Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook review

Two-minute review

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook is here, and we’re not kidding when we say we’ve been more excited to try this device than any other this year – and it doesn’t disappoint.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook was by far one of our favorite Chromebooks, clinging to its place on our list of the best Chromebooks for over a year now, and the Chromebook Duet 5 improves on last year’s offering. in almost every way – as long as you’re looking for a laptop more than a tablet.

Technical sheet

here is Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen2 2.55GHz
Graphic: Qualcomm Adreno GPU
RAM: 8 GB LPDDR4
Screen: 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080p multitouch OLED, 400 nits
Storage: 128 GB of eMMC Flash storage
Ports: 2 x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen1, 1 x Pogo pin connector
Connectivity:
Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Camera (front): 5MP RGB; (Back) 8MP RGB with autofocus
Weight: 2.24 lbs (1.02 kg)
Size (W x H x D): 12.04 x 7.35 x 0.28 inch (305.86 x 186.74 x 7.23 mm)
Drums: 42 Wh with fast charge

Let’s start with the obvious: it’s bigger. Last year’s Chromebook Duet featured a 10.1-inch display, meaning its removable keyboard was 10.1 inches diagonally as well.

This made for a very narrow keyboard, which practically ruled it out for a lot of people who don’t have a lot of dexterity in their hands.

At 13.3 inches diagonally, the Chromebook Duet 5’s keyboard looks a lot more like those found on Ultrabooks, which still don’t have the most spacious keyboards, but are still much more accessible.

At this size and with a 16: 9 screen ratio, it is much more of a laptop that can function as a tablet as it is a bit heavy. This contrasts with last year’s 10.1-inch 16:10 model, which was a better tablet than a laptop, due to the cramped keyboard.

The keys on the Duet 5 Chromebook keyboard aren’t backlit like its predecessor, and the keyboard itself is still quite fragile just like its predecessor.

The trackpad could also be better. Our fingers encounter enough friction to give us uneven motions and motions, but it’s not bad enough that you can’t get used to it and adjust the amount of pressure you apply appropriately.

The other accessibility criticism we had of last year’s Chromebook Duet – that the magnetic kickstand could be difficult to extend at times – remains.

A pull tab or lanyard here could easily correct this shortcoming, but it looks like we may have to wait until next year for a better design here (or, you can get Microsoft’s Surface Adaptive Kit, which will work. with any device, not just the Microsoft Surface Pro 8).

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Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Avenir)
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Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Avenir)
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Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Avenir)
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Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Avenir)
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Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Avenir)

The magnetized backplate of the Chromebook Duet 5 also has a small cutout for a clip-on Lenovo Active Pen on the back, but the stylus does not come with the device by default, and while it is included, it does. will cost extra.

Speaking of costs, one of the best things about last year’s Chromebook Duet was its price. Starting at $ 279 / £ 279 / AU $ 424, the smaller Chromebook Duet was excellent value for money.

This year’s Chromebook Duet 5 is more expensive, starting at $ 429 ($ 499 according to testing) and AU $ 799 in Australia. Sadly the UK is going through a rough patch as Duet 5 Chromebook starts at £ 899.

We hope this is only a temporary issue and we reached out to Lenovo to find out the background to the extraordinary price differential in the UK. We will update this notice if we hear from the company. UK pricing aside, the Chromebook Duet 5’s price increase is not unexpected given its larger size and improved hardware.

In terms of improving the hardware, we have to start with the display. Last year’s Chromebook Duet was a 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD panel, which was exceptional for a 10.1-inch display.

The Chromebook Duet 5 is downsized to 1920 x 1080 resolution, but the panel is upgraded to OLED, making it exceptionally bright and vibrant. While both Duets are rated for 400 nits of brightness, the difference with an OLED display is simply amazing.

The OLED display alone more than justifies the price increase, and the fact that it is starting to alone $ 429 in the US makes this a fantastic deal. Even upgrading to the 8GB RAM configuration for $ 499, you still get a 13.3-inch 2-in-1 Chromebook with a 1080p OLED display for under $ 500, which is pretty much unheard of – and it’s worth every penny.

Landmarks

Here is how the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook performed in our benchmark test suite:
JavaScript Kraken: 1845 ms
Octane 2.0 JavaScript: 23,798
Jetstream 2: 83.4
Battery life (TechRadar film test): 16 hours 20 minutes

The display isn’t the only thing that got an upgrade this year, with the Chromebook Duet 5 upgrading to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen2 processor from the MediaTek P60T chip from last year’s Chromebook Duet.

Both of these chips are based on high efficiency ARM, so neither will deliver the same kind of raw performance as an Intel Core i3 processor, which some of the more powerful Chromebooks exhibit.

The Snapdragon 7c Gen2 is still a huge improvement over the MediaTek P60T. The Snapdragon 7c Gen2 completed the Kraken JavaScript benchmark in 1,845ms, compared to 3,940ms for the MediaTek P60T. It’s just better than twice the speed of last year’s Chromebook Duet.

Still, the Snapdragon 7c Gen2 lags in benchmarks compared to other Chromebooks, but it still looked reasonably eye-catching when we actually used it. So unless you’re really looking to directly compare the Chromebook Duet 5 to Asus’ Chromebook Flip C536, Google Pixelbook, or Acer Chromebook Spin 713, you’re unlikely to see a performance lag, even if it will always be there.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Avenir)

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