If you frequently browse the Web and/or often rely on online-hosted Web apps rather than traditional offline apps, I recommend using a Chromebook because of its efficient OS and generally low asking price. If you need something really light and might occasionally need some touchscreen convenience, you can narrow your selection down to the 2-in-1 Chromebook hybrid category. The only particular problem I have with this category is the lack of choices available since Chrome OS isn’t very touch-focused. One potentially promising choice is the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 13.3-inch Chromebook weighing just a bit over 2 pounds and boasting up to 12 hours of battery life. While Lenovo Ideapad duet 5 has an interesting combination of some decent hardware and low-end specs, the $600 CAD price makes this hybrid Chromebook tricky for me to fully recommend unless you absolutely need every bit of good quality this device has to offer.
What is the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook?
The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook is a tablet with a 13.3-inch touch display and a built-in kickstand. Being a “Chromebook,” the device is running Chrome OS and utilizes an 8-core Snapdragon SC7180 CPU. Lenovo calls this product a “Duet” because the package includes a detachable keyboard right of the box. It certainly gives me those Microsoft Surface vibes, but this package undercuts the also affordable Surface Go products as those do not include a keyboard.
The 13.3-inch touch display of Lenovo Ideapad duet 5 uses a gorgeous OLED panel with good color reproduction and deep blacks. It’s 1920×1080 screen resolution makes the device ideal for watching video content but its 16:9 aspect ratio makes eBook reading and Web browsing in portrait mode feel a bit cramped.
Performance and Storage
Running on the nimble Chrome OS, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 loads websites fairly quickly and scrolling performance is quite smooth and snappy. The Snapdragon SC7180 CPU really flexes its muscle and compares well against similar Chromebooks running Intel Celeron chips. But because of the device’s 4 GB of LPDDR4X, you need to limit your number of tabs to less than 10 if you want to have a decent browsing experience.
The fact that the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 uses an actual 128 GB SSD rather than a slower eMMC flash memory does save the device a bit. 128 gigabytes in 2023 is also quite low considering the low endurance ratings of SSDs in general with that capacity but this is a Chromebook after all so relying on cloud storage helps keep some extra space free.
Connectivity and Keyboard Accessory
In case you want to add more storage space, you can at least use the single USB-A and USB-C ports. Both are the USB 3.2 Gen 1 type, so the speed maxes out at 5Gbit/s. The tablet also comes with a shared microphone/headphone jack. The built-in 2×2 802.11AC Wi-Fi is a bit disappointing too because it cannot take advantage of the faster speeds any Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E routers have to offer.
The included keyboard has some pogo pins making it easy to attach to the tablet. The key layout is pretty standard with a convenient top row filled with keys for adjusting various settings along with the “Ctrl” and “Alt” keys sized similarly to the “Shift” key. The arrow keys are half height though and feel a bit cramped. If you aren’t a fan of using the touchscreen while docked to the keyboard, you may use the keyboard’s built-in trackpad instead.
Final thoughts: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 13.3-inch Chromebook
As I hinted earlier, the Lenovo IdeaPad is a tough sell at $599.99 not because of what it brings to the table but because of the existence of more affordable tablets and laptops that boast superior specs. These competing devices may lack a trick the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook offers but the savings and better specs could potentially sway you. The most important bit involves making sure every key advantage matters to you. If you think you don’t need the 12-hour battery life advantage Chrome OS has to offer, you could find cheaper non-OLED Windows tablets and laptops that perform better. If you might not need that extra 2-in-1 convenience, you can find far more performant Chromebooks for under $500 CAD.
The Lenovo ideapad duet 5 specs make it an amazing device for students or folks who want to do light office work on the go but if you are going to pour $600, you should at least want it to last several years and I do believe the 4 GB of RAM will be a big obstacle after a year or so. I recommend comparing this device against other similarly priced computers whether they are Chromebooks or Windows devices as they may offer 8 GB or even 16 GB of RAM. That extra RAM could make a world of difference when it comes to multitasking and loading heavy websites. That luxury may potentially overshadow the Duet 5’s unique strengths unless you really need those features.
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