You can’t buy one yet, but the first Intel Core Ultra ChromeOS laptop has made an appearance. It’s the Asus ExpertBook CX54 Chromebook Plus that we learned about last month. Chrome Unboxed has an early unit in hand and from what I can see in their video overview, this Chromebook Plus looks fantastic.
Asus ExpertBook CX54 Chromebook Plus sneak peek
Right off the bat, it’s clear that Asus is using premium materials and a solid structural design for the CX54 Chromebook Plus. In fact, I chuckled when Robby tried to bend the chassis and said that it might break before it bends. I doubt you could break though given the aluminum alloy construction.
A more comfortable ChromeOS laptop?
Another aspect that jumped out at me is the back of the device. That’s not something I say often. In this case though, the rear of the display has a bit of an angled back. I can’t be sure yet of course, but it’s possible the Asus ExpertBook CX54 Chromebook Plus is more comfortable on a lap than similar Chromebooks.
Many recent ChromeOS laptops are designed to raise the keyboard angle when the display is tilted fully back. That’s great from a typing standpoint. It’s not so great when a thin display edge is digging into your thighs.
It might difficult to tell from the below image, but the CX54 Chromebook Plus display uses an “L”-shaped bottom edge. Hopefully, it adds a little more comfort, depending on the screen angle in use.
CX54 Chromebook pricing expectations
Clearly, this Chromebook Plus is aimed at those wanting a high-end, premium ChromeOS laptop.
In addition to the design and materials used here, Asus provides a full range of ports, a large trackpad and, of course, the 14th-generation Intel Core Ultra processors. The company hasn’t shared details of the configurations but has said you can choose “up to(an) Intel Core Ultra 7 processor and 16 GB of fast, efficient LPDDR5x 6400 MHz memory.” Well see if Asus delivers on that option.
I do wish the company would abandon the silvery-gray keys used on some of its Chromebook laptops. Those are fine in a brightly lit area.
Drop the lights and enable the keyboard backlighting though and it’s a clumsy visual experience.
While pricing details are still unknown, I can’t see the Asus ExpertBook CX54 Chromebook Plus costing as little as other Chromebook Plus models.
Perhaps a base configuration might. I think that’s a stretch though. And if you do opt for upgrades, the price will only go up from there. The $999 HP Dragonfly Pro is the most comparable device available today, so there’s your benchmark.
As I mentioned last month, I’m expecting Asus to share the full details on this Chromebook at CES.
That even takes place next week, so we shouldn’t have long to wait. Until then, check out the video overview of the Asus ExpertBook CX54 Chromebook Plus and tell me what you think of it so far.