Over the past two years, a surprising number of people have happily bought the Lenovo Duet Chromebook. The 10.1-inch Chrome OS tablet debuted at $299 with included keyboard attachment and stand. Sure it wasn’t the fastest device by far. But it was highly capable and for not much money. That’s why I dubbed it my 2020 Chromebook of the year. Now there’s a $399 successor: The Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook.
Lenovo announced the new Chrome OS tablet on Monday in tandem with this year’s Mobile World Congress event.
A good mix of old and new for the Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook
There’s a price bump of $100 over the original, which I’ll get into shortly. And there’s an appealing mix between similar features to the 2020 version and more modern updates.
For starters, the Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook gets a subtle screen boost. The original has a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 LCD with a 16:9 aspect ratio. This time around? It has an 11-inch 2K display with a slightly taller 5:3 ratio. You still get touch and stylus support.
Oh and when you fold that keyboard under the Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook, it disables the keys and switches into Chrome OS tablet mode.
Inside, the capable but aging MediaTek processor is replaced with a second-generation fanless Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c.
Yes, that’s aging too, but it’s the same setup as the bigger Lenovo Duet Chromebook 5 I recently reviewed. And for most people, it has enough day-to-day performance. And unlike the original Duet Chromebook tablet, you’re not limited to just 4 GB of memory. There will be options with double that.
With the Snapdragon 7c, you’re still limited to WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1, but that shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. You still get both a 5- and 8-megapixel camera.
Storage is still the slower eMMC type, but I’d expect that for a device in this price range. You’ll get a choice between 64, 128, and 256 GB capacity options. Sorry, there’s still no microSD card slot for expansion. But there is an additional USB Type-C port. This year’s model has one on each side, which I’d take over a microSD slot any day personally.
The Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook is expected to last up to 12 hours on a charge so I’d expect a full work-day out of it.
Well, if you plan to use it full-time for work, that is. It’s definitely possible as I know some readers use their old Duet tablet with an external display and keyboard for this purpose.
All in all, this is a relatively solid upgrade. It offers a performance boost and a slightly larger but still portable package. The tablet itself weighs 1.14 pounds, while the keyboard folio adds another 0.95 pounds. This year, a Storm Grey color is added alongside Misty Blue.
What about that price point?
Now let’s get back to that price. The Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook starts at $399 and will be available in May. The real question is: Is that the base model price?
If so, I think the price is a smidge high. I’d rather see it at $349 with 4 GB of memory and see an 8 GB model at that $399.99 price point in the U.S.
The main reason? If the 8 GB model is priced at $449 or so (that’s just my expectation), it’s awfully close to the $499 Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook price point. And that has a much better OLED display, albeit bigger, and likely typing experience due to the keyboard size.
I’m curious what you all think of this pricing, not to mention the follow-up to one of the most recent popular Chromebook models.
7 thoughts on “Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook is a $399 successor to my 2020 Chromebook of the year”
I think you’re totally on-mark with your price-point recommendation at the end, though in my mind the retail price is always more of a reference, while sales will continually come and go. I picked up the Duet, early on, for $149 and wouldn’t consider this one over $299. However there is one vital piece of info missing in your report… usually missing in most, which always surprises me.
THE KEYBOARD. At 11inches they should have been able to squeeze in a full-sized keyboard, which for an old school “typist” since forever, anything even a smidgen less than full sized trips me up. If not, I wouldn’t buy it at all. I gifted my Duet and got myself the 10e for $99, and love it as tablet only, while still using my acer R11 as a convertible.
No manufacturer is ever, ever going to include anything resembling a “full-sized” keyboard with a 10-inch tablet. Tablets are supposed to be about portability and mobility, and that includes the detachable keyboard that will serve double duty as the tablet cover. That should be obvious.
The Snapdragon 7c was announced 2019, is an 8nm chip and has only 2 performance cores. My position is that a device running it shouldn’t cost more than $199 and even then LTE should be required.
Yes, the 7c is only being used because chip manufacturing capacity issues caused Qualcomm and MediaTek to prioritize TSMC’s manufacturing smartphone chips over laptop ones. Fine but this has been going on over a year. The MT8192 and MT8195 were supposed to be available starting 1Q2021. These OEMs and Google have had plenty of time to pursue alternatives i.e. have the 7c Gen 3 made in Samsung’s foundry or just fast track and approve boards made with smartphone chips like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1/888/870; the Exynos 2200/2100/1200 or MediaTek Dimensity chips. know that they need to either approve smartphone chips or no new ARM Chromebooks are going to be made.
They didn’t do this because they don’t care. Samsung, for example, seems to have ditched the Galaxy Chromebook line altogether. Google hasn’t released a Chromebook since 2018 and isn’t going to release another one until 2023 despite this shortage meaning consumers badly needing options. So why should we consumers care?
Looks like the tablet got heavier: was 450 g, now 517 g (+67 g).
But the keyboard got lighter: was 470 g, now 430 (-40 g).
And, looks like some Webpage designer messed up a MediaTek Chromebook Duet Webpage. It says that the Chromebook Duet *3️⃣* is selling for $239.99. But it’s the old SKU. Walmart and Amazon have similar errors. So, buyer beware.
I paid 229 for my original duet. I bought it purely for the price point after my old android tablet died. Then my laptop died and to my surprise, the duet can easily take its place.
But would I buy the new Duet 3? No. There is not enough of an upgrade to justify almost 2x the price when the original is still sufficient. Maybe if it had a 3rd gen snapdragon, but that 2nd gen isn’t much different than the p60 processor.
I think I’m with other readers and yourself: A tad too expensive for what it is. And apparently we all kept an eye out for deals on the original Duet. I expect we’ll be able to get this or the larger OLED model at a good price later this year, but I don’t really see the need myself.
How do I find the stable chrome 72 or higher for my chrome book ?