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  • Writer's pictureAdam Doud

Lenovo Ideapad Duet Chromebook first impressions: This thing is legit

Over the weekend, I got the Lenovo Duet in our labs for testing. Our full review is coming in a few weeks, but I was so excited about this tablet that I wanted to write up a few observations I've made in the first 48 hours. First, let's talk about the device itself.

The Lenovo Ideapad Duet Chromebook (known colloquially as "the Duet") is a low-cost chromebook tablet. The device ships with a magetic back cover with kickstand and keyboard attachment, making this a full Chromebook experience. But, when you just want a tablet, you can disconnect the keyboard and go. The device is powered by a MediaTek Helio P60T chipset, with 4GB of RAM. Our review device has 128GB of on board storage, no memory card expansion slot, and no headphone jack.

Right off the bat, the fact that this device ships with a keyboard (that includes a trackpad) is awesome! The keyboard is not backlit, unfortauntely, but the fact that it is there puts it miles ahead of any other tablet on the market. The keyboard cover is comfortable to type on with good pitch and travel in the keys. The keyboard also attaches magentically to the bottom of the taplet with pins, rather than Bluetooth allowing for instant connectivity.

When closed, the keyboard cover peeks out a little bit from the bottom and top of the tablet - bit of a design flaw there, but not a deal breaker. The trackpad is laughably small, but considering the device has a touchscreen, I don't use the trackpad all that much.

On the back, there's a magnetically attached rear cover with Microsoft-Surface style hinge that opens to over 135 degrees, allowing you to stand up the Duet at virtually any angle. The magnets are very strong; I don't see the backplate popping off at any point, but honestly, I'd rather Lenovo just build that into the back cover itself and not ship a separate accessory. It's a nice feeling cover - own it, Lenovo!

On the power side, if I'm being totally honest, I haven't had much luck with Mediatek silicon, but the Helio P60T seems to have some really solid horespower - running games like Clash Royale and even Call of Duty mobile without freaking out. I really didn't expect much. I only loaded it to try it out and laugh when it failed, but I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly Call of Duty ran (albeit with graphics set to medium). On the down side, the tablet is surprisingly slow to wake. I can play intersive games, but entering my password when coming awake stutters. Just plain weird.

Overall though, I really like what I'm seeing here. This is a legit tablet contenter. It's not just an Android tablet contender or a Chromebook contender, but Apple should pay attention here too. Like I said - legit. I'll need more time to come to any final conclusions, but so far, out of the gate, the Lenovo Duet is absolutely killing it.

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