The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 punches far above its weight. This $600 2-in-1 convertible laptop computer provides higher computing efficiency than many opponents that price greater than twice as a lot. It is also received first rate bodily connectivity choices, a sturdy, well-designed chassis, and a snug keyboard. Whereas the Flex 5’s 14-inch show may very well be brighter and it may stand to lose a number of ounces, it is however a screaming-good worth and a very good mainstream laptop computer.

Extra Versatile Than a Clamshell

The Flex 5’s 360-degree hinge makes it extra versatile than a standard clamshell laptop computer. By folding the hinge previous 180 levels, you possibly can prop the pocket book up like a tent, relaxation it on the keyboard portion like an easel, and even fold it utterly flat and use it as a pill.

This flexibility isn’t distinctive to the Flex 5. Lenovo pioneered the 2-in-1 convertible laptop computer idea, and it provides a handful of such laptop computer fashions in any respect value ranges. As a result of a 360-degree hinge must be sturdy, it typically leads to a bulkier chassis, which is mostly true of the inexpensive convertibles that Lenovo and plenty of different laptop computer makers promote. The Flex 5 measures 0.82 by 12.7 by 8.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.Three kilos, which simply barely qualifies it as an ultraportable.

Some flagship 2-in-1 designs are noticeably smaller and lighter, together with the 13.3-inch HP Elite Dragonfly (2.2 kilos) and the 13.4-inch Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2.9 kilos). However these additionally price rather more than the Flex 5—typically round $1,500 for a decently {powerful} configuration. And that is what makes the Flex 5 so interesting to individuals who desire a workhorse laptop computer. By going up a number of tenths of an inch in thickness and some ounces in weight, you’re saving a ton of cash and nonetheless getting severe computing energy to get your work executed.

Apart from a extra relaxed chassis design, the Flex 5 is ready to supply such a potent mix of value and efficiency due to its fourth-generation AMD Ryzen “Renoir” processor choices. Our evaluate unit comes with a 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, with an AMD Radeon graphics processor built-in into the CPU, plus 16GB of reminiscence and a 256GB solid-state drive. With six devoted processor cores (multi-threading isn’t potential on this chip’s cores), the Ryzen 5 4500U benchmarks equally to many Intel Core i7 CPUs in dearer laptops. It is a terrific leap ahead for cell computing.

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For much more energy, you possibly can configure a Flex 5 with an eight-core Ryzen 7 4700U. Lenovo additionally provides a bigger 512GB SSD as an non-obligatory improve. The maxed-out Flex 5 configuration nonetheless rings up at an affordable $800.

This laptop computer is such deal that our evaluate configuration, out there solely at Amazon, had been constantly promoting out on the time we wrote this. Along with the superb worth, coronavirus-related manufacturing delays and common points surrounding the launch of a brand new processor household seemingly have additionally performed an element within the Flex 5’s tendency to stay out of inventory. When you can stretch your price range by $100 or so, it is value testing one of many configurations bought at Lenovo.com, that are nonetheless wonderful values and could also be extra available.

Loads of Connectivity in a Smooth-Contact Chassis

The Flex 5’s chassis could also be on the chunky aspect, nevertheless it’s not unattractive. Lenovo makes use of a novel soft-touch plastic coating on the perimeters and the keyboard deck, which makes the laptop computer pleasing to carry. The Graphite Grey coloration scheme of our evaluate unit can be intriguing, making the laptop computer darker and moodier-looking than the largely silver schemes of different Lenovo ultraportables. When you’d reasonably keep on with a lighter coloration, the Flex 5 can be out there in Platinum Grey.

On the Flex 5’s left edge, you will discover a energy port, an HDMI 1.4b output, a USB Sort-C port, and an audio combo jack. The USB-C port can be utilized to cost the laptop computer, and Lenovo consists of an AC adapter with a USB-C plug, rendering the devoted energy port an anachronism. Since there’s just one USB-C port on your complete laptop computer, it’s value asking in case your retailer can substitute a barrel-style AC adapter as a substitute. That method, you’ll be capable to cost the laptop computer and use the USB-C port on the identical time.

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On the precise edge, there are two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Sort-A ports, a rarity on ultraportable laptops today, and useful for connecting one of many huge variety of units that have not but moved to USB-C. The suitable edge additionally hosts a full-size SD card reader and the Flex 5’s energy button. Aspect-mounted energy buttons are simpler to make use of when the laptop computer is propped up like an easel, however watch out to not by accident press the button whenever you grasp the Flex 5 on its sides.

