Asus has a pretty exciting 2-in-1 tablet with decent specs in the pipeline

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Asus has a pretty exciting 2-in-1 tablet with decent specs in the pipeline
2020 has been a surprisingly good year for the global PC industry as a whole and tablets in particular, with a comprehensive new report estimating shipments jumped 17 and 28 percent respectively compared to 2019.

The same market analysis, published by Canalys just last week, highlighted an even more impressive progress for Chromebooks around the world both in Q4 2020 and the entire year, with Lenovo coming in second place overall while dominating the segment as far as growth rates are concerned. One of the main contributors to the company's incredible 1766 percent surge in holiday sales was unquestionably the ultra-affordable and very well-reviewed 10.1-inch Chromebook Duet.

At less than $300, Lenovo's convertible Chrome OS tablet was pretty much unrivaled in terms of value for money, but soon enough, Asus might be looking to change the status quo.

A kickstand, a keyboard, and a built-in pen?!

Based on a number of seemingly premature European retail listings discovered by the folks over at Chrome Unboxed, we can safely assume a device named Asus Chromebook Flip CM300 will be released at some point in the near future with a sleek and versatile design, as well as a respectable spec sheet.

Although the CM300 is clearly inspired by last year's Chromebook Duet, Asus may have a couple of neat tricks up its sleeve aimed at upstaging Lenovo. We're thinking primarily of a dedicated built-in holder of some sort for a USI Pen that will undoubtedly be included in the base price of the upcoming 10.5-inch slate, as well as a magnetically attaching keyboard similar to what Microsoft sells as a fairly expensive option for its Windows-powered Surface Pro devices.

Unfortunately, at least one retailer appears to be under the impression the Asus Chromebook CM300 will cost €449 on the old continent, which would probably translate to a recommended price tag of around 450 bucks stateside.

Even with an unusually flexible built-in kickstand, as well as the aforementioned keyboard and stylus companions included, that certainly feels a little steep compared to the $249.99 and up currently charged by Lenovo on its official US website for a Chromebook Duet with a kickstand and keyboard of its own.

Middling specs, unknown price 

In case you're wondering, the impending 2-in-1 Asus Chromebook doesn't look significantly more impressive on paper from the information we have, sporting a larger 10.5-inch display with an identical resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels and packing a newer but not necessarily faster MediaTek 8183 SoC with four Cortex-A73 and four A53 CPU cores clocked at up to 2.0GHz.

The storage and memory are also unchanged, at least in an entry-level configuration, at 4 and 64 gigs respectively, while the battery life is unlikely to exceed the solid 10 hours delivered by the Lenovo Chromebook Duet between charges. We can't say we're too impressed by the screen bezels or the overall look of the CM300 either... if the tablet is indeed set to cost $400 or $450.

Then again, there's always a chance this placeholder will not prove accurate or reliable, in which case you may want to consider the headphone jack of the upcoming Asus machine as a key advantage over the existing Lenovo device. Finally, we should mention the unreleased slate is expected to be slightly heavier, taller, wider, and thicker than its direct rival, which can be partly "blamed" on that extra 0.4 inches of screen real estate.

Don't forget about the inherent limitations of the Chrome OS platform when pitting this bad boy against the likes of Apple's iPad 10.2 (2020) or Samsung's 10.4-inch Galaxy Tab A7, both of which are considerably more expensive when purchased alongside productivity-enhancing keyboard and stylus accessories. 
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