Lenovo Duet vs Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab

Lenovo, Reviews

Lenovo Duet VS Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab:

Overview:

Lenovo has seriously been on a roll when it comes to making great products at a great price. We recently reviewed the Lenovo Smart Tab and it was a lot of fun to use and review such a great mid-range tablet. At around $250 you got a great display, great speakers, and decent performance. It was a device built for the person who wanted to view content on their tablet. My main problem with the tablet was that it ran Android. Lenovo doesn’t do the best job with timely or frequent updates, so the device may not be secure for as long as you’re looking to use it for. 

 

Enter, the Lenovo Duet. This device made headlines a budget focused Chrome OS tablet. The device, costing under $300, has fantastic features such as keyboard dock and kickstand, a bright display, and good battery life. This device brings amazing value to those looking for a tablet to get work done and enjoy media content. At around similar prices, and having both in hand, it would be silly not to compare them! Let’s do it then and find out, where should you spend your $250 on a tablet running a Google OS.

Pictures:

Specs:

Lenovo Duet:

  • Mediatek Helio 60T Processor (8 cores 4x A73 cores 4x A53)
  • 4gb ram 
  • 64gb emmc storage (base) 128gb storage (approximate $50 more) no SD card slot
  • 10.1 inch 1920 x 1200 display (400 nits advertised brightness)
  • 7000mah battery
  • Kickstand and Keyboard accessories in the box (attach via magnets and pogo pins)
  • 1 USB C port (USB C to 3.5mm adapter in box)
  • 2x speakers (upward facing)
  • 2mp front camera 8mp rear camera
  • Chrome OS

 

Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab:

  • Snapdragon 439 processor (8 core 8x A53 cores 4x higher clocked 4x lower clocked)
  • 4gb ram
  • 64gb storage (expandable via micro SD)
  • 10.1 inch 1920 x 1200 display (300 nits advertised brightness)
  • 7000mah battery
  • Kickstand built into the base
  • 1x USB port 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2x side mounted speakers
  • 5mp front camera 8mp rear camera
  • Android OS

Comparison:

This section will be a comparison of many aspects of the 2 tablets. Make sure to take your time reading these sections to understand the small differences.

Performance:

On paper, the Duet should win by a landslide. Having 4 more powerful A73 cores than the Smart Tab’s 4 less powerful A53 higher frequency cores. I thought I would notice this a lot in day to day performance, however, I did not. Both tablets can hiccup and stutter if you are loading too many apps or trying to multitask more heavily. If you look at benchmarks you will see the Duet will score higher. With that being said, the Duet also runs a more desktop heavy operating system. With Chrome OS you are encouraged to have more applications open and multitask. Regardless of what device you use they’re not the fastest devices out there but they get the jobs done. I think the largest bottleneck of the Duet is its 4gb of ram. If we had even seen 6gb on both of these devices the Duet would have done far better. This would have given the Helio 60T more room to stretch its legs. With that being said, neither tablet is particularly slow, but not a powerhouse either. Both devices get the basics done, and that’s a lot to say for what you’re paying for both of these tablets.

 

Displays:

Both of these tablets have rich and vibrant 10.1 inch 16:10 1080p displays. With that being said, the Duet has a clearly superior picture. The colors (to my eyes) were ever so slightly more vibrant. The display is also far brighter on the Duet. The Smart Tab was nearly unusable outside while I could see the Duet’s screen while working on a cloudy day on full brightness. It wasn’t the best experience, but it was doable. Neither display will disappoint you, however, for a media-focused device the Smart Tab should have had the display the Duet has. Considering you’ll be spending about the same on both devices I think the winner in this category is the Duet.

 

Operating Systems:

Android:

Looking at this section it must seem like the Duet would be the clear winner. Chrome OS has far more versatility being able to run Android apps on top of running the full Chrome web browser. Should be a no brainer. With that being said, I found native Android had its upsides. On one hand, the Duet emulates Android which can make the apps seem a little sluggish at times. I find myself waiting for apps to load and sometimes crashing or not looking properly. That’s why in the performance section I found the two devices to be about evenly matched. Chrome OS is a little bit more resource-intensive from what I’ve seen and app-emulation slows things down. There were also times I found Android apps wouldn’t load properly on the Duet. One such being the Razer Opus app. This is probably due to the emulation, however, I wanted to mention this to show that emulation isn’t perfect.

Chrome OS:

Chrome OS does have its advantages over the Lenovo flavor of Android as well. If you are looking for your device to last you many years while still being secure then Chrome OS is your go-to. Chrome OS devices get updates straight from Google. The company stated that this device will receive platform updates until June of 2028. Whether or not you use the device until then is up to you. The Smart Tab does not have that kind of freedom. This device will stop getting platform updates whenever Lenovo decides it will. Being that the device is still on an almost 2-year-old platform update and on the April 2020 security patch I wouldn’t hold your breath. If security and software support is important to you (which it should be) then Chrome OS is your best bet. Seeing as both the devices have similar performance, to begin with, they should age similarly. Given the processor architectures, the Duet may even age better. 

 

The Duet gives you the peace of mind to use the device until either the battery gives out or you want to get a new tablet. With that being said, the Duet wins this round. The performance hiccups I found in the Duet were minor and the Smart Tab is far from perfect too. Given the Duet will also receive more regular updates we may even see these kinks worked out in the future. 