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Wi-fi connectivity consists of 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. Help for the most recent Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) commonplace is absent, nevertheless it’s not a requirement for a laptop computer on this value vary. The 802.11ac commonplace is a lot quick sufficient for many dwelling wi-fi environments.

The Flex 5’s Display screen May very well be Brighter

Aside from the reasonably heavy chassis, the Flex 5’s solely different noteworthy flaw is its display, which suffers from a comparatively dim backlight rated for simply 250 nits of brightness. I needed to flip the display brightness as much as the utmost degree to view in a daylight-lit lounge. The show is ok for darker properties, however any brightly lit environments—together with workplaces—would possibly scale back its visibility.

The panel is a full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) IPS contact display, which helps inputs from the Lenovo Digital Pen. The pen, an non-obligatory additional, provides 4,096 ranges of strain sensitivity and consists of two customizable buttons. This makes it a full-fledged digital stylus, not like the built-in digital pens included with premium 2-in-1s just like the Lenovo Yoga C940 and the Samsung Galaxy Guide Flex. Built-in pens are a lot smaller and fewer comfy for lengthy sketching periods, however they are much much less prone to be misplaced since they’re saved and recharged in a slot that is constructed into the pocket book.

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Above the Flex 5’s display, there’s an HD webcam with a fixed-focus lens that shoots 720p video. Picture high quality appeared fairly noisy and sometimes washed out in my testing, though that is par for the course for laptop computer webcams. Whereas the digicam lacks IR sensors for face recognition, it does include a built-in bodily privateness shutter for added peace of thoughts whenever you’re not utilizing it. As an alternative of face recognition to log in to your Home windows account, you need to use the keyboard-mounted fingerprint reader to keep away from cumbersome passwords.

The backlit keyboard provides remarkably steady key switches, making for a snug and satisfying typing expertise. It is derived from Lenovo’s flagship ThinkPad keyboards, with a number of refined variations. The Ctrl secret’s situated to the left of the Fn key within the decrease left nook, as a substitute of the opposite method round. The up and down arrow keys are half-height, whereas the left and proper arrow keys are full-height. The touchpad is a bit stiff for my liking, nevertheless it nonetheless tracks precisely.

Audio high quality from the 2 2-watt stereo audio system is sufficient for Skype periods. The massive speaker grilles flank the keyboard, which suggests sound could be a bit misdirected and muffled whenever you’re utilizing the Flex 5 in “A”-frame or pill orientation with the keyboard deck dealing with away from you.

Lenovo features a one-year guarantee with the Flex 5, with mail-in (reasonably than onsite) service to repair points.

Computing Muscle Is the Flex 5’s Key Power

It’s not typically that computing efficiency is among the key strengths of an ultraportable laptop computer, particularly one at a reasonable value. Even the costliest ones usually have sufficient oomph to get by primary duties like internet shopping, however they hardly ever are up for advanced duties like 3D gaming or rendering movies. Due to its Ryzen 5 processor and Radeon graphics, the Flex 5 is an exception. Most of its equally priced opponents use Intel Core i3 or Core i5 CPUs, together with the Asus VivoBook S15, the Lenovo Yoga C640, and the Lenovo Yoga C740. The Microsoft Floor Go 2, a removable hybrid pill, makes use of an excellent less-powerful Intel Core m3. Let’s take a look at its efficiency towards these; I’ve outlined their base specs under…

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These opponents are merely no match for the Flex 5 in relation to our benchmark assessments, which cowl primary duties like productiveness and internet shopping, in addition to gaming and multimedia content material creation. For a chook’s-eye view of on a regular basis efficiency, take into account the outcomes of the PCMark take a look at. PCMark 10 assesses office-centric duties akin to phrase processing, spreadsheet jockeying, internet shopping, and videoconferencing, whereas PCMark Eight ranks the velocity of the laptops’ storage subsystems.

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It’s cheap to anticipate comparable outcomes on the storage benchmark, since all the techniques use related SSDs, nevertheless it’s instantly clear from the PCMark 10 outcomes that the Flex 5 is in a unique league.

That is additionally true in content material creation benchmarks like rendering a 3D picture in Maxon’s Cinebench, which is absolutely threaded to utilize all out there processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU reasonably than the GPU to render a fancy picture.

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Cinebench is commonly predictor of our Handbrake video-editing trial, one other powerful, threaded exercise that is extremely CPU-dependent and scales properly with cores and threads. In it, we put a stopwatch on take a look at techniques as they transcode a normal 12-minute clip of 4K video (the open-source Blender demo film Tears of Metal) to a 1080p MP4 file. It’s a timed take a look at, and decrease outcomes are higher.

