Samsung launched the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra in early 2022 as its biggest Android tablet ever, and it goes up against Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet 5, which also packs a massive display, albeit with Chrome OS instead of Android. The tablet market has seen renewed interest in recent years. While many brands have focused on Android tablets, Lenovo has diverted some of its resources to making Chrome OS tablets.
Lenovo’s first model, the Chromebook Duet, was announced in early 2020 and was a success, especially among those looking for an affordable device for studying and online classes. Then came the Chromebook Duet 5 in 2021, followed by the IdeaPad Chromebook Duet 3 in 2022. Considering the success and the popularity of its Duet tablets, Lenovo is expected to continue launching new models in the series.
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The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra and Chromebook Duet 5 are easily distinguishable given that the former is larger, but their differences extend beyond size. The display of the Samsung tablet has a notch for dual front cameras and an aluminum casing on the back. The Lenovo tablet has a metal frame and back with a dual-tone finish. Neither tablet has a water resistance rating. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is available in a single Graphite color option, while the Chromebook Duet 5 can be purchased in Abyss Blue or Storm Gray depending on the market. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra packs a massive 14.6-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and Gorilla Glass 5 protection. On the other hand, the Chromebook Duet 5 has a 13.3-inch 60Hz OLED display. A Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor is inside Samsung’s tablet, paired with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. The Chromebook Duet 5 has the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 compute platform, paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. While the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has a microSD card slot, Duet 5 users don’t get to enjoy this benefit.
Chrome OS Is Better For Productivity
The biggest difference between the two tablets is their operating systems. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra runs Android 12 with Samsung’s One UI skin on top while the Chromebook Duet runs Chrome OS. Currently, Android isn’t a great experience on large screen devices in comparison to Chrome OS, but Google is working on improving this with Android 12L. Chrome OS, on the other hand, is tailored for productivity thanks to its desktop interface. It is also more versatile as the UI can adapt to tablet mode. Furthermore, it has support for Android apps, though the experience can be hit or miss. The good news is that all Android app improvements for large screen devices will be coming to Chromebooks too. Samsung promises four years of OS upgrades and five years of security updates for the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. The Chromebook Duet 5 will receive updates until at least 2029.
Coming back to hardware, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra boasts better cameras. The dual front cameras consist of a 13MP sensor with autofocus and a 6MP ultra-wide sensor. There are also dual 12MP cameras on the back, one of which has an ultra-wide lens. The Duet 5 features a 5MP front camera and an 8MP rear camera. Both tablets have quad speakers, however, neither features an audio jack. Samsung has added an in-display fingerprint scanner and an optional SIM card slot for those picking up the 5G version (available in select regions). The Duet 5 has neither LTE nor 5G.
Both the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra and the Chromebook Duet 5 have stylus support and a detachable keyboard (with trackpad) accessory. However, while Samsung ships its tablet with a stylus, buyers will have to shell out a whopping $350 if they want the backlit book cover keyboard. In contrast, Lenovo ships the Duet 5 with a spill-resistant keyboard and a kickstand cover, but does not include a stylus. Buyers can choose to purchase either Lenovo’s $35 stylus or any third-party USI stylus. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has an 11,200mAh battery that supports 45W fast charging but it doesn’t come with a charger in the box. The Chromebook Duet 5 has a 42Wh battery that can last up to 15 hours on a single charge. It also supports 45W fast charging but comes with a 30W charger in the box. The Duet 5 also features two USB-C ports.
With a starting price of $1099, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra packs high-end specs worthy of a flagship Android tablet, including an impressive display, a powerful chipset, fantastic cameras, and a versatile stylus. While Android can’t replace a desktop operating system, Samsung tries to improve the experience with its software tricks. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 doesn’t have a high refresh rate but its OLED display has received much praise. Its cameras are also reportedly good for a tablet. Its main selling point is the Chrome operating system which is miles ahead of Android in terms of productivity. Lenovo’s bundled accessories and charger are also an added bonus. Finally, it is significantly cheaper, starting at $500 (currently available for $390), almost a third of the price of Samsung’s tablet.