The ASUS CR1100FK’s strengths don’t lie in specs but in versatility and durability. It’s built tough, being able to withstand drops and even moisture. The touchscreen and stylus work great and Chrome OS is represented well thanks to adequate RAM and storage expansion capabilities
Long battery life
Well-built flexible hinge
Windows equavalent is priced the same
No Upgrade paths
Out of 10
Intel Celeron N4500 1.1 Ghz
Intel UHD Graphics 600
4GB or 8GB DDR4 RAM (on-board)
32GB or 64GB eMMC+ 1 microSD slot for expansion
11.6″ (1366×768) Touchscreen with Stylus, 250 nits NTSC 50%
First off, is made out of incredibly tough plastic. With kids being usually careless with devices it’s definitely a relief to know that the chassic could take a big bad beating (also thanks to rubberized corners for “drop protection”). This Chromebook comes with flexible hinges too, just like its Windows counterpart. At 1.4KG, you can definitely hold this one one forearm easily while using the included stylus to do your drawing/note-taking.
The corners are rounded too, so there’s nothing sharp to hurt anyone really.
Build quality is overall tough, and even meets military MIL-STD 810H ratings, so it’s certified to withstand extreme temperatures and harsh environments. Oh, and the keyboard is splash resistant too so you spill your juice box away!
Getting Work Done
The CR1100FK runs Chrome OS, which is browser and internet dependent. It is however a lightweight operating system that’s pretty optimized so whether you pick 4GB or 8GB of RAM it will run just as smooth, with the difference lying in multi-tasking potential.
You’ll need to login Chrome OS using your Gmail account since you’ll need to download apps from the Google Play Store and use the browser, which is everything to this device.
Google’s suite of Office apps was a breeze to use, and I found myself tapping away rather quickly on a spreadsheet and document thanks to its tactile keyboard. It was also able to withstand multiple tabs of YouTube, Shopee, Canva and WordPress without much of a stutter. This would mean that it can definitely take a medium beating when it comes to multi-tasking.
Video calls were basic at best. The built-in webcam is definitely not a highlight and so was the microphone. It raked in a lot of background noise and oftentimes I found myself repeating my sentences over again to during my test call. This isn’t a big issue, as you’d definitely be using a wired/wireless headset for your calls these days so you’d be using that mic over what’s offered internally.
There’s also a secondary 8MP camera that’s on the keyboard which kinda acts like a rear-camera when the device is flipped to tablet mode.
Finally, the battery. This is a highlight of this Chromebook. You can definitely count on this to last a full busy day of work tasks that don’t involve watching a lot of videos. If you do watch a lot of videos, consider that time halved.
Decent Port Selection
The CR1100FK comes with a decent range of ports that covers typical situations of needing to plug in extra peripherals, a better webcam and even a microSD card. There’s no HDMI port to display out of but that’s why there’s an extra USB Type-C 3/2 Gen 1 that supports both display and power delivery to do the trick. That’s a more modern solution. The included stylus is part of the ports, and you’ll find it on the right side of the CR1100FK.
There’s also no LAN port so you’ll need to depend on WiFi or a dongle that comes with that port.
USB Type-C x2 (3.2 Gen 1, supports power delivery)
Here, we have to give thanks to the low-powered Intel Celeron N4500 chipset for being so energy efficient, as it managed to pull off more than 10 hours on a single charge. I did cloud editing, write articles and replied messages and the CR1100FK stood the test of (my day) time. Seems the 2 cell battery and specs are a good mix on top of a low-powered Chrome OS!
As for charging , it’s pretty straightforward. Provided in the box is a 45W charging bricklet (baby sized!) that can fit in the smallest of backpacks. It’s a USB Type-C, so you can charge it from either the side of the Chromebook without much as a hassle.
You wouldn’t worry about this too much anyway, the battery is quite a marathoner here.
So why would you buy one?
It’s simple. It’s made to be kid friendly in terms of physical aspects, but is also capable of being an ultra portable option for those that just want to get their office work done without taking up bag space. The specs are on the low side but it’s justified by the price-tag and ease of use. The stylus is a fun tool to play with and I’m happy that its part of the touch experience. If you’re new to Chrome OS, you’ll need a muster some patience to get accustomed to how it works and behaves.
As for the price tag it’s in line with the competition, with the edge of a long battery life and an extremely durable body. Connectivity is fast and modern too, with WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 on board.