- Portable 2-in-1
- Chiclet Keyboard
- Battery Life
- Highly reflective display
- Heavy to use in tablet mode for longer periods
- Transition from PC to tablet – little buggy
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 – Introduction
If you’re in the market for a laptop, there are tons of options you can buy. And, if you’re in it for tablets, there are quite limited options, and the good ones certainly don’t come at an affordable price point. And, since it’s a tablet, the user experience would be constrained. There are certain laptops, also known as 2-in-1s, which offer the best of both worlds. Several OEM makers make them, but not all are affordable like we have here – the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5, which is in for review.
The new offering from Lenovo comes with a touch screen display, a 360-degree hinge and a (digital pen) stylus. We have used the AMD Ryzen powered 2-in-1 for quite a while now, and it can be considered as a go-to laptop, although. Let’s delve into what it has got to offer.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 — Display
The IdeaPad Flex 5 comes with a touch screen display with significant bezels on the top and bottom; however, the left/right bezels are minimal, giving us an engaged feeling when watching content or when adhered to workaholic mode.
The display measures 14-inches diagonally with FHD resolution. It is a glossy display that achieves a maximum brightness of 250 nits. The glossy display works well in a closed room or minimum lighting conditions, and consuming content is fairly good. But it doesn’t get bright enough in well-lit lighting or under the sunlight situations. The glossiness makes the display highly reflective and almost unusable in the aforementioned well-lit conditions.
Again, this could be a personal preference as I am more used to matte finish laptop displays or TVs for that matter. If your work tends to take place more in the office like in a cabin or work from home scenario, the display’s pretty subtle to use. A little extra brightness could make this laptop preferable to everyone, and there’s also no display upgrade option; hence it’s a miss.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 — Design and Build
The IdeaPad Flex 5 takes its design cues from the predecessor Flex 4 series but significantly improves the build quality. There are no fancy metal chassis here, but the 2-in-1 offers a plastic build overall, but it positively doesn’t feel plasticky, and it is soft to touch. While the body is made of plastic, the bottom comes with a sturdy polycarbonate build that appears firm, underhand. Our review unit arrived in Graphite Grey, which looks decent and compact right out of the box.
On the design front, the 2-in-1 here comes with a minimal design aesthetic. When folded, the top has flat-plain design, and comes with Lenovo branding, on the bottom right, which is a popular design, considering the earlier released laptops from Lenovo.
The crucial element of any 2-in-1 laptop will be its hinge. Better the hinge, better the flexibilities. And, the latest IdeaPad does have both a 360-degree sturdy hinge including its flexibility. The two hinges holding the display and the keyboard are firm, rotate and stay at any angle thrown at it.
However, ideally, we can use it as a traditional laptop at any desired display angle. Further, it flexes through to utilise it in a tablet mode; however, it feels slightly heavier than a regular tablet out there. The other possibilities are the tent mode and a stand mode, to consume content wherever.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 – Keyboard
The IdeaPad Flex 5 here equips a chiclet-style keyboard, which is very satisfying, to begin with. The key travel on the keyboard is exceptional, and it’s backlit, which is convenient. There are regular function keys, which traditionally come with essential functionalities like volume controls, muting mic, aeroplane mode, casting device mode, quickly accessing opened windows, to name a few.
Then we have a trackpad, which isn’t small but significantly comfortable to rest your palm. It is also smooth and swiping in on it across is more fluid, and readers will have to note that there aren’t dedicated right and left click buttons, which isn’t uncommon on these portable devices.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 — Ports
On the I/O front, firstly, there’s a 720p webcam placed ideally at the top right centre of the display. It does the job for taking frequent video calls, which have become quite essential in these tough times. There is Lenovo Vantage mode, through which a user can adjust his/her brightness or even modify the contrast settings to appear better on video calls, especially in low lighting conditions. The camera also comes with a privacy shutter, which is beneficial for those concerned (everyone should be concerned, period.) about their privacy and can close the camera, whenever it’s irrelevant.
