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When looking at the price of the Lenovo Chromebook, it may seem too good to be true. A 2 in 1 laptop and one of the best laptops for under $300 seems like it won’t hold a candle to pricier alternatives like our top pick for best 2 in 1 laptops, the Lenovo Yoga C940. While it may not quite match a laptop like that, the Chromebook Duet offers solid build quality and good performance that is great for younger students and casual users.
The Lenovo Chromebook isn’t the greatest laptop or tablet, but, for less than $300, it does quite well at handling the basic needs of casual computer users. Because of its size, this laptop is especially popular for young kids who might need their own computer for school and entertainment.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet doesn’t have many of the specifications that make most laptops great. Lacking here are mainstays of higher-end options, such as an intel core processor or a solid state drive. That being said, not every laptop user needs these components: many reviews cite this as an excellent choice for kids to use for school and entertainment. Those kids can use the Duet in laptop mode for school, and then switch over to table mode and mess around with Android apps from the Google Play store. Speaking of, it’s fantastic to get a laptop experience with the Chrome OS while still having the versatility and portability of a tablet. The screen is bright and colorful, though most reviewers did have issues with screen glare. As for performance, this laptop runs reliably well with a surprising amount of tabs open, but will inevitably lag the more tabs are opened. Overall, this laptop is made with casual users in mind.
Related: If you like this laptop, you might be interested in our Lenovo 300E review.
Battery life is a huge factor in what makes this laptop great, especially for younger users. Lenovo claims that this 2 in 1 can last up to 10 hours on a single charge, and several user reviews claim that it got closer to 13 hours of battery life. This matches and even surpasses more expensive alternatives like the Dell XPS 13 9365. Given the compact size and lightweight, it’s a pleasant surprise that the Lenovo Chromebook Duet does so well in this category. Students can easily switch from the classroom to play without needing to wait for their table to recharge.
Related: Also check out our Lenovo Chromebook C330 review.
One of the major downsides of this Lenovo Chromebook is its lackluster selection of ports: this tablet only has one USB type C port. On the Duet, there is no microSD slot, no audio out jack, and, perhaps most importantly, no dedicated charging port. What this unfortunately means, then, is that you cannot use peripherals like headphones while the tablet is charging unless you use a USB C hub. Fortunately, Lenovo includes at least a USB C to audio jack adapter for headphones, but it would be incredibly nice to have at least one more port on here.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a solidly built 2 in 1 laptop with some potentially major flaws. While the majority of reviewers experienced little to no issue with this laptop’s durability, some did have flaws that severely reduced its useability. The back case (where the kickstand lives) and the keyboard function as a case of sorts, though they do add some unwanted weight and bulk to the overall laptop. Some reviewers found the laptop somewhat unstable when using the kickstand, while others thought the keyboard was rather small. The instability might be a cause for concern if you’re planning on giving this to a younger kid, but the keyboard is a great size for smaller hands.
Value is the initial draw for many to the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, and that’s for good reason. At less than $300, this 2 in 1 is an absolute steal. Though it may not have the latest and greatest technology, this laptop works surprisingly well and quickly if you don’t push it past its limits. As previously mentioned, if you need more than one USB C port, you will need to purchase a separate USB hub. Otherwise, the fact that this laptop comes with a detachable keyboard is wonderful, considering many other 2 in 1s either have the keyboard attached–like the Dell XPS 15 2 in 1–or only sell the keyboard separately.
From a technical standpoint, the Lenovo Chromebook isn’t much to look at: it’s more or less a tablet that runs Chrome OS and thus can be used for tasks typically meant for a full-fledged computer. Its lack of ports will be frustrating for more advanced users, but the relatively fast processing speed, bright and responsive touchscreen, and stellar battery life make this a great choice for younger students and casual users. These groups will be thrilled at the chance to get a laptop that works well and is, in the eyes of many, drastically underpriced.