What you need to know
- Lenovo brought two new Chromebooks to CES that will be going on sale this summer.
- The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is a Chromebook tablet that comes pre-bundled with a keyboard cover, has stylus support for an optional Lenovo Pen, and eight years of Chrome OS updates ahead of it.
- The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook is a more powerful 2-in-1 with stylus support, a water-resistant keyboard, and the option of a 128GB SSD.
CES is off and running a day ahead of the show's official kickoff, and Lenovo brought oodles and oodles of goodies to play with, including not one but two new Chromebooks that excite me in different ways. We have a Chromebook tablet that is reasonably priced and in it for the long haul, and we have another Lenovo 2-in-1 that's ready for school, work, or play without completely blowing your budget.
Let's start off with the more normal of the two, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook (seriously, Lenovo, could you make that name any longer?) which is a spiffy-looking 13.3-inch 2-in-1 with up to an i5 processor, a water-resistant backlit keyboard, and a starting price of $360, which is a breath of sanity after the $999 Galaxy Chromebook and ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 we saw this morning.
The option for a 128GB SSD is another refreshing change, though the base storage option being 32GB is a bit stingy. I was also hoping to see an 8GB RAM option, but 4GB should be enough for most people. Support for styluses is nice to see here, as is a decently-powered Project Athena Chromebook that's under $500. The Flex 5 still hangs on to a USB-A port, something the Galaxy Chromebook and C436 did not.
|Category||Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook||Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook|
|Processor||Mediatek Helio P60T||Up to 10th Gen Intel Core i5|
|Memory||4GB LPDDR4x||4GB DDR4|
|Storage||up to 128GB eMMc||32-64GB eMMC|
or 128GB SSD
|Expandable Storage||microSD card||microSD card|
|Ports||1x USB-C (USB 2.0 + DP)||2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C|
1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A
3.5mm Audio jack
|Peripheral features||Fingerprint reader|
Pre-bundled with keyboard cover
|Water-resistant backlit keyboard|
|Audio||Dual speakers||2 x 2W stereo speakers|
|Battery||7180mAh||Up to 10 hours|
|Dimensions||239.8 x 159.8 x 7.35mm|
9.44" x 6.29" x 0.29"
|310 x 214 x 17mm|
12.2" x 8.4" x 0.67"
|Weight||430g / 0.94lb (tablet only)||1.35kg / 2.97lbs|
|Support life||up to 8 years||TBA|
|Availability||May 2020||June 2020|
Then we have the more unique and affordable Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook, a Chromebook tablet that comes pre-bundled with a detachable keyboard and kickstand case. Powered by MediaTek, this 10.1-inch tablet might not have as big or beefy a spec sheet or battery, but what it does have USI stylus compatibility and eight years of Chrome OS updates ahead of it.
That's right, eight years, meaning the Duet should be updated until 2028 — probably June 2028, most platform AUE dates have been June in the last few generations — which makes the lack of an 8GB version and the lack of a second USB-C port extra disappointing. You only have one port for all your peripherals and when it breaks, you're done.
For $280, I'm betting more folks are willing to take a chance on the Duet, especially if they've been looking for a Chrome OS alternative to the iPad that doesn't look boring and ugly as sin in a rubberized, ruggedized shell. The fabric kickstand cover and POGO-pin keyboard look quite fetching, and I'm fairly confident they'll stand up well to being jostled around a backpack or large purse between the apartment and a classroom or coffee shop.
The Duet goes on sale in May with a starting price of $279.99, while the Flex 5 will be debuting towards the end of June for $359.99.
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.
I've waiting for new ARM-based Chromebook for what feels like forever. Sure, Lenovo released some last year, but they were using an ancient MediaTek chipset. It's actually fine for really basic stuff, but A72 core are literally five years old, so the idea that anyone would be launching new products with chips that old is just bizarre. This is the first time we're seeing something newer and... ugh, it's still super old. The Helio P60 is a 2-year old chip based on the 4-year old A73 cores. The P60 is a solid upgrade over the older 8176 -- 20% better performce, 12nm vs 28nm should improve battery life a bit -- but c'mon, they could have at least used the A75-based Helio P65. That all being said, at least it has a decent screen resolution. All the other sub-12" Chromebooks have been stuck with terrible low-res screens. The 2-in-1 form factor, the fingerprint reader, the decent screen, and the minimally acceptable ARM CPU make this the first Chrome OS tablet that might actually be usable.
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