It wasn’t too long ago that we unearthed a new contender to the Lenovo Chromebook Duet in the form of a new detachable Chromebook from ASUS. At the time, we only had early retail listings to go off of and a few product-related PDFs, but we were able to piece together most of the story for ASUS’ quietly-unveiled Chrome OS tablet.
In searching for a bit more detail today, I came across a full-blown landing page for the new tablet that not only gives us far more information about the upcoming detachable, but also makes the entire device feel a bit more official at this point. Nevermind the fact that this landing page also gives us the feeling that we could see the new CM3 detachable get a release date at just about any point.
Updated from the info we gleaned via retail results, we now have some clarification on a few things. First up, that 2-way kickstand seems to actually be legit. In what ASUS is referring to as the ‘Flex-Angle’ stand, this tablet will possess the ability to be propped up in both landscape and portrait modes, making this the first tablet we’ve seen with this sort of setup. I honestly thought this was a bad Photoshop job the first time we saw it, so it will be interesting to see this in person.
Second, we know that the added screen real estate is making room for a full-sized keyboard and will be a very nice upgrade to the cramped experience you get on the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. With a larger screen and what look to be slightly larger bezels, there should be enough room to squeeze in a standard layout and for those looking to get a bit of work done on this Chromebook, that is good news. ASUS adds that we can be expecting 1.5mm key travel on this diminutive device as well.
ASUS is also touting the speakers on this little tablet, saying that the dual 5-magnet stereo speakers can generate high-fidelity audio with a surround-sound effect. As we know with Chromebooks, these sorts of claims tend to fall flat. I’m not holding my breath that this CM3 tablet will change my mind on that, but I like knowing that there is a chance. After all, tablets that have good screens and solid speakers make great media consumption devices, and that’s what the CM3 will need to be to succeed in this space.
Another clarification comes in the build materials. ASUS states that the CM3 is built with a unibody aluminum design and a cover that is stain resistant. Though we really like the look and feel of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, it doesn’t take long for it to feel a bit less than high end. Small creaks and plastic parts here and there give off a mid-range feel (totally understandable in a sub-$300 device) and it sounds like that won’t be the case with this more-corporate take on the Chrome OS tablet.
There’s also more info on the battery with ASUS touting that it is able to last up to 12 hours on a charge, comes with fast charging, and should help this tablet be a great on-the-go companion. With the all-aluminum build and stain resistance, I’d imagine this tablet will find itself in a lot of small bags and purses, putting it in the ultra-portable category. Battery life is a must for devices like this, so hopefully the CM3 lives up to that number.
Finally, a big upgrade that ASUS looks to be delivering on over the Lenovo Duet is display output. Though not fully confirmed by this landing page, the fact that the official spec sheet says “1 x Type-C USB 2.0 with display and power delivery support” makes us hopeful that the extended display woes that plagued the Duet won’t be present this time around. From everything we’ve seen in the Chromium Repositories surrounding the MediaTek MT8183 boards in development (‘Kukui’ is what this new device is based on), the necessary MUX has been added to all but the Duet and 10e from Lenovo that should make standard screen extension possible with this new ASUS tablet. Oh, and here’s the spec rundown again if you missed it last time.
ASUS Detachable Chromebook CM3 Specs
- MediaTek MT8183 processor
- 4GB RAM
- 128GB eMMC storage
- 10.5-inch 1920×1200 16:10 touch screen
- 320 nits and 118% sRGB color gamut
- 2MP (1080p) front-facing camera
- 8MP rear-facing camera
- Wi-Fi 5
- Bluetooth 4.2
- 27Wh battery
- 3.5mm headphone/mic jack
- USI pen included
- Detachable full-sized keyboard included
- 1.16 lbs
- 255mm x 167mm x 7.9mm
While ASUS hasn’t confirmed availability or pricing yet, I don’t imagine it will be long now. With a landing page this fully-featured, it seems like a launch is imminent. We’ve reached out and will update if we hear back from ASUS in an official capacity on this, but if an upgraded Lenovo Chromebook Duet is what you’ve been waiting for, this might be the device for you. Stay tuned.