Ok, so Asus obviously isn’t making a $500 Hackintosh. But given how good this $500 Chromebook looks, the comparison is obvious.

Apple’s Retina MacBook is meant to be the ultimate netbook. It’s a near-perfect computer for internet browsing, Netflix streaming and basic work. But it also costs upwards of $1,000, which is a lot of money for a computer that lacks the power to be a real workhorse.

That’s why we were so excited when Asus’s Chromebook Flip C302 leaked last week. From the specs we saw, it looked like a thin, decently well-powered Chromebook with a solid metal build and a convertible display, all for $500. I’m delighted to say that the leaks were on point: the C302 is exactly as advertised, and Apple should be worried.

The specs are just good enough to convince you to spend $500 on a Chromebook: 12.5-inch 1080p display, 6th-gen Intel Core m3 processor, 128GB of storage, up to 8GB of RAM (for extra cost), two USB-C ports, a micro-SD slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

On paper, that measures up nearly identical to the Retina MacBook, although the $500 Asus even gets an extra USB-C port. That’s not the only place it beats the MacBook: the 12.5-inch display is convertible, flipping over to give you a tablet form factor (or providing a good stand for Netflixing on a plane).

There’s still a few questions we’ll need to answer, like the quality of the display, the clickiness of the keys, and the all-important battery life. But providing the Asus doesn’t fall too short on those, I think the Retina MacBook could have some real competition on its hands.

Chris Mills has loved tinkering with technology ever since he worked out how to defeat the parental controls on his parents' internet. He's blogged his way through Apple events and SpaceX launches ever since, and still keeps a bizarre fondness for the Palm Pre.