Chromebooks have been around for quite some time now and have always been aimed towards the budget end of the laptop range. Over the years they have vastly improved and one of the biggest changes was the introduction of Android app compatibility. This really widened their appeal making them a hybrid between laptop and tablet. I previously owned a Samsung tablet which was getting old and no longer supported some security updates so I decided to upgrade to a Chromebook. I went with the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet which is a 2 in 1 Chromebook and here are some of my thoughts and impressions since owning it.
It has a 10.1″ touch screen and detachable keyboard which doubles up as a screen cover when not in use. Then a cover which attaches to the back of the device using magnets which has a pop out stand on it. Like with all Chromebooks it starts up instantly and is ready to use. I’ve found the screen size and resolution really good for watching films and YouTube videos and the sound is great thanks to 2 built in Dolby speakers. It has 64GB internal storage but you really don’t even need that much as all of your files are stored online. It is well integrated with the Android system as well with a variety of apps available, and editing a file on the Chromebook instantly updates on your other Android devices. If you take photos on your Android phone they are available straight away on the Chromebook. You can also link it with your phone to read and send messages.
ChromeOS is built to be secure and fast all of the time. When you open the Chromebook it boots up instantly and is ready to use straight away. It has built in virus protection and runs security updates in the background ready to install the next time you restart it to help keep it fast and secure all of the time. I’ve had it for almost a year and it is still as fast as the day I bought it, and due to constant updates has even more useful features than when I first got it. The everything button on the keyboard is another great feature where you can search for files, apps, photos and also perform Google searches all through one button.
One of the main things you want with a laptop or tablet is a long battery life, especially if you want to use it for work as well as entertainment. The quoted battery life is up to 10 hours and I’ve been getting exactly that; a fair bit longer than my previous tablet did. It charges through a USB-C port and can fast or slow charge depending on what lead you use. Using the lead and plug that came with the device takes around 3 hours, but using the one for my smartphone it fast charges in just over 1 hour. Unfortunately the 1 USB-C is the only port you get, no AUX jack unfortunately which is quite disappointing and the way that most companies seem to be going with tablets and smartphones. However, it did come with a USB-C to AUX adapter in the box if you want to use wired earphones. I’ve been using my wireless earbuds though which work well with it.
The device is lightweight so makes it perfect to have in your bag to carry around with you and when you detach the keyboard it is very slim (7.35mm) and easy to hold. It also feels extremely well made with a metal finish, and the stand is covered in fabric which is nice when holding the device. The keyboard also detaches and attaches with a reassuring clunk. On the subject of the keyboard, it is quite small so I would imagine it would get frustrating if you’re typing out long stories on it, but for general use I’ve found it fine and not experienced any problems, other than it not being backlit so you can’t see what you’re typing if it is dark.
Overall the experience with my Chromebook has been really positive. I was apprehensive to start with but it can do everything a “traditional” laptop can do, and sometimes more. There are little to no program limitations and are a great tool for work, education or entertainment, all within reasonable budgets. I would highly recommend looking into a Chromebook if it’s time for you to upgrade your laptop or tablet.