Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook Overview: OLED For Low cost

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook

RRP $ 500.00

"The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook brings OLED quality to a surprisingly affordable 2-in-1."

advantages

  • Acceptable productivity performance

  • Very long battery life

  • Excellent advertisement

  • Solid build quality

  • Payable

disadvantage

  • The display has the old school 16: 9 aspect ratio

  • Limited to WiFi 5

  • Stand add-on is impractical

Chromebooks don't often beat Windows in the market for implementing new technology, but Lenovo's IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook did just that. It is the first detachable tablet with OLED display, launched just before the Asus Vivobook 13 Slate, which is the first detachable Windows 11 tablet with OLED technology. The IdeaPad Duet 5 is based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, an ARM chip, and is thus another first. It's a bigger tablet, but still an alternative to other low-cost devices like the Apple iPad and Microsoft Surface Go 3.

I tested the mid-range configuration of the IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook, which costs $ 500 and includes the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 and a 13.3-inch 1080p OLED display. I found the tablet to be way above its price and one of the best 2-in-1 tablets at this price point.

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The first thing you'll notice about the IdeaPad Duet 5, if you look closely, is that its display is old-school 16: 9. The laptop world is moving in the direction of larger displays, 16:10 or 3: 2, which is particularly useful for tablets that mimic a standard sheet in portrait format. In comparison, a 16: 9 tablet is longer and slimmer, making it less convenient to view documents and take notes with a pen.

The bezels of the IdeaPad Duet 5 are small on the sides and a bit thicker at the top and bottom. They aren't huge by tablet standards, and the IdeaPad Duet 5 is reasonably large given the display. Compared to its closest Windows 11 competitor, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 with its 13-inch 3: 2 display, the IdeaPad Duet 5 is almost an inch wider, while the Surface Pro 8 is almost an inch higher.

Microsoft's 0.37-inch tablet is thicker than the IdeaPad Duet 5's 0.28-inch, but the Surface Pro 8 has its kickstand built in – more on that in a moment. Of course, the IdeaPad Duet 5 is significantly larger than the Apple iPad and Microsoft Surface Go, which are built around 10.2-inch and 10.5-inch displays. If you can take the size, the Lenovo is a viable competitor.

Another competitive tablet with a 12.3-inch 3: 2 display, the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable is roughly the same size as the Surface Pro 8 thanks to the smaller bezels. In terms of weight, the IdeaPad Duet 5 alone weighs for the tablet 1.54 pounds, compared to the Surface Pro 8 at 1.96 pounds and the ThinkPad X12 Detachable at 1.67 pounds. The IdeaPad Duet 5 is not a small tablet, but it is manageable. Using the smallest tablets from Apple or Microsoft would save you about half a pound.

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Now for this stand. As with the HP Chromebook x2 11, the IdeaPad Duet 5's stand is an add-on that clicks into place on the back of the tablet and is held in place by strong magnets. That makes the tablet thicker and impractical – it's another thing to carry around with you. The Surface Pro 8 and ThinkPad X12 Detachable are much more convenient to use with their built-in kickstand, although the version of the IdeaPad Duet 5 works just as well. It also holds the tablet upright without wobbling and extends just as far until the tablet rests almost flat on a surface. If you don't mind fiddling with another piece, then the version of the IdeaPad Duet 5 will be just fine. And let's not forget that this is a $ 500 tablet, while the Lenovo and Microsoft versions are more than twice as expensive when fully configured.

The IdeaPad Duet 5 is made of plastic, with the upper part of the back being a soft-coated version. It feels solid enough in the hand, and your first clue that it isn't made of a metal alloy like the other laptops I mentioned is that it doesn't feel as cold after a while. If you don't mind plastic gadgets, that's no real blow to the IdeaPad Duet 5 – especially given its price point.

Aesthetically, the tablet is a dark gray (Storm Gray) or blue (Abyss Blue) plate, with only the two-tone part on the back giving it a little pizzazz. Minimalist designs are pretty much the standard for tablets, however, with the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable having the most exotic look.


Connectivity is limited to two USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one on each side of the tablet – each can be used for charging – and a pogo-pin connector for the detachable keyboard. That's it. And yes, Lenovo has done without a 3.5mm audio jack. That's a huge disappointment in my book, and it's the first tablet I know that got disconnected.

You will be limited to bluetooth headphones which I consider liability. Speaking of wireless connectivity: the Snapdragon chipset limits the tablet to Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1. There's no always connected internet option like the HP Chromebook x2 11.

power

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The IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebooks use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 System-on-Chip (SoC), a slightly updated version of the same ARM processor used in the HP Chromebook x2 11. As far as I can tell, the only significant difference is a tiny speed threshold from 2.4 GHz to 2.55 GHz. Unsurprisingly, the IdeaPad Duet 5 performed similarly to the Chromebook x2 11. In other words, the ARM CPU could keep up with Chrome OS as long as I didn't open too many tabs in Chrome or too many Android apps were running in the background. I'm sure the 8GB of RAM and 128GB of eMMC storage had something to do with it.

We don't have all of the benchmarks available for Chromebooks, but the IdeaPad Duet 5 scored 599 in single-core mode and 1718 in multi-core mode in the Android Geekbench 5 app. That's just a tiny bit faster than the 590 and 1,689 of the Chromebook x2 11. It lags far behind faster Chromebooks like the Asus Chromebook Flip C536, which runs a Core i5-1115G4 that scores 1209 and 2,849 points, and the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 with a Core i5-1135G7 that hits 1,190 and 4,151. The IdeaPad Duet 5's score in the Speedometer 2.0 web benchmark was 47, just ahead of the Chromebook x2 11's with 45. In comparison, the Chromebook Flip CX5 achieved 163.

