Lenovo Duet: Chrome OS Shines on Innovative 2-in-1

Lenovo Duet: Chrome OS Shines on Innovative 2-in-1

Lenovo launched improvements that push the bounds of Chrome OS-powered tablets with a brand new 2-in-1 type issue within the IdeaPad Chromebook Duet.

This new gadget mimics Microsoft’s Floor Professional line, utilizing the Chrome OS as a substitute of Microsoft Home windows. It redefines what the Chrome OS can do on a convertible pill, in comparison with Android. The Duet comes with a 10.1-inch display, a magnetically hooked up keyboard with trackpad, and 128 GB of inner RAM for US$199.99.

The response to each the Pixel C and Pixel Slate was so poor that Google deserted plans to make its personal Chrome OS-powered tablets.

The Duet, launched final month, is Lenovo’s try to fill that area of interest with a brand new Chromebook type issue that runs Android and Linux apps inside Chrome OS. It’s a 2-in-1 gadget that is also suitable with an MSI stylus for drawing and handwriting. Nevertheless, it doesn’t include one.

Lenovo debuted the Duet at CES in January. As of this writing, Lenovo wasn’t brazenly promoting the Duet. Nevertheless, it went from not itemizing the Duet in any respect to displaying it on its web site as a “Coming Quickly” attraction. Finest Purchase supplied a restricted amount of Duets for preorder in Could. When mine arrived, I made it my short-term foremost computing platform so I may take a look at how effectively it may assist me get stuff carried out.

Thus far, utilizing it steadily has been largely profitable. Nevertheless, just a few glitches have pressured me to set the Duet apart and switch as a substitute to my Linux desktop or laptops to finish specialised manufacturing duties.

These points apart, the Duet poses severe competitors to the likes of higher-end rivals such because the Samsung Chromebook three and the HP Chromebook x360. The Duet has just a few improvements that rekindled my curiosity in utilizing an precise Chrome OS-powered pill as a viable different computing platform.

Marking the Turf

I’ve shied away from utilizing Android tablets since earlier Chromebook convertibles arrived on the scene. Particularly since Chrome OS acquired the power to run Android and Linux apps, I’ve supplemented my workflow largely with 2-in-1 Chromebook gadgets. I like having a completely practical keyboard that I can swing behind the display in an effort to use the contact show as an outsized pill.

The Duet enhances that have, however the first-generation mannequin has just a few design weaknesses. I hope they are going to be resolved in Gen 2 hardware. I like with the ability to run my important Linux apps together with the identical Android apps I exploit on my cellphone. So it appears logical that the Duet may supply the following development in a barely smaller and extra transportable gadget. Lenovo makes an excellent case for Chrome OS on this type issue.

Years in the past I transitioned away from Android tablets. Even with Bluetooth-connected keyboards, my use case required way over Android tablets — and even the now defunct Android convertible models — may deal with. I wanted a dependable manufacturing/creation platform. So I transitioned to the Chromebook as an experiment that proved to be very workable.

I used to be making ready to purchase one of many anticipated next-generation Chromebook fashions to spice up my work productiveness and non-work computing comfort, so the Duet type issue grew to become a second transitional experiment with Chrome OS know-how.

Its value is far decrease than the extra expensive high-end Chromebooks now accessible. So the Duet saved me cash whereas bettering on the performance that my present Chromebooks present.

Various Type Issue

The Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Duet will not be like current Chromebook 2-in-1 laptops. These have fold-under hooked up keyboards which can be disabled if you use the gadget in tent or pill modes. The Duet has a removable keyboard with a a lot smaller and fewer cumbersome pill display.

The Duet is a Chromebook at its core, composed of three important components. Out of the field you get the aluminum-encased pill with a smooth blue accent band on the high, the keyboard with touchpad, and a again cowl plate that magnets maintain in place.

The again cowl has a sturdy two-tone grey cloth that makes the pill simple to grip firmly. You possibly can pull the again cowl free, however there isn’t any want to do this. The hinged decrease panel serves because the kickstand to carry the display when hooked up to the keyboard, in addition to securing it in tent mode with out the keyboard. In case you do take away the hinged kickstand panel, you find yourself with a thinner and barely extra slippery pill to carry.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

The multi-angled hinged decrease panel (left picture) serves because the kickstand to carry the display when hooked up to the keyboard. The hooked up keyboard turns the Duet pill into a completely practical small-form issue Chromebook laptop computer.


The kickstand backing is sturdy and tight. The kickstand is multi-positioning, which lets you regulate the viewing angle to suite a wide range of circumstances.

