I thought half the point of a Chromebook was that it was supposed to be cheaper than a standard laptop?
I'm sure that was the case at first as they were going up against the extremely dominant Windows platform and they felt like positioning the Chromebook as, among other things, a value was a good way to get some market share. Now that they have traction and people are buying Chromebooks on other merits like security, ease of use, and simplicity, the OEMs are taking a shot at going up market. Now the message can be, you know that Chromebook you like so much, yet was slow and cheaply constructed? Well now by just paying a bit more, you can have a more premium experience. It's not just buy a Chromebook instead of Windows because it's cheap, it's by this Chromebook rather than that one because it's faster/higher resolution/IPS/more RAM/better.
I'd say the sweet spot is around $800or so now, but you can pick from a number of pretty decent laptops for around $500.
You're still thinking, Chromebook vs. Windows. A chunk of the market is now sold on Chromebooks so for them it is Chromebook vs. better Chromebook and Asus, with this model, is casting their line there.