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Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook vs. Lenovo Chromebook Duet: Should you upgrade?

Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook
Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5

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Lenovo took time and learned from the original Duet what worked and what didn't, allowing the Duet 5 to feel like a much more complete and polished product. Powered by the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, this 13.3-inch Chrome tablet seems odd on the spec sheet but great in hand.

Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook

Bigger and better

Much larger screen
Keyboard isn't cramped
8GB RAM option
Two USB-C ports
Twice the price
Almost too big at times

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Lenovo Chromebook Duet with keyboard and kickstand

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This little tablet began a new era for Chrome tablets, and even 18 months after its launch, the Duet remains one of the best values in Chromebooks. Perfect for weekends on the couch or weekend getaways, this detachable is also a solid backup device should someone in the family break their laptop.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Value-minded

Bright touchscreen
Long-lasting battery
Frequent sales
Supported until June 2028
Keyboard can feel cramped
Keyboard doesn't magnetize to screen when closed
Only 4GB RAM

While the Duet 5 is a much larger version of the original Lenovo Chromebook Duet, I will say upfront that no, you don't need to upgrade if you already own a Duet. If you're without either one, the question of which one to buy is a little more complicated, and we'll get fully into it, but for Duet owners who were maybe thinking of upgrading, the Duet 5 is not that much more powerful. It's just significantly larger — both a blessing and a curse — and it fixes the few complaints we had last year. The Duets are two of the best Chromebooks on the market, but they fill very different niches and price points.

The Duet 5 fixes all the Lenovo Duet's mistakes, for a price

At 13.3-inches, the Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook feels much more like a laptop than a tablet, helping solidify it as a true productivity device and not just a content consumer like the original Duet. However, with the 10.1-inch screen, the Lenovo Duet feels a little cramped not just when you're typing on that keyboard but when you look at Gmail, Twitter, or any other website in Chrome.

The Lenovo Duet was a promise of potential, and the Duet 5 delivered on it.

Don't get me wrong; you can check email and write and be productive on the Duet, but it was made more as an "I'm great for reading e-books and watching Disney+, but you can use me to do light work when you need to" kind of Chrome tablet. By contrast, you can easily spread out your work on the Duet 5's screen, and the keyboard is full-size, so it's much easier to type at speed without having to adjust to the cramped layout and correct typos from missed keys.

The Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 compute platform powering the Duet 5 may not be significantly more powerful than the Mediatek Helio P60T inside the original Duet. However, when combined with the 8GB of RAM in the higher-storage configurations, the Duet 5 handles my regular workload just fine. With 4-10 tabs open at a time, popping back to an Android app or two when I get bored, the Duet 5 handles just fine so long as I don't get too manic with my tab-hopping.

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

No, it's not as powerful as an Intel Core processor, but the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 has efficiency and longevity. While battery claims on a spec sheet or product listing are usually something you can't take seriously, the Duet 5 can quite literally go from when you wake up in the morning until you go to bed that night. I have gotten 12, even 14 hours of screen on time on a single charge while working and playing my Solitaire, a feat I only accomplished on the Lenovo Duet when I was e-reading in my resplendently dim abode.

CategoryLenovo Duet 5 ChromebookLenovo Chromebook Duet
Display13.3-inch touchscreen
1920x1080px
400 nits • OLED
10.1-inch touchscreen
1920x1200px
400 nits
ProcessorSnapdragon 7c Gen 2 Compute PlatformMediatek Helio P60T
Memory4-8GB LPDDR4x4GB LPDDR4x
StorageUp to 256GB "SSD supported"64-128GB eMMc
Ports2x USB-C (USB 3.0)
Pogo pin
1x USB-C (USB 2.0 + DP)
Pogo pin
Peripheral featuresPre-bundled with keyboard and kickstand
Optional Stylus
Pre-bundled with keyboard and kickstand
Optional Stylus
Audio4 speakersDual speakers
Battery42Whr
Up to 15 hours

Rapid Charge
7000mAh
10 hours
PriceFrom $400From $199

Both of these touchscreens reach 400 nits of brightness (though not if you want to reach 12 hours screen time) with 1080p resolution and USI stylus support, making either Duet an excellent option for a Chrome OS drawing tablet, especially since more apps with Chromebook support are gaining support for the multi-level pressure of a proper stylus. Of course, videos will look fine on either model, but the Duet 5 beefed up the speaker situation immensely, doubling from two to four speaks that get much louder, so you don't have to dig out some headphones as you watch.

Another upgrade for Duet 5 owners is that we have two USB-C ports again — the standard on most Chromebooks — as opposed to just the one port on the original model, and it supports fast charging speeds. That extra USB-C port comes in handy because, once again, we have no headphone jack. Given the prevalence of great wireless earbuds that will let you rock out even when the rest of the household is sleeping or trying to work.

Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

A Lenovo Duet 5 is an upgrade in almost every way imaginable and an all-around excellent choice for a secondary or even primary Chromebook. The detachable form factor might not be everyone's cup of tea when using it in your lap, but using it either as a laptop or a tablet offers a near-seamless experience.

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.