Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 front view showing display and keyboard.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 review: $300 well spent

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 front view with screen and keyboard.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

Recommended retail price $300.00

“The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is fast enough for the tasks at hand, with excellent battery life and a beautiful display.”

Pros

  • Good enough productivity performance

  • Excellent battery life

  • Surprisingly good rendering

  • Folio stand and keyboard included

  • strong value

cons

  • Keyboard is too tight

  • Limited to Wi-Fi 5

Expensive, premium laptops are fun to review in their own right. But it is cheap laptops where the rubber meets the road – and where most people shop.

Chromebooks are a good place to look in this regard, and the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 has always been one of our favorite devices to recommend on that list. $300 for a compact, powerful and surprisingly well built 2 in 1

My review unit came with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 CPU and a 10.9-inch 2K (2,000 x 1,200) display, and it’s the only configuration sold here in the United States. Despite the uncomfortably small keyboard, Lenovo continues to impress with how much they can squeeze into a device so cheap.

Design

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 rear view with camera and stand.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Chromebook Duet 3 has been updated from the previous generation, with the main change being a larger screen size from 10.1 inches to 10.9 inches. As a result, the new version is slightly larger, about half an inch wider and a quarter inch taller. The bezels remain the same size, which is exaggerated for a modern device.

The Chromebook Duet 3 has increased slightly in thickness to 0.31 inches from 0.29 inches, and it weighs 1.14 pounds, an increase of 0.9 pounds. The most direct competitor, HP’s Chromebook x2 11″, is slightly narrower but half an inch taller, measuring 0.3 inches and 1.23 pounds. The base Apple iPad with a 10.2-inch display is narrower and taller, but thinner at 0.29 inches and lighter at 1.07 pounds, and the Microsoft Surface Go 3 with a 10.5-inch display is also narrower and taller, while being thicker at 0.33 inches and heavier at 1.2 pounds.

The tablet is made of a mix of aluminum along the edges and plastic on the back. I found it to be just as well built as other comparably priced tablets, with no bending or bending. This doesn’t feel like a $300 tablet, which is saying a lot.

The kickstand works just as well here as the built-in version on Surface devices.

Aesthetically speaking, the Chromebook Duet 3 is a simple slate design with two color choices. My review unit was the Storm Grey, which was dark gray along the bottom three-quarters of the bezels and back and a lighter gray top. There is also a Misty Blue option. Today’s tablets are very similar, and none of Lenovo’s competitors stand out in look and feel.

The included fabric-covered folio back stand and detachable keyboard is a two-piece device, which is less convenient than one-piece designs. However, the back cover attaches securely via magnets and doesn’t feel like it’s coming off accidentally, and the kickstand works just as well as the built-in version on the Microsoft Surface Go 3 with a wide range of angles. Combined, the folio adds 0.95 pounds to the tablet’s total weight, bringing it to 2.09 pounds.

Ports

You get two USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 ports and a pogo-pin connector for the keyboard, and that’s it. There’s no audio jack, which is disappointing, nor an SD card reader, which isn’t surprising.

Wireless connectivity is provided by Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1, a limitation of the Qualcomm chipset.

Performance

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 Tablet.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Another change from the previous generation is a switch from a MediaTek Helio P60T CPU to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, an 8-core ARM CPU with speeds up to 2.4 GHz. That makes for a minor speed bump with a more up-to-date ARM processor. There’s 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, both of which are enough for a smooth Chrome OS experience thanks to the operating system’s inherent efficiency.

During my testing, I found that the Chromebook Duet 3 was fast enough for the kinds of tasks a Chromebook is typically used for. I was able to open quite a few Chrome tabs and run some Android apps in the background before noticing any slowdown. I could definitely tell that the Chromebook Duet 3 was slower than laptops equipped with Intel Core CPUs, but for the money, the 2-in-1 was more than adequate.

Objectively, the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 wasn’t quick to run the Geekbench 5 benchmark, equaling the same CPU in the HP Chromebook x2 11, but trailing the Intel Chromebooks and the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 with a newer MediaTek Kompanio 1380 CPU. . It reached 45 in the Speedometer 2.0 benchmark, again the same as the HP and slower than the rest of our comparison group.

You will be challenged to play the most intense Android games. For example, Asphalt 9 some stuttering while playing. You’ll probably want to limit yourself to more casual titles.

geekbench
(single/multiple)
Speedometer 2.0
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2)
623/1.709 46
Acer Chromebook Spin 513
(MediaTek Kompanio 1380)
936/3.438 76
HP Chromebook x360 14c
(Core i3-1125G4)
898 / 2,866 N/A
HP Chromebook x2 11
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c)
590 / 1,689 45
Asus Chromebook Flip CX5
(Core i5-1135G7)
1.190 / 4.151 163
Microsoft Surface Go 3
(Core i3-10100Y)
920 / 1,704 47

Display and audio

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 front view with display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The 11-inch IPS display has a resolution of 2,000 x 1,200, referred to as 2K, and with a very unusual 15:9 aspect ratio. That’s slightly higher than 16:9, but barely. The screen is sharp enough that you can’t see pixels unless you look for it, and I found it bright and colorful during my testing. Lenovo promises 400 nits of brightness and I think the screen comes close.

