Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 vs Pixel Slate: Which should you buy?
Lenovo recently unveiled the Chromebook Duet 5 at Lenovo Tech World 2021. The Chromebook Duet 5 is one of the many new Chrome OS tablets we’ve been tracking lately. It looks like a compelling product, but it’s always a good idea to consider all available options. Even though it had a short-lived product cycle, Google’s Pixel Slate is still one of the most popular Chrome OS tablets out there.
In this comparison, we’ll take a look at how these tablets differ and which one you should buy today. This is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 vs Pixel Slate.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 vs Google Pixel Slate: Specifications
|Specification||Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5||Google Pixel Slate|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|RAM & Storage|
|Battery & Charging|
|Software||Chrome OS||Chrome OS|
Design and display
Starting off with design and build, these tablets are similar in a number of ways. First, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is around the same weight as the Pixel Slate, according to the specs sheets. This is something to take note of, especially since the Pixel Slate actually has a slightly smaller screen. Both tablets are similarly thin and compact, but keep in mind they both weigh substantially more if you add the optional detachable keyboard in either case.
One thing we do know is that the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 actually comes bundled with the detachable keyboard in the box. The Pixel Slate has an optional detachable keyboard, which must be bought separately and is still quite expensive. The inclusion of the detachable keyboard in the base price is a definite win for the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5.
Both tablets are made of metal and quite durable. The Pixel Slate is constructed from magnesium alloy while the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 is made from an aluminum alloy. Both of these tablets also support pen input. The Pixel Slate requires the optional Pixelbook Pen, bought separately for $99, though you can find it on sale easily these days. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 supports the USI pen standard, but you still need to buy the USI pen separately, either from Lenovo or from a third-party manufacturer on Amazon.
One key difference is the biometric security found in the Pixel Slate. The Pixel Slate features a fingerprint scanner embedded in its power button. This is refreshing to see as many high-end Chromebooks leave off biometric security options that improve user experience. Unfortunately, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner option on any of the many configurations.
As for the displays, you get a high-resolution panel on both of these Chrome tablets. However, the Pixel slate is the winner in overall ppi with its 3000 x 2000 Molecular Display. The display on the Pixel Slate doesn’t have the best color accuracy though, so we’ll need to see how the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5’s FHD panel compares there when we review it. Either way, you’re getting an above-average panel with solid brightness from both of these devices around 400 nits.
Keyboard and pen support
As mentioned earlier, the keyboard and pen on the Pixel Slate are completely optional add-ons. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 includes both the detachable keyboard, but the USI pen is sold separately. With the Pixel Slate, you’re going to spend an additional $300 just to enjoy keyboard and pen support on the device. This is the biggest consideration right now if you need to use your Chrome tablet for work and need a keyboard or pen input.
When it comes to keyboard quality, much is still unknown about the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5. The initial reviews of the Pixel Slate keyboard were favorable, although the Slate did have a lot of buggy Bluetooth issues. Still, the Pixel Slate does offer a keyboard with multiple typing orientations and a comfortable layout. The Duet 5 keyboard layout looks nice and a bit more spacious than the original Duet from 2020, but we can’t say for sure that it will be comparable until we test it out.
Performance and battery
Performance is sometimes tough to predict on a prerelease product, but the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 should be the winner between these two quite handily. Although we don’t know much about real-world performance just yet as we haven’t ran any benchmarks at this point, the newer Snapdragon 7c second generation in Lenovo’s tablet should theoretically outscore the Pixel Slate in benchmarks.
One thing we know for sure, the Pixel Slate has its own share of performance hiccups. Playing high-end Android games like PUBG or Asphalt 9 is very difficult on the Slate. Multi-tasking can also be difficult on the Slate if you want to use multiple Linux apps or run demanding programs for photo or video editing in Chrome OS.
It seems likely the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 will take the crown in overall performance on paper and in practice, something we can and will test in our review when the Duet 5 is available next month.
In theory, both devices get similar battery ratings from their respective OEMs. The Pixel Slate reviews indicate the Google tablet gets about 7-8 hours of real world use, compared to the 12 hours claimed on the spec sheet. This is fairly common to see and we would typically expect similar battery life from Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5. However, Lenovo claims the Duet 5 is actually capable of 15 hours of battery life on a single charge. That’s quite a bold statement.
One thing that might improve battery life however, is the Snapdragon 7c second generation processor inside the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5. If Lenovo optimized the tablet to take advantage of the 7c’s capabilities, we could see significantly improved battery life.
Cameras and audio
Over the course of the last 18 months, video calling rose to prominence thanks to the ongoing pandemic. Most Chromebooks still have mediocre 720p webcams and don’t feature a rear camera at all.
Camera quality is an outstanding feature on both of these tablets. Both the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 and Pixel Slate feature FHD+ resolution cameras on both the front and back. The Pixel Slate includes an 8 MP camera on both front and back, while the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 features a 5 MP front camera and 8MP wide-vision rear camera. In the age of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, these cameras are a big deal.
The Pixel Slate has some of the better speakers you can find on any Chrome OS device. At launch, the audio quality was one of the key appeals for Google’s tablet. Lenovo is looking to compete with audio though, featuring a quad speaker setup with the Chromebook Duet 5. Considering how nice the original Duet sounded with only dual speakers, there’s a good chance Lenovo will impress in this department.
While both devices have pros and cons, in 2021 the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 has too many features missing from the Pixel Slate. Not only do you get a newer Snapdragon 7c second generation processor inside, you also get an included detachable keyboard, USI pen, and longer Chrome OS support timeline. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 looks poised to be one of the best Chromebooks of 2021.
The inclusion of the USI pen and detachable keyboard is really the largest selling point for me. If you buy a similar package with the Pixel Slate, it’s going to cost nearly $300 more just for those accessories. If you’re a Google loyalist, that might sound worth it, but I wouldn’t recommend the Pixel Slate in 2021 due to its extreme age.