These days, I’ve been struggling to find a solid sub-$400 laptop to recommend to price-constrained shoppers that I actually find, well, usable. So I’ve been pinning a lot of my hope on Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3, a tiny 11-inch Chromebook with a detachable keyboard and a foldable kickstand.
The model I have, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, is $369 (the next most expensive option is $379 at Best Buy, with 128GB of storage — I’d probably go for that one for $10 extra). But sometimes, devices that look like great deals on paper turn out to suck when you actually turn them on.
So I used the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 for a full day, morning to night. While not quite up to a full remote workload, it was a perfect device for leisure and entertainment. And while it’s not quite as high-tech as the larger OLED-equipped Duet 5, I think it’ll be a more practical buy for the student and casual-user category. I’d rather be on this than a cheap Windows laptop any day.
I first used the Duet 3 at my desk in The Verge’s Manhattan office. I had to write a quick news story, which involved a lot of fast typing, quick scrolling, and hopping back and forth between a whole bunch of Chrome tabs and documents with Slack and Spotify running over top.
But this keyboard cannot cramped in the least. The keys had great travel and a comfortable texture. The size of the Backspace and Shift keys made me nervous when I saw them, but I hit them every time I needed to. Lenovo really nailed the keyboard on this one, and I may actually miss typing on it.
The Duet 3’s screen is also a real standout. It’s so bright that even 50 percent was starting to hurt my eyes. Our office is also fairly bright, but at 30–40 percent brightness, I saw almost no obstructive glare. Colors are bright and vivid — I’d watch a movie on this device over all kinds of more expensive laptops.
Battery life was not amazing but acceptable for this price. I had to plug the Duet at about six and a half hours in. It was draining much faster when I had several apps open than when I was just in Chrome, however. I would wager that you might get closer to nine with a Chrome-only workload.