Esto también se puede leer en español.

Leer en español

Don't show this again

2021 Ford Bronco leak iOS 14 public beta The Batman HBO Max spinoff Skype vs. Zoom Ready Player One sequel Meet the new Batwoman
CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Lenovo's IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is the little $279 2-in-1 I've been waiting for

The tiny Chrome OS detachable two-in-one is a sweet ultraportable work and play companion.

lenovo-duet-0090
Joshua Goldman/CNET

With Android apps available on Chromebooks, models that are a lightweight tablet with a detachable keyboard like Lenovo's IdeaPad Duet Chromebook make more sense. Google recently stepped up the Chrome OS's support for tablets, too, adding new touch gestures and a tablet mode for the Chrome browser making this slim, small two-in-one feel like a hybrid of the desktop side of Chrome and tablet side of Android more than past models.

If you're familiar with other small two-in-ones like the Duet you might think this is essentially a Chrome version of the first Microsoft Surface Go, and you're not wrong. Like the Go, the Duet is a 10-inch tablet with a detachable keyboard and touchpad. Unlike Microsoft, though, Lenovo includes the keyboard. It also costs much less than the Go (including the new Go 2), starting at $279 for a 64GB version or $299 for one with 128GB of storage. It's essentially a smaller, albeit less powerful, Pixel Slate that makes more sense for more people with a price more in line with what people expect a Chromebook to cost.    

Now playing: Watch this: Lenovo's IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 2-in-1 is a little workhorse...
7:57

Read more: Laptop vs. Chromebook: Which portable computer is best in 2020  

The Duet is built around a 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, so you have a bit more height for work. It's a nice display with a 400-nit brightness, which helps with the reflections off the glossy screen. The keyboard connects with pogo pins and magnetically attaches with a solid satisfying snap. The display supports USI pens, too, but that's a separate purchase. 

The keyboard feels reasonably good for a tablet cover, but Lenovo cut down the size of keys on the right side. I found the apostrophe key particularly frustrating: I simply couldn't seem to hit it, and instead repeatedly hit the Enter key. With regular use, I might be able to overcome it, but I've so far spent a lot of time correcting my typing mistakes. The keyboard isn't backlit, which isn't uncommon for cheaper Chromebooks. The small clickpad is good, however, if you tend to drag your palms while typing. You can likely look forward to some cursor jumpiness and accidental text selection. 

lenovo-duet-0082

Tiny keyboards aren't easy, but Lenovo's is good. 

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The back cover is a separate piece from the cover that also just snaps on. Half of the cover is a hinged stand that gives you quite a lot of range for positioning. It's a tight hinge, too, so you don't have to worry about it sliding out of position. Also, since the magnetic keyboard connection is strong and the kickstand is just wide enough, you can use this on your lap. Combined with its fast startup and instant wireless tethering with a paired phone or hotspot, you can quickly start working just about anywhere.  

If you're working at home or the office, you can take advantage of the USB-C port and get a dock to connect an external display, keyboard and mouse. Using this Anker dock, I worked side-by-side with a display (it outputs up to 1080p) as an extended desktop. This gives you a small screen to use as a communications device if you want to keep Slack or email or Messages open. Or you can use the Duet as a media player while you're working on your larger main display.

lenovo-duet-gameplay-1-moment

The Duet is a nice little gaming tablet. 

Joshua Goldman/CNET

Inside is a Mediatek octo-core Helio P60T processor, 4GB of memory and either 64 or 128GB of eMMC flash storage. With no card slot for expansion and only $20 separating the two, you should probably go with the 128GB version if you can. I was a little concerned about having only 4GB of memory in this thing. Using the Cog system viewer app, the Duet seemed to be using most of its memory most of the time. That said, performance would only get laggy for a few seconds here and there, both on its own and when connected to an external display. It would snap back and otherwise perform well, even while gaming.  

Since you have access to the Google Play store, I stuck to Android games for testing, but the Duet could be paired with Google's Stadia controller and service. With its removable keyboard and kickstand, the Duet is easy to set up for gaming with a Bluetooth controller. Plus, since it only weighs about a pound (450 grams), it's light and small enough to play handheld games, too. 

Battery life seems to be in the ballpark of what Lenovo is promising, which is up to 10 hours. I haven't done any formal testing yet, but based on my usage I could see it easily getting to 8 hours, but it's all going to depend on your screen brightness and whatever it is you're doing. 

lenovo-duet-0072

Just one port: USB-C.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

Along with the USB-C port on the right, you've got a volume rocker and power button. Moving to the top you'll find far-field mics and stereo speakers. There are 2-megapixel front-facing and 8-megapixel rear cameras. Webcam and mic performance is nothing special, but certainly good enough for team video chats. The mics can also be used for Google Assistant for doing important things like setting reminders, opening Gmail, playing music, answering all your questions and finding cat videos on YouTube. The speakers are not great. They're OK for casual use, but anything more and you'll want Bluetooth headphones or speakers. 

I've only started using it, but this gives you a rough idea of the Duet's features and some of what this two in one can do right now in case you want to buy one this week. Chrome keeps growing in features and this two-in-one will continue to get updates every six weeks for the next eight years. As your main device, its performance and size may be a little limiting. But if you're looking for something for pure mobility or as a secondary device, so far this seems to be a smart choice. I can certainly see why Chrome users are excited about it, especially at $300.