Lenovo Chromebook Duet Review: Wickedly Cheap, Insanely Innovative

Lenovo has taken ChromeOS to another level: we now have tablets as Chromebooks.

When I first got to know about the ChromeOS, I was like: “why should I waste hundreds of dollars on this shit?”

In one simple sentence, the operating system looked really crappy.

To compound the problems, an OS Google designed to be a cheaper alternative to Microsoft Windows, and Mac got slammed onto 16GB RAMS and started climbing the steps of thousands of dollars.

I never knew I’d ever get fascinated by a Chromebook until I found the Lenovo Chromebook Duet!

Speechless!

Who wouldn’t want a $279 tablet with a detachable keyboard?

 

Overview

The Chromebook Duet served two major functions.

Firstly, it took us back to the old days where Chromebooks were cheap sets of computers that you can run on inferior hardware. At $279, a college student can buy it by saving through the whole term.

Secondly, it slammed the Chromebook onto a convertible, something that’s unheard of in the Chromebook world. I’ve not quite seen any other Chromebook running on similar hardware, – ever!

However, let’s not be carried away by Lenovo’s offering, let’s go down onto the real spec sheet to see what’s on it for us.

Ready?

Flawless?

Altogether, I don’t consider Chromebooks as flawless. The OS is a kind of flaw already; imagine not having access to the fully-fledged Microsoft Office and some other important desktop apps. Permit me to call ChromeOS the KaiOS of desktops.

Also, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet was designed to be very small at 10.5 inches. Already, you can tell that the Duet isn’t meant for some complicated computing tasks, and that’s perfectly true.

As a result of the size, the keyboard will appear to be a little bit cramped. The letter keyboard appears so easy to type on, and the experience is similar to most other tablet keyboards. However, outside the letter keys, you’ll be having some difficulties. Especially if you’re used to your PC keyboard.

Also, the touchpad is a bit small but works most of the time. However, if you feel you aren’t too comfortable with the touchpad, you can make use of the ever-responsive touchscreen, which is also compatible with USI styluses.

Those are not the only flaws you’ll find while using the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, but it will be unfair to list it all here. We’ll go over the specs and you choose what a flaw to you is, and what’s not.

Also, we don’t have so many options as much as $279 is concerned. Complaining about the versatility of a $279 tablet is like buying a laptop from 2009 and complaining it has no fingerprint scanner.

For such a low price, we have to give away some of the features of a standard convertible.

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Lenovo Chromebook Duet Specifications

Specs are good for comparison purposes, but they don’t do a great job of accurately describing the power of a device.

However, taking a look at the specifications of the Duet won’t be a bad idea, especially for the nerdy. If you’re planning to get the Chromebook, here are the hardware and software descriptions.

General

The Chromebook (as Lenovo calls it) or tablet (which it really is) is not much of a gigantic structure. It weighs a lot lesser than most tablets, at 0.99 pounds (450g). This is a much lighter alternative to the Surface Pro 7, which weighs 1.7 pounds (about 750g).

If you’re looking for a tab that won’t add much extra weight to your backpack, the Lenovo Duet is an excellent option.

It comes with a detachable keyboard and a Stand Cover, which makes it look a lot like the Surface Pro series.

Screen

It has a 10.1 inches screen, with 1,920 by 1,200 pixels. Its screen aspect ratio is 16:10, which makes it wider than the generic 16:9 screens.

It has an IPS LCD brightness rating 400nits with a 70% color gamut. According to users and reviewers, the brightness is good, as they reported great experience with the display, both indoors and outdoors.

Keyboard

Much has already been saying about the keyboard. It is fine until you want to push the backspace button or you’ll like to insert a hyphen. Those buttons are cramped up to make enough space for the keyboard to be in line with the tab.

Also, you’ll find the touchpad to be painfully small. If you’re someone who uses a wide touchpad, you might feel suppressed using the touchpad. But wait, – touchscreen to the rescue!

Cameras

As a kind of a computer, you might want to get onto Zoom calls using this device. While the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is not the best in terms of camera, the 2MP front camera works surprisingly well.

