Asus has been busy at CES 2016, announcing a modular Chromebook and pocket-sized PCs.
Classroom Rugged Chromebook
Laptops and notebooks have always been delicate devices not necessarily intended for the young or those with the propensity to drop things, but the new Asus Chromebook C202 appears to have licked that problem.
The latest addition to the Asus portfolio, the Chromebook C202 is being described as “classroom-rugged,” which could really mean all manner of things but in this case appears to redefine expectations. By subjecting the C202 to “military-grade reliability tests” Asus is bringing to market a Chromebook made to order for classroom scenarios where the risk of damage from multiple users is greatest.
In an industry first, the C202 has been manufactured with a modular design that enables individuals to remove and replace broken parts, including things like the keyboard, battery and power supply. According to Asus, the entire unit can be fully dismantled using basic tools and in a matter of a few steps.
Additional protection is provided through smart design inclusions like a wraparound rubber bumper, a keyboard that’s spill-resistant, an external finish that’s scratch-resistant, and – possibly most importantly – a shock-proof solid state drive that can withstand battering.
Internal specs aren’t out of this world but they are acceptable for intended use. It has an Intel Celeron N3060 processor and RAM option of 2GB or 4GB, with 16GB of storage. The screen size is 11.6 inches and displays in 1366×768 HD with anti-glare.
The Asus Chromebook C202 operates on Chrome OS and will be available for purchase in February. Pricing is expected to start at around $220 for the 4GB option.
Asus also hit the ground running at CES 2016 with a batch of new mini PCs, each designed to meet a diversity of demands.
First up is the VivoMini VC65 Series, which can perform as an NAS device or mini server system. It supports as many as four storage devices and offers RAID functionality, and is powered by a 6th-generation Intel Core processor.
The VivoMini UN65H was built with spatially challenged home or business users in mind, packing a 6th-generation Intel Core processor into a lightweight and compact box that more closely resembles a set top box than a PC. Dual storage bays can be configured to handle up to 1TB via 2.5-inch hard drive, or 256GB via M.2 SSD. Fast Wi-Fi speeds up to 802.11ac are possible.
The Asus VivoMini VM65N also comes with a 6th-generation Intel Core processor and has a dual-storage design that can handle two 2.5-inch hard drives or a single 3.5-inch HDD. Included NVIDIA graphics can also achieve smooth 4K visuals. It has DDR4 memory, USB 3.1 ports, and Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
Users interested in converting their HDMI TVs into fully functional computers can use the Asus VivoStick PC TS10, which is powered by latest-gen Intel Cherry Trail Atom processors and runs Windows 10. The stick offers built-in Miracast support and offers numerous connectivity options: two USB ports, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and an audio output jack.
Asus has yet to announce prices or release dates for the pint-sized PCs.