Asus goes thin, light and tough for CX9 business Chromebook
With a few notable exceptions, what early Chromebooks lacked in top-tier specs they made up for in low price tags. But mobile professionals need more performance grunt, and don't mind paying a little extra to get it. Asus has launched the CX9 to give "the cloud-first workforce the ability to maximize productivity from anywhere."
The CX9 features Wi-Fi 6 for the potential of "faster-than-wired speeds of up to 2.4 Gbps," and has been built to withstand the strains of mobile working, rocking a CMC-machined aluminum alloy chassis that's been treated to structural reinforcements to meet US MIL-STD 810H durability standards.
It's something of a powerhouse Chromebook too, coming with 11th Generation Intel Core i3/15/i7 processor options and Intel Iris X graphics, supported by up to 16 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and up to 512 GB of PCIe M.2 SSD storage.
The 14-inch thin-bezel Full HD display panel has a screen-to-body ratio of 92 percent, and is available in touch (with Asus Pen support) and non-touch flavors, or buyers can option up to an eye-pleasing 4K UHD touchscreen. And integrated stereo speakers tuned by Harman Kardon are reported to deliver "robust sound comparable in quality to larger laptops."
Asus hasn't skimped on the ports, with Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, USB 3.2, and HDMI all present and correct, and there's a microSD slot too. A lipped hinge raises the backlit keyboard to a comfortable typing angle, while spill resistance should limit the damage from accidentally knocking over a drink while trying to meet deadlines.
In a first for the Asus Chromebook line, the CX9 features a LED-illuminated numeric keypad in the trackpad, which can be turned on or off as needed. The company says that special software has been included so that the trackpad can still be used to control the onscreen cursor while the numberpad is active, which is a useful feature.
Importantly for mobile workers, the new portable workhorse comes with a Titan-C security chip designed by Google, a fingerprint sensor for one-touch login, a privacy cover on the 720p webcam, and more, and Asus is promising all-day working thanks to a Li-ion battery claimed good for 14 hours per charge.
In its lightest configuration, the CX9 tips the scales at 2.31 lb (1.05 kg) and is 0.63 inches (1.6 cm) at its thinnest. It's available now, pricing starts at US$749.99.
Product page: Chromebook CX9