Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 vs Duet 3: What's the difference?
These two 2-in-1 tablet Chromebooks are both among the best Chromebooks available today, with just a few key differences.
Larger display and battery
Released in late 2021, the Duet 5 is a 13-inch 2-in-1 Chrome tablet with an attachable keyboard and kickstand, and it's one of the best Chromebooks available for more than just its versatility. Compared to the newer Duet 3, it has an OLED display, larger battery, and better audio.
- More display space for work and streaming
- OLED with wider color gamut
- Quad speakers
- Longer battery life
- More expensive
Lighter 2K tablet
This newer 2-in-1 Chromebook has the same Snapdragon processor, cameras, and charging speed as the Duet 5, with some small upgrades like newer USB-C ports. At 11 inches, it's more suited for tablet mode with a lighter weight, but gives you less screen space for its laptop mode — so it's a matter of personal preference.
- More affordably priced
- 2K resolution
- USB-C 3.2 ports
- USI 2.0 support
- Only stereo speakers
- Shorter battery life
Considering how many Chromebooks are sold out there, it's surprising how few 2-in-1 (or convertible) Chromebooks are available. Many Chromebooks have tablet modes, but they don't have actual detachable keyboards like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 or Duet 3. So we're big fans of the lineup.
Lenovo launched its first 10-inch Chromebook Duet in 2020, followed by the 13-inch Chromebook Duet 5 in 2021, and finally the 11-inch Chromebook Duet 3 in 2022. Aside from the difference in sizes, each Chromebook Duet is very similar to the next — which can make it tricky to decide which is "better."
We've already written how the Duet 3 compares to the original Duet, specifically how it "took the excellent Chromebook Duet 5 and shrunk it down to a 10.9-inch display," making it a great option. But does that mean the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 vs. Duet 3 have no differences aside from their sizing? Not necessarily! Let's compare the two.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 vs Duet 3: What's similar?
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The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 and Chromebook Duet 3 are very obviously sibling devices, both in their design and their specifications. Each device has an aluminum chassis, detachable keyboard and kickstand, touchscreen, stereo speakers along the sides, and two USB-C ports, one on each side.
Both use the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 CPU with an integrated Adreno graphics card, though some Duet 5 models list their chip as the SC7180 Processor. But both have eight Kryo 468 cores that clock up to 2.55 GHz, so it's pretty clear there's no difference despite the name discrepancy.
In terms of memory, both models default to 4GB of RAM but have an 8GB option if you're willing to pay more. Similarly, both devices start at 64GB of storage but have a 128GB upgrade — though apparently only the Duet 5 has a 256GB option. Both Chromebooks use eMMC storage rather than SSD, which makes them more affordable but also slows down performance a bit.
The two Duet's displays are actually fairly different, but before we touch on that, they do both hit 400 nits of brightness and a 60Hz refresh rate.
Both the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 and Duet 3 share the same video cameras with 8MP auto focus and 5MP fixed focus. And they even have the same Auto Update Expiration date of June 2029. You can see the full comparison of specs between the two below.
|Category||Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5||Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3|
|CPU/ GPU||Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 Compute Platform; Adreno Graphics||Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 Compute Platform; Adreno Graphics|
|Memory||4-8 GB LPDDR4X-2133MHz||4-8 GB LPDDR4X-2133MHz|
|Storage||64GB-256GB eMMC||128GB eMMC|
|Display||13.3-inch OLED touchscreen;1920x1080px; 400 nits||10.95-inch IPS touchscreen; 2000x1200px; 400 nits|
|Cameras||5MP Fixed Focus; 8MP Auto Focus||5MP Fixed Focus; 8MP Auto Focus|
|Battery||Up to 15 hours, 45W charging||Up to 12 hours, 45W charging|
|Audio||Quad speakers||Stereo speakers|
|Connectivity||WiFi 5 802.11AC (2 x 2), Bluetooth 5.1||WiFi 5 802.11AC (2 x 2), Bluetooth 5.1|
|Ports||2x USB-C 3.0||2x USB-C 3.2|
|Accessories||Pre-bundled keyboard and kickstand; optional stylus||Pre-bundled keyboard and kickstand; optional stylus|
|AUE date||June 2029||Jun 2029|
|Weight||700g / 1.5lb||516g / 1.14lbs|
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 vs Duet 3: What's different?
