Hands on: Meet the convertible Chromebook Flip

A $249 Chromebook that's made of metal and able to flip a full 360 degrees? Darn tootin'. Time to go hands on with the new Chromebook Flip.

Asus Chromebook Flip

Google's Chrome OS is in the midst of its most significant growth spurt to date. While the platform is little by little expanding and becoming more versatile, the devices running the software are also improving in leaps and bounds. 

To wit: the new Asus Chromebook Flip. We first heard about the Flip in April -- and now, it's finally here. Well, almost.

I just got my hands on a Flip review unit, and let me tell you: This thing makes a great first impression. The device has a metal-centric construction that's solid and sturdy -- yet surprisingly light.

Chromebook Flip (1)

Inside sits a 10.1-in. 1280-x-800 IPS touchscreen display.

Chromebook Flip (2)

And, as the Flip's name suggests, the screen flips back a full 360 degrees -- allowing you to use the device as a stand-supported slate or even a fully flattened tablet.

Chromebook Flip (3)

As a refresher, the Flip runs on a Rockchip 3288 processor with either 2GB of RAM or 4GB of RAM. The unit I'll be reviewing is the 4GB model (though you can get a good idea of what type of performance the 2GB version will deliver in my hands-on analysis of the Hisense Chromebook, which uses that same exact configuration).

Chromebook Flip (4)

This isn't the first time we've seen a convertible Chromebook, but it's certainly the first time we've seen one at prices like these: $249 for the 2GB model or $299 for the 4GB version. That means it's also the first time we've seen one that's aimed at average consumers and positioned for mainstream adoption.

Price aside, there's a lot that makes the Chromebook Flip interesting -- and a lot that sets it apart from the typical Chrome OS device. As such, there's a lot to consider in evaluating what it's like to use and for whom it might make sense.

I'll be living with the Chromebook Flip for the next several days and will have a real-world review to share with you soon. The Flip is set to become widely available sometime after the July 4th holiday, so we've got time to get this right.

For now, I'll say this: Things are definitely not going to be dull in the Chrome OS universe this summer. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Chromebook Flip review: A classy little convertible laptop

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