CES 2023 was a packed show for us this time around. With affordable Chromebooks, high-end-amazing Chromebooks, Chromeboxes and a pseudo Chromebase, there was a lot to unpack in our few days spent in Vegas. We’ve already released videos of the fantatic-looking HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, the gaming focused ASUS Vibe CX34 Flip, and the affordable Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i, but this post is about another affordable Chromebook we didn’t anticipate seeing at CES this year: the ASUS Chromebook CM14.
We first ran into the Chromebook CM14 in MediaTek’s booth where they were using it to showcase the latest, affordable Kompanio 520 processor it possesses on the inside. In that setup, the CM14 was hooked up to a 1080p television and I streamed Fortnite via GeForce NOW while live-streaming my session in Discord. Compared to the Kompanio 500 in the original Lenovo Duet (which this new Kompanio 520 is replacing), this was a big step up.
We then ran across this Chromebook in ASUS’ booth as well, and it was there that I was able to spend a bit more time with it. There’s nothing too flashy going on, here, but the ASUS Chromebook CM14 adds a few things you’d expect in a mid-range Chromebook to this entry-level offering.
First up, the chassis is very, very thin. Made of all plastic, you’d expect a 14-inch device this thin to be flimsy, but that’s not the case at all. Instead, there’s a surprising amount of firmness to the CM14 that I love seeing in a device that should retail in the $300 range.
It also comes with a 250 nit IPS touchscreen that is USI pen-ready and that’s because a stowed USI pen is included in the box. So not only is this device thin and light, it is convertible and comes with a solid pen option for use when you need it. We’ll have to wait and see how it performs, but MediaTek’s other Kompanio devices have fared decently well with pen input, so I’m hoping it does well.
There is a decent port selection with a couple USB Type C, one Type A, and a microSD card slot as well. Those come on the side of a full-size keyboard and a nice, large, smooth trackpad that all comes together to perform quite comfortably in my small amount of time spent navigating the UI.
The other interesting tidbit is the inclusion of MediaTek’s untested Kompanio 520 – a SoC that will have stiff competition in this price range thanks to Intel’s latest Alder Lake N chips that we see in upcoming Chromebooks like the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i. Performance felt decently smooth and we’re not expecting this device until Q2 of 2023, so there’s time to get kinks worked out between now and then.
The biggest upside to this new processor will be battery life. MediaTek expects wild numbers – up to 15 hours of use – from devices like the CM14, so if the performance is decent and you can charge it a couple times a week, that makes for a compelling option at the lower-end of the Chromebook market. We’ll know more when this Chromebook shows up in the spring, but until then, it is simply encouraging to see another affordable ChromeOS device that is adding value without inflating the price to start out the year. Hopefully that is a sign that more are to follow.