Lenovo Chromebook Duet , an inexpensive but impressive two-in-one laptop. We judge laptops on a scale of 10, analyzing the categories we think are most important: design, display, and performance.
By BRANDON CART
I’ve always been a firm believer that sometimes less is more. As much as I love reviewing extremely powerful computers with next-generation processors and edge-to-edge displays like the shiny new Dell XPS 13 laptop, I also have a soft spot for smaller, less expensive devices.
The Chromebook Duet is a new, budget-friendly, two-in-one laptop from Lenovo that makes the most of its limited specs. Although it has some minor faults, the device is much better than other tablets and computers in its price range.
• MediaTek Helio P60T processor
• 10.1-inch display
• 4 GB of RAM; 64 GB or 128 GB eMMC storage
• One USB-C port
I spent a few days testing the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. My conclusion is that it’s the best cheap Chromebook that money can buy. If you’re looking for an affordable computer for getting work done on the go, or you just want a secondary device for watching videos and browsing the internet, you won’t be disappointed. Here’s why!
A lightweight and highly portable machine
- 9.64 inches by 6.6 inches (about the size of a magazine)
- 0.71 inches thick
- Weighs 2 pounds
The Chromebook Duet is a laptop-and-tablet hybrid that’s perfect for getting work done on the go or for lounging with it at home on the couch. The device is mostly made from aluminum alloy and it sports a unique, adjustable back fabric cover that includes a kickstand. The stand makes it easy to prop up the Duet to watch YouTube or have video calls without its keyboard attached.
The computer feels well-made, and if you’re using it like a tablet, it’s comfortable to hold. Despite being twice as thick as the Microsoft Surface Go 2, it’s still very portable and small enough for practically any bag. I found its kickstand to be flimsier and harder to unfold than the Surface Go’s, but I’m happy to see that Lenovo included a keyboard. This accessory runs Surface Go 2 owners an extra $100.
The removable keyboard connects to the Duet with magnets, which stayed in place when I was pounding away on it, responding to Slack messages. Given the device’s smaller size, the keys are slightly cramped and took some time to get used to, however. The built-in trackpad worked well, but again, it was definitely smaller than most that I’ve used.
Its glossy screen gets the job done
- 10.1-inch touchscreen display
- 16:10 aspect ratio
- 2 MP front camera, 8MP rear camera
The 10.1-inch screen of the Chromebook Duet is sharp and bright, but it feels tiny if you’re trying to do some serious work. Although the screen size was suitable for writing text in Google Docs, things do start to feel a little cramped when the browser tabs start piling up. I wouldn’t even consider using the tablet to compare spreadsheets or scroll through lengthy PDF documents. I did like that the display offers a 16:10 aspect ratio, which gives it some extra vertical space.
With a resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels, its screen is vivid and perfect for watching Netflix videos in tablet mode. The screen does have some glare when in direct sunlight, but it is still bright enough to read and work on if you’re outside.
I appreciated that the Duet seamlessly transitioned between laptop and tablet mode. If you detach its keyboard or fold it back behind the screen like you’d hold a magazine, the device automatically adjusts the display and hides the cursor from view. That way you can tap and interact with its touchscreen.
It even supports gestures. Rather than tapping the tiny back button on the internet browser, you can swipe left (or right) to go back to a different webpage. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you’ll pull up a list of your favorite apps.
Good enough performance for the price
- 7,000 mAh battery
- Up to 128 GB of storage
- 4 GB of RAM
- Dual speakers and mics
The Chromebook Duet will not wow you with performance, and that’s OK — you shouldn’t expect it to. It’s plenty fast enough for some general web browsing, connecting with friends and colleagues through email or social media, and doing some light photo editing. I was able to have 15 tabs open while streaming music on Spotify without any issues whatsoever.
I highly recommend that you opt for the variant that comes with 128 GB of storage space over the slightly cheaper variant that has 64 GB. The Duet does not have a Micro SD card slot, meaning that once you run out of space, you’ll need to consolidate files to download more media.
My biggest complaint about the Chromebook Duet is its lack of ports. There’s one lonely USB-C jack on board. That’s it. There’s no headphone jack, either. Although the laptop’s 2 MP camera was decent enough for a work Zoom call, I had no way to use my wired headphones. I tried using the included adapter, and it just resulted in my mic audio making crackling noises.
The good news is the Chromebook Duet has incredible battery life. I was able to get more than 11 hours of use before needing to recharge it. I’d feel totally comfortable using the computer on a long flight to keep myself entertained.
I didn’t have high expectations for the Lenovo Chromebook Duet and was surprised at how capable this small machine actually is. Its lengthy battery life and reliable performance were both pleasant surprises.
Given its convenient kickstand, included keyboard, and affordable starting price, the Duet is well worth it. The computer has a few minor setbacks like its single USB-C port, but few devices offer as much as this Chromebook does for as little as it costs.