Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i review: Surface Pro on a budget?

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i front view showing display and keyboard.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i

MSRP $790.00

“The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i loses the luster of other 2-in-1s but has raw value to match.”


  • Solid build quality

  • Thin and light

  • Great display

  • A good leaf keyboard

  • Competent performance


  • Plain songs

  • Euismod is limited to low-end CPU

  • Improper colors

The Lenovo ideaPad Duet 5 i was just introduced as another detachable tablet competitor, running against the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 which were also recently released. Are we hooked? It comes at a lower price than Dell and Microsoft.

The IdeaPad Duet 5i offers enough value, features, and performance to be worth a look, especially if you’re attracted to the form factor.

Specs and configurations

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i
Dimensions 11.35 inches x 7.49 inches x 0.37 inches
weight 1.85 pounds
2.62 pounds with keyboard leaf
Processor Up to the Core i7-1255U
Graphics As far as Iris Xe Intel
aries At 16GB LPDDR4x
To show 12.4-inch 16:10 2.5K (2560 x 1600) IPS
I store it Up to 512GB Plus SSD
The touch Yes
Port 2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1
Webcam 5MP front-facing IR camera for Windows 11 Hello
5MP rear-facing
Operating system Windows 11
Fight 50 Watt hours
Price $790+

Lenovo has not yet published much information about the specifications and configurations for the IdeaPad Duet 5i. Currently, only one configuration is available at $790 for a Core i3-1215U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. That price includes the keyboard slide but not the active stylus, which is another $30 or so. The price is expensive, but the storage is quite limited. Unfortunately, there are no more options.

In comparison, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is $1,000 for the same RAM and storage as a Core i5 CPU without the keyboard and $280 pen, while the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is $1,200 for the Core i5, the same RAM and 512GB of storage, with keyboard and pen . That makes Lenovo a lot less expensive in this minimal configuration, but we will have to see what else it has built (if) before the price is set so that the IdeaPad Duet 5i is price-competitive with the more powerful ones.

The role does not stand out

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i has a rectangular front view showing the display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The IdeaPad Duet 5i’s tablet design is standard with rounded corners and larger display bezels than we’ve seen on recent flagship tablets like the XPS 13 2-in-1 and the Surface Pro 9. It’s more rounded than Dell’s tablet and thus narrower. It’s Microsoft-like, and it’s built as well as it is with its bend- and twist-resistant magnesium aluminum frame. As with most tablets, not much effort is spent on making the aesthetics stand out, and the Stone Blue or Storm Gray IdeaPad Duet 5i is neither better nor worse in this regard.

Where the IdeaPad Duet 5i closely mimics the Surface Pro 9, and in a good way with its solid integrated kickstand. As with the Microsoft tablet, the built-in bars kick out from the center of the back of the tablet, offering a wide range of angles. Because it is built, unlike the add-on Dell sheet with its three corners, it is available to kick off the ideaPad with a single tablet. This is a huge plus and makes the IdeaPad a more comfortable tablet than the XPS 13 2-in-1.

The IdeaPad Duet 5i is a thin 0.37-inch tablet, thicker than the XPS 13 2-in-1 and about the same as the Surface Pro 9. It weighs 1.85 pounds, again splitting the difference between those two competitors, and 2.62 pounds with the keyboard attached. The display bezel is a little thicker, which is a little wider and taller. It is a well-sized tablet all around and very portable.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i top down view showing folio keyboard.
Mark Coppock? Digital Trends

On the other hand, the Ideapad keyboard has the same limitation as the Dell laptop: it doesn’t support an angle. The well-crafted keys are the same light, snappy keys you’ll find on other Lenovo laptops, but because they only lie flat, they’re not as comfortable for longer typing sessions as the Microsoft Angled Type Cover. The touch is thin, compared to the competition. The cloth covering the outside of the keyboard is a nice touch that makes the composition more comfortable to hold.

Connectivity is limited, as usual, to just two USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 ports and no Lightning 4. That puts it behind the XPS 13 2-in-1 and the Surface Pro 9. Wireless connectivity is up to date, though, with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1.

Video calls are improved by a 5MP webcam solution on the front and a 5MP webcam on the front, and the infrared camera provides support for Windows 11 Hello passwordless login via facial recognition. Lenovo includes its intelligent privacy features that provide a no-touch lock that turns the display and puts the tablet to sleep when the user leaves and a touch login that wakes up the tablet and logs in when the user returns. The features worked well in my testing, so much so that I had to turn them off to conduct my tests.

A surprisingly decent performance

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i side view showing ports and kickstand.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The IdeaPad Duet 5i I reviewed is built around a 15-watt Intel Core i3-1215U with six cores (two Performance and four Efficiency) and eight threads. This is the first laptop we’ve tried with this chip, so I was interested to see how it did.

Surprisingly, it held its own in our benchmark design, especially with the 9-watt Core i5-1230U in the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and the 15-watt Core i7-1255U in the Microsoft Surface Pro 9. both 10-core (two Performance and eight efficient), 12-thread CPUs, and Lenovo punches above its weight. It also beats the XPS 13 2-in-1 on Cinebench R23. The Lenovo’s thermal management was effective, with better scores in performance mode and especially in our Handbrake test, which encodes a 420MB video as H.265. The IdeaPad fan works under heavy loads, but is quiet and unobtrusive.

