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Asus C101PA – Chrome, Android, Linux

The Asus C101PA is a Rockchip (arm) and has the same baseboard as the Samsung Chromebook Plus. Both of these are up next for getting Crostini / Linux Containers. As a sub platform of ChromeOS it turns out that this is a very good device that is fairly high up in the stack of platforms for getting new functionality enabled.

Note that the C101PA is:

powered by the new OP1 Rockchip 3399 processor, which integrates a dual-core Cortex-A72 and a quad-core Cortex-A53 with a separate NEON coprocessor. This processor has been designed specifically for Chromebook, and for running Android Apps.

Its performance is on par with the very common Intel Celeron N3060 processor.

Chromebooks: 2013 vs. 2018

Our first Chromebook was the venerable Samsung Chromebook, purchased in January 2013, has mostly faired well, all except the battery which many years later no longer holds a charge. The ASUS C101PA is a great successor model bought in March 2018, and which is smaller, lighter, convertible (with touchscreen) and in general a great low-cost device. Five years makes quite a difference. The price was about the same for both of these, so it really is an apples-to-apples comparison.

Asus C101PA - Cheap Lightweight Convertable

This Asus chromebook C101PA has been around for about two years or so. For our uses, it is still quite a good device for a variety of reasons, and because of the development on ChromeOS, it has actually gotten better over time. The integration of Android and Linux applications is quite usable, and extends the functionality.

The Hardware

The main thing that separates the Asus C101PA from its kindred is the extreme lightness and 10.1" 1280 x 800 screen. While it has wide viewing angles it is a bit glossy and has some glare. It is one of the lightest laptop/notebook/subnotebooks available at 0.9 kg (slightly lighter than the Macbook, which admittedly is a 12" screen, the Asus has much larger bezels).

The device is somewhat underpowered with 4gb of ram and 16gb of ssd. However, the Rockchip ARM processors are pretty good in terms of power and work well with the Android apps.

This is a convertible, which means it can be switched around in various handheld modes and has a touchscreen. This works quite well for propping up on the bed or playing touchscreen-based Android games (my 3 year old approves and prefers the Asus to his 8" MiPad 4 which has 3gb ram / 32gb ssd).

The Asus C101PA has a webcam, albeit not very high resolution, but it works well enough for video calls placed on Google Duo Android app or Duo website. Voice calls using the Telegram android app.

USB and Bluetooth are included.

For ports, the Asus has two USB C and one USB 2 ports. It also has a microSD card reader. An external USB C connector with Ethernet, HDMI, and two USB 2 ports makes for a handy single input docking cable.

Compared with the original Samsung Chromebook, the ASUS is a smaller screen (10.1" vs. 11.6"), has a touchscreen, twice the ram and storage, and is lighter with modern ports.

Pricing of the ASUS C101PA

Overall, the best aspect of this device is the price. We paid 8,000 THB for the device and another slightly less than 1,500 THB for shipping and import fees. This was right around $300 USD for everything (and $250 USD for the device itself), which is a really great price. We'd certainly get the 32gb option that is available now, but wasn't when we purchased this in March 2018.

I'm interested to see what will be coming around in 2023 in terms of a light, powerful, cheap chromebook. Likely: lighter, faster, more storage, less bezel. Of course not every use case is lightest chromebook to which the C101PA seems to still hold the title. Larger screen/keyboard; ruggedized; and cheapest, are three other use cases.

See Also for Linux on the ASUS C101PA

More Resources on the Chromebook, ChromeOS, etc.

Please see more articles regarding software configuration for the ASUS C101PA.

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