Lenovo Supersizes Its Affordable Chromebook Detachable Tablet
Deciding between an Android tablet or one that runs on Google’s Chrome operating system is about to get a bit easier, following Wednesday’s launch of a new $430 Chromebook from Lenovo that’s actually a tablet.
The Chromebook Duet 5 uses the operating system that Google designed for inexpensive always-connected laptops, although it’s more akin to a Microsoft Surface Pro or Apple iPad than a Chromebook. The Duet 5 has a 13-inch touch screen, but it lacks a built-in keyboard like a traditional laptop.
Instead, you can connect the included fabric-covered case and magnetic keyboard cover when you need to spend a significant amount of time typing or using it on your desk. When you’re on the go, just detach the tablet and tap on it as you would a phone or an iPad. The fabric case comes in either Storm Grey or Abyss Blue and also functions as a kickstand to prop the Duet 5 up on your desk.
(Photo: Molly Flores)
The Duet 5 is a souped-up version of last year’s Chromebook Duet, an even cheaper $300 detachable Chrome tablet that picked up a PCMag Editors’ Choice award for its blend of value and flexibility. While the original Duet has a bare-bones MediaTek processor and a slightly more cramped 10-inch screen, the larger Duet 5 boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor, up to 8GB of memory, and as much as 256GB of solid-state storage.
Lenovo describes Chrome OS as “powerfully simple” and ideally suited to tablets since it boots up quickly and doesn’t demand much computing power. The company estimates that the Duet 5 will last for up to 15 hours on a single charge thanks to its 42-watt-hour battery, a generous capacity that’s typically found in larger laptops.
The Duet 5 is less than half the cost of a well-equipped Apple iPad Pro and has a slightly larger screen. It’s cheaper than many flagship Android tablets from Samsung and Lenovo, too. But there are a few features that you’ll miss out on compared to those more premium devices, most notably a high-resolution screen and cellular connectivity. The Duet 5’s full HD screen measures 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, and it’s limited to Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac); no 5G or LTE connectivity here.
Tab P11 Pro May Convince You to Stick to Android
If you’re not sold on migrating to a Chrome OS-powered tablet, you might instead consider Lenovo’s latest flagship big-screen Android device, the Tab P12 Pro. Also launched on Wednesday, the Tab P12 Pro runs the latest Android 11 operating system and features a 12-inch AMOLED screen.
The Tab P12 Pro has the niceties you’d expect from a $600 Android tablet. In addition to a Snapdragon 870 processor, the tablet includes support for the updated Lenovo Precision Pen 3, a digital stylus with ultra-low latency and wireless charging. There’s also HDR10 and Dolby Vision support on the 2,560-by-1,600-pixel screen, and up to 17 hours of battery life.
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Like the Duet 5, the Tab 12 Pro will also come with a detachable keyboard in the box, which lets you use the tablet more like the laptop. And neither will offer 5G or 4G LTE support in the US. With so many similarities between the two, the choice is likely to come down to whether you prefer Android 11 or Chrome OS.
(Photo: Molly Flores)
One exclusive Tab P12 Pro feature that might tip the scales in Android’s favor is Lenovo’s new Project Unity software, which lets you pair the tablet with any Lenovo Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC and extend your desktop to the tablet for additional screen real estate. The concept is similar to Apple’s Sidecar app, which works with iPads and Macs. Lenovo notes that Continuity will let you continue to use the Tab P12 Pro’s Android apps, and even its touch screen, at the same time you’re extending your Windows desktop.
Both the Tab P12 Pro and Chromebook Duet will go on sale in the US next month. They’ll join several other Windows PCs and other devices Lenovo announced at its Tech World conference this week, including new IdeaPad Slim laptops and $100 smart wireless earbuds.
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