Lenovo Flex 15 Laptop review
When you're away from your desk, this system's keyboard, touchpad and speakers all offer solid performance. The backlit keyboard has just enough travel and snappy response to make typing comfortable for long stretches and the Windows precision touchpad is smooth and responsive without any jumpiness. The speakers are loud, with good clarity and adequate bass. You'll still be better off with headphones or external speakers if you're trying to hear over the system's fans when the laptop is under load, though.
Lenovo Flex 15 laptop review
The 15.6-inch Lenovo Flex 5 is a very good alternative to a traditional mainstream laptop. Though it is thin and relatively lightweight, it's maybe just a bit too much to carry around every day. But, the bigger screen does make it a good choice for general home office use or schoolwork, especially if you're going to be using its display full-time. And when it's time to stop working and kick back, the added screen flexibility and the Flex's crisp-sounding stereo speakers are terrific for movies, music and games.
With the popularity of 15-inch laptops and bend-back 2-in-1 notebooks, it's surprising that we so rarely see one as affordable as the 15-inch Flex 5 1570 (starts at $699, tested at $1,099). But while we love its bright, colorful display and comfy keyboard, we wish it lasted longer on a charge and that its bottom didn't heat up during use. However, if you want to consume media and stay productive on an affordable 2-in-1, the Flex 5 (15-inch) is a strong option.
The Flex 5's dual-core CPU is likely the reason it scored a 7,177 on the Geekbench 4 general-performance test. That mark falls below the 10,421 mainstream laptop category average, which includes results from many quad-core notebooks. We saw similar numbers from other dual-core machines, such as the 8,017 from the Spectre x360 (Core i7-7500U, 16GB of RAM) and the 8,274 from the Notebook 9 Pro (Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB of RAM). The 13,911 from the XPS 15 (Core i7-7700HQ and 16GB of RAM) and 11,951 from the Yoga 720 (Core i7-7700HQ, 8GB of RAM) can be attributed to the quad-core CPUs in those machines.
Not only does this machine include Candy Crush Soda Saga, but it's also got another game from the same developer (King): Bubble Witch 3, essentially a poor man's Snood. Like all Lenovo laptops I see, this machine also bears the Keeper password manager, but that program comes with the same license that is free to download online. Our sister site Tom's Guide rated Keeper a 7 out of 10 and said you can do better with LastPass (9/10).
Hybrids, or laptops that double as tablets, are great for consumers who want dual functionality in a single device. Lenovo hasn't forgotten about this segment of the market: The IdeaPad Flex 15 (MSRP $829.99) is an excellent all-around laptop.
At least this Lenovo contains a host of connectivity options, including three USB ports, an HDMI output, an SD card reader, and an ethernet jack. Also of note is Lenovo's power input, which charges the Flex very quickly. Can more laptops start doing this?
And like many cheaper laptops on the market, this IdeaPad can't connect to WiFi networks on the 5GHz spectrum. This might be a deal-breaker for a few, but most consumers use the standard 2.4GHz WiFi spectrum.
One thing I've learned from testing laptops is that consumers pay a premium for portability. You'll pay more for an ultra-slim laptop with low-end specs than you would for a larger laptop that has better internals. Case in point: Lenovo's Flex 15, which is a bit thicker than its ultrabook peers, but has solid performance scores across the board. For $829.99, it's a certified steal.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) is a mid-range 2-in-1 convertible Windows laptop. It's available with AMD Ryzen 4000 or Intel 10th Gen. U-series CPUs and integrated graphics. There's an NVIDIA GeForce MX330 dedicated GPU option, but only on models with an Intel Core i7 CPU. You can configure the laptop with up to 16GB of memory and 1TB of storage. It's only available with a 1080p 60Hz IPS display.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is decent for business use. The laptop's build quality feels satisfactory, with a lightweight and portable frame, and the battery lasts a full workday. The keyboard feels great to type on, even over long periods, while the