Versatile Asus Chromebook serves up tablet, sketchpad and laptop in one
For folks who work and play online, Chromebooks generally offer pretty good bang for buck. While most come in laptop form, the Chromebook Detachable CM3 from Asus offers a laptop, digital sketchpad and a tablet experience in one device.
Google's Chrome operating platform first came to tablet form with Acer's Chromebook Tab 10 in 2018, which was aimed mostly at students. Though it came with a stylus input, you'd have to do your typing onscreen or buy a cheap Bluetooth keyboard. The new Chromebook Detachable CM3 from Asus comes supplied with a keyboard cover and Pen stylus.
The soft keyboard attaches to the main tablet body via a Pogo Pin interface, and is elevated by six degrees when docked. It offers full-size chiclet keys with 1.5-mm of travel. A magnetic flex-angle stand can be attached to the back for comfortable viewing angles while in landscape or portrait modes, and the stylus automatically charges when stowed away inside the tablet, so it's always ready to scribe or doodle when you are.
The 7.9-mm-thin tablet is wrapped in a durable aluminum unibody chassis and sports a 10.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,200-pixel IPS multi-touch display that supports 118 percent of the sRGB color space and can manage 320 nits of brightness.
The device has MediaTek MTK8183 octa-core processing brains and runs Mali-G72 MP3 graphics, supported by 4 GB of RAM and either 64 or 128 GB of eMMC storage. There's 802.11ac Wi-Fi for working, studying and playing online, and Bluetooth 4.2 too. Charging and physical connectivity is via a single USB 2.0 Type C port, with Asus promising up to 12 hours of battery life per charge.
The tablet/laptop has a 2-MP front camera for videochats, and an 8-MP snapper around back, and it rocks stereo speakers, though there is a combo audio jack for plugged-in private listening.
Of course, there's full access to Google's Play app store, including productivity app like Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, and Meet, and Google Assistant is on hand for voice control too. And each purchase comes with a 12-month subscription to Google One cloud storage, with 100 GB included.
The Detachable CM3 start at US$349.99, and is quite a similar proposition to last year's IdeaPad Duet from Lenovo – albeit with a slightly bigger display, a different processor and better battery life.
Product page: Chromebook Detachable CM3