I spent years as a daily ChromeOS user, but I’ve never been sold on Google’s desktop operating system on tablets. Whether on convertible laptops with 360-degree hinges or detachable two-in-ones like the defunct Pixel Slate, I’ve never actually wanted to interact with ChromeOS by touch.
That makes the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 something of a first for me. I still think ChromeOS’s tablet UI is a little clunky, but thanks to the Duet 3’s compact build and pixel-dense display, it’s a pleasure to use in tablet or laptop form. The Duet 3 probably can’t replace your work laptop, but it's an excellent Chromebook for casual use.
Lenovo's Chromebook Duet 3 is a great option if you want a light-use tablet that can double as a small laptop in a pinch. It's not especially powerful, but for a retail price of $369 (and often on sale), it's priced to move.
- Storage: 128GB eMMC
- CPU: Snapdragon 7c (Gen 2)
- Memory: 4GB LPDDR4x-2133
- Operating System: Chrome OS
- Battery: 29Wh
- Ports: Two USB-C 3.1 (Gen 1)
- Camera: 5MP (Front), 8MP (Rear)
- Display (Size, Resolution): 11 inches, 2000x1200 (2K), Touch, 400 nits, Low blue light
- Weight: 2.09 pounds (Total), 1.14 pounds (Tablet)
- GPU: Qualcomm Adreno
- Auto Update Expiration (AUE): June 2030
- Form: 2-in-1 detachable
- Dimension: 10.15 x 6.47 x 0.31 inches
- Network: Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.1
- Speakers: Dual 1W
- Includes a keyboard case at a fair price
- High-res display
- Great size for on-the-go use
- Performance hiccups aren't uncommon
- Detachable keyboard's track pad isn't very good
- Crummy speakers
Price and availability
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 retails for $379 but is often available for less — as low as $299 — from both Lenovo itself and retailer Best Buy.
Design, hardware, and what's in the box
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is an 11-inch tablet with a detachable keyboard case — like the original Chromebook Duet, just a touch larger. Its display, a crisp 1200p LCD panel, is flanked by bezels that seem appropriately thick for a tablet; much thinner, and the Duet would be hard to grip without touching the screen. A slightly smaller display might be nicer for reading, and a larger screen is definitely a help with productivity, but I think a screen size of about 11 inches is the sweet spot for a general use tablet.
Holding the tablet in landscape, the selfie camera is centered in the top bezel (where it ought to be), the power button is on the left edge, and the volume keys are up top. There's a single USB-C port at the bottom of the left and right sides, with a speaker above each to make a stereo pair.
Around the back, the Duet 3 has a cool two-tone look with a rubbery material covering the top third and plain aluminum on the rest. Aside from adding a little visual intrigue to the device, the grippy surface of the top portion also makes the tablet a little easier to hold with one hand in portrait orientation.
At just under 8mm thick, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is just thick enough to feel substantial without looking chunky. It doesn't seem cheap, either, which is not a given with tablets that cost under $400. It'll flex a bit if you wrench on it, but I've never been worried I might break the thing accidentally. With a weight of a little over a pound, it's light enough to hold for long stretches without getting uncomfortable, even one-handed.
The accompanying keyboard case is included in the box, and smartly comes in two parts: a back portion with a kickstand and a detachable keyboard that can fold over the display for storage. I like that the keyboard pops off when you don't need it without taking the back half of the case along for the ride, making it convenient to prop the tablet up for watching video.
There's a cutout in the back half of the case to attach a stylus to the back of the Duet 3, but there isn't one included in the box — it's a separate purchase. There is a little silicone insert to stick in the gap to hold it, which seems strange and wasteful. You'll also get the literature you'd expect, plus a small USB-C charging brick and a cable.
Display and speakers
The Chromebook Duet 3's touchscreen is a 10.95-inch IPS LCD panel at a resolution of 2,000 x 1,200 and a refresh rate of 60Hz. At this size, 1200p is plenty crisp for everything you might want to do on a tablet. The resolution shakes out to a 5:3 aspect ratio, and while I typically like my tablets a little squarer — 4:3 all the way — the proportions here strike a good balance between maximizing usable screen space in landscape orientation and minimizing black bars when watching video.
Viewing angles are excellent, but I wish colors were a touch more saturated; the Duet 3's screen looks dull next to a Samsung tablet or an iPad. Still, this is a very nice display.
On the other hand, the Duet 3's speakers are not very good. There are two of them, and being on opposite sides of the screen, there's good stereo separation, but the sound out of the speakers is hollow and doesn't offer much bass. Kick drums sound more like clicks than thumps.
The speakers are fine for watching YouTube in a pinch, but if you're actively listening to anything on the Duet 3, you're going to want earbuds or an external speaker. There's no headphone jack, either.
