(Pocket-lint) - Now more than ever laptops are holding many of our lives together, letting us work flexibly and relax wherever we are without worrying about carting around a heavy computer or monitor. Within that, though, the rise of the Chromebook is something noteworthy - Google's Chrome-based operating system is gaining more and more popularity as time passes.
What was once seen as a bit niche is now fully in the mainstream, with seriously desirable machines coming out all the time. One of the manufacturers that got on board with Chrome OS in the early days is Asus, and that's had an interesting knock-on effect: its lineup of Chromebooks are a great reflection of the varied uses that Chrome can fit.
We thought it would be an interesting exercise to run you through some of those purposes, whether you want a laptop for education purposes or are shooting for pure leisure. Check out the varied ecosystem that Asus has built.
1. All about the media
For many of us, although working from home or being able to fire off emails through Chrome's browser might be important, the real difference between different laptops comes down to how good they are to watch things on. If Netflix looks grainy, there's no winning.
There are plenty of Chromebooks out there with great displays, but not many can match the specs that Asus' C523 brings to the table. One of its smartest touchese is the reflection-reducing 15.6" display, a huge screen that's perfect for movies and TV, boasting thin bezels and great picture quality. Plus, audio hasn't been neglected, with powerful stereo speakers ensuring that your media sounds as good as it looks. All this with a 10-hour battery life means that if you're made about streaming, there's a Chromebook right here for you.
2. Expanding your horizons
Of course, for many users around the world a laptop is, more so every day, one of their most important learning tools. Whether you're at school or college, education makes a laptop pretty much necessary nowadays, and a Chromebook is a perfect fit, with Google's suite of document tools at hand.
The Asus C214 was built from the ground up with education in mind, making it a superb choice in this area. It's as rugged as they come, with a rubber bumper that's easy to grip and won't suffer scratches or dings easily, making sure that whether you're working in a messy cafeteria or dusty library your Chromebook keeps up.
Plus, it's got a touchscreen and comes with a built-in stylus, meaning that whether you're designing on the fly or just prefer handwriting your notes, you've got loads of options for how you want to work.
3. I want it all
Perhaps, though, you want the benefits of great media streaming and a machine that's perfect for travelling with and working on? The Asus C433 is an amazing all-rounder that fits the bill perfectly.
It's got a 14" display, but crammed ingeniously into a 13" chassis, meaning that this is a lightweight and easily stored laptop that'll fit into most sleeves and bags.
That doesn't mean it's made any compromises on the useability, though, with a superb high-travel keyboard that's great for typing and a 360-degree hinge making it a super adaptable machine that's great for working or relaxing. 10 hours of battery life means that you'll be able to do either all day, too.
4. No compromise
As Chrome OS has grown in popularity, though, it's started to have devices that don't just represent the affordable and mid-range markets, but also some that are on the very cutting edge of computing, showing off the latest in premium design and specs.
If you want to see the ultimate in Chrome computing, then, look no further than the Asus Chromebook Flip C436, a beautifully designed machine from any angle. It's got an all-metal magnesium alloy chassis, with dual tapered edges that give it a refined edge, and the classy touches don't stop there.
You get a fingerprint scanner for quick and secure unlocking, and its array of ports include USB-C for charging and maximum connectivity. Plus, the bleeding-edge WiFi 6 is on board, meaning that the C436 will be able to reap the fastest connection speeds for years to come. So, whether you're hooking your Chromebook up to a new display or a quicker network, the world's your oyster.
That's a pretty comprehensive lineup, all in all, and for our money it's a great illustration of the variety that's now present in the Chromebook market. Even better, it's only likely to get more impressive from here on out.