Today, we have a pretty special unboxing to do with the brand-new Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5. This device was made official back in September, but just arrived in retail locations in mid-October. Lenovo was nice enough to send one over and, as we do around here, we opened it up all on camera. There are times when we have to open a box pre-video to check on a few things before committing to making a video, but this wasn’t’ one of those times. Instead, this unboxing is completely un-prepped and unfiltered.
Inside the thoughtful packaging (similar to what we got in the original Duet) are all the usual suspects we expect for a detachable: the tablet itself, a back plate, a keyboard cover, and a charger. There’s nothing really out of the ordinary, here, but the unboxing experience was far better than most Chromebooks. I know in the end that doesn’t change anything, but there’s something about the experience of unboxing a well-thought-out package that enhances the first impression.
The 30W charger looks like something you’d get with a phone, and that’s a good thing. It means you get a charging block and a detached USB Type C cable that can double for data transfers, too. Along with that charger, Lenovo also includes the thinnest back plate I’ve ever seen on a detachable along with a thin, light keyboard. All together, the tablet and all it’s additions weighs in at about 2.5 pounds and, when compared to the much-smaller original Duet (2.1 pounds), this thing comes off as very thin and very light.
The keyboard feels pretty good, but we’ll have to test out how it performs in a lap for the review. On a desk, the keys feel clicky with good travel, but the trackpad is plastic and a bit on the cheap side. We’ve reached out to Lenovo and they are sending us another unit to be sure the trackpad we have in our possession isn’t simply faulty.
There are also great magnets all around this device that get the keyboard and back plate perfectly positioned every time. I was honestly shocked how strong the magnets are in the extremely-thin kickstand portion. Additionally, there are magnets holding the tablet shut (a big omission with the original Duet, HP x2 11, and the Pixel Slate) and keeping the kickstand closed when not in use. Just handling this Chromebook feels thoughtful and well-done all around.
One odd note: there’s a space on the back of the kickstand portion clearly meant to hold the pen. First, there’s no pen in the box and second, we’re not exactly sure how you get the holder that is made to fit in that slot. Lenovo sells a USI pen, but it is unclear on whether or not it comes with the pen holder that seems specific to this device. We’ve reached out to Lenovo for clarification and will update when we learn more on that front.
Now, on to the tablet itself
Around the top and sides of the tablet, there are four total speakers, volume rocker, power button, and a USB Type C on each end. Yes, I’d like to see a headphone/mic jack, but with a device this thin (just 6.8mm), I suppose it gets a pass. There’s a 5MP front-facing camera and an 8MP shooter around back, but we’ll need to test those for the review. I don’t expect much, to be honest. In this day and age, as long as the front-facing camera is solid for video chats, that’s about all you need.
The tablet itselft is insanely thin, solid, firm, and gorgeous. There’s Lenovo’s signature two-tone back and the deep blue colors just look amazing. Turn it on and you’re met with a Samsung OLED at 1080p and 13.3-inches in measure. It’s 16:9 and a tad wide for a tablet, but the colors, brightness, and viewing angles make me not care even one bit about all that. Content looks awesome on this display and the fact that you can get a legit OLED Chromebook for $499 is kind of crazy.
And though I’ve only used it for a very short time, I can definitely say the performance is better with the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 versus the Gen 1 we’ve tried in other devices. It’s likely due to a combo of the standard 1080p resolution and the Gen 2’s higher clock speeds, but this Chromebook feels far faster than the Acer Spin 513 and HP x2 11 that house the Gen 1 version of Qualcomm’s Chromebook silicon. We’ll obviously be testing some things on that front to make sure this is actually the case.
Finally, we listened to the speakers and while I like the sound, I was hoping for a bit more out of them. Put next to the Pixelbook Go or Pixel Slate, they just don’t have the fullness of those devices. That’s not to say they are bad. Actually, they are better than the vast majority of Chromebooks out there, but with a quad speaker setup, I was hoping for stellar audio. Instead, we’re settling for above-average, and it’s good enough not to be a detractor.
This Chromebook is an odd one, for sure, but one I think Lenovo likely spent some time to thoughtfully develop. It feels great. It looks amazing on a desk (just look at that featured image up there). It seems like it will have decent performance and likely stellar battery life. It has a drool-worthy screen and solid sound. Though I would’ve thought a 13.3-inch, 16:9 tablet would be goofy and impractical, it turns out this may be a fantastic combo after all. We’ll test and get back to you for sure, but first impressions are very strong with this one.