Lenovo Chromebook Duet review | Tom's Guide

Lenovo Chromebook Duet Specs

Price: $249 (64GB eMMC)
CPU: 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P60T
Graphics: ARM G72 MP3
Display: 10.1 inches, 1920 x 1200 pixels
Memory: 4GB
Storage: 64GB eMMC, 128GB eMMC
Size: 9.Sixty four x 6.Sixty six x 0.Seventy one inches (docked)
Weight: 2 kilos (docked)
Ports: USB-C
Wi-Fi: 802.Eleven a/b/g/n/ac

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is, in a way, exactly what I've sought after Apple and Microsoft (among others) to free up. It's a $249 tablet with a detachable keyboard that comes incorporated through default, so you might be now not paying extra for the laptop experience. We're additionally beautiful impressed by its fantastic battery existence, in addition to some neat new tablet optimizations for Chrome. 

The largest problem I found while scripting this Lenovo Chromebook Duet review is that its typing enjoy is hampered by means of a weird keyboard layout and weak-feeling keys. That being mentioned, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet's a must-consider for households in search of a shared software round the house; the low ticket, packed-in keyboard, and lengthy battery existence effectively make it one of the vital best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy when worth is paramount. It's so good, in fact, that it won the award for best possible budget laptop and a recommendation for easiest Chromebook in our Tom's Guide Awards 2021.

Wondering about what is next for Chromebooks and laptops? The best laptops of CES 2021 come with a beautiful Chromebook from Samsung, the lightest ThinkPad ever and much more.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Price and availability

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet came out in May 2020, with an authentic MSRP of $279.

Lenovo now sells the Chromebook Duet for $249. A 12 months of unintended harm coverage bumps the pricing as much as $271.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Design

The Chromebook Duet is an all-in-one package deal, but you'll be able to see where some prices have been lower to get to that $249 beginning value. For example, the kickstand it uses to face upright isn't as strong or rigid as that of the Surface Go 2.

While its tablet shell is made from aluminum alloy — which is excellent, do not get me incorrect — that subject matter is hidden by means of the total casing, as the again plate has a cloth subject matter and its keyboard's underside is plastic. After attaching the keyboard and again cover piece to the pill, and keeping it in my hands, I immediately spotted how the keyboard did not need to stay in place, and moved around as I held the docked tablet and keyboard in my palms. 

The setup process, connecting the pill, quilt and keyboard, could not be easier. The fabric-covered again plate snaps on with strong magnets, and the keyboard attaches magnetically as neatly, connecting to the pill via pogo pin connectors — similar to the Surface Go Type Cover and iPad Smart Keyboard. Detaching the tablet from the cover and keyboard is one step too complicated, as you have to take away each and every merchandise one after the other.

The Chromebook Duet's quilt is necessary as a result of you want its kickstand, which works more often than not however feels somewhat irritating. Several occasions when trying to deploy the kickstand, I've pulled on all the again plate, for the reason that little edge where your fingers are meant to take hold of onto for the kickstand is ever so slight, almost as if they are optimized for youngsters' palms.

Minus the keyboard and back plate, the Chromebook Duet pill measures 0.Three inches thick and weighs just below a pound. That’s slightly lighter than the 2019 10.2-inch iPad (0.Three inches, 1.1 pounds) and the Surface Go 2 (1.2 kilos, 0.Three inches). Attached, the Chromebook Duet measures 0.7 inches thick and weighs 2.1 pounds, which makes it lighter than the Samsung Chromebook 4 (0.7 inches, 2.6 kilos). 

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Ports

Lenovo's long past slightly light on ports, retaining it simple with only a single USB-C, which you'll use for charging and connecting any equipment, such as the integrated headphone adapter. Power and volume buttons take a seat on that same edge. 