It also has an 8MP camera at the rear. While this might seem too small, who would take out a 10.1 inches device for a photo-shoot?

The important fact is that your face doesn’t get distorted in Zoom calls, and it’s better than the camera found on most low-end laptops.

Speakers

It is very unlikely that you’re buying the Lenovo Chromebook Duet to replace your standard speakers, but it’s great to have a reliable speaker that can break through the noise in a normal party.

Although the Duet doesn’t offer the best of speakers, its speakers are more than generous for a device of $279. It features dual speakers, located in the top bezel. These speakers output great sound, at least for their price.

Processor

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet doesn’t feature an Intel or AMD processor, which is commonly attributed to PCs. Instead, it uses an octa-core MediaTek Helio P60T that maxes out at 2.0GHz. While this is much of a smartphone processor, it surprisingly gives a decent performance.

If you’re the average user, you won’t run into problems easily while using this Chromebook. However, if you’re the 50 Chrome tabs gang, you’ll experience crashes multiple times when you use this Chromebook.

Memory

The base version of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is blessed with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB storage space. The RAM size is cool, but the storage space is nothing to write home about. With a few movies and apps, the memory is exhausted.

However, if you don’t mind adding $20 to the base price, you can get the Duet with better configurations, with the same memory but a larger 128GB storage space.

Battery

You might never know the importance of good battery life until you buy a laptop with one-hour battery life (in Nigeria). It seems the designers of the Duet has experimented with that, and seeing the disadvantages of poor battery life, they slammed a 7,000mAh 27Wh battery onto the device.

The result?

The battery averaged between 10 and 11 hours on heavy usage. Getting 10 hours of battery life isn’t something you’ll find on low-end laptops, so this is a plus for the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.

Operating System

This is pretty much obvious. The Chromebook runs on ChromeOS, Google’s PC operating system. The tablet has pretty much all a Chromebook has to offer, and Chromebook lovers will find it a great alternative to a fully-fledged laptop.

However, for a beginner looking to make the jump into ChromeOS, it is a little bit tricky, but all operating systems are tricky anyways.

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Why Lenovo Chromebook Duet?

I said it earlier on that the Duet is the first convertible I know, that comes with ChromeOS out of the box. There might be earlier ones, but they must be absolute disasters, as Google confirmed that the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is the first tablet to feature the ChromeOS version optimized for convertibles.

Because it’s optimized for the hardware, the Duet has three modes of operation. The “Type Mode” is when the keyboard is attached and the kickstand is open, the “Watch Mode” is activated when the kickstand is open but the keyboard is detached.

Lastly, the “Browser Mode”, essentially the “Watch Mode” without a kickstand.

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet isn’t perfect, and it isn’t made to be. It’s not for heavy users, and it’s not a gaming laptop. It’s just a cheap alternative to an iPad or a Surface Pro, for users who want the flexibility of a tablet, and the power of a PC.

You should choose the Chromebook Duet if the paragraph above describes you. Going for another detachable Chromebook might be a disaster, as none of those is optimized for being a tablet yet.

 

Where can I get the Chromebook in Nigeria?

Let’s forget about the dollars now, and see how much the Duet costs in Nigerian Naira, where, and how you can get it.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet price in Nigeria

If you’re not good at currency conversion, you might be asking: “how much is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet in Nigeria?”

The base configuration of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet costs $279, which is equivalent to about 100,000 Naira. If you plan to buy a higher configuration, the price might increase to 110,000 Naira.

You can get the Lenovo Chromebook Duet on Jumia via this link.

 

Conclusion

We’ve seen detachable devices running Windows, Android, and iPadOS, but ChromeOS is still new in this field.

Lenovo is bold enough to take the step in bringing ChromeOS into our tablets, and they’re backed by Google, who selflessly designed a customized version of the operating system for tablets with detachable keyboards.

While the Chromebook Duet is insanely cheap, we hope to see more of these kinds of devices, running on the ChromeOS in the future.

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