There are built-in 2W speakers placed on either side of the keyboard, which also come with Dolby Atmos certification. As for the quality, they sound loud and clear with minimal bass. They certainly eliminate the need for headphones to watch a YouTube video, for instance, and taking conference calls without earphones is quite apparent on the Flex 5.
The placement of these speakers is precise; however, there’s a little drawback as they can be silenced easily while the 2-in-1 flips into tablet mode. The speakers here face on the other side when in tent mode, or tablet mode. The IdeaPad Flex 5 certainly is a little heavy in tablet mode, and you would often find yourself using both hands; hence the speakers are often muffled. Other than that, these are indeed some nice loud audio speakers.
The IdeaPad here comes with notable ports, overall. On the right, the 2-in-1 features a microphone, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB Type-C port, an HDMI port and charging port. On the right, it comes with a backlit power button, card reader, and two USB ports.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 – Performance
Under the hood, the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U powers the device and there’s a Ryzen 7 4700U variant as well. We have tested the Ryzen 5 4500U processor on the IdeaPad Flex 5 here, which can boost clock speeds of up to 4.0GHz. It has AMD Radeon to handle graphics.
Before explaining the performance phase here, I would like to share my usage scenario first. I typically use the laptop for writing, which I do, and I love it. It includes using mostly Google Chrome and Google Docs with more than 20 tabs running in the background. And, at our organisation use Microsoft Teams, which will be always on in the background. After the typical working hours, I would switch to content watching mode, be it YouTube, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. On the weekends, I would usually watch content again and occasionally read, but the digital pen that came with IdeaPad Flex 5 made me play around and test my wicked art skills.
Nonetheless, the IdeaPad Flex 5 handled my workflow mentioned above quite effortlessly. Despite the fact that the number of Google Chrome tabs always running in the background, there wasn’t anything that the 2-in-1 couldn’t take. The laptop kept cool throughout, and the fans ran with little noise whenever needed while running Windows Update installations in the background. Otherwise, the 2-in-1 is surprisingly quiet. Even hours of binge-watching is nothing that the laptop here couldn’t handle.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 – Battery Life and Charging
Also, the battery backup is reasonably good. It gave me a day use comfortably, and the 65W bundled charger can charge the 2-in-1 in and around to full under two hours.
The laptop features an 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of SSD. Having an SSD in the portable 2-in-1 is quite handy as it makes running every app smoothly and provides quicker boot times.
We have run down some tests that indicate the read and write speeds. For instance, in the CrystalDiskMark test, the IdeaPad Flex 5 achieved up to 1640MB per second of sequential read speeds and up to 787 MB per second of sequential write speeds. On the Geekbench test, it achieved a 639 single-core score and 2801 multi-core score. Also, on the Cinebench test, it achieved 4670 points in CPU multi-core and 1110 points on the single-core CPU.
All in all, regardless of the numbers the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 does the job in handling multiple responsibilities quite easily keeping itself cool and quiet – be it involving professional workflow or consuming content on the go as a tablet. However, the digital pen is not for professionals who create, edit content, which nonetheless, the 2-in-1 can handle effortlessly. Still, it is indeed helpful in taking quick notes or can be utilised extensively during a presentation. The setbacks of the new 2-in-1 could be its display as the brightness of it is not up to the mark, especially in well-lit conditions, as suggested earlier.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 – Verdict
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 checks all the boxes of what an essential 2-in-1 can do. For the price, the build is great, the display is fine, the speakers are good, the trackpad’s placement is great. Also, the fingerprint sensor located away from the trackpad works fast and quicker using Windows Hello authentication. Also, it doesn’t get in the way. Moreover, the performance capabilities are quite sufficient to handle the day to day essential tasks; the battery here is a gem, which can easily last through a day on a single charge. Using this as a tablet for longer periods could be a little finicky, yet the IdeaPad Flex 5 offers the best of both worlds at a fairly reasonable price.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 AMD Ryzen 5 4500U retails at Rs 56,990, and the Ryzen 7 4700U, which is a significant upgrade retails at Rs 63,990.