Lenovo Duet 5 vs iPad Air: how the best Chromebook detachable fares against the best Apple tablet

Portable devices can be beneficial for getting work done on the go, all while taking up very little space and weighing down your bag of choice. There are plenty of different models and makes, with two of the most well-known being the Apple iPad and the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook.

Both have been mainstays on our Best Chromebook and Best iPad lists for over a year, offering plenty of positives for potential buyers. But which one makes sense for you? 

We'll compare the two devices and see how each one stacks up against the other to better help you decide which one is the overall better pick for your needs.

Lenovo Duet 5 vs iPad Air: pricing

Apple iPad Air 5

(Image credit: Future)

Both the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 and the Apple iPad Air are well priced, neither past the $600 mark. The Apple iPad Air 5 started at $599 / £569 / AU$929 at launch, while the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 can be purchased for as low as $349 / £549 / AU$690.

The availability of the Duet 5 Chromebook might be more of an issue though, especially for those in the UK and Australia, whereas the Apple iPad Air is going to be more readily available.

Still, even when Apple tablets are discounted, they can't compare to the affordable pricing of Chromebooks, making the latter the clear winner on price. The IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook also comes with a detachable keyboard, something that will cost you extra on an iPad.

  • Winner: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook

Lenovo Duet 5 vs iPad Air: Design

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 on a table

(Image credit: Future)

One of the most distinctive features of Apple products is its sleek and minimalistic design, and the iPad Air is no exception as it has one of the best designs of any tablet ever made. 

The Duet 5 Chromebook also has a great build, somehow able to nearly match the iPad Air on looks, but in terms of design, the iPad Air is king. It's well-built, features sharp angles that look next-level premium, and a heavy and rigid build that screams quality. 

While the swiping and other touch features are smooth and responsive, the IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook just can't compete here. 

  • Apple iPad Air

Lenovo Duet 5 vs iPad Air: Specs

Apple iPad Air 5

(Image credit: Future)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 is a bit underpowered when it comes to storage, with the Chromebook still using eMMC Flash storage, though at least there's 128GB of it. 

The Snapdragon 7c Gen2 CPU is definitely an improvement over the MediaTek P60T from prior models and runs more efficiently too, but it's still lacking in raw performance compared to Chromebooks with at least an Intel Core i3, or higher.

Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook specs

  • Size: 12.04 x 7.35 x 0.28 ins (305.86 x 186.74 x 7.23mm) (W x H x D)
  • Weight: 2.24lbs (1.02kg)
  • CPU: ASnapdragon 7c Gen2
  • GPU: Qualcomm Adreno GPU
  • Storage: 128GB eMMC Flash storage
  • Display resolution: 1920 x 1080p multitouch OLED
  • Display size: 13.3-inch
  • Brightness: 400 nits
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
  • Camera (Front): 5MP RGB; (Rear) 8MP RGB w/ autofocusPower: 45W USB Type-C
  • Battery life: 42WHr w/ Rapid Charge

The Apple iPad Air 5 is still giving us a measly 64GB to start with that will barely last after a few downloaded movies, and you can only increase that amount through expensive upgrades.

However, the iPad Air comes loaded with the Apple M1 chip, which offers near-desktop-quality performance in a tablet that can fit in the smallest of bags, something that the Duet 5 Chromebook can't do.

Apple iPad Air (2022) specs

  • Size: 7.02 x 9.74 x 0.24 ins (W x H x D)
  • Weight: 16.32 ounces
  • CPU: M1 chip
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Display resolution: 2360 x 1640
  • Display size: 10.9-inch
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6
  • Camera 12MP Wide camera, 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage
  • Battery life: All day

Lenovo Duet 5 vs iPad Air: performance

A Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)

In this matchup, performance is a bit murkier. While the Apple iPad Air is generally much faster and more efficient thanks to Apple's M1 silicon, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook has the advantage of behaving much more like a laptop in terms of the UI's efficiency and ease of use.

The Duet 5 Chromebook's benchmarks are quite solid and the fact that you can get a 13-inch OLED HD screen for such a low price is a true steal.

However, the M1 chip for the iPad is incredibly fast and efficient, especially paired with the iPadOS 15 OS's multitasking features. But trying to use this tablet as a fully realized laptop showcases the limitations as you need to navigate more to reach the same places.

In this case, it depends on what your needs are for your portable device, whether you require one that functions as a laptop for productivity work or one that's meant for more casual usage.

Lenovo Duet 5 vs iPad Air: verdict

Apple iPad Air 5

(Image credit: Future)

Overall, it seems the Apple iPad Air just eaks out a win thanks to its design and specs being inherently superior. For most people, those two aspects are the most important factors in making a buying decision, with price not being a major factor as long as the quality is there.

For those who need a reliable productivity machine, however, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook is a great start with solid specs, a good detachable keyboard, and a nice OLED HD display.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.