Feature Set:

Smart Tab:

The Smart Tab is a media-focused tablet. If you want to use your device for watching movies and entertainment then the Smart Tab should be your go-to. Although they both have dual speakers the Smart Tab’s are far better. They are 2x 2 watt speakers which sound great. They are loud and have a little bit of bass. I wouldn’t even fault you for listening to music on this device. They make good use of the space and will make your viewing experience more enjoyable. Meanwhile, the Duet has 2 smaller speakers. I am unsure of the wattage, however, they are quieter and don’t sound as full. This is the biggest selling feature of the Smart Tab and it’s clear as to why that is. Although the Duet has a slightly nicer display, the speakers make the Smart Tab a more enjoyable movie-watching experience.

 

The Smart Tab has the bonus of expandable storage and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s nice to have flexibility without needing Bluetooth, or a dongle. 64gb of storage can be a little rough these days. Storing 1080p movies or videos on the device can take up a bit of space. With apps getting larger and larger too you may need that micro SD card slot. You could upgrade the Duet’s storage to 128gb for $50 more, but the flexibility a micro SD card slot gives you should not be overlooked. More ports and more storage should NEVER be glossed over and deserves to be pointed out and commended on the Smart Tab.

Duet:

With that being said, the Duet is more well-rounded. The multi-media experience is good, as is the productivity factor. The Smart Tab doesn’t really have that selling factor. Sure, you could pick up a keyboard for the Smart Tab, but that’s not as convenient. The Duet’s keyboard and kickstand are detachable and come in the box. They both connect securely to the device and don’t need to depend on a Bluetooth connection. They all fit fairly neatly together and make the Duet feel, complete. Almost as though you’re getting away with something when you find these accessories in the box. I will not go into a huge overview of the keyboard (wait until the review for that), but it gets the job done and is very usable. Especially since it comes packs in with the $250 tablet.

 

That’s not to say the Duet is bad at multimedia either. Having a brighter display, and still having dual speakers works in its favor. You can comfortably watch videos on it and the kickstand works great both in bed on a desk. Not to mention both the kickstand and keyboard come off to create a fairly lightweight package that makes it easy to carry around.

 

Neither device is the master of anything, however, the Duet does more and doesn’t do anything poorly. Packing the keyboard in the box makes the Duet more usable than the Smart Tab in more situations. Spending only $250 I didn’t expect either device to do many tasks as well as they do. 

 

Conclusion:

If you couldn’t tell already, the Duet wins this comparison. Granted, this is only my opinion, however, the Duet does more than the Smart Tab and does it well. I don’t think even Lenovo could see the success of the Duet coming. It’s timing, feature set, and price were all just right. If it had cost any more than $250 for the base model then I would not recommend this device as highly as I do. It performs nicely, has a long life span, and is versatile. Unfortunately, the Smart Tab did not stand much of a chance.

 

If you are looking at buying the Duet though, definitely keep in mind how much storage you would use. The 64 or 128gb of storage are both not expandable. If you can spend $50 more then go for the 128gb model. Chances are with the Smart Tab you would spend $20 more on a micro sd card if you needed more storage. With that being said, if multi-media storage is a big factor for you then get the Smart Tab. If 128gb of storage maximum is enough on a tablet (which it should be) then shoot for the Duet. You will not be disappointed.

 

Recommendations:

This section is who I would recommend either of these devices to.

Both:

  • Anyone looking for a tablet for entertainment purposes. (Seriously, unless you’re looking to do design work then both of these devices will pull their weight).

Duet:

  • Grade school students: If their districts use Chromebooks then this device is great for entertainment and productivity. Given the $300 price point if you throw on a screen protector then some parents shouldn’t be too worried about this device getting a little beat up.
  • Secondary Device: This is a great device if you live out of the cloud and need a second device. The form factor is not too small to type some documents quickly or check email. Not to mention it does a great job at media too. It’s so well-rounded that it should not be relegated to just a media device. You can get actual work done on this tablet.
  • The techie: Unless you’re a spec-hungry person then the Duet is awesome. It does so much well and Chrome OS is so interesting it’s hard to resist. To some, it may even be in the impulse territory.
  • If you rarely upgrade your device and fit into any of these categories then this is your device. The Duet gets guaranteed software updates until June 2028. This is one of the rare cases where the device will probably give out before the software does.

 

Smart Tab:

  • If you want an immersive movie-watching experience then the Smart Tab should be your device. I cannot underplay how good the speakers are on this device. Given how good the display is too you won’t want to stop watching movies on this device. It’s a great and portable experience.

 

Disclaimer:

The Lenovo Smart Tab was on loan to Onetechstop.net from Lenovo. Lenovo did not pay for or review this article before publishing. Onetechstop will return the Smart Tab after we are finished reviewing the device.

 

The Lenovo Duet was reviewed in its 128gb capacity configuration. No other specifications are different between the 64gb and the 128gb models aside from the storage. The Lenovo Duet is also my (Nick S’s) personal device. I paid for this device and was not compensated for the device in any way. I paid $299 plus tax for this device from Best Buy.

 

This article was written on the Lenovo Duet using the keyboard bundled in the box by Lenovo. Both devices were used extensively for nearly a month before writing this review.

Lenovo does not and will not compensate Onetechstop for any products sold in links provided.

Product Links:

Lenovo Duet (Ensure it is being sold and shipped by Walmart, 3rd party retailers will raise the price on this link if Walmart is sold-out).

Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab