Lenovo Chromebook Duet Review

About the Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet is best thought of as a tablet computer with an external keyboard. That's primarily because, with the system components positioned behind its 10-inch, 1920x1200 touchscreen, you can remove the keyboard and use it as if it were a tablet. Even with the keyboard attached, it’s thinner (.71 inch) and lighter (2 pounds) than almost any other laptop. The Chromebook Duet runs on the Mediatek Helio P60T processor.

Like all Chromebooks, the Duet runs mainly web apps in its Chrome browser, but it can also run some Android apps in separate windows. It offers 64 or 128 gigabytes (GB) of solid-state drive (SSD) storage, which may fill up quickly with mobile apps, music, photos, and videos, along with and 4 gigabytes (GB) of memory. This device offers a single USB-C port, which means if you’re charging it, you can’t plug in anything else. It also features Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2, both older versions of those wireless-connectivity standards. The Duet includes a 2-megapixel (MP) front camera and an 8 MP rear camera but has no headphone jack.

Lenovo estimates the Duet’s battery life at “up to 10 hours,” which isn’t spectacular even by Chromebook standards.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

The ultraportable Lenovo Chromebook Duet runs Chrome OS, Google’s cloud-based operating system. Unlike some other Chromebooks, this two-in-one model lets you detach the keyboard to use the screen as a tablet. But in addition to the limits of Chrome OS, such as only running web-based and some Android apps, this $289 machine includes a relatively small 10.1-inch touchscreen and a single USB-C port. As a result, its most direct competition may be tablets rather than other Chromebooks.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

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Lenovo Chromebook Duet Review

The Duet takes the No. 8 slot on our list of the Best Laptops of 2021. It also comes in third on our Best Cheap Laptops list, second in Best 2-in-1 Laptops, and second in Best Chromebooks. The $289 starting list price makes it a relatively easy purchase, and the compact size and light weight mean the Duet is more useable as a tablet than some other 2-in-1 laptops. And like any Chromebook, the Duet offers a quick setup and automatic backup.

However, reviewers note that the relatively small 64 or 128 GB SSD and no memory card slot for additional storage will be too limiting for many. Other downsides include the Duet's sole USB port, combined with its not-so-great battery life of up to 10 hours. There’s also no headphone jack, and some reviewers have criticized the detachable keyboard for a tight spacing of keys. Finally, having the keyboard attached to the base of the screen, which itself is held up by a kickstand, can make the Lenovo Duet difficult to use on your lap.

Is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet Right for Me?

Best for consumers who:

✓ Are on a budget

✓ Primarily use web-based apps

✓ Are looking for a second computer

Not recommended for consumers who:

- Regularly uses traditional Mac or Windows apps

- Want a larger screen

- Want to keep large music, photo, or video libraries on their laptop

Lenovo bills the Duet as a student device, and in the educational context its compact size and light weight could make it an excellent fit. As a home computer, its success will depend heavily on how much you already rely on Google’s services and apps and have outboard storage for your files. If you’re buying the Duet as a second computer, these limitations are less of a concern.

Other Products Offered By Lenovo

Lenovo’s laptop lineup sprawls across six different sub-brands, most of which have separate product lines. This Chinese manufacturer’s other Chromebooks cost a little more and follow traditional laptop design principles. For example, they lack the Duet’s detachable keyboard and generally offer at least the option of additional storage. Lenovo also sells a wide variety of Windows laptops in traditional and 2-in-1 designs, plus a separate selection of Windows desktop computers.

How Much Does the Chromebook Duet Cost?

While many other Lenovo laptops have more options – the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, for example, comes in different screen resolutions – the Chromebook Duet only requires you to choose between the base 64 GB SSD for $289 or a model with a 128 GB SSD for an additional $50. Note that both Lenovo and third-party retailers often discount one or both configurations of the Duet.

How to Buy a Chromebook Duet

Lenovo sells the Chromebook Duet directly from its website, but you can also buy one from Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers. Those stores often have discounts and promotions on the Duet. Wherever you buy it, the only major choice is the amount of storage to get: 64 or 128 GB.

1. Pick your storage capacity. Because you can’t upgrade this later on or pop in a flash drive, you might as well pay for the higher capacity. The only choice of processor is the Mediatek Helio P60T.

2. Compare pricing across retailers. See who offers the Duet for less and if they offer any extras with the purchase.

3. Buy the Chromebook.

Chromebook Duet FAQ

What Is the Chromebook Duet warranty?

Lenovo provides a one-year warranty on the Duet. It also offers a one-year accidental damage protection plan, listed at $25.

How do I contact Lenovo’s customer service?

Lenovo has a toll-free, 24/7 tech-support line, although the overall simplicity of Chrome OS should limit any difficulties users may have.

Can a Chromebook Duet be upgraded?

The memory and storage come built into the Chromebook Duet, making this no more upgradeable than an iPad or a Kindle Fire.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet vs. the Competition

Which Is Better: the Lenovo Chromebook Duet or the Asus Chromebook Flip?

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is more of a tablet that you can use as a laptop, while the Flip is a laptop you can convert into a tablet by folding its screen all the way back. Both are on the cheaper end of the Chromebook price spectrum, and both provide less storage than most laptops and even many Chromebooks. For use as a primary computer, the Flip’s multiple USB ports and longer battery life give it a major advantage over the single USB port on the Duet.

Which Is Better: the Lenovo Chromebook Duet or the Google Pixelbook Go?

These two computers share a common operating system in Chrome OS, and therefore the same broad possibilities and limits. While both have prices below those of many laptops, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet costs much less than the Pixelbook. However, the Pixelbook is better as a primary computer because of its larger screen, larger available SSD, additional USB-C port, and other advantages.

Which Is Better: the Lenovo Chromebook Duet or the HP Envy x360?

The cheapest Chromebook in our roundup and the cheapest thin-and-light Windows laptop are quite different, starting with their operating systems. You can use the same web apps on each, but the Envy’s ability to run standalone Windows apps makes it much more versatile. However, Windows is more complicated and requires more maintenance than Chrome OS, especially if you need to reinstall it. In terms of hardware, the Envy’s attached keyboard and multiple USB ports add to its versatility advantage over the Duet.


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