The ASUS Chromebook CM3 Detachable is a new tablet running Chrome OS. Starting at around 370 US Dollars it features a 10.5-inch screen, a unique keyboard cover, and an active pen which is stored and charged inside the body. Well, should you get it? That’s what you’ll learn in this ASUS Chromebook CM3000 Review.
Design & Built Quality
The design of the ASUS Chromebook CM3 is a good one. We’re getting a mostly metal body which is very premium-feeling and has nice cut edges. The transition from the body to the screen is not as elegant but it’s fine for this price. It’s 8mm thin and weighs 510g.
We get just one USB C port which is a USB 2.0 one. So, you can connect many accessories but not external monitors. There’s a standard headphone jack, which is a bit of a surprise, but a microSD card slot is missing.
On the top, we get two separate stereo speakers which offer a decent quality. It means they are fine for watching some YouTube or so but this is not a great entertainment tablet. For that, the speakers would need to be louder and the bass could be better too.
Sadly, there’s no fingerprint scanner and you can’t unlock it using facial recognition either.
The 8-megapixel main camera on the back takes okay photos and videos and the 2-megapixel webcam is fine for video chats. But I wouldn’t recommend this tablet for its cameras, of course. The camera app is a bit laggy, and well, it’s mostly an office tablet.
I love that the keyboard cover is included, so you don’t have to pay anything extra. Just like with the Lenovo Duet Chromebook, it consists of two parts.
There’s a back cover with an integrated kickstand which you can use separate from the keyboard. Even though we’ve seen this kind of design before, ASUS is going a step further. Here, you can use the back cover as a kickstand in two ways: Portrait and landscape orientation. I haven’t seen that anywhere else before and I love it.
With that being said, the back cover is not perfect. The magnets that hold it in place are a bit too weak. No major problem at all, but I wouldn’t quickly grab the tablet by the kickstand and move it fast. Just in case.
The keyboard is attached using a magnetic connector. Folded up, it protects the screen. And I like that you can use it at an angle thanks to a magnetic bar.
While it’s not perfect, I think the keyboard is a good one. If you’re used to smaller tablet keyboards you should be able to type with it without any issues. The travel of the keys is fine and they are spaced far enough apart from each other. I wrote lots of articles with this keyboard because, with it, the Chromebook CM3 is a great office tablet.
Sure, compared to an Apple Magic Keyboard, it feels a bit cheap because everything is plastic. But let’s remember that the tablet including the keyboard costs as much as the Apple keyboard alone. At least almost.
There’s a touchpad at the bottom which is smaller than a standard laptop trackpad but that’s to be expected. It works fine and multitouch gestures work fine too.
On the back of the keyboard and back cover is a kind of fabric that makes it feel a bit nicer than standard plastic. That makes it look very similar to the Lenovo Duet Chromebook again.
The ASUS Chromebook CM3 has a 10.5-inch IPS display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. I always think that full HD on 10-inches is fine and that’s the case here too. Texts and icons look sharp enough, especially if you’re using it as a laptop with a keyboard. But sure, if you hold it right up your nose, it’s not as sharp as your smartphone.
Everything else is fine. Viewing angles are decent, colors look good, and the screen is bright enough. I worked with it outside in cafes several times and that worked great. Sure, in direct light it could be brighter. But it’s usable as long as you’re working in the shadows underneath sun protection.
With the Netflix Android app, you can watch with SD quality only. However, when using the Chrome Browser, you can watch movies with HD resolution. That’s fine because the browser certainly is fast enough for that.
ASUS USI Pen
The ASUS Chromebook CM3 Detachable supports a USI stylus and I love that one is included. In fact, it’s one of very few tablets these days where the pen fits into the tablet. It’s stored at the top and it’s being charged while sitting inside. That design means that the pen can’t be as thick as an Apple Pencil or so. But if you need that, you can buy any other USI pen and it should work fine.
While I think it’s great that the tablet supports an active pen, it’s not the best one out there. I’m guessing that it might be the USI technology that’s not as great because I noticed the same with the Lenovo Duet Chromebook. You can use it for handwritten notes and drawings and it’s okay. But in a direct comparison with a Samsung tablet and the S Pen or the Apple Pencil, writing with those looks much more precise. Especially when writing fast, my handwriting doesn’t look as clear as with the competition.
I also tried the HP USI Stylus which works fine, just as the ASUS one. And it has the same problems.
So, the pen is a great additional feature and it’s nice to have. But if you’re looking for a fantastic note-taking tablet in particular, I would not recommend it specifically for that.
Hardware & Performance
Inside the ASUS Chromebook CM3 runs a MediaTek 8183 processor together with 4GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. There’s no microSD card slot, so keep that in mind. ASUS is not selling a 4G version right now.
