Best Lenovo Flex Laptops Available On Black Friday 2020
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 punches far above its weight. This $600 2-in-1 convertible notebook computer offers better computing performance than many competition that cost a lot more than twice as much. It is also got decent physical connectivity options, a sturdy, well-designed chassis, and a comfortable keyboard. As the Flex 5’s 14-inch display could possibly be brighter and it might stand to reduce a few ounces, it’s even so a screaming-good value and an outstanding mainstream laptop.
More Flexible When compared to a Clamshell
The Flex 5’s 360-degree hinge helps it be more flexible when compared to a conventional clamshell laptop. By folding the hinge past 180 degrees, you can prop the notebook up just like a tent, rest it on the keyboard portion as an easel, and even fold it completely flat and make utilization of it as a tablet.
This overall flexibility isn’t unique to the Flex 5. Lenovo pioneered the 2-in-1 convertible notebook concept, and it provides a small number of such notebook models at all prices. Just because a 360-degree hinge must be sturdy, it often results in a bulkier chassis, which is normally true of the less costly convertibles that Lenovo and several other notebook computer 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, like 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 a lot more compared to the Flex 5-often around $1,500 for a decently powerful configuration. And that is why is the Flex 5 so attractive to persons who would like a workhorse laptop. By increasing a few tenths of an inch thick and some ounces in weight, you’re saving a huge amount of money but still getting serious computing capacity to get your projects done.
Besides a far more relaxed chassis design, the Flex 5 has the capacity to offer such a potent mixture of price and performance as a result of its fourth-generation AMD Ryzen “Renoir” processor options. Our review unit includes a 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, with an AMD Radeon graphics processor built-into the CPU, plus 16GB of memory and a 256GB solid-state drive. With six dedicated processor cores (multi-threading isn’t possible upon this chip’s cores), the Ryzen 5 4500U benchmarks much like many Intel Core i7 CPUs in more costly laptops. It’s an excellent leap forward for traveling with a laptop.
For a lot more power, you can configure a Flex 5 with an eight-core Ryzen 7 4700U. Lenovo offers a more substantial 512GB SSD as an optional upgrade. The maxed-out Flex 5 configuration still rings up at an acceptable $800.
This notebook computer is such much our review configuration, available exclusively at Amazon, have been regularly selling out at that time we wrote this. As well as the excellent value, coronavirus-related manufacturing delays and general issues surrounding the launch of a fresh processor family likely also have played a component in the Flex 5’s tendency to stay out of stock. When you can stretch your budget by $100 roughly, it’s worth looking into among the configurations sold at Lenovo.com, which remain excellent values and could be more easily available.
A lot of Connectivity in a Soft-Touch Chassis
The Flex 5’s chassis could be on the chunky side, but it isn’t unattractive. Lenovo runs on the unique soft-touch plastic coating on the sides and the keyboard deck, making the notebook computer pleasing to carry. The Graphite Gray color scheme of our review unit can be intriguing, making the notebook computer darker and moodier-looking compared to the mostly silver schemes of other Lenovo ultraportables. If you’d like to stick to a lighter color, the Flex 5 can be obtainable in Platinum Gray.
On the Flex 5’s left edge, you’ll discover a power port, an HDMI 1.4b output, a USB Type-C port, and an audio tracks combo jack. The USB-C port works extremely well to charge the laptop, and Lenovo includes an AC adapter with a USB-C plug, rendering the dedicated power port an anachronism. Since there’s only 1 USB-C port on the complete laptop, it’s worth asking if your retailer can substitute a barrel-style AC adapter instead. That way, you’ll manage to charge the notebook computer and utilize the USB-C port as well.
On the proper edge, there are two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a rarity on ultraportable laptops nowadays, and useful allowing you to connect one of the multitude of devices that haven’t yet moved to USB-C. The proper edge also hosts a full-size Sdcard reader and the Flex 5’s power button. Side-mounted power buttons are better to use when the notebook computer is propped up as an easel, but take care not to accidentally press the button when you grasp the Flex 5 on its sides.
Wireless connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. Support for the most recent Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard is absent, but it’s not really a requirement for a notebook computer in this cost range. The 802.11ac standard is enough fast enough for some home wireless environments.
The Flex 5’s Screen Could possibly be Brighter
Apart from the rather heavy chassis, the Flex 5’s only other noteworthy flaw is its screen, which is suffering from a comparatively dim backlight rated for 250 nits of brightness. I had to carefully turn the screen brightness up to the utmost level to see in a daylight-lit living room. The display is okay for darker homes, but any brightly lit environments-including offices-might reduce its visibility.
The panel is a complete HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) IPS touchscreen, which supports inputs from the Lenovo Digital Pen. The pen, an optional extra, offers 4,096 degrees of pressure sensitivity and includes two customizable buttons. This helps it be a full-fledged digital stylus, unlike the integrated digital pens incorporated with premium 2-in-1s just like the Lenovo Yoga C940 and the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex. Integrated pens are much smaller and less comfortable for long sketching sessions, but they’re significantly less apt to be misplaced since they’re placed and recharged in a slot that’s included in the notebook.
Above the Flex 5’s screen, there’s an HD webcam with a fixed-focus lens that shoots 720p video. Image quality appeared quite noisy and occasionally beaten up in my own testing, although that’s par for the course for notebook computer webcams. As the camera lacks IR sensors for face recognition, it can have a built-in physical privacy shutter for additional reassurance when you’re not using it. Rather than face recognition to get on your Windows account, you need to use the keyboard-mounted fingerprint reader in order to avoid cumbersome passwords.
