The Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Duet is bringing its message to the people. The message is about the versatility of a 2-in-1 Chromebook tablet with detachable keyboard, and it’s for the people because this avant-garde design is available for the affordable starting price of $279.
The price point is important. Chromebook 2-in-1s already available, such as the Google Pixel Slate and the Asus Chromebook Flip, start well north of $400. The most popular Chromebooks continue to be traditional, small clamshells costing around $200. The IdeaPad Chromebook Duet splits the difference, and that could bring in budget buyers as well as Chromebook fans looking for something different.
Announced Monday and available immediately, the IdeaPad Chromebook Duet consists of a 10.1-inch tablet with detachable kickstand and keyboard. In addition to the $279 base unit with 64GB of storage, a $299 version will come with 128GB of storage. A stylus costs extra. PCWorld received an early 128GB unit, and a review is forthcoming. In the meantime, we’ll go through the specs and talk about some of the highlight features.
IdeaPad Chromebook Duet specs and features
There’s a reason why the Chromebook Duet is so affordable. Lenovo seems to have focused all the money on the display and the stylish stand cover and keyboard, while the other components are more pedestrian. Chromebooks can function adequately on pretty lightweight hardware, so this isn’t necessarily a knock.
CPU: Mediatek Helio P60T Octa-Core
Memory: 4GB LPDDR4X
Storage: 64GB or 128GB eMMC
Display: 10.1-inch FHD (1920×1200) IPS touch
Graphics: ARM G72 MP3 800GHz
Cameras: 2MP front, 8MP back
Networking: 802.11ac (2×2), Bluetooth 4.2
Dimensions: 9.44 x 6.29 x 0.29 inches; 9.64 x 6.66 x 0.71 inches with Keyboard Pack
Weight: 0.99 pounds; 2.03 pounds with Keyboard Pack
The highlights of the IdeaPad Chromebook Duet’s design are its display, keyboard, and kickstand. Those parts are included for the price, but if you want a (USI-compatible) pen, that will cost extra.
We’re accustomed to fairly low-rent, low-res, low-brightness displays on most Chromebooks, but the Chromebook Duet pushes all that aside. Its 10.1-inch display has a healthy Full HD resolution of 1920×1200 pixels. Its 3:2 aspect ratio is better for productivity than 16:9, as a taller display lets you see more of your spreadsheet or document.
We’re also not used to seeing nice keyboards on most Chromebooks, but the IdeaPad Chromebook Duet seems to have a pretty nice one. It attaches to the tablet using pogo pins. Although it’s very thin, the keys have a good travel of 1.3mm. The pitch (the distance from center to center of adjacent keys) is 18mm, not too cramped considering the size. The trackpad is centered under the spacebar.
The fabric-clad stand cover that attaches to the back panel bends in the middle to form a kickstand that’s adjustable up to 135 degrees. It reminds us of Microsoft’s Surface Go, except this one is removable.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Duet is the latest attempt to meld Chromebook productivity with more portable versatility. Can the affordable price shift more users away from plain old clamshells? We’ll let you know when we publish our review.
Melissa Riofrio spent her formative journalistic years reviewing some of the biggest iron at PCWorld--desktops, laptops, storage, printers--and she continued to focus on hardware testing during stints at Computer Currents and CNET. Currently, in addition to leading PCWorld’s content direction, she covers productivity laptops and Chromebooks.