That USB-C port supported the USB-C hub I use to extend my MacBook Pro's show, providing a dual-screen enjoy and letting me use my stressed keyboard and wi-fi mouse with the Duet. The most effective flaw I hit there was that keyboard shortcuts did not work as anticipated, so I'd need to obtain a key mapping extension for personalisation.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Display

Watching the Fast & Furious Nine trailer on the Chromebook Duet's 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel panel, I noted crisp picture high quality and cast color replica. The panel is sharp enough for me to peer the interlocking hyperlinks of Dom's silver chain (even when considered from a distance) and his cherry red tractor rendered correctly. Similarly, woodland ferns surrounding a humvee rendered in a verdant inexperienced and Dom's long-sleeve shirts bore a crisp white, as if they were recent out of the wash. 

Our colorimeter rates the Chromebook Duet as producing 106% of the sRGB spectrum, which is close to the 105% ranking from the iPad and the 107% score from the Surface Go 2. The Samsung Chromebook 4 notched a lowly 64%. 

The Chromebook Duet emits as much as 372 nits, which permits quite a lot of viewing angles, as I noticed colors most effective reasonably darken when I viewed videos from over 30 levels to the left and right. The Duet proved shiny sufficient for transparent picture high quality, however not sturdy sufficient to get rid of the glare and reflections picked up from natural lighting in every spot in my condominium. The iPad (450 nits) and Surface Go 2 (408 nits) get brighter, whilst the Samsung Chromebook 4 is far dimmer. 

Navigating the web and Chrome OS, I discovered the Chromebook Duet's touchscreen display correct at registering touches and swipes. Dragging icons around the display screen, I spotted somewhat little bit of lag, especially moving apps around the drawer, however it is the type of performance factor you can settle for at this price.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Keyboard and touchpad

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet's keyboard can be great for some, and difficult for others. I clicked my approach to 67 phrases in line with minute with 90 p.c accuracy at the 10fastfingers typing take a look at. That's somewhat of a fall from my eighty wpm/98% averages, and I characteristic the ones dips to the keys now not having much feedback in any respect and the way the structure feels just a little cramped. 

Those with smaller arms, especially youngsters, might now not thoughts the keyboard structure, but I temporarily learned I'd have a difficult time. That's on account of the keyboard's comma, period, minus, equals, bracket, semicolon and apostrophe keys are all narrower than the traditional keys. I'd most probably adapt to it if a father or mother handed me this keyboard when I used to be a child, however I don't have any affinity for this keyboard today.

The Chromebook Duet's 3.4 x 1.9-inch touchpad proved good enough at enabling scrolling internet pages and navigating Chrome OS. I even came upon that ChromeOS has a "see all open apps" function, the place you swipe up with three fingers.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Audio

Listening to Fiona Apple's album "Fetch the Bolt-cutters," fill my slightly huge lounge on the Chromebook Duet, I made notes about the just right, the dangerous, and the not-there. While her vocals were clear and crisp sufficient, prime pitched instruments sounded somewhat sharp and the album's bass used to be non existent.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Performance

The Chromebook Duet runs on a Mediatek Helio P60T 2.0GHz octa-core CPU and 4GB of RAM, which gives enough pace for gentle multitasking. I was worried about how deficient it will perform (Mediatek processors have by no means impressed a lot self belief), so I began off slow, splitting my display between a 1080p YouTube video of J. Kenji López-Alt cooking smashburgers and a couple of Chrome tabs. 

The Duet stayed snappy and responsive as I moved between tabs and scrolled up and down. Performance stayed dependable as I added extra tabs, together with the Google Doc for this review. But once I hit 11 tabs open alongside cooking videos, the Duet started to lag. Tabs paused slightly while loading, as I navigated between them. The bigger frustration I discovered got here whilst observing YouTube, as it took about 2.5 seconds for videos to resize. 

