Review: six months or so with a Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Is it a worthy replacement for an Apple iPad? Here’s why it is — and why it isn’t.

The hardware

The build quality of the device is great, kind of. It looks nice, and the tablet itself feels sturdy and decent. The keyboard is less so. My device had a very spongy 1 key, which simply didn’t register half the time I pressed it. This wasn’t a good start. I considered taking it back, but then something went crunch inside the 1 key when I pressed it, and everything works now. The touchpad is a bit sprightly, but I’ve managed to calm it down in the settings.

The software

ChromeOS is very capable these days, and I’m continually impressed at the speed of development, with a new release every few weeks (in the stable channel) and every few days if you want to live dangerously (in the beta channel). In laptop mode, it acts just like a normal Chromebook — a great experience.

The pen

I bought a pen for it. The pen is quite decent. It seems to work kind of well. The on-screen keyboard also has a handwriting mode which is quite fun, and it kind of works most of the time. It's a decent gimmick, and the pen itself was quite cheap too. Here's a quick demo of the pen if you're interested in how laggy it is. It doesn't seem to be.

So in conclusion

You’ll probably be able to get this device pretty cheap: some are reporting less than US$249. It’s a steal for that price: a great and flexible machine, running a great OS. For a developer, someone who’s spends most of their time on the web, or someone who’s not to keen to be part of Apple’s ecosystem, it’s a great device.

Editor of, the daily podcast newsletter. Radio futurologist: a writer, speaker and consultant.

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