Before it sets out to break laptop affordability records with rumored $150 Chromebooks, Asus is granting you the ability to get LTE connectivity on the cheap. With little to no fanfare, the PC manufacturer has started selling a version of its C300 Chromebook that’s LTE-enabled. With this notebook in tow, you’ll be saved from having to always hunt for Wi-Fi hotspots.
The refreshed 13.3-inch Chromebook is identical to the old Wi-Fi-only model from both aesthetic, and hardware standpoints. The sole new feature is an Altair FourGee-3100/6202 LTE chipset, which is certified to run on Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
Verizon LTE connectivity was available with HP’s first LTE-enabled Chromebook too. However, the Asus C300 is dirt cheap by comparison, as Best Buy only charges a measly $200 for the rehashed notebook. The LTE-enabled HP Chromebook 11 went for $379 when it was first launched.
However, you’ll have to commit to a two-year Verizon contract. Otherwise, you’ll need to cough up $300 upfront. That’s still not a bad deal, given that the Wi-Fi-only Asus Chromebook costs $250 at Best Buy, and around $225 on Amazon. A $50, even a $75 premium doesn’t feel too steep for the connectivity edge that you’d get with LTE.
Keep in mind that with Black Friday looming, this price could go down pretty soon.
Weighing 3.1 pounds, and measuring 0.9 inches thick, the 13.3 inch C300’s Intel Celeron N2830 processor won’t break any performance records, but it goes easy on power consumption. That’s why battery life is rated at a stellar 10 hours.
Aside from LTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 cover the connectivity department. Also, there’s an unusually generous range of ports offered, including USB 2.0, 3.0, HDMI, and an SD card reader.
At 1,366 x 768, the 13.3-inch display is low-res, as you’d expect from something in this price range. Memory and storage numbers (2GB, and 16GB, respectively) are typical as far as Chromebooks go.
Still, at the end of the day, for $200 with a contract and $300 without one, if all you need is a notebook to do Web-based stuff with, the new Asus C300 looks like a smart buy.