Benchmark testing confirmed how the Chromebook Duet is outclassed by the fairly more expensive competitors. For example, the Duet earned a 5,526 at the Geekbench 4 normal efficiency benchmark (operating by the use of Google Play emulation), which fell underneath the 6,815 from the Surface Go 2 (Intel 8th Gen Core m3 processor, 8GB of RAM), but above the three,613 from the Samsung Chromebook 4 (Intel Celeron 3000N processor and 4GB of RAM).

On the JetStream 2 benchmark, which tests web browser application efficiency, the Chromebook Duet posted a 31.9. That's less than the 49 from the Samsung Chromebook 4, the 74.9 from the Surface Go 2 and a fraction of the iPad's 91.9. The WebXPRT Three check, which tests with HTML5 and JavaScript-based situations, passed the Chromebook Duet a ranking of 58. The iPad (92) and Surface Go 2 (139) posted much upper rankings.

To test its gaming chops, I downloaded two Android games: the cartoonish Alto's Adventure and the more-realistic Asphalt Nine racing sport. While each ran at playable speeds (neither is exactly ultra not easy), the latter ran with a small stutter, even in its opening credit.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Battery Life

The Chromebook Duet provides critical endurance, enough to be handed across the family all day lengthy. On our battery test (internet surfing at 150 nits), the Duet posted a time of 12 hours and Forty seven mins, which beats the iPad (10:07), the Surface Go 2 (11:38) and the Samsung Chromebook 4 (10:36). 

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Webcam and digital camera

Tablets aren't great cameras, and neither is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. Yes, even within the do business from home generation, the 2-megapixel front-facing digicam is absolute best described as ok. Selfies I shot on the slate show that whilst you'll be able to look recognizable, there won't be much element, so don't expect this to be the tool you shoot your quarantine vlog on.

The rear-mounted 8MP digicam within the Duet is also not nice, especially when sunlight hits its sensors. When I took it out of doors for a temporary walk in downtown Manhattan, the entire pictures I took had been washed out or blown out, if the blue sky used to be concerned. Only closeups of flora looked at all first rate, though they lacked detail, with a fuzzy glance.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: ChromeOS evolves for drugs

Chrome OS' first large pivot was once to Android apps, with Google Play get admission to. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet marks the platform's push to touch, with tablet mode optimizations you can simplest see when the keyboard is detached. My favourite of these options is the brand new tabs interface in Chrome. Tap the number field (a 1 inside a field, if you don't have any tabs) and you can open up a row of tabs on the best of the display screen, with a big + button for brand spanking new tabs. It's a great way to make use of the huge pill display. 

Navigation gestures (edge swipes to move forwards and backwards) are not truly a big revelation, however I am happy to see that internet apps in Chrome act like their mobile app counterparts. Take YouTube, for example, the place taps at the left and proper aspects of the display rewind and speedy ahead. I nonetheless want Desktop Chrome to offer this. 

While you could have been ready to separate the ChromeOS display screen between two home windows, they have added a new drag and drop option to do it. Swipe up from the ground of the display to peer the black bar, which shows you your whole open windows. Then, drag open home windows to each aspect of the screen.

Google Assistant's still proving artful in ChromeOS. The pair of far-field microphones within the Chromebook Duet enable you to set issues up by way of saying "OK, Google," and making some verbal instructions. When I asked about my calendar appointments for the rest of the week, it even got a bit of cute, saying "At 6pm tomorrow you have yoga, namaste."

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review: Verdict

This Lenovo Chromebook Duet review displays why it will have to garner deserved consideration for its price proposition, supplying you with a 2-in-1 with a forged screen and lengthy staying power for less than the iPad or Surface Go 2 value, sooner than their keyboards. If most effective its keyboard were not so cramped and its hinge felt just a little extra forged. 

Those who opt for the Surface Go 2 for its quicker performance and superior 2-in-1 design, you can be shedding about an hour of battery lifestyles and paying a minimum of $221 extra after throwing in the Type Cover keyboard. But for households on the lookout for a device that everybody can use, from kids gazing YouTube to folks drafting emails, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a compelling choice. 

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