Enjoy Lenovo Duet 3 cheap budget computers. I prefer nice, affordable computers, but it can be challenging to locate ones. The features, design, and performance of a laptop generally degrade by $100 for every $100 removed from its price. But when I discover one that surpasses Black Friday doorbuster level, it’s cause for celebration.
Check out the Lenovo Duet Chromebook if you need a cheap laptop that looks respectable, has a serviceable keyboard, is portable and flexible enough to use as a tablet for streaming videos. Even if the touchpad isn’t excellent and it’s not very fast, it’s still one of the finest PCs you can get for about $400. Just keep in mind that it works better as a supplementary or travel laptop than a primary computer, which is true of nearly all 11-inch laptops.
This 11-inch ChromeOS tablet comes with a keyboard cover and a kickstand and is available for $379 right now. This implies that it may function as a clamshell-style notebook or as a standalone touchscreen tablet. In that regard, it resembles a less expensive Microsoft Surface 2-in-1. The device now available in stores has 128GB of eMMC storage, which is better than the one used for this test, which has 64GB.
Microsoft already produces a cheap Surface; the most recent model is known as the Surface Go 3. It costs $400 and uses an Intel CPU rather than the Snapdragon 7c used here. It also runs Windows rather than ChromeOS. The Lenovo Duet comes with a really decent keyboard cover already installed, but Microsoft requires you to purchase their keyboard cover for an additional $100 to $129, depending on the colour. For me, this is the most significant practical difference. A 25% price premium to purchase the keyboard (which is a need) while shopping at this end of the budget range makes a significant impact.
The Duet is less competent than a Windows device in certain ways since it is a Chromebook, but since most recent Chromebooks can run Android apps, the situations in which this would actually matter to you are getting fewer and fewer. In addition, due to ChromeOS’s lightweight OS, a machine operating under $500 will typically seem faster and more responsive than a Windows PC of a comparable price.
Kickstand and a keyboard
The Lenovo Duet shares my opinion that the Surface line’s keyboard cover design and build quality are its greatest features. Similar to other clip-on keyboards, the Lenovo keyboard is sturdy, not fragile, and its relatively tiny keys have good depth and a pleasing clacking feel. The system’s most irritating feature is its little touchpad, which is workable but doesn’t seem as precise or snappy as I’d want.
A simple ChromeOS trackpad tip is provided below. Make sure tap-to-click and tap dragging are both enabled in the system settings, found at Settings > Device > Touchpad, if you want to have more of a Windows-like experience.
I could manage with this keyboard cover if I sometimes had to type long forms. But it wasn’t enjoyable while doing real editing, which involves circling a page with the touchpad. But to be honest, expecting so much from a cheap smartphone is unreasonable.
The kickstand here is a separate rear cover piece that magnetically clamps onto the back of the machine and matches the design of the keyboard cover, unlike the great built-in kickstand on the Surface line. You can remove it for a truly bare-bones aesthetic, but I’m not sure why you’d want to.
A Fantastic Showing
With a 2,000×1,200 resolution and an 11-inch (actually 10.9-inch) screen, the display is another great element. If you need something bigger, Lenovo also produces a larger 13-inch Duet with an even sharper OLED display that frequently goes on sale for about $500. With a maximum brightness of 400 nits, the IPS touchscreen in this instance was more than adequate for video streaming and work.
This is perfect for carrying one-handed in landscape mode for lengthy reading sessions because it’s so lightweight and compact, weighing less than 1.2 pounds with only the screen (or slightly over 2 pounds with the keyboard and rear cover).
Battery Life and Performance
Even among more current Chromebooks, this isn’t very quick in terms of performance. When I hit a dozen or more open tabs in the Chrome browser, I could clearly feel it. It placed in the centre of the pack in benchmark testing.
However, since the Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU in this device is comparable to those in some phones, running Android apps should be no problem. I played a few current Android games with respectable graphics from the Google Play store, such as Diablo Immortal. The free-to-play action role-playing game ran smoothly but was limited to lesser in-game visual options, such as a 30fps frame rate as opposed to a 60fps frame rate.
I also experimented with Xbox Cloud Gaming. I used the Chrome browser to play that. Cloud gaming will only get more popular as it becomes a highly gratifying alternative to downloadable games if you have a strong internet connection. In this instance, I was unable to get the Xbox cloud gaming programme to identify my Bluetooth controller, so I hardwired my controller using USB-C.
Chromebooks still occasionally have compatibility problems. While the majority of the applications and cloud services here functioned as expected, I was unable to run Adobe’s beta cloud version of Photoshop and instead received a notice about an incompatible browser.
Overall, I enjoy the Duet, but there are a few additional issues that can turn you off. A stylus is not included, but the keyboard cover is. Any USI pen will work, and if you want to get the $35 official Lenovo version, there is a rubber holder that slips into the rear cover.
It can be constrained to just have two USB-C ports for charging, but that’s still the same as a MacBook Air. Most importantly, there is no headphone or audio jack.
The Lenovo Duet 3 is a wonderful second or travel laptop if those problems aren’t serious. It would be difficult for me to use it as an all-day, every day gadget, but if I only had $400 to spend on a laptop, it would also be difficult for me to come up with a better overall choice.
specifications for the system
|Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3||ChromeOS; 2.55GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2; 4GB RAM; 64GB eMMC SSD|
|Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5||ChromeOS; 3GHz Intel Core i3-1115G4; 8GB RAM;128GB PCIe SSD|
|HP Chromebook x2 11||ChromeOS; 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c; 8GB RAM; 64GB eMMC|
|Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3||ChromeOS; 2GHz MediaTek 8183; 4GB RAM; 128GB eMMC SSD|
|Acer Chromebook 714||ChromeOS; 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-1235U; 8GB RAM; 256GB SSD|
How are computers tested?
Two steps make up the review process for laptops, desktops, tablets, and other computer-like devices: performance testing under controlled settings in the TECHJAZZUP Labs, and comprehensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This entails assessing the functionality, ergonomics, and aesthetics of a gadget. These two types of evaluations—objective and subjective—are combined to provide a final review judgement.
As the devices we evaluate advance over time, so does the array of benchmarking programmes we employ. Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10, and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra are the most significant core tests we are presently doing on every supported machine. Browser-based tests like Jetstream and Google Octane are done on ChromeOS computers.
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