Asus ExpertBook CX54 review: Get the premium Chromebook Plus experience

A Chromebook Plus that richly deserves its designation, with cutting-edge specs and great quality all-round

Asus ExpertBook CX54 on the ITPro background
(Image: © Future)

IT Pro Verdict


  • +

    High-performance Core Ultra CPU

  • +

    Integrated Arc GPU and NPU

  • +

    Brilliant screen with superb color

  • +

    Classy and comfortable design


  • -

    Not as thin and light as other premium laptops

  • -

    Expensive by Chromebook standards

For all the excitement about Chromebook Plus with Gemini and a new wave of Chromebook Plus devices, the Asus ExpertBook CX54 has to be the most exciting business Chromebook we've seen all year. This isn't another revamp or twist on a mid-range Chromebook Plus, but a genuine attempt to redefine the high-end business Chromebook and provide a viable alternative to premium Windows and MacOS machines. With a Core Ultra 7 155U CPU and 16GB of RAM it has the specs. With Google's latest Chromebook Plus enhancements, it has compelling AI features. It even has one of the best QHD screens I've seen on any Chrome OS device.

Needless to say, that comes with a cost, and it's no surprise that the ExpertBook CX54 is more expensive than most Chromebook Plus devices, retailing at £999. Still, when you see what you're getting for the money, that £1,000 price tag begins to look very reasonable. Are you getting exactly what you pay for?

Asus ExpertBook CX54: Design

The design isn't much of a departure for Asus, with the basic shape of the aluminum shell, the 14in 16:10 screen and Ergolift hinge familiar from other laptops in the ExpertBook line. This is a slimline Chromebook, with a 313.7 x 222.8mm desktop footprint and only 1.69mm thick – not as svelte as a MacBook Air or Huawei Matebook X Pro, but still not what you might call chunky. The Fog Silver finish isn't especially distinctive, but it looks as elegant and professional as you might want from an enterprise device.

The front and side edges on the base are tapered at an angle to minimize what bulk there is, while the narrow bezels around the screen give the display a little extra prominence, with an 89% screen-to-body ratio. The hinge lifts the base above the lower edge of the keyboard as it opens, hiding the thicker bottom bezel and giving you a more ergonomic typing angle. At just 1.3Kg, we found the ExpertBook CX54 very comfortable to use both on the desktop and the lap. 

The keyboard is backlit with five levels of illumination and stretches out over most of the top half of the open clamshell base. I'm not a huge fan of the small, split Shift key on the left-hand side or the lack of any navigation keys, which are appearing on some Chromebooks. All the same, the keys are large and nicely spaced, and the layout adheres closely to established Chrome OS conventions. The feel is pretty good, light but with some tactile resistance as you're pressing down and a crisp action as you release. Within an hour or two of use, I was at my normal typing speed and making only the usual number of typos. It's a cut above the keyboards on the vast majority of Chromebook Plus devices.

Asus has also made the most of the space by fitting a sizable touchpad, 8.2mm deep by 12.9mm wide. It's not glass, but it feels smooth and slightly metallic, and had no trouble at all tracking pointer movements and multi-touch gestures. All in all, this is a very pleasant machine for everyday business use.

The Asus ExpertBook CX54 on a desk

(Image credit: Future)

There's nothing much to grumble about when it comes to connectivity. You get two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports on the right-hand side, along with an HDMI 2.1 port and a Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 Type-C port. There's another on the left-hand side along with an HDMI 2.1 port, and you can use either for hooking up the supplied 45W charger, charging other devices or running an external display. There's no Ethernet, but with Wi-Fi 6E support already onboard that's not much of a disaster. You can connect a decent desktop setup without resorting to an external dock.

Asus ExpertBook CX54: Display

The display isn't one of Asus's awesome OLED efforts, but that's where the complaints end. It's bright, reaching 532.1cd/m2 in tests, and the 14in size and 2560 x 1600 resolution give you excellent definition, contrast, clarity, and detail. The 16:10 aspect ratio lends itself perfectly to working across multiple browser windows and applications, making the small-ish screen seem larger than it is.

