I have always been a traditional desktop or laptop user for both work and play, but given the increasing popularity of two-in-one devices, I was keen to get hands-on with the ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (Flip CX5).

When unboxing the Flip CX5, its striking black design with embossed ASUS logo makes a statement. Although when I take it out of the box, it is heavier than expected, particularly for a two-in-one device. Weighing approximately 2.15kg, there are other two-in-one devices on the market coming in around 1.8kg. It may not sound like a big difference, but something to consider if the Flip CX5 is going to be a travel companion or taken along to meetings.

The first thing I try out is the 360-degree hinge which smoothly adjusts the display to any angle – it is sturdy and robust, flipping to the exact angle you want. The Flip CX5 can be used in laptop mode, tablet mode, tent mode or standing mode, allowing you to find the most comfortable position depending on the task.

For me, laptop mode was my preferred choice when using the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel etc), although the tablet mode was handy when annotating or editing documents, and tent mode was great for watching video content when there was no need to hold the device or use the keyboard. There is an optional stylus available to purchase which I believe would be a useful addition particularly in tablet mode.

The backlit keyboard is a welcome feature, especially when using the device in dim lit situations. The main keyboard, which is well-spaced and comfortable to use, is supported by a full numeric keyboard and an extra-large 5.73-inch touchpad, making navigation a breeze with super smooth movement.

The next thing I notice is the full IO (input/output) port with two USB-C, one USB-A, one micro SD, one audio jack and one HDMI 2.1 port, which not all Chromebooks offer. You also find the power button on the right edge alongside volume controls. This gives the device a similar feel to a smartphone but personally I prefer the power button as part of the keyboard.

The 16:10 display with 87% screen-to-body ratio delivers a good amount of screen real estate for everyday tasks, although 250 nits of brightness isn’t ideal if you’re using the device in direct sunlight. The quad speakers with Harman/Kardon certified audio provide good sound quality; tested at high-range and low-range frequencies with no distortion.

The Full HD camera delivers decent picture quality for photos and video calls. In photo mode, there’s a choice of full resolution (1.2MP) or medium resolution (0.5MP), and 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios. You can also turn mirror preview on or off, as well as add a grid. In video mode, you can choose full HD (1080p) or HD (720p) resolution. There is also a scan function for QR codes. For added privacy, there is a webcam shield with a sliding mechanism above the screen to block the camera when you don’t need it.

Smooth connections are made possible with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. The Flip CX5 is available with up to the latest 12th generation Intel Core i7 processor, but my review model came with Intel Core i3 1215U processor. I think it is worth the extra investment for a better processor if you want enhanced connectivity and graphics, especially if you’re an avid gamer or movie buff.

The Flip CX5 promises battery life of up to 10 hours (depending on usage of course) and when I was testing the device, it got through a full 9am to 5pm workday plus a little more, which was enough for me.

With two-in-one devices available from a little under $1,000 up to $3,000, the Flip CX5 sits towards the entry end of the spectrum with a recommended price of $1,379. As the first two-in-one device I have used, I enjoyed using the 360-degree hinge for greater versatility when switching between work and play and was impressed by the fully featured IO port (especially the inclusion of HDMI 2.1). The main downfalls for me were the weight and screen brightness, but overall it was a good introduction into the hybrid laptop space for a first time user.