Since its introduction over a year ago at this point, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet has been in a league all its own. After all, before it arrived and since it began shipping, there’s not been a Chromebook quite like it. Lenovo upended the low end of the Chromebook spectrum with a solid tablet that can act as a laptop-type device when needed and blew everything else out of the water when it shipped with a $299 price tag that included the keyboard and kickstand backing.
The device has surely sold well and has become a go-to recommendation for nearly anyone looking for a nicer, affordable Chromebook option. Part of the succcess of the Duet is owed to that price tag and the value proposition it represents. But another part is entirely due to the fact that it has largely stood alone in the market as the only real Chromebook tablet option available these days. With the Slate now officially gone and the other education-focused tablets from a few years ago fading from memory, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet has had the detachable Chromebook sector all to itself. At least until now.
Enter ASUS and their new Chromebook tablet
In expected but still-surprising fashion, ASUS looks to be very close to shipping a MediaTek MT8183 detachable Chromebook tablet of its own in the coming weeks. The device looks to be shipping with the ‘Flip’ branding on a few of the sites we found it on (here’s the best listing with the best photos), but is clearly going to be a detachable ARM-powered tablet that will arrive with a keyboard, kickstand back and stowable USI pen all in the box. From the looks of the photos, it may even have some nifty tricks up its sleeve for propping up the tablet in both portrait and landscape modes, but we’re not really sure how that is possible. Take a look for yourself as we not only have some photos to share, we have a full-blown spec sheet as well.
ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3000 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 keyboard included
- 1.16 lbs
- 255mm x 167mm x 8mm
While this new Chromebook tablet may seem like it is appearing out of thin air, I think we’ve been tracking it by a different name for quite some time. ‘Kakadu’ is the only other MediaTek tablet we’ve found and when we did come across it, we realized that the Lenovo Duet was a bit more unique than we first assumed. When all the devices based on the ‘Kukui’ board began showing up, we thought they would all be tablets like the Duet (‘Krane’) and the Lenovo 10e (Kodama). That clearly isn’t the case.
When ASUS gets this device out the door, how much it will actually cost (these early listings can be very far off in our experience), and how many markets they release to will determine the overall success of this new Chromebook. I like the extra screen real estate at 10.5-inches and paired up with decently small bezels, I think this will still be a great feel for a tablet while allowing a bit more room to spread out those keyboard buttons versus what we get in the Duet. And speaking of the keyboard, do take note of the way it magnetically locks into place similar to what we see with the Surface line of devices from Microsoft. That’s a great move by ASUS for sure as it really helps solidify the keyboard when the whole device is in your lap.
Add to that already-impressive equation the fact that the stylus not only comes with the device, but is stowable inside the tablet and you come away with an overall package that I think will really give the Lenovo Duet a much-needed run for its money. Until we know more, however, we’ll have to wait and see how this all shakes out. After all, I know I’m eagerly anticipating the Snapdragon 7c tablet ‘Coachz’ and/or ‘Strongbad’, so ASUS really needs to get this tablet out the door pretty quickly if it wants to stay relevant. As we know too well, there are tons of Chromebook hitting shelves this year. If they want a chance with this one, the time is now and the price needs to be low. Here’s hoping!