While Acer was going big with its new Chromebook announcement this week, Asus is staying flexible with its launch of a pair of Chromebooks that look to capture a piece of the 2-in-1 segment of the growing laptop market.
We had a first inkling of the new hybrid devices back in January, though the leaked information at the time pointed to a single Chromebook Flip CM3000 tablet with a detachable keyboard. It turns out now that there is a Flip CM3 as well as a Detachable CM3, the latter of which possesses the specs originally leaked for the Flip CM3000.
As the names suggest, the Chromebooks handle their hybrid-ness (hybridicity?) in slightly different ways to meet the distinct needs of potential buyers. With the Flip CM3, Asus provides a laptop with a 360-degree hinge that allows it to switch from a traditional laptop to tablet mode, tent mode, and even completely flat mode. What the 12-inch touchscreen lacks in resolution (1,366×912), it makes up for in viewing space in portrait mode thanks to narrow bezels and a 3:2 aspect ration.
The low-res display is indicative of the modest specs of the Flip CM3, which is built around a MediaTek 8183 octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. A microSD slot allows the user to add additional storage capacity, joining a pair of USB 2.0 ports as I/O connections. Support for the USI-compatible Asus Pen is built-in, but the stylus is an optional accessory that would add to the $329 price for the Flip CM3.
With the Detachable CM3, Asus clearly has the Lenovo Chromebook Duet in its sights, though its $350 price tag is higher than its competitor. Like the Lenovo, the Detachable CM3 is based around a 1,920×1,200 tablet with a keyboard that attaches to the slate magnetically. Sharing the same processor as the Flip CM3, the Detachable CM3 also comes with 4GB of RAM but adds a 128GB storage option to the base 64GB drive.
For the added expense, you do get a slightly larger display (10.5 inches vs 10.1 inches) along with an included stylus, but you have to pay extra for the keyboard. (In comparison, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet with 128GB of storage and included keyboard is currently on sale at Best Buy for $249.) The keyboard does provide six degrees of flexibility so it’s not lying flat on a surface while the tablet’s stand offers 90 degrees of flexibility to allow the device to be used at a number of viewing angles.