The backlit keyboard offers remarkably stable key switches, making for a comfortable and satisfying typing experience. It’s produced from Lenovo’s flagship ThinkPad keyboards, with a few subtle differences. The Ctrl key is situated left of the Fn type in the low left corner, rather than the other way around. The along arrow keys are half-height, as the left and right arrow keys are full-height. The touchpad is a lttle bit stiff for my liking, nonetheless it still tracks accurately.
Audio quality from both 2-watt stereo speakers is satisfactory for Skype sessions. The large speaker grilles flank the keyboard, this means sound can be a lttle bit misdirected and muffled when you’re using the Flex 5 in “A”-frame or tablet orientation with the keyboard deck facing from you.
Lenovo carries a one-year warrantee with the Flex 5, with mail-in (instead of onsite) service to repair issues.
Computing Muscle May be the Flex 5’s Key Strength
It’s seldom that computing performance is probably the key strengths of an ultraportable laptop, especially one at a moderate price. Even the priciest types routinely have enough oomph to complete basic tasks like web browsing, nevertheless they rarely are up for complex tasks like 3D gaming or rendering videos. Because of its Ryzen 5 processor and Radeon graphics, the Flex 5 can be an exception. The majority of its similarly priced opponents use Intel Core i3 or Core i5 CPUs, like the Asus VivoBook S15, the Lenovo Yoga C640, and the Lenovo Yoga C740. The Microsoft Surface Go 2, a detachable hybrid tablet, uses a straight less-powerful Intel Core m3. Let’s look at its performance against those; I’ve outlined their base specs below…
These rivals are simply just no match for the Flex 5 in terms of our benchmark tests, which cover basic tasks like productivity and web browsing, and also gaming and multimedia article marketing. For a bird’s-eye view of everyday performance, consider the results of the PCMark test. PCMark 10 assesses office-centric tasks such as for example word processing, spreadsheet jockeying, web browsing, and videoconferencing, while PCMark 8 ranks the speed of the laptops’ storage subsystems.
It’s reasonable to anticipate comparable results on the storage benchmark, since all the systems use similar SSDs, but it’s immediately clear from the PCMark 10 results that the Flex 5 is in a different league.
That’s also true in article marketing benchmarks like rendering a 3D image in Maxon’s Cinebench, which is fully threaded to use all available processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU instead of the GPU to render a complex image.
Cinebench is normally an excellent predictor of our Handbrake video-editing trial, another tough, threaded workout that’s highly CPU-dependent and scales well with cores and threads. In it, we put a stopwatch on test systems because they transcode a typical 12-minute clip of 4K video (the open-source Blender demo movie Tears of Steel) to a 1080p MP4 file. It’s a timed test, and lower email address details are better.
As well as the fact that the Ryzen 5 in the Flex 5 has more cores than almost all of the CPUs in the other laptops, its base clock speed is higher, which also plays a part in its advantages here. It’s particularly telling that the Flex 5 is practically doubly fast as the Core i5-equipped Yoga C740 at completing the video rendering trial. (Observe how we test laptops.)
With regards to image editing in Adobe Photoshop, the Flex 5’s advantage isn’t as great. Actually, apart from the Core m3-powered Surface Go 2, the results of all laptops are grouped closely together upon this test. It stresses the CPU, storage subsystem, and RAM, nonetheless it can also take good thing about most GPUs to increase the procedure of applying filters, so systems with powerful graphics chips or cards could see a boost.
As the Radeon graphics may well not be a distinguishing element in running Adobe Photoshop, the Flex 5’s graphics prowess is immediately apparent on our game simulations. A score of practically 40 fps in the Unigine Superposition test at 720p resolution and poor settings recommend you may also be prepared to play intensive 3D games, so long as you turn the product quality and resolution settings way down. That’s evidently extremely hard with the integrated graphics capacities of the Core i5 and Core i3 chips represented here. The Flex 5 is no gaming laptop, actually, nevertheless, you could eke out some play at the cheapest settings.
The results of the 3DMark test confirm this. Like Superposition, 3DMark renders and pans through detailed 3D scenes and measures the way the system copes. Sky Diver is more suitable for laptops and midrange PCs, while Fire Strike is more demanding and designed for high-end PCs to strut their stuff.
That rough doubling of scores, on both 3DMark tests, between your Flex 5 and the others of the competitive field parallels what we saw on Superposition.
Flex 5 Offers All-Day Battery Life
You might expect a six-core Ryzen 5 could have a larger negative influence on battery life than, say, the dual-core Core m3 in the top Go 2. While that’s technically true, AMD and Lenovo have apparently succeeded in making certain the result is minimal. The Flex 5 lasted for a lot more than 16 hours inside our video rundown test, that involves looping a locally placed 720p video at 50 percent screen brightness with airplane mode fired up.
Now, let’s be clear: The Flex 5’s dim screen likely helps it accomplish that excellent result, since brighter pixels consume more power. Also contributing will be the laptop’s capacious 52WHr battery and improvements unique to Renoir chips, just like a redesigned power interface with three distinct states. Which means the operating-system can better communicate to the Ryzen 5 accurately how much power is necessary for confirmed task.
Excellent Value, Powerful Performance
You shouldn’t expect a $600 ultraportable notebook computer to really have the graphics functions of a $2,000 gaming rig, nor this content creation capacities of a $3,000 mobile workstation. But until recently, there was not a middle ground, as the legions of Core i3 and Core i5 ultraportables priced in the $500 range show.
The Flex 5 proves it is possible to offer performance acceptable for light gaming or occasional number-crunching and multimedia editing in a notebook computer that costs much less than category flagships just like the Dell XPS 13 or the Apple MacBook Pro. As the chassis could be somewhat lighter and the screen somewhat brighter, the capacities of the Ryzen 5 processor outweigh these deficiencies. The Flex 5 is therefore our new top pick in the cro