Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet: Is It Worth Getting?
Chromebooks are a popular subcategory of electronic devices that offer the portability of a tablet, but with additional features that are typically found on full-sized laptops.
There are a wide variety of Chromebooks from different manufacturers available on the market. Each of these devices runs on Google’s Chrome OS. However, they differ in terms of hardware and features.
One recent addition to the Chromebook market has left manufacturers scrambling to up their game. We are of course referring to Lenovo’s new Chromebook Duet.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 2-in-1
[Last update on 2021-04-22 at 04:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API]
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is an affordable tablet that comes packaged with a detachable keyboard. This product blew us away with its fantastic battery life, great camera, sharp and vibrant display, and incredibly low price tag. Let’s take a closer look at what this tablet-laptop device offers and why it puts so many of its competitors to shame.
Before we get into the design and various features this device offers, we want to highlight it’s incredibly low price. The Chromebook Duet is a device that does it all, and with a modest $239 starting price.
This device was originally priced at $279 when Lenovo released it in 2020. However, the current price has dropped to only $239. This makes it much cheaper than HP’s Chromebook 14 which retails for $319.
For the $239 price tag, you get a device with 4GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, and a 10.1 inch display.
The Chromebook Duet offers many features packaged into a device that is 0.3 inches thick and is just shy of 1 pound without the keyboard attachment. This makes it equal in thickness but lighter than the Surface Go 2. However, once you tack on the keyboard, this thickness increases to 0.7 inches while the weight increases to 2.1 pounds. However, this is still lighter than the Samsung Chromebook, a device that comes in at a hefty 2.6 pounds
The device’s exact dimensions with the keyboard attached are 9.64 x 6.66 x 0.71 inches.
Devices with the Chromebook Duet’s design typically feature kickstands to prop the screen up for a comfortable user experience. The kickstand on this device does a good job of keeping the screen stable on different surfaces. However, we found it to be flimsier than the kickstand found on the Surface Go 2.
This kickstand’s flimsiness may be the result of Lenovo attempting to cut costs. However, at this exceptionally low price point, we really can’t complain.
The Chromebook Duet’s shell is made from a durable aluminum alloy material that feels solid. The device’s backplate is made from a fabric material. The keyboard, on the other hand, is made from a lightweight type of plastic.
None of these build materials stand out in any way, but they are more than acceptable for a device in the sub-$300 range.
The Chrome Duet comes packaged with an external keyboard that connects to the main device using pogo pins, and snaps into place using magnets.
The keyboard is the one design feature that some users may be displeased with. Like most keyboards on Chromebook devices, the keyboard is cramped and can be difficult to type on initially. However, the typing experience becomes much easier with practice.
It should be noted that around a dozen keys are half-size in width, which can make typing without looking a bit of a challenge. This keyboard also does not feature a backlight; however, this is common for Chromebooks in this price range.
The Chromebook Duet also features a small 3.4 x 1.9 inch touchpad which is usable, but doesn’t offer much room. We had trouble with clicking and dragging objects using the trackpad, and also noticed that some two-finger clicks would be counted as a single-finger click.
Overall, we would say this touchpad works well for simple tasks such as web browsing. However, you may find it inefficient for more intensive tasks such as creating spreadsheets.
If you intend to use the Chromebook Duet for work purposes, you will be glad to know that you can plug in an external mouse via the device’s USB-C port. However, this is the device’s only connection. If you intend to connect multiple peripherals to the device, you will need to invest in some splitters and dongles.
The USB-C hub does come with an HDMI feature, which is useful if you want to connect it to an external display.
This device does not feature the headphone jack which is standard on many other Chromebook devices. However, Lenovo does offer their own headphone dongle if you want to plug your headphones in.
There is also no SD card or microSD card slot, which may be a hassle for those that want to share files from their digital cameras and other SD-card devices. However, the Chromebook Duet does feature Bluetooth 4.2 wireless which works reliably.
The display is arguably the best feature on the Chromebook Duet. It is a 10.1 inch Full HD display with a 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD touchscreen. It has a brightness of 400 nits, which is bright enough to combat most reflections on the device’s glossy screen surface.
The touchscreen is also compatible with Universal Stylus Initiative pens that Lenovo has begun offering recently.
The Chromebook Duet comes with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. The front facing camera is nothing special, but offers a clear picture with decent colors.
The rear camera on the other hand is above average for a device in this price range. It features great autofocus and sharp colors.
The Chromebook Duet features a Mediatek octa-core Helio PT60 processor. As with most Chromebook devices, the processor isn’t very powerful. That’s said, it works well for web browsing.
You can open multiple browser window tabs or play android games without running into any issues. However, we noticed the device lagging slightly when we opened more than ten browser window tabs or ran more than five applications at once. It would seem this device isn’t the best for multitasking.
