The first Chrome OS tablet from Asus is a 9.7 inch slate designed for use in early childhood education. It’s called the Asus Chromebook Tablet CT100, and on paper it seems a lot like the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 that I reviewed last summer.
It has a similar display, the same processor, and similar specs and design. Now that I’ve had a chance to spend a few minutes with the Asus model I wouldn’t necessarily say that the two tablets were separated at birth… but they do bear a striking resemblance to one another.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing though — Asus isn’t so much trying to differentiate its tablet from the competition as to offer a solution aimed at young kids who may be more comfortable using touchscreen devices than traditional laptops with QWERTY keyboards. Chrome OS has already proven popular with educators and students, and Google has been working on making the operating system more tablet-friendly over the past year. So it makes sense that Asus would give this new form factor a try.
That said, like most Chrome OS devices aimed at the education market, I suspect folks who want to buy an Asus Chromebook Tablet will probably be able to pick one up from retail stores in the not too distant future.
Like the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, the Asus tablet has a 9.7 inch, 2048 x 1536 pixel touchscreen display, an OP1 processor (which is basically a rebranded Rockchip RK3399), up to 4GB of RAM and up to 32GB of eMMC storage.
The tablet measures 9.4″ x 6.8″ x 0.4″ and weighs about 1.3 pounds, has a USB 3.1 type-C port , a microSD card reader, a headphone jack, and a rubberized chassis that Asus says should be able to withstand falls from a round 3 feet.
There’s a battery-free stylus that hangs out in a hole in the side of the tablet when you’re not using it. Withdrawing the pen brings up a context menu that lets you do things like capture screenshots or take notes. And you can use the pen to write or draw on the screen and then slide it back into its garage when you’re done.
I’m still not convinced Chrome OS is really ready for use on keyboardless computers, but the Asus Chromebook Tablet does support Android apps out of the box, and it also supports Bluetooth, so you should be able to connect a wireless keyboard if you’re more comfortable using one.