ASUS is absolutely killing it in the Chrome OS space as of late. With three new 11th generation Tiger Lake Chromebooks and a unique mix of ARM-powered MediaTek 2-in-1 devices, ASUS is quickly becoming an easy recommendation for just about any use-case or budget. One of the most anticipated devices in the aforementioned list is without a doubt the detachable ASUS Chromebook CM3 tablet. Powered by the same MediaTek Kompanion SoC found in the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, the ASUS CM3 brings a somewhat more refined experience to the Chrome OS tablet space with a stowable stylus and a slightly larger display than the 10.1″ Duet.
We have the ASUS CM3 in the office and we’ll be bringing you some initial impressions in the very near future. While we can assure you that the CM3 won’t be a powerhouse Chromebook, it does offer some niceties and the versatility of a tablet that’s just the right size to be manageable. Building from the hype of the Chromebook CM3 tablet, it appears that ASUS has quietly released a ruggedized version of the MediaTek-powered detachable and this Chromebook will be aimed squarely at the education sector.
As tipped to Kevin Tofel, ASUS has launched a landing page for the all-new ASUS Chromebook detachable CZ1 and the spec sheet reads nearly identical to its consumer-focused sibling, the CM3. On the inside, the ASUS Chromebook CZ1 features the same MediaTek Kompanio 500 found in the CM3 and Lenovo Duet. It also comes with 4GB of RAM and two storage flavors of either 64GB or 128GB of eMMC. It has the same 1920 x 1200, 16:10 display, garaged stylus, and a single USB-C port. ASUS did equip this tablet with a 3.5mm audio jack which is something that I wish Lenovo had kept on the Duet.
The new ASUS CZ1 adds some rugged features that are meant for the wear and tear of daily classroom life. Around the outside, the CZ1 is equipped with a “durable rubber trim” and the tablet is 3-D textured to minimize the appearance of scratches and fingerprints. Like the CM3, the CZ1 comes with an adjustable cover that doubles as a kickstand, and ASUS claims that the device is shock-resistant up to a 150 cm drop when this cover is in place. The panel is rated to withstand a downward direct force of 15 kg and the USB port was tested for durability with a 5,000 cycle insertion and removal test.
This device, like the CM3, should be reasonably better than Lenovo’s iteration but the new CZ1 has something that Lenovo’s rugged Chromebook 10e (the Duet’s rugged classroom counterpart) does not. A TRACKPAD. Lenovo’s Chromebook tablet 10e has an optional keyboard folio case that will run you around $50 but it lacks a trackpad. In my opinion, this was a bad omission from an otherwise great little EDU device. ASUS’ CZ1 appears to come with the keyboard case and it does feature a touchpad which makes this an all-around better device.
No pricing has been announced at this time but I would suspect, based on the CM3, that the CZ1 will fall somewhere in the mid-three hundred and up price range. We’ll reach out and see if we can get more details on the price and release date. Hopefully, we can get our hands on one sooner than later and see just how rugged this little ARM-powered Chromebook really is. Stay tuned. You can see the all-new ASUS Chromebook CZ1 landing page here.