The keyboard has a slender, versatile band above the highest row of keys. The Duet turns into a clam shell-style laptop computer if you place the keyboard’s connecting strip close to the underside fringe of the pill display. Magnets pull the 2 halves collectively as two plastic information pins and 5 POGO connector pins align.

On a strong floor equivalent to a desk high or desk, the display and keyboard mixture is sturdy. In your lap, nevertheless, the laptop computer configuration makes typing tough. The Duet on this scenario turns into wobbly.

The tethering strip between keyboard and display is versatile, and the 2 sections keep linked simply fantastic. The 2 halves are very unsteady when balanced in your legs.

It’s fantastic in case you use a flat floor underneath the Duet. For instance, I used my Asus Chromebook convertible as a lap base, inserting the Duet on high. That eradicated the unsteadiness and let me apply it to my lap simply fantastic.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet’s pill is nice for media consumption and informal typing utilizing the onscreen keyboard. It isn’t so preferrred for creating output. That’s the place the keyboard comes into play.

Efficiency and Energy

The IdeaPad Duet appears a bit underpowered at first blush. But Lenovo has carried out appreciable tweaking to make it aggressive with main gadgets. Though the Duet’s design takes convertible Chromebooks to the following stage, you have to be keen to compromise if the transition goes to give you the results you want.

Understand that the Chrome OS works in another way from iOS and Home windows 10. On no account would I run Microsoft Home windows on a laptop computer underpowered with Four GB RAM, as an example. That a lot reminiscence is ok on a Chromebook, although, even whereas it runs Android and Linux apps.

The Duet comes with Four GB LPDDR4X of RAM and 64 or 128 GB of eMMC storage. I would like a mannequin with extra RAM to let me push my productiveness limits.

The Duets Finest Purchase launched for preorder final month have been the 64-GB mannequin and the 128-GB mannequin for a whopping $20 extra. Thus far, no plans exist to launch a Duet with extra RAM.

Because the Duet lacks a microXD slot, you positively need the bigger inner storage capability. Your knowledge and bulk recordsdata are saved within the Google Drive cloud, however Android and Linux apps should dwell on native inner storage.

Core Supply

The Duet is powdered by the MediaTek Helio P60T processor. That is primarily a smartphone chip on steroids. It thrusts the Duet’s efficiency forward of different gadgets which can be powered by high-end smartphone processors.

For instance, my getting old Samsung Galaxy 8+ Smartphone has Four GB RAM and 64 GB inner storage plus a virtually maxed-out XD card. It’s powered with a Snapdragon 835 processor. Although it value only a few hundred {dollars}, the Duet is noticeably sooner on the Web and likewise extra responsive than the $1,000 smartphone.

The eight-core chip brings MediaTek’s NeuroPilot Synthetic Intelligence know-how to small type issue gadgets like netbooks and smartphones. It has on-board AI face detection and AI-enhanced sensible imaging and video. This optimized chip delivers high-end options that enhance power effectivity, present longer battery life, and supply higher efficiency from demanding functions.

I’m used to utilizing Chromebooks with batteries that final six-to-eight hours relying on how I stability display show and sleep mode. The Duet far exceeded that endurance. I routinely can use the the Duet 12 hours or extra doing a wide range of actual work duties that vary from Internet searching, note-taking, viewing and creating paperwork, and studying.

The Display

The pill portion of the IdeaPad Duet features a 10.1-inch 1080p show. The 9.13mm bezels make the pill a bit cumbersome to carry. Nonetheless, the texture is comfortable and is far simpler to govern in comparison with the marginally bigger Asus and Acer Chromebook 2-in-1s I exploit.

The display show options FHD (1920 x 1200) decision in 400 nits brightness. The main points and colour are sharp. Night time mode eases eye pressure. I discovered that barely adjusting the show scaling to 90 % is a giant assist in utilizing display actual property extra effectively.

Go to system settings and scroll right down to the Gadget part. Then faucet Shows.

Subsequent, discover Show Measurement underneath the Inside Show class and transfer the slide bar on the proper that exhibits Tiny-to-Enormous to the left till the popup readout exhibits 90 %.

Decreasing the size share leaves you with extra room on the display with out sacrificing contact targets. On this identical settings display you possibly can activate the Night time Gentle characteristic, regulate the colour temperature of the display’s whiteness, and set the schedule for the show to enter Night time Gentle mode mechanically.

I spend appreciable time working in each dimly lit environments and outside. I used to be happy to search out that the display is brilliant in direct daylight. If solely my smarthone’s display show have been so accommodating exterior.

One annoyance with the display, nevertheless, was its tendency to go dim if too many seconds glided by with none interplay with the display, That is extra of a trouble when the display is indifferent from the keyboard, though the dimming happens with the keyboard hooked up as effectively.

