Demand for laptops has skyrocketed since the pandemic began, even outstripping supply at times. The restrictions on social contact have left people relying on technology more than ever, be it for remote working, socialising or spending free time. Despite several different PC form factors emerging in recent years, most people have turned to a laptop in order to stay productive.
However, these aren’t the four-figure premium devices you often see advertised – quite the opposite. Many people aren’t looking for the bells and whistles of high-end hardware; a decent display, solid performance and all-day battery life are often all that’s required. Chromebooks regularly tick all these boxes, at a price that consistency undercuts similar-spec Windows 10 or macOS devices.
Asus has established itself one of the leading Chromebook manufacturers in recent years, with a lineup that appeals to a wide range of consumers. Among them is the C523, a budget notebook that does a great job of imitating laptops that are significantly more expensive. It offers an impressive 15.6in Full HD (1920x1080) NanoEdge touchscreen, making it a great option for watching movies and TV shows wherever you are. There are also some impressively slim bezels, meaning the viewing experience even more immersive. However, there’s still enough space for an HD webcam, making the C523 great for catching up with friends, family and colleagues.
Chromebooks are web-based and benefit from integration with cloud storage services such as Google Drive, but there’s also 64GB of on-device storage. This offers plenty of room to install your favourite apps, as well as downloading films and TV for offline viewing.
There are also a wide range of ports, something increasingly rare on modern laptops. In addition to the regular charging socket, you also get two USB-C ports, two USB-A, one DisplayPort and a 3.5mm headphone jack – no dongles required. There’s even a microSD card slot, allowing you to quickly transfer files from a camera or other storage device with ease.
Asus also says the C523 can last up to 9 hours on a single charge. This impressive battery life means a full working day of usage should be well within reach for most people.
There are plenty of other hardware features worth mentioning, including dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a full-size keyboard. All this comes within a compact body that weighs just 1.2kg, making it extremely portable and perfect for using on the go.
Simple, effective software
The Asus C523 runs Chrome OS, a stripped-back, web-first operating system optimised for use with Google apps. Early devices required an internet connection to work, but it now offers full offline functionality. Chrome OS prioritises simplicity, making it extremely easy to use without any prior experience. A streamlined feature set means it’s impressively fast, too – Chromebooks like the C523 can move between email, web browsing, word processing and much more with ease.
Another key appeal of Chrome OS is its security credentials. The software comes with built-in virus protection, although malicious content very rarely affects the whole device. That’s because Chrome OS uses sandboxing, meaning infections found in one area are unlikely to spread elsewhere. It also features Verified Boot, which performs a range of security checks every time you turn on the device. Even if widespread issues do occur, Chrome OS’ deep integration with the cloud makes it unlikely any important files will be lost.
It’s easy to see why Asus has chosen Chrome OS for the C523. As a complete package, the device offers everything most people are looking for from a laptop, at a price many can afford. It’s available from Currys for just £249, representing excellent value for money. It’s eligible for free next day delivery, while customers can trade in their old laptop for a saving of up to £175.
However, it’s far from the only Asus Chromebook worth considering – the Currys website has a wealth of great options. These include regular and convertible devices in a wide variety of sizes and configurations.
See the full range of Chromebooks on the Currys website.
* prices are correct as of 21/04/2021