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Along with the truth that the Ryzen 5 within the Flex 5 has extra cores than a lot of the CPUs within the different laptops, its base clock velocity is larger, which additionally contributes to its benefits right here. It’s notably telling that the Flex 5 is almost twice as quick because the Core i5-equipped Yoga C740 at finishing the video rendering trial. (See how we take a look at laptops.)

Relating to picture enhancing in Adobe Photoshop, the Flex 5’s benefit isn’t as nice. Actually, except the Core m3-powered Floor Go 2, the outcomes of all of the laptops are grouped intently collectively on this take a look at. It stresses the CPU, storage subsystem, and RAM, however it might additionally make the most of most GPUs to hurry up the method of making use of filters, so techniques with {powerful} graphics chips or playing cards might even see a lift.

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Whereas the Radeon graphics will not be a distinguishing consider operating Adobe Photoshop, the Flex 5’s graphics prowess is straight away obvious on our recreation simulations. A rating of almost 40 frames per second within the Unigine Superposition take a look at at 720p decision and low high quality settings recommend you possibly can even anticipate to play intensive 3D video games, so long as you flip the standard and backbone settings method down. That is clearly not potential with the built-in graphics capabilities of the Core i5 and Core i3 chips represented right here. The Flex 5 is not any gaming laptop computer, thoughts you, however you might eke out some play on the lowest settings.

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The outcomes of the 3DMark take a look at affirm this. Like Superposition, 3DMark renders and pans by detailed 3D scenes and measures how the system copes. Sky Diver is extra suited to laptops and midrange PCs, whereas Fireplace Strike is extra demanding and made for high-end PCs to strut their stuff.

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That tough doubling of scores, on each 3DMark assessments, between the Flex 5 and the remainder of this aggressive subject parallels what we noticed on Superposition.

Flex 5 Affords All-Day Battery Life

You would possibly anticipate {that a} six-core Ryzen 5 would have a bigger unfavorable impact on battery life than, say, the dual-core Core m3 within the Floor Go 2. Whereas that is technically true, AMD and Lenovo have apparently succeeded in guaranteeing that the impact is minimal. The Flex 5 lasted for greater than 16 hours in our video rundown take a look at, which entails looping a domestically saved 720p video at 50 % display brightness with airplane mode turned on.

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Now, let’s be clear: The Flex 5’s dim display seemingly helps it obtain this wonderful consequence, since brighter pixels eat extra energy. Additionally contributing are the laptop computer’s capacious 52WHr battery and enhancements distinctive to Renoir chips, like a redesigned energy interface with three distinct states. Meaning the working system can higher talk to the Ryzen 5 precisely how a lot energy is required for a given activity.

Glorious Worth, Highly effective Efficiency

You shouldn’t anticipate a $600 ultraportable laptop computer to have the graphics capabilities of a $2,000 gaming rig, nor the content material creation capabilities of a $3,000 cell workstation. However till lately, there hasn’t been a center floor, because the legions of Core i3 and Core i5 ultraportables priced within the $500 vary have proven.

The Flex 5 proves it is potential to supply efficiency acceptable for gentle gaming or occasional number-crunching and multimedia enhancing in a laptop computer that prices far lower than class flagships just like the Dell XPS 13 or the Apple MacBook Professional. Whereas the chassis may very well be a bit lighter and the display a bit brighter, the capabilities of the Ryzen 5 processor outweigh these deficiencies. The Flex 5 is subsequently our new high choose within the crowded subject of midrange 2-in-1 convertible laptops.

Execs

  • Strong computing efficiency

  • Glorious worth

  • Smooth-touch, sturdy chassis

  • Display screen helps contact enter

  • Webcam privateness shutter

  • Two USB Sort-A ports

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The Backside Line

Due to a brand-new AMD Ryzen processor, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5 14 provides a unprecedented mix of efficiency and worth for cash, making it the most effective popularly priced 2-in-1 convertibles we have examined.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 Specs

Laptop computer ClassConvertible 2-in-1
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 4500U
Processor Pace2.Three GHz
RAM (as Examined)16 GB
Boot Drive SortSSD
Boot Drive Capability (as Examined)256 GB
Display screen Measurement14 inches
Native Show Decision1920 by 1080
Contact Display screenSure
Panel Know-howIPS
Variable Refresh HelpNone
Display screen Refresh Fee60 Hz
Graphics ProcessorAMD Radeon Graphics
Wi-fi Networking802.11ac, Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD)0.82 by 12.7 by 8.6 inches
Weight3.Three lbs
Working SystemHome windows 10 Dwelling
Examined Battery Life (Hours:Minutes)16:04

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