Lenovo's awkwardly-named Ideapad Duet Chromebook is a bit of a throwback. For a long time, most Chrome OS devices were inexpensive and small, but in recent years they've become more expensive as Google and other manufacturers try to pit them against full-fledged Mac and Windows laptops. The Ideapad Duet goes in the other direction: It's a convertible tablet with a 10.1-inch screen that costs only $279, keyboard stand included.
To hit that price point, the Ideapad Duet forgoes Intel processors; instead, it features an octa-core Mediatek Helio P60T processor running at 2.0GHz. That's paired with 4GB of RAM, up to 128GB of storage and an Intel UHD graphics chip. These aren't exactly world-beating specs, but given the low price, we can't complain too much. We'll, of course, need to test it out to make sure that Mediatek processor can get the job done, though.
The Ideapad Duet's 10.1-inch screen is relatively small, at least for a full-featured Chromebook. But it runs at a pretty decent 1,900 x 1,200 resolution and looked pretty bright and sharp in a quick demo we had. Lenovo did go with an uninspiring camera pair to keep the cost down: a 8-megapixel back camera and 2-megapixel front-facing shooter. A pair of speakers, volume rocker, sleep button and USB-C port round out the hardware.
Finally, Lenovo thoughtfully included a keyboard and kickstand with the Ideapad Duet. It's a smart move, as Chrome OS and Android apps still aren't the best experience. Given the Ideapad Duet's small size, it's not the largest or highest-quality keyboard, but the fact that you can type and get the full Chromebook experience for less than $300 could be compelling. That's especially true for the education segment, where Chrome OS devices are already quite popular. The $279 Ideapad Duet Chromebook will be available in May.
Update: Lenovo let us know that the back camera on this device is actually 8 megapixels, not 5.