Benchmarks like Geekbench 4 and 5 show that the performance of the Chromebook CM3 is a bit better than that of the Lenovo Duet Chromebook. That one is the only direct competitor running Chrome OS. With that being said, the differences are not that big. The standard Apple iPad 8 continues to be much faster.
Real-life performance of that MediaTek processor is not fantastic but certainly good enough for many. The Chrome browser runs well even when using more demanding web apps like Google Docs and YouTube. It certainly performs much better than similar priced Windows tablets. That’s important to note. If you want Windows for the desktop-class browser only, for many it’s probably better to get a Chrome OS tablet instead.
The operating system itself and most common Android apps run great as well.
Multitasking works surprisingly well most of the time. I realized that when having Chrome, Microsoft Word, Adobe Lightroom, and Squid open at the same time. I didn’t notice any lagging when switching between those apps.
Now, don’t always expect a super snappy performance here. It’s not the fastest processor and sometimes you will encounter lags. But I thought it’s fine most of the time.
That’s what I can say about Lightroom too. It runs fine most of the time. But sometimes it’ll take a bit until something is properly loaded.
Now, if you’re looking for a gaming tablet, in particular, I think iPads and Android tablets are much better for that. But if you want to play some games in addition to working or learning with your tablet, you can do that on the ASUS Chromebook. I played PUBG Mobile and it runs great even when setting graphics to HDR. And Asphalt 9 is playable as well but it doesn’t look as good as it could. Both games look and run much better on the iPad 8.
I did notice that the loading times of both games are unusually long.
The most important feature of the ASUS Chromebook CM3 is Chrome OS. It has a couple of advantages over Android and that starts with updates. This tablet is updated by Google directly and according to the settings, it’s supposed to get software and security updates until June of 2028. So, 7 years to go. That means it’ll be much longer up to date than pretty much every Android tablet out there.
Originally, Chrome OS was meant to be used with a keyboard and mouse and that’s why it’s much better to navigate using the keyboard cover than an Android tablet is. Everything just works as you would expect which is often not the case with the desktop modes on Android devices. So, if you’ll use the keyboard cover a lot, that’s a big advantage.
Another advantage is the full desktop-class Chrome browser. Yes, there’s Chrome for Android too, but that’s the mobile version. Here we get standard Chrome and that means that you can use all the extensions that you’re used to from Chrome for Windows and macOS. That’s fantastic. And Chrome works great with web apps like Google Docs, Gmail, YouTube, and so on.
Chrome OS works without the keyboard too, of course. You can navigate it using the touchscreen only just fine and once you do, everything gets a bit optimized for touch. That goes for the Chrome browser too, which is great to use touch only and with a keyboard. But with that being said, I always feel like it’s not as fluent as an Android tablet is. To me still feels like Chrome OS was desktop first and touch later, just like with Windows.
The Google Play Store is installed by default and using that, you can install almost every Android app and game. Everything I tried worked great. However, I did notice that some graphics benchmarks don’t work or are not available on the CM3. So, I’m guessing that some apps and especially games will not be supported either.
Its battery life is a bit disappointing. When streaming an HD video with maximum brightness on YouTube using the YouTube app, it lasted 4.5 hours. That’s shorter than most tablets especially the ones in this price range.
ASUS Chromebook CM3 Review: Final Verdict
So, is the ASUS Chromebook CM3 Detachable a good tablet? I think it’s a great one but certainly not for everybody. If you’re mostly looking for an entertainment tablet for watching movies and playing games, I think you should stay away from this one. I can’t recommend it specifically for handwritten notes or for artists to draw with either.
But I think it’s a fantastic tablet to work with, either as a second device to your laptop or for homeschooling. The display and built quality are great, the performance is good enough, and I love that the keyboard cover is included. And it’s a good one too. The stylus is a great additional feature if you’ll be needing it from time to time. It’s just not a huge highlight. What is a huge highlight is the full desktop-class Chrome browser, though, as well as the long updates.
With that being said, I wish it would be a bit cheaper because there’s a much cheaper alternative.
Let’s check out the competition.
The most interesting alternative is the Lenovo Duet Chromebook. It’s a much cheaper tablet where the keyboard cover is included as well. While the screen is a tiny bit smaller, it’s noticeably brighter. The software is the same but the processor is a bit weaker. You can use it with a stylus too, but you’ve got to buy that one separately. I think it’s the better value especially if you don’t need a pen.
If you need much more performance for gaming or other tasks like editing photos and videos, you should check out the Apple iPad 8. If you factor in the keyboard and pen, it’s quite a bit pricier. But it’s much faster, should get long updates too, and Safari is fantastic with web apps as well.
- Solid built
- Good screen
- USI pen included
- Great keyboard
- Long updates
- Chrome browser
- A bit pricy
- Performance okay only
- Short battery life
- Pen just okay
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