The Chromebook Duet’s 7000mAh power cell battery is one of its standout features. The device is advertised as offering up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. We were able to keep our device running for a whopping 11 hours.
The one drawback here is the 10W charger provided with the device. This charger juiced up the Chromebook Duet’s battery by only 20% after leaving it plugged in for 40 minutes.
Comparisons to other Chromebooks and Tablets
Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet certainly offers a good bundle of features for the price. However, you may be wondering how it compares to the other Chromebooks and tablets currently available on the market. Let’s look at this device’s primary competitors and how it stacks up against them.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet vs HP Chromebook 14
The HP Chromebook 14 is a close price competitor to the Chromebook Duet. It starts at around $319 and offers the same RAM and disk space as the Duet.
The HP Chromebook 14’s dimensions are 13.3 x 8.9 x x 0.7 inches, which makes it larger than the Chromebook Duet by a significant margin. It also weighs 3.4 pounds, which is much greater than the Duet’s modest 2.1 pounds with the keyboard attachment.
HP’s Chromebook 14 features a laptop-style design and does not come with a detachable keyboard. This means it can’t be used as a tablet, which may limit its uses in certain situations.
The most obvious difference between the two devices is the display. The HP Chromebook 14 features a 14 inch LED type display. This display is 4 inches larger than the Lenovo Duet’s display, however it features a much lower pixel density than the Duet.
The HP Chromebook 14 features a larger keyboard than the Duet. Its keys are also more consistently sized, which makes typing on it easier for new users. However, the keyboard is not detachable.
The HP Chromebook 14 beats out the Duet in terms of connectivity. The Duet features only one USB Type-C port while the HP features one USB Type-C and two USB 3.0 ports. In addition to this, the HP has a built-in card reader and headphone jack, which the Duet does not possess.
Microsoft Surface Go 2
Microsoft’s Surface Go 2 is the company’s second stab at tablet PCs. This device starts at $419 and matches the Duet’s 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. However, the Surface Go 2 does not come bundled with a keyboard like the Duet does. You will need to shell out an extra $100 if you want hardware keys for your Surface Go 2.
The Surface Go 2’s dimensions are 9.7 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches which are almost identical to the Duet without the keyboard attachment. It also weighs 1.2 pounds which is slightly more than the Duet.
The Surface Go 2’s display offers a 1920 x 1280 resolution, which is slightly higher than the Duet’s 1920 x 1200 resolution. The Go 2 has a pixel density of 220 ppi, which is very close to the Duet’s 224 ppi.
The Go 2 beats out the Duet in terms of display contrast and color. We found the Go 2 to be a bit more pleasant to view films and photos on.
The Go 2 features a 5 megapixel front facing camera and an 8 megapixel rear facing camera. The front facing camera is better quality than the Duet’s 2 megapixel front facing camera. It is also compatible with Windows’ Hello biometric system for logging into your device. The Duet, on the other hand, does not support facial recognition login.
Performance is one area where the Surface Go 2 really shines. The Windows 10 operating system generally takes up more memory than the Chrome OS. However, the Surface Go performs beautifully for a wide variety of tasks, including Photoshop and high-quality video streaming. This is in contrast to the Duet, which really only excels at web browsing.
The Surface Go is especially useful for the ability to download and install full desktop programs, a feat which isn’t possible on the Duet.
Apple iPad 7
Apple’s iPad 7 is their latest offering in the entry-level iPad category. This device starts at $329 for the version with 32 GB of storage. This storage capacity is half that of the Duet’s 64 GB.
The iPad 7 also comes with a 128 GB storage variant which retails for $429.
The iPad 7’s dimensions are 9.9 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches. These dimensions are almost identical to the Duet, with iPad 7 being slightly longer in length. The iPad 7 weighs 1.1 pounds, which is only marginally greater than the Duet’s weight.
The iPad 7 matches and beats the Duet in terms of display size and brightness. It’s 2160 x 1620 resolution is noticeably larger than the Duet’s 1900 x 1200 resolution. It also offers 500 nits of brightness, which is significantly greater than the Duet’s 400 nits brightness.
The iPad 7 offers slightly better performance than the Duet thanks to its A10 Fusion chip. This tablet can’t compete with Apple’s higher end tablets, but it still runs with the smoothness associated with Apple devices.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is an affordable device that would be ideal for any student or someone seeking a portable device on a small budget. The display, camera, and battery life certainly help it stand toe-to-toe with many of the pricier Chromebooks devices out there.
We would recommend this device for anyone who is seeking a basic tablet that also comes equipped with a keyboard and kickstand. It is a humble device that packs a great punch for the price.