thing that did really annoy me was the battery life on the garaged stylus. The stylus works great, is responsive, is made of good-quality metal, and is housed comfortably in the laptop’s body. It’s a dream come true for a photographer like me. I was using it to edit and loving it, but my enjoyment never lasted that long. The stylus would always die on me after around 45 minutes of usage. It was then rendered worthless and had to be put back in its slot for charging.

I understand I may be asking too much due to my long editing sessions, but I feel like this might bother many other users, too. It’s definitely worth keeping in mind if you plan to get this Chromebook and actually care about the stylus.

Of course, the 720p webcam is also pretty bad. Considering the high price for a Chromebook, a 1080p camera wouldn’t have been too much to ask for. At least you get a webcam privacy shutter, though! That’s pretty cool for the security-conscious among you.

Is a gaming Chromebook actually worth it?

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip next to controller and coffee at a coffee shop
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

So then, the Vibe CX34 Flip is a pretty great Chromebook, but is it a good gaming Chromebook? Well, it’s as good as it can be, but that doesn’t hide the fact that Chromebooks aren’t all that good for gaming in the first place.

Chromebooks changed the game. They democratized the personal computing market, offering devices that perform well, even at the lower end of the pricing spectrum. It also helps that these machines are very simple to operate and can efficiently do what most people do online. This made Chrome OS a perfect, affordable alternative to a Windows or Apple laptop for things like social media, general web browsing, creating documents, taking notes, and you can even use Android apps.

This is why I was left scratching my head when I first started hearing about gaming Chromebooks. After spending some time with the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip, I’m still scratching my head; I feel like Chrome OS is going through an identity crisis. Let me try and explain why.

Chrome OS is going through an identity crisis and I'm not sure gaming Chromebooks are the answer.

So, these gaming Chromebooks aren’t exactly brilliant for local gaming, at least right now. The specs are impressive for Chrome OS, but not powerful enough for high-end gaming on a laptop. There is no discrete GPU, for starters. Not to mention there is no selection of true PC games available for Chromebooks. Steam is working on this, and the popular platform has a Chrome OS app in beta. I tested it and quickly realized that playing these games, even using this overpowered Chromebook, was nearly impossible. Final Fantasy VII Remake launched, but it only ran at 10fps, lagged all the time, and crashed constantly, even on the lowest settings. It also took about five minutes to actually launch the game.

That said, Steam has a wide selection of great games and less resource-intensive ones will work better if you dial down the settings.

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip in tent mode next to controller and coffee
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Cloud gaming worked beautifully, though. I was able to run any game using NVIDIA GeForce Now, Xbox Game Pass, Amazon Luna, and Boosteroid. Of course, you’ll need a stable and fast internet connection, but I played very comfortably for hours on end. Additionally, Android games via the Google Play Store ran perfectly — even the more intensive ones like Asphalt 9: Legends. So that takes us back to the whole point. These new gaming Chromebooks aren’t designed with running games locally in mind. They’re made for cloud gaming, and just so happen to be powerful enough to run Android games, just like how Chromebooks in general are built with cloud computing in mind, not local apps and storage.

But this is a Chromebook that costs just shy of $900 at the top spec. And its main lure, cloud gaming, can really be offered by any device, and indeed any Chromebook. NVIDIA GeForce Now’s only real Chrome OS requirement is that the device has at least 4GB of RAM. Additionally, you can run it on macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Android TV, and even a browser, among other platforms. So if you want a device for cloud gaming, it can most likely be the one you’re actually reading this review on, or almost any other.

NVIDIA GeForce Now supported devices CES 2023 5
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Now, let’s say you do care about local gaming, and Chromebooks start launching with dedicated GPUs, and they can run serious titles. This one is already $869.99. Throwing a dedicated GPU at it will only inflate the price further. At that point, gaming Chromebook manufacturers will closely compete with very serious laptops running an actual desktop OS in all its glory. There are a wide variety of powerful Windows laptops at the same price or less, which can do both local and cloud gaming. And if you happen to prefer Apple, we’ve seen the MacBook Air M1 go for as low as $799 when deals come up. Limited game support on macOS aside (albeit more than Chrome OS), it offers blisteringly fast performance, is a reliable everyday tool, and it can easily run games in the cloud.

