Chromebook C204M review: Tough, affordable and school-ready

The Asus Chromebook C204M is the perfect back-to-school accessory.

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To achieve their full potential, students need the right tech and gear to get the job done. The Asus Chromebook C204M is not only affordable but lightweight and tough, perfect for the back-to-school rush.

Why should you get the Chromebook C204M: It’s durable, can withstand bumps and knocks, and has a long-lasting battery.
Who is it for: Students (of any age) on a budget who need a capable piece of tech.

While this Chromebook is ultimately marked for students of all ages, it’s perfect for anyone, really. Whether you need it for school, university, the boardroom or to take on trips, it ticks all the boxes.

Chromebook C204M review: Tiny but potent

asus chromebook 6 - Chromebook C204M review: Tough, affordable and school-ready
Photo: TheSouthAfrican.com/Cheryl Kahla

Durability

We’re not joking when we the say the Chromebook C204M is tough. After all, it was built to surpass military-grade MIL-STD-810G durability standards and lived to tell the tale.

I didn’t test this myself, but the Chromebook reportedly survived multi-sided, 1.2 metre while switched on, as well as pressures tests of up to 30 kilograms on both the bottom and the lid.

Rest assured that it will withstand everyday classroom knocks, bumps, drops and spills without taking damage. The tiny Chromebook has a rubber bumper along the exterior edges for additional protection.

The rubber bumper and hinges reduce the impact of shocks while keeping all the critical components on the inside safe. The rubber bumper also makes it easier to grip, reducing the risk of dropping it.

asus chromebook 4 2048x1536 - Chromebook C204M review: Tough, affordable and school-ready
Photo: TheSouthAfrican.com/Cheryl Kahla

Design

The nifty piece of tech has an anti-scratch exterior with a textured finish which makes into practically immune to fingerprints. Its rugged exterior will still be fashionable even if it takes a few knocks along the way.

Other than the rubber bumper around the edge, the Chromebook also has a 180 lay-flat hinge, reducing unnecessary stress on the mechanism.

Keyboard

I’m most critical of the keyboard when I review a laptop. The best-rated keyboards usually irritate me, so much so that I went bought and got rid of no less than five keyboards before finally finding one I liked for my everyday use. (The Asus Cerberus, if you were wondering).

asus chromebook 5 2048x1536 - Chromebook C204M review: Tough, affordable and school-ready
Photo: TheSouthAfrican.com/Cheryl Kahla

Not only is the keyboard on the Chromebook C204M spill-resistant keyboard, but it’s also designed to withstand liquid spills without harm, and it’s tamper-resistant, too, thanks to the gap between the edges of the keycaps.

Connectivity

Connectivity and ports are important too. Apart from being equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 and dual band Wi-Fi 5 capabilities, you’ll also find two USB Type-C ports (with support for displays and power delivery).

The Chromebook also has two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, an audio jack and a microSD card reader.

asus chromebook - Chromebook C204M review: Tough, affordable and school-ready
Photo: TheSouthAfrican.com/Cheryl Kahla
asus chromebook 3 - Chromebook C204M review: Tough, affordable and school-ready
Photo: TheSouthAfrican.com/Cheryl Kahla

Battery

Let’s face it, you need a laptop with a good battery. Powered by a 50WHrs, 3S1P, 3-Cell Lithium-ion battery, IT can last up to 14 hours on a single charge. That’s long enough to get you through a school day, and then some.

The long-lasting battery means students could get a few hours of interrupted learning in without have to reach for the charger. With Eskom currently back to it’s old tricks, you’ll need a something with a long-lasting battery anyway.

The one downside is that you need to set the screen at a high brightness percentage for optimal usage, but that in turn will drain the battery faster. It’s not a deal-breaking, but something to be cognizant of.

Chromebook C204M – In conclusion

The TL:DR part of this review is that the Asus Chromebook C204M is made to survive the real world. And with its school day-long battery life, the ASUS Chromebook C204M is ready for anything, anywhere.

With a suggested retail price point of R6 200, the Chromebook will fit your pocket, too.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Capable, education-focused laptop
  • Durable, rugged and sturdy
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Limited connectivity for port-heavy users
  • Screen best used on brightness of 80% or higher
  • Large bezels

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