The most obvious difference between the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 and Duet 3 is their size and weight. The Duet 5 has a 13.3-inch display and weighs 1.5 pounds, while the Duet 3 is 10.95 inches and weighs 0.36 pounds less.
The displays themselves also have some noticeable differences. The Duet 5 has an OLED display with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio that hits 100% DCI-P3. The Duet 3 uses an IPS LCD display with a 5:3 ratio and 70.8% NTSC. In other words, it doesn't have the same color richness and its proportions don't match up to videos quite as exactly as the Duet 5 does.
On the other hand, with a 2000x1200 resolution, the Duet 3 has slightly more pixels per inch than the FHD Duet 5 does.
The Duet 5's biggest strength is its audio since it has quad speakers instead of dual speakers. Our reviewer praised the "bright and clear" speakers that sound "magnitudes better" than the dual speakers on the original Duet. For contrast, our Duet 3 reviewer panned its stereo speakers, calling them "just not great" and recommending you buy some USB-C headphones instead.
With the Duet 5, you also get the promise of longer battery life despite the larger display. It has a 42Wh battery and an estimated 15-hour battery life, while the Duet 3 has a 29Wh battery and 12-hour estimate. In practice, both of our reviewers found that the Duets could easily last a full day of work use and have plenty of battery remaining for streaming. The Duet 5 just gives you a little extra juice.
Because the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is the newer device, it does have a couple of upgrades. It uses USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 ports instead of 3.0, which delivers data more than twice as fast. And while the Duet 5 uses USI 1.0, the Duet 3 uses USI 2.0 and works with the newer Lenovo Digital Pen 2.
When the Duet 3 first launched, no USI 2.0 pens existed, which was a problem if you wanted a stylus for productivity. But that problem is pretty much solved now, so you can pick either Duet for such a purpose. 2.0 gives you new upgrades like "seamless tilt functionality" and an "in-cell display" that's more similar to what tablets and phones use, according to Chrome Unboxed.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 vs Duet 3: Which should you buy?
Both the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 and Duet 5 are currently listed on our best Chromebooks guide as of publication. We really like both of these devices, which makes sense because they're so similar in quality.
We called the Duet 3 a "joy to use" because of its "vibrant and crisp display," but the Duet 5 is just as bright and has a wider color range, even if it loses a few pixels per inch. It also gives you more screen space to play with, but that's in exchange for a heavier device. The Duet 3 is more likely to be something you comfortably hold, while the Duet 5 will be one that you use the kickstand on a bedside table more often instead.
The last main difference between these two comes down to availability. Because the Duet 5 is older, it's harder to find specific models of it like the 8GB version, whereas the Duet 3 is easy to find in both 4GB and 8GB forms. If you want a Chrome tablet with 8GB now and the Duet 5 isn't available, then the Duet 3 is similar enough that it's hard to turn down.
Neither of these devices is especially powerful; you're definitely accepting a budget-to-mid-range experience depending on how much RAM you buy. They're both tablets you can use comfortably in the office, in class, on a desk, or lounging in bed. The only question is whether you want to prioritize the Duet 3's portability or the Duet 5's display size.
Choose the Duet 5 if you want as much screen space as possible and want to prioritize batter life over a comfortable weight. Don't choose the Duet 5 if portability is your priority.
Choose the Duet 3 if you want a tablet first and a laptop second, since its display is somewhat petite but it makes it well-suited for casual streaming. Don't choose it if you want powerful speakers or the longest possible battery life.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.