The Asus CM30 Chromebook Tablet Packs a Ton of Value – Full Review

The Asus CM30 Chromebook offers a budget-friendly option for those looking for a versatile device without breaking the bank. Priced at $300 (compensated affiliate link), it includes a keyboard, tablet, and a pen, making it a cost-effective alternative to entry-level iPads which don’t come with these accessories. You can see it in action in my latest review.

The CM30 runs on Chrome OS, supporting not only the Chrome browser but also Linux applications and Android apps via the Google Play Store. The tablet mode feels quite Android-like thanks to the touch display. The device I reviewed features a Mediatek Kompanio 520 ARM processor, providing solid battery life. It has 4GB of RAM, with an 8GB version available at the affiliate link above, and comes with either 64GB or 128GB of eMMC storage.

The display is a 10.5-inch WUXGA screen with a resolution of 1920×1200, offering good brightness at 400 nits and a decent color balance. The display has large bezels which might appear dated but are a reasonable compromise given the device’s price.

The keyboard, while not full-sized and lacking backlighting, provides satisfactory travel and tactile feedback, though those with larger hands might find it challenging. The design clearly takes inspiration from the Microsoft Surface tablet design and suffers from some of the same issues the Surface does when using the device on a lap.

The magnetic attachment for the keyboard works well, though it could benefit from a more secure attachment to prevent slipping when folded up. It weights just under 2 pounds as a tablet and 2.5 pounds with the keyboard attached.

Port options are minimal, with only a headphone/microphone jack and a full-service USB Type-C port, which doubles as the charging port and supports data transfer and video output up to 1080p. The stereo speakers are adequate for casual use, though not impressive for music. Battery life is a strong point, offering 10 to 12 hours of use under moderate conditions.

In terms of performance, the CM30 handles web browsing and video playback reasonably well, although it struggles with 60fps video and more demanding tasks. It scored 51.2 on the Browserbench Speedometer test, aligning with expectations for its price range.

The included pen, which charges in its garage on the device, performs adequately for note-taking and simple drawings, though it lacks the premium feel of higher-end styluses. Chrome OS’s integration of the pen for handwriting recognition and other functions has improved quite a bit over the years and feels nicely integrated into the experience.

For gaming, the ARM processor proves compatible with most Android games, and game streaming services work well thanks to the device’s Wi-Fi 6 support. However, the graphics performance, reflected in a 3DMark Wildlife benchmark score of 727, indicates that it might not handle more graphically intensive games as smoothly as other devices. But most casual games will run fine.

Linux compatibility adds another layer of functionality, allowing for the installation of command-line and graphical applications. I tested Libreoffice and while it felt a little sluggish initially performance was adequate to get work done.

Overall, the Asus CM30 Chromebook stands out for its value, offering a range of features that make it suitable for various tasks without a hefty price tag. With its pen and keyboard, the CM30 still costs less than a bare entry-level iPad with the bonus of getting a more versatile general computing device.