I was preparing to leave my house to move into my fiancé’s apartment.
I used to have a fabulous desktop PC: Windows 10, two monitors, Pentium Dual-Core 2.7Ghz processor, 4GB RAM, and the usual peripherals. It was mega, did everything I needed – I recorded a bunch of albums on it, edited images on it, any amount of word processing and web editing… literally everything.
In moving, I wasn’t able to bring that wonderful PC and its bits and pieces with me, but I still needed something that I could work from. I had a Bluetooth keyboard with my Google Nexus 7 (2013) tablet, but that tablet was old, the battery was playing up, and it was generally on its last legs.
I’d been looking at Chromebooks and thinking about them for a while. They were cheap and light, but I was concerned they wouldn’t have the power to handle recording music, and the absence of Microsoft Word was a concern.
Moving is expensive enough as it is, so I was looking for something cheap and cheerful so I could continue working during my move, so I reignited my research into Chromebooks, and came across this ASUS C100PA-DB02.
It needed to be compact because I wouldn’t have as much space in the apartment, and portable because of how much I’d be on the road in the foreseeable future.
It stood out from all the other Chromebook models for two reasons. Firstly, it’s flipping function, where it could operate as both a laptop and a tablet. Secondly, it came with Android functionality as well as the usual Chrome OS.
I had quite a bit of travel lined up, so having the laptop function for doing work wherever I happened to be was ideal. The Bluetooth keyboard I had used with my old tablet hadn’t been great, so I felt I needed something more substantial.
Additionally, being able to use it as a tablet in conjunction with its Android functionality would be ideal for keeping me entertained while I was on the go, from having movies and music through Google Play to being able to use the Google Books app for catching up on my reading.
I did a little bit of research into sound recording, and there were solutions available. They probably wouldn’t be capable of recording to the same quality or level as my old desktop, but it would probably do for demos until I could get back to that setup.
In terms of the Microsoft Word, there was an Android version and an online version available, and I knew you could export Google Docs documents as .docx files, so I figured I’d manage it between all that.
Out of the box, and, as promoted with Chromebooks, there was literally no setting up to do: charge it up, open it, sign in with your Google account.
That’s its setup in its entirety.
Seriously, all I could think was that it was so simple, even my mom could do it.
It took a little bit of playing to figure out the best approach to balancing Chrome OS and Android. It was tempting to download all the apps that I’d had on my tablet, so that everything would be a tap away, but I learned that wasn’t actually the best approach.
Firstly, not all apps I had on my tablet, or that I have on my phone, are even compatible with this ASUS. Secondly, apps take up storage. When you think about it, the reason Chromebooks have such limited storage is to drive the user to do more things online.
In terms of apps not working on phone, these were mostly games. I had to be realistic about the fact that I mostly play games on my phone, when I’m on the subway, where I wouldn’t be bringing it anyway, so that was really not an issue.
In terms of apps taking up storage space, I basically didn’t install anything that could be done using a simple internet browser. I used to have a bunch of apps for buying travel tickets, but they can all be done by just going to the website anyway.
The first test was when I went home for Christmas. I was able to download a few movies onto it to get me there, then work from my parents’ house or a coffee shop, or wherever. Hanging around over Christmas, it was ideal for light browsing to find out about whatever movie I was watching.
For this test run, it was fine, and I was especially appreciative of the long battery life – it lasts nine hours, and can be fully recharged within two.
|16GB, but 32GB and 64GB are now available, and it does have an SD card reader for extra storage
|1280 x 800
There’s not too much more to say. I’ve had this ASUS C100PA for over six months now, and it has been so perfect for my circumstances.
I had a five-week jaunt to the UK and Ireland, and I actually have no idea what I would have done without it! It’s unlikely I’ll ever go back to regular headphones.
In saying that, due to the dimensions of it, it’s not the best for my back to have to look down at it for long periods of time, like when I have it set down on a regular height table, and I spend a few hours working on it while sitting in a regular height chair, I do have to be incredibly mindful of my posture.
So in terms of work, I probably would like to get a full-sized desktop scenario when I can, but I would definitely consider working from one of Google’s desktop solutions.
I did find a few solutions for recording my music, but I haven’t had the chance to experiment with them. No more than everything else, I’m sure I’ll be streamlining what I do there too.
As you can probably imagine, the built-in speaker are pretty awful. It’s not too much of a concern for me personally. When I’m at home I’m using speakers anyway, and when I’m out and about, I always have headphones.
It also doesn’t come with any case or cover of any kind, but you can pick them up pretty cheap.
I would absolutely recommend this ASUS C100PA for anybody who needs a compact, portable solution for work and entertainment, and who relies on online resources for both of those aspects of their computing.
If you’re looking to check out some of our other reviews on cool gadgets, be sure to read our article on Renpho’s Bluetooth Body Fat Scale while you’re here!