Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14: Excellent Value
PC Magazine|August 2020
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14: Excellent Value
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 punches far above its weight.
TOM BRANT

This $600 2-in-1 convertible laptop offers better computing performance than many competitors that cost more than twice as much. It’s also got decent physical connectivity options, a sturdy, well-designed chassis, and a comfortable keyboard. While the Flex 5’s 14-inch display could be brighter and it could stand to lose a few ounces, it’s nevertheless a screaming-good value and an excellent mainstream laptop.

MORE FLEXIBLE THAN A CLAMSHELL

The Flex 5’s 360-degree hinge makes it more flexible than a conventional clamshell laptop. By folding the hinge past 180 degrees, you can prop the notebook up like a tent, rest it on the keyboard portion like an easel, and even fold it completely flat and use it as a tablet.

This flexibility isn’t unique to the Flex 5: Lenovo pioneered the 2-in-1 convertible laptop concept, and it offers a handful of such laptop models at all price ranges. Because a 360-degree hinge needs to be sturdy, it often results in a bulkier chassis, which is generally true of the less expensive convertibles that Lenovo and many other laptop makers sell. The Flex 5 measures 0.82 by 12.7 by 8.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.3 pounds, which just barely qualifies it as an ultraportable.

Some flagship 2-in-1 designs are noticeably smaller and lighter, including the 13.3-inch HP Elite Dragonfly (2.2 pounds) and the 13.4-inch Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2.9 pounds). But these also cost much more than the Flex 5—often around $1,500 for a decently powerful configuration. And that’s what makes the Flex 5 so appealing to people who want a workhorse laptop. By going up a few tenths of an inch in thickness and a few ounces in weight, you’re saving a ton of money and still getting serious computing power to get your work done.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14

PROS Robust computing performance. Excellent value. Softtouch, durable chassis. The screen supports touch input. Webcam privacy shutter. Two USB Type-A ports.

CONS Relatively heavy for a 14-inch ultraportable. Dim 250-nit display.

BOTTOM LINE Thanks to a brand-new AMD Ryzen processor, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5 14 offers an extraordinary blend of performance and value for money, making it one of the best popularly priced 2-in-1 convertibles we’ve tested.

Besides a more relaxed chassis design, the Flex 5 is able to offer such a potent blend of price and performance because of its fourth-generation AMD Ryzen “Renoir” processor options. Our review unit comes with a 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, an AMD Radeon graphics processor integrated into the CPU, 16GB of memory, and a 256GB solid-state drive. With six dedicated processor cores (multi-threading is not possible on this chip’s cores), the Ryzen 5 4500U benchmarks similarly to many Intel Core i7 CPUs in more expensive laptops. It’s a great leap forward for mobile computing.

For even more power, you can configure a Flex 5 with an eight-core Ryzen 7 4700U. Lenovo also offers a larger 512GB SSD as an optional upgrade. The maxed-out Flex 5 configuration still rings up at a reasonable $800.

This laptop is such a good deal that our review configuration (available exclusively at Amazon) had been consistently selling out at the time we wrote this. In addition to the excellent value, COVID-19-related manufacturing delays and general issues surrounding the launch of a new processor family likely have also played a part in the Flex 5’s tendency to remain out of stock. If you can stretch your budget by $100 or so, check out one of the configurations sold at Lenovo.com, which are still excellent values and may be more readily available.

PLENTY OF CONNECTIVITY IN A SOFT-TOUCH CHASSIS

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August 2020