I cannot apply my colorimeter to the screen because it is not supported in Chrome OS. Subjectively, the contrast is not only bright and colorful, but also quite deep with true blacks and text appearing on a white background.

The closest competitor is the HP Chromebook x2 11, which has a more traditional 3:2 display at 2,160 x 1,440. That makes HP’s screen sharper and even bigger, but I’d characterize the overall quality as comparable.

Two side-firing speakers provided sound that was clean and clear, but didn’t get very loud. Mids and highs were nicely done, but there was zero bass. The sound quality is adequate for system sounds and watching YouTube videos yourself, but whip out a pair of Bluetooth headphones to binge Netflix and listen to your music.

Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 top view with keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The keyboard is a different story. While it’s well-built and water-resistant, it’s also quite cramped, with small keycaps and significantly less key travel than the typical laptop keyboard. The shifters aren’t very smooth, with enough suspension travel but a loose feel and a low that lacks confidence.

It took me quite some time to get used to the keyboard, and I never felt comfortable typing on it. The keyboard on the HP Chromebook x2 11 was just as disappointing, while the Microsoft Surface Go 3 version was much better. The best thing about the Chromebook Duet 3’s folio attachment is that it’s included in the $300 price.

The 5MP webcam offers a higher resolution video image than many laptops costing hundreds more.

The touchpad is small but comfortable to use, with a smooth surface and reliable support for the full range of Chrome OS multi-touch gestures. The buttons provide a firm and quiet click. The screen is, of course, touch-sensitive and supports Lenovo’s USI active pen. I did not receive the pen with my review unit and was unable to test the inking.

The front-facing camera is a full 5MP, meaning it can provide a higher-resolution video image than many laptops costing hundreds (or thousands) more. It’s a great option for hybrid workers who want a highly portable device for video conferencing.

battery life

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 side view with stand.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Chromebook Duet 3 only has 29 watt-hours of battery capacity, which doesn’t seem like much, but it powers a small screen and a power-efficient ARM CPU. The battery of the HP Chromebook x2 11 is slightly larger at 32 watt-hours, while the battery of the Microsoft Surface Go 3 is slightly smaller at 28 watt-hours.

Nevertheless, the Chromebook Duet 3 has shown exceptional battery life. It got 11.5 hours in our web browser test browsing a range of popular and complex websites, less than the Chromebook x2 11 but still a strong performance. In our video test going through a local Full HD avengers trailer hit the Chromebook Duet 3 16 hours, a surprisingly excellent result.

Battery life is a real strength of the Chromebook Duet 3, and it beats all its comparably priced competition. This budget laptop will work all day until the evening hours.

surf Video
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2)
11 hours, 29 minutes 15 hours 59 minutes
Acer Chromebook Spin 513
(MediaTek Kompanio 1380)
11 hours, 7 minutes 12 hours, 42 minutes
HP Chromebook x360 14c
(Core i3-1125G4)
7 hours, 44 minutes 8 hours, 2 minutes
HP Chromebook x2 11
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c)
12 hours, 42 minutes 10 hours, 59 minutes
Asus Chromebook Flip CX5
(Core i5-1135G7)
9 hours, 25 minutes 8 hours, 50 minutes
Microsoft Surface Go 3
(Core i3-10100Y)
5 hours, 24 minutes 11 hours, 42 minutes

Our opinion

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is a fantastic value at $300, especially considering that the folio stand and detachable keyboard are included. And it’s not just about the price: this small Chrome OS tablet can handle a surprising range of tasks and just not meet the most demanding productivity and creative workflows.

You’ll spend hundreds of dollars more for a similar setup that won’t give you much extra functionality. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is the best budget Chrome OS tablet that (some) money can buy.

Are there alternatives?

The closest Chrome OS tablet is the HP Chromebook x2 11. It’s about twice as expensive and offers similar performance but shorter battery life. It also includes its kickstand and keyboard add-ons, and the display is slightly sharper.

If you are looking for a tablet with Windows 11, the Microsoft Surface Go 3 is an option. It will also cost you more money, especially if you add in the detachable keyboard, but you do get a built-in kickstand and a much better typing experience.

Finally, the Apple iPad is a solid alternative. It starts at about the same price, but the keyboard isn’t included. However, you get better performance and more apps, making the iPad a strong competitor.

How long will it stay that way?

The Chromebook Duet 3 is built well enough to last for years, and its components help keep the sleek Chrome OS running efficiently for just as long. And the one-year warranty is more than acceptable at this price.

Should you buy it?

Yes. At $300, the Chromebook Duet 3 is a great secondary computer for power users and a great starter tablet for everyone else.

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