If I crank up the brightness management, that often helps cut back however not get rid of the dimness challenge — however then I’ve to recollect to regulate the brightness management when the keyboard is hooked up. That’s carried out with a key on the keyboard. Alas, the indifferent pill has no brightness management. Neither is there a brightness setting within the Chrome OS settings to regulate when holding the pill.

The Keyboard

Lenovo’s advertising and marketing materials describes the keyboard as being full-sized. That’s wishful considering. It’s removed from full-sized, however it’s pretty near being a normal Chromebook keyboard by way of keys included and their structure.

Lenovo Duet Keyboard

Lenovo redesigned a confined keyboard to squeeze in a normal Chromebook configuration.


Lenovo halved the dimensions of some keys to suit them inside the confined keyboard design. It’s a compromise that forces you scrunch your fingers in an effort to contact the keys on the outskirts of the deck. These tinier keys embody the tab, backspace, enter, and a lot of the punctuation keys on the correct aspect.

It took me just a few hours of steady typing on the Duet to regulate to the smaller type issue. I’ve gotten used to shifting my fingers round to accommodate keyboard configurations that vary from bigger Chromebook designs to full-size desktop keyboards and type of full-size laptop computer keyboards.

The Duet’s keys have good journey. The keyboard itself is responsive, with a smooth contact. In reality, the Duet’s keyboard was a pleasure to make use of as soon as I ended yelling at my fingers for misbehaving.

Then there may be the trackpad. It’s nothing particular. Its small, plastic design took much less getting used to than the smaller keyboard. The trackpad is a key navigational element in each clamshell and pill modes.

Duet Peripherals

The Duet’s equipment stock is extra bare-bones than I would love. Once more, this can be a compromise between value and comfort. The Duet comes with built-in microphones, a 2MP front-facing webcam with fixed-focus and LED indicator, an 8MP auto-focus rear-facing digicam, and a single USB-C port.

Lacking is a headphone jack. As an alternative you get a converter adapter that takes the earbud or headphone connector in a single finish and a USB-C port plug on the different finish of the dongle.

The only USB-C port is used for charging, knowledge switch and show out. The USB-C port accepts any energy supply charger and features a fast-charging one within the field.If it is advisable plug in anything on the identical time, or multiple one thing else, you’ll need a multi-connector bus.

The twin Dolby audio audio system present pretty respectable sound replica in small rooms with little noise competitors. For something extra boastful, you’ll need a Bluetooth exterior speaker.

Chrome OS Improved

Googles most up-to-date working system enhancements embody gesture navigation and a touch-optimized browser interface. These enhancements are key components in making the Chrome OS extra viable than Android on a pill format.

The Duet introduces new dynamics that don’t exist on the extra standard Chromebooks, each with and with out the pill mode possibility. I just like the evolution of the ChromeOS that updates the working system extra quickly and consistently introduces new and higher options. That simply doesn’t occur with Android tablets.

Chrome OS pill interface is one instance of the dynamic usefulness. Greater than different Chromebook fashions available on the market right this moment, the Duet demonstrates how the Chrome OS in a laptop computer and pill mixture generally is a very workable computing different.

Last Ideas

Regardless of my reward for Lenovo’s IdeaPad Chromebook Duet, I’m dissatisfied in what’s both a design flaw or misguided characteristic that places the pill mode at odds with the digital desks. When Chrome OS first gained the desk characteristic, it was practical in pill mode on convertible Chromebooks. With out rationalization, that digital desk performance both disappeared or grew to become unstable.

It was annoying on a 2-in-1 gadget. It’s much more so with the Duet’s pull-apart pill configuration. In pill mode the digital desk characteristic generally disappears if you detach the keyboard. In pill mode, no change exists within the contact interface so as to add from one-to-four digital desks.

With the Duet, generally digital desks come and go on the pill display. The identical peek-a-boo conduct happens intermittently with the button on the underside dock that prompts the digital desk characteristic when the keyboard is hooked up.

Specs at a Look

  • Processor: MediaTek Helio P60T Octa-Core
  • Working System: Chrome OS
  • Show: 10.1″ FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, 400 nits, 10-point touchscreen, 70% NTSC
  • Graphics: ARM G72 MP3 800GHz
  • Battery: As much as 10-12 hours
  • Connectivity: 802.11AC (2 x 2) || Bluetooth® 4.2
  • Dimensions (H x W x D):
    • Pill Solely — 9.44″ x 6.29″ x 0.29″
    • Pill + Keyboard: 9.64″ x 6.66″ x 0.71″
  • Weight:
    • Pill Solely — 0.99 lbs
    • Pill + Keyboard: 2.03 lbs



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