Keyboard and trackpad
I really like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3's bundled detachable keyboard. It's close enough to full size that typing on it doesn't feel cramped, and the keys have a surprising amount of travel given how thin the thing is. It snaps onto the bottom of the tablet magnetically, holding on tight enough that I've never accidentally removed it.
The Chromebook Duet 3's tiny trackpad might be my least favorite thing about the hardware.
Using the Duet 3 as a laptop — that is, placing it on your lap to type on it — is an exercise in frustration. The kickstand is wide and sturdy, but the hinge between the keyboard and the screen is floppy. And it's tough to keep the whole unit balanced in a comfortable position. (That's to be expected in two-in-ones like this, though, and I rarely wanted to use the Duet 3 in that way anyway.)
The Chromebook Duet 3's tiny trackpad might be my least favorite thing about the hardware. It's about the size of a credit card and has a mushy, unsatisfying click. Its surface also has too much drag, and trying to click something and hold your finger down to move it across your screen is annoying. If you want to use this Chromebook for any work, you'll want to invest in a mouse.
Software and performance
ChromeOS is a known quantity by now. You won't find the breadth of desktop-class apps available on a Windows or macOS computer, but Google's big-screen OS is mature and easy to use. Depending on your job, it may not be possible to get work done on the Chromebook Duet 3 at all, but given its form factor, that doesn't seem like a use case most buyers will be considering. ChromeOS is capable of most tasks I need to do day-to-day, but the Duet 3's 11-inch display isn't large enough for most productive tasks outside basic typing.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 chipset with 4GB of RAM. Performance in basic tasks like browsing the web or typing in Google Docs is as fine here as anywhere else, and the Duet 3's lovely display makes the experience feel high-quality when things are running smoothly.
Navigating the UI isn't seamless. There are stutters and hitches that I wouldn't expect, like swiping up to return home from a full-screen app in tablet mode or switching between apps. Also, running dozens of Chrome tabs and working in large spreadsheets in Google Sheets can slow things down.
For a slightly more scientific performance snapshot, here are the results of a handful of benchmarks I ran on the Duet 3:
- Speedometer 2.0: 49.4
- Jetstream2: 67.28
- MotionMark 1.2: 229.44
Decent for casual gaming
This kind of power means high-end Android gaming is a dicey proposition, but simpler games work great. For example, my go-to mobile time waster, simple pixel-art shooter Downwell, runs perfectly. Likewise, the more midrange Mario Kart Tour works okay, barring occasional stutters. And Call of Duty: Mobile runs and even maintains an acceptable frame rate most of the time.
But seemingly random visual hitches and audio bugs are frequent. Long story short: the Duet 3 is fine for killing time with casual games, but it's not a good dedicated gaming device by any stretch of the imagination.
How's the battery life?
Lenovo quotes the Chromebook Duet 3's battery as good for up to 12 hours on a charge, but that seems optimistic. You might get close if you're just reading on the thing, but my typical use — split mostly between Chrome browsing, chatting, and light gaming — typically saw me through closer to eight hours. That kind of battery life is fine for casual use, though; if you're poking at the Duet 3 for just an hour or two a day, you'll probably only need to charge it once a week or so.
Competition: What is the Chromebook Duet 3 up against?
As a convertible tablet offered at an MSRP of $370 and regularly available for less, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 occupies an interesting niche in the ChromeOS space. It doesn't have much direct competition.
HP Chromebook X2 11
There's the HP Chromebook X2 11, which offers a similar two-in-one form factor and packs the Snapdragon 7c Gen 1 chipset, the predecessor to the Gen 2 used in the Duet 3. The HP tablet has a nice 3:2 display and includes a stylus in the box. At an MSRP of $570, HP's offering is much pricier than Lenovo's, but if you can find one on sale, it's a fine alternative.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5
Lenovo also makes the Chromebook Duet 5, which is a similar tablet sporting a larger 13-inch OLED display. It's got the same form factor and chipset, but the bigger OLED screen is nicer in every way than the LCD panel in the Duet 3, and the Duet 5's larger body accommodates a larger battery than Duet 3.
The Duet 5 starts at $480 at retail, but it's not unusual to see it for about $400. If you like the Duet 3 but want something a little larger (and nicer to look at), the Duet 5 might be a good upgrade.
Should you buy it?
I don't love ChromeOS on tablets, and I didn't expect to like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 all that much, but I've really enjoyed using it. It's the perfect size for a secondary device and has ample horsepower for web browsing and casual gaming. The bundled kickstand cover and surprisingly decent detachable keyboard also add a lot and make it possible to do some light work on the thing if you need to.
I don't think it's a good dedicated work device, though — the 11-inch screen gets cramped, and multitasking can slow the Duet 3 down pretty quickly. But for $370 (often less, considering frequent sales), you're getting a decent tablet with a nice display that can double as a tiny laptop when needed. That's a tremendous value. If it seems like the Chromebook Duet 3 would fit neatly into your life, you're probably not wrong. Go for it.