There is no doubt that this is a productivity-only laptop, suitable for web browsing, email, Microsoft Office applications and the like. You will not be able to edit photos or videos on this board. But for intended use, the IdeaPad Duet 5i was an amazing performer. Of course, gaming is out of the question with the integrated Intel UHD graphics on my review unit. The Asus ROG Flow Z13 is the best option if you want a Windows gaming tablet.

(single / multiple)
Cinebench R23
(single / multiple)
PCMark 10
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i
(Core i3-1215U)
Bal: 1,513/5,676
Perf: 1,515/5,970
Bal: 251
Perf: 181
Bal: 1,488/4,087
Perf: 1,582/4,842
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 9315
(Core i5-1230U)
Bal: 1,435 / 6,099
Perf: 1,572/7,028
Bal: 139
Perf: 144
Bal: 1,064 / 3,032
Perf: 1,065 / 3009
Surface Pro 9
(Core i7-1255U)
Bal: 1170 / 6518
Perf: 1,598 / 8,165
Bal: 166
Perf: 127
Bal: 1124/7537
Perf: N/A
HP Specter x360 13.5
(Core i7-1255U)
Bal: 1,566/7,314
Perf: 1,593/7921
Bal: 169
Perf: 120
Bal: 1,623/5,823
Perf: 1,691/7,832
Asus ROG Flow Z13
(Core i9-12900H)
Bal: 1,784 / 9,387
Perf: N/A
Bal: 103
Perf: 87
Bal: 1,548 / 9,664
Perf: 1,906 / 13,400

Does life really matter? The Core i3-1215U is a 15-watt part, so it doesn’t sip the most power available, but it has fewer cores and probably runs more efficiently. The battery inside is 50-watt-hour, which is typical for the class. The Surface Pro 9 has 60-watt hours and a 15-watt CPU, and the XPS 13 2-in-1 has 49.5-watt-hours and a 9-watt CPU.

Lenovo IdeaPad 5i side view showing kickstand and port.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The IdeaPad Duet 5i tests well in our battery pack. It lasted longer than the XPS 13 2-in-1 and about the same as the Surface Pro 9 in our web sampling test. Overall, these results suggest a board that can get productive work during a full day of light. More, the Apple MacBook Air M2 was the leader of the length.

I browse the web I see PCMark 10 Applications
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i
(Core i3-1215U)
7 hours 50 minutes 10 hours 42 minutes 9 hours 17 minutes
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
(Core i7-1255U)
8 hours 8 minutes N/A N/A
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
(Core i5-1230U)
5 hours 50 minutes 8 hours 25 minutes N/A
Asus ZenBook S 13 Flip
(Core i7-1260P)
8 hours 38 minutes 13 hours 16 minutes 11 hours 18 minutes
HP Envy x360 13 2022
(Core i7-1250U)
9 hours 30 minutes 14 hours 34 minutes 12 hours 48 minutes
Apple MacBook Air M2
(Apple M2)
17 hours 60 minutes 21 hours 9 minutes N/A

The display is bright and colorful, but accuracy suffers

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i front showing a rectangular display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

A good display is vital to the best tablet experience, and the IdeaPad Ob 5i has a competitive IPS panel. It’s 12.4 inches running at 2560 x 1600, which makes it pretty sharp, and its 16:10 aspect ratio is a little taller and better for inking. The Surface Pro 9 and XPS 13 2-in-1 enjoy 3:2 aspect ratios that are ideal for inking, closely imitating physical paper.

What is most impressive about the display is its brightness, which comes in at just over 600 nits. It is incredibly bright and superior to Microsoft and Dell tablets. The IdeaPad Duet 5i has a wider range of colors than those two and excellent contrast. Where it falls short is color accuracy, not great. It’s an excellent display for work productivity and media consumption, especially its Dolby High Dynamic Range (HDR) support. The creators keep its colors inaccurate, though.

On the contrary sRGB is designed AdobeRGB is designed care of DeltaE
(It is better for the lower ones)
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i
605 1,670:1 100% 90% 2.99
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
409 1,050:1 99% 80% 1.24
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
480 1,840:1 99% 78% 0.8
Asus ZenBook S 13 Flip
337 23,590:1 100% 97% 1.02
HP Envy x360 13
391 29,420:1 100% 98% 0.72

Two side-firing speakers provide sound, and they provide a pleasant listening experience that is roughly equivalent to the Surface Pro 9 and XPS 13 2-in-1. Notably, the Apple iPad Pro tablets have quad speakers and the audio is significantly better.

A suitable board with an almost attractive price

The IdeaPad Duet 5i is priced decently at $790, including its keyboard. That makes it significantly less expensive than the Surface Pro 9 and XPS 13 2-in-1. The downside is that the budget price produces budget compromises, including the slowest Core i3 CPU, the slowest Intel UHD graphics, and only 128GB of storage. Dell offers quadruple storage in its entry-level configuration, and as it is now, you can’t upgrade even if you wanted to. And we don’t know how much the IdeaPad would cost with higher end components.

So, that makes it a solid option for the shape and price, that’s what I’m reviewing. As such, if you want a tablet that offers a bright and colorful display, solid inking and touch support, competent performance and battery life, and a comfortable kick, then the IdeaPad Duet 5i is an excellent choice.

Editor’s recommendation


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