Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a cheap iPad killer — and it comes with a keyboard

Lenovo Chromebook Duet
(Image credit: Lenovo)

Lenovo's Chromebook Duet is almost ready to hit shelves, and anyone thinking of buying an iPad any time soon should take note. This 2-in-1 laptop comes with a detachable keyboard and runs Google's lightweight ChromeOS operating system, and you can get your own in just a week or two. 

Best Buy has launched its store page for the Chromebook Duet, which reveals a starting price of $300. That's already cheaper than a basic iPad, and that's before adding on the $159 Smart Keyboard cover. ChromeUnboxed also reports that pre-orders are scheduled to ship on May 11, although the article notes that there is a chance it will instead arrive on May 6, when the new PC officially launches.

The 10.1-inch Duet can act like a medium-sized tablet, or as a small laptop when you attach the keyboard (complete with trackpad). The grey fabric cover on the back of the Duet acts as the kickstand as well as protection for the tablet section, another built-in benefit Apple would make you pay for.

It will run the whole Microsoft Office suite, which is ideal for those looking for a work-focused device. Plus, it has access to the Google Play store for access to more apps to fill out its 128GB hard drive (you can also get a 64GB version for $279). Lenovo boasts that the Duet has 10 hours of battery life, matching the longevity of our favorite Chromebook, the Asus Chromebook Flip C434.

The Duet should be nicely portable thanks to its 920g (2.02 lbs) total weight and skinny 7.35mm (0.28 inches) display depth. The display is rated at 400 nits at its maximum brightness, which means you should have no trouble using the Duet in bright spaces. And for when you need to take pictures or host a video call, you have access to a 2MP front camera and a 7MP rear camera.

The processor running the show is a MediaTek Helio P60T. This isn't a particularly powerful chip, and there isn't an option for an Intel or AMD CPU to boost your power. But since this is a Chromebook, low compute power with an appropriately low price is par for the course.

In a hands-on review written by our sister site Laptop Mag during CES 2020, the Duet was complimented for its detachable design, brightness and reasonable price. However, the all-important keyboard and touchpad is small and cramped, even if the individual keys are good quality and pleasant to type on, and the lack of a more powerful processor was a concern for writer Rami Tabari.

The Chromebook Duet is due to launch in May, with a retail price of $279. That's a whole lot cheaper than an iPad with equivalent accessories.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

  • BigGeorge
    iPad killer. LOL 💤
  • tlawlessrr
    No where near an iPad killer but this processor will do anything a mid range phone will do. I have 2 other mediatek devices that both run at about 2.0ghz and there are very few things that it will not do.

    I would call this tablet, everything a good ANDORID tablet should have been. App monster would also be a good description.

    There are very few quality andorid tablets for $300 with 4gb of ram. I have found that 3 or 4 tabs in chrome runs fine with this amount. Any thing more and it stutters.

    Graphics are on the lower end, not as much about gpu power but when it comes to writing games, there are some things that are written spacifically for snapdragon processors that wont work on this device. All simple game will run fine but a few high end native game will crash.
    It will play PUBG no problem. Fortnight NO! World of Kings NO!

    Other then that this tablet will run nearly every app in the play store. MS Office and Adobe Creative Cloud.

    Just compare this to a Galaxy Tab A

    Also this is perfect for kids of all ages, My son does 100% of his online school on a chromebook.
  • selden
    I ordered a Duet on a lark from BB last week. It arrived Wednesday. I was fully prepared to return it the next day, as I expected unacceptably slow performance from the MediaTek processor. I was pleasantly surprised. Performance is acceptable and, inexplicably, it loads Gmail faster than any other device in my household. The screen is gorgeous, the speakers are acceptable (although I almost always use BT earbuds for portable devices), and the keyboard, while small, has a good feel. Battery life is incredible. Yesterday I ran it intermittently for 12.5 hours before giving up and going to bed. It reported that it still had a 30% charge and ~4 hours runtime left. This is the first laptop that I have ever used that doesn't induce battery anxiety.

    I realize that this may be a minority opinion, but for me the fact that the Duet is not an Android device is a huge advantage. I spent a fair amount of time during setup ripping out lobotomized Android apps (Gmail, Google Photos, Google Play Music, YouTube, and more) and replacing them with their more functional web equivalents.

    I can see no reason to buy the 64 Gb version, as the 128 Gb version is only $20 more. To my surprise, the Duet is a keeper.