Likewise, while gaming Chromebooks like the Vibe CX34 Flip and the Acer Chromebook 516 GE are good-looking, feature-rich, performant, and offer an overall premium experience, so do many others. Powerful, quality Chromebooks already exist. The only difference is that they may not have that gaming aesthetic. And, of course, that’s a valid argument. We often get things based on how they look, but just know that it may be the only real differentiator between something like the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip and one of the many other premium Chromebooks you can buy.

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip specs

Processor12th Gen Intel Core i3, i5, or i7
GPU
Integrated Intel UHD, or Iris Xe Graphics
Display
14-inch LED
1,920 x 1.200 resolution
144Hz refresh rate
100%sRGB color reproduction
400 nits of brightness
RAM
8GB or 16GB
Storage
128GB, 256GB, or 512GB
Webcam
720p
Battery
65Whours
45W charging
Up to 10 hours of battery life
Dimensions and weight
31.95 x 23.49 x 2.09 inches
3.99lbs
Other specs
1 x USB-A 3.2
2 x USB-C 3.2
1 x HDMI
1 x 3.5mm headset jack
microSD card slot
Harman/Kardon speakers
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.1
Backlit chiclet keyboard
MIL-STD 810H rating

ASUS Chromebook CX34 Flip review: The verdict

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip in tablet mode next to controller and coffee
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

So, after some tough love about the state of gaming Chromebooks as a concept, where do I stand with the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip? You might think I wouldn’t recommend it, but I actually love the device! It has a great screen, good audio, blazing performance, ports galore, a handy stylus, and an outstanding design. I would like how it looks and feels even if I wasn’t a gamer, and its formidable specs mean it’s perfectly capable of handling productivity workloads that are out of reach for some regular Chromebooks.

The Vibe CX34 Flip is trapped in an identity crisis, but that doesn't stop it from being a fantastic Chromebook.

My complaints were very few, and they were mostly regarding things I’d consider average or basic as opposed to bad. It’s certainly not the most portable Chromebook you can get, battery life is merely OK, and its main selling point — cloud gaming — is available on far cheaper devices that don’t need top-end specs to stream AAA games. If you don’t need all this power or need something a little more portable, there are plenty of other great Chromebooks to consider.

Overall though, the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is an outstanding Chrome OS laptop. If you like Chrome OS, and value a high-quality computer, then this Chromebook is definitely one you’ll enjoy. You’ll just need to set your expectations and know what you’re getting is a capable gaming Chromebook, not a great gaming laptop.

ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 FlipASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip
AA Recommended
ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip
High-end specs for a Chromebook • 14-inch HD+ 144Hz display • Elegant design
MSRP: $769.99
The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is a stunning Chrome OS laptop with amazing performance and an outstanding design, delivering a great premium experience for casual and cloud gaming and general productivity alike.

Top ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip questions and answers

No. The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip uses Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics.

Yes! The Vibe CX34 Flip is very powerful, and it will run most tasks without any issues. Android apps work amazingly on it, as does browsing. This means you will have a seamless experience getting work done. That said, the computer is still limited by Chrome OS. If you have a need for desktop software, you might want to look for alternatives running Windows or macOS.

The device features gaming aesthetics, for starters. It also offers a very good display and audio experience, two very important factors for gaming. Plus, it has powerful performance, and it comes with preinstalled cloud gaming apps and some trials to get you started.

You can pick between the 12th Gen Intel Core i3, i5, or i7. Available versions vary by market.

In terms of RAM, you can pick between 8GB or 16GB. As far as internal storage, the options are 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB.

The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip is a pricey device. In the USA, the top-spec version with a 12th gen Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage costs $869.99.

The Vibe CX34 Flip itself isn’t water resistant, but the keyboard is splash-proof according to ASUS. The unit also has MIL-STD-810H certification, so it should be able to handle rough usage.

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