Overall, you will be satisfied with the performance of the IdeaPad Duet 5 as long as your productivity workflow is not too demanding. As I said, with a reasonable number of tabs and Android apps open, the tablet ran fine. However, if you exceeded that amount, things got noticeably slower. And limit yourself to occasional Android games – Asphalt 9, the Android game I use to test Chromebooks, was choppy and showed a significant lag when I tried to run it on the IdeaPad Duet 5. An Apple iPad will run iPad OS games more smoothly, making it a more usable gaming tablet.

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From the moment I turned on the IdeaPad Duet 5, I could tell that something was different. OLED displays are so much more dynamic and eye-catching than IPS displays, and the 13.3-inch Full HD version of the IdeaPad Duet 5 is no exception. The colors were pleasant and natural, the contrast was deep with jet black, and the display was more than bright enough for all of my work environments.

My two complaints start with the 16: 9 aspect ratio, which, as mentioned, isn't nearly as functional as 16:10 and 3: 2 displays in portrait mode, and it looked squeezed too. It's not a deal breaker – many 16: 9 laptops and tablets are still made today – but it's not ideal. Next, the Full HD resolution was just okay with a display size of 13.3 inches. A sharper screen would have helped, especially with text, and while black text showed up on a white background, they did it with a few pixels. A higher resolution display would have been nice too, but for $ 500, it's hard to complain about.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Even so, most users will love this display. Even creatives who want a Chromebook for viewing photos and videos will love the colors and contrast. This display will please everyone except the pickiest of pixel peepers and those who use a pen to take lots of notes.

Unfortunately, the sound does not do justice to the display despite four speakers radiating from the side. First off, there's not much volume even when it's all the way up, and worse, there's distortion that takes out that bit of bass and makes a very tinny sound. The mids and highs are clear at about half volume, but the bass is missing. Overall, you'll want to use bluetooth headphones or speakers for anything but system sounds and the occasional YouTube video.

Keyboard and touchpad


Lenovo includes a detachable keyboard with the IdeaPad Duet 5 that shares the same basic design as most keyboards – with one exception. It is attached to the tablet via magnets and connected via pogo pins, but unlike most keyboards, it has no way to support it at an angle. They're stuck when you lay it flat, which isn't nearly as comfortable. Thanks to the 13.3-inch display and the width it offers, there is plenty of key spacing and the keycaps are large and comfortable. The switches offer a lot of spring travel and have a snappy bottom movement. The keyboard feels great – if only Lenovo had built in an angle.

The touchpad is also good and big enough to be comfortable using the Chrome OS suite of multitouch gestures. The surface can be wiped comfortably and the buttons have a nice click without being too loud. The display is of course touch-enabled and supports an optional Lenovo Active Pen. One was not included with my test device, so I could not test the coloring with the IdeaPad Duet 5.

Battery life

OLED displays can sometimes be the death knell when it comes to battery life. But that's mainly because most OLED laptops use 4K resolution. The IdeaPad Duet 5 uses a 1080p screen and combines it with a Snapdragon processor with low power consumption. It also has 42 watt hours of battery, a decent amount for this device – and more than the 32 watt hours found on the HP Chromebook x2 11. I was curious to see how long the detachable tablet would last on one charge.

I was positively surprised. In our web browser test, which ran through a number of popular and demanding websites, the IdeaPad Duet 5 lasted for 15.5 hours – an excellent score that beat the Chromebook x2 11's 12.75 hours. The 10.1 inch Lenovo IdeaPad Duet with its 27 watt hour battery and the MediaTek Helio P60T ARM processor lasted about 13 hours. In our video test replaying a local 1080p movie trailer, the IdeaPad Duet 5 achieved a whopping 21.75 hours – one of the longest-lasting devices we tested. It outperformed the 11 hours of the Chromebook x2 11 and the 12.5 hours of the IdeaPad Duet.

Put simply, the IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook will last you a full day while you still have some time to watch Netflix. Chromebooks with ARM CPUs should have great battery life, and the IdeaPad Duet 5 keeps that promise.

Our opinion

At $ 500, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook is great value for money. You get adequate productivity performance and great battery life. The OLED display looks great too, even if it's not perfect.

Anyone looking for a cheap Chrome tablet that they can use for web browsing, email triage, and media consumption will find the IdeaPad Duet 5 to be a great choice.

Are there alternatives?

the HP Chromebook x2 11 is a close alternative with almost the same CPU and very similar performance. At the same time, the display is good, but not great, and the battery life is lagging behind. You can also get it for $ 100 less, albeit with half the space.

Another option is the Microsoft Surface Go 3. It's a Windows 11 laptop and it's smaller, but its build quality and performance are just as good, and it has its own great display. It's more expensive when you add the cost of the keyboard, but it's well worth it too.

After all, the Apple iPad is a good tablet, although it is also a bit smaller. You might want to stick with the entry-level model of $ 329 or risk spending a lot more. But thanks to a faster ARM CPU and a highly optimized operating system, it's faster and has a great display. It's also thin, light, and well built.

How long it will take?

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook could be made of plastic, but that doesn't mean it won't last for years. You'll also get a lot of performance out of Chrome OS for some time. The one-year warranty is fine for a $ 500 laptop.

Should you buy it?

Yes sir. The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 is fast enough for the price, which makes it a long-lasting secondary device with a beautiful display for media consumption. It's the best tablet you will find for the money.




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