And if you need to do more creative work, this screen won't let you down. We measured sRGB gamut coverage at 94.7% and DCI-P3 coverage at 67.8%, which might not quite be good enough for professional image editing or design, but will be more than sufficient for anything else. Color accuracy is also solid, with an average Delta-E of just 1.67. 4K Video looks rich and vibrant, with surprisingly deep blacks and plenty of punch.

You might grumble that the audio is a little lacking in terms of mid-range warmth and low-end power, but it's loud enough for background music or streaming video and exceptionally clear. This comes into its own in video calls and meetings, where – with the latest Chromebook Plus enhancements - you won't have any issues being seen or heard. In fact, the webcam captures impressively sharp and well-balanced video, both in natural and artificial lighting. 

Asus ExpertBook CX54: Performance

With the Core Ultra 7 processor and 16GB of RAM, it's no surprise that the ExpertBook CX54 is, generally speaking, the fastest Chromebook we've ever tested. In Geekbench 6's single-core tests, it's not so immediately impressive, with a score of 1797 that lags behind some 12th and 13th-generation Core i5-powered Chromebooks, like the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 and Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5i. In multi-threaded performance, though, it's a clear winner, scoring 7546 against the Chromebook Spin 714's 6568 and the Chromebook Flex 5i's 5020. It's also faster in the Basemark 3.0 web applications benchmark, scoring 1446.65 against 1244.59 and 1237.88 respectively.

What's more,  the built-in Intel Arc CPU gives the Core Ultra 7 even more of an advantage with 3D performance. It's the first Chromebook I've tested to max out the ordinary 3DMark Mobile Wildlife test, and it scored 10242 in the Wildlife Unlimited test, trashing the Chromebook Spin 714's 8826 and the Chromebook Flex 5i's 7041. 

The Asus ExpertBook CX54 on a desk

(Image credit: Future)

This is the first Chromebook we've seen with a half-decent integrated GPU, and it's also the first we've tested where the CPU also features a Neural Processing Unit (NPU). Right now, any AI operations running on the ExpertBook CX54 are dependent on the CPU only, but Google has committed to doing more with NPUs as more processors become available. Even now, the CX54 already feels very performant with the AI features in Chromebook Plus, but as more features roll out, having an NPU to work with could become a real advantage. 

We didn't expect an epic battery life from the ExpertBook CX54, but it cheerfully played full HD video for ten hours and 39 minutes before running out of steam, and in general use it's made it through my average nine to five without any issues, only needing a recharge if I was going back to get some extra work done late at night.  

Asus ExpertBook CX54: Is it worth it?

Yes. It helps that no other Chromebook comes with a spec that's this advanced, or with a CPU as capable as the Core Ultra 7 155U. Right now that processor and 16GB of RAM might seem overpowered, but as Google bets big on AI it might become a wise investment, giving you more power for on-device AI operations thanks to the more powerful GPU and NPU. However, it counts just as much that this is a fantastically well-rounded Chromebook, with an excellent screen, great ergonomics and decent battery life. Sure, the ExpertBook CX54 is a little expensive, but it's worth it. In fact, right now I'd say it's the best Chromebook that money can buy.

Acer ExpertBookCX54 specifications

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Display14-inch 2,560 x 1,600 IPS, 60Hz refresh rate
ProcessorIntel Core Ultra 7 155U
GPUIntel Arc
Ports2x Thunderbolt 4/USB 4, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI 2.1, MicroSD card reader
3.5mm audio jackYes
Camera1080p webcam
Storage512GB PCIe4 SSD
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth v5.3
Dimensions313.7 x 222.8 x 16.9mm
Battery Capacity63Wh
Operating SystemChrome OS
Stuart Andrews

Stuart has been writing about technology for over 25 years, focusing on PC hardware, enterprise technology, education tech, cloud services and video games. Along the way he’s worked extensively with Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android and Chrome OS devices, and tested everything from laptops to laser printers, graphics cards to gaming headsets.

He’s then written about all this stuff – and more – for outlets, including PC Pro, IT Pro, Expert Reviews and The Sunday Times. He’s also written and edited books on Windows, video games and Scratch programming for younger coders. When he’s not fiddling with tech or playing games, you’ll find him working in the garden, walking, reading or watching films.

You can follow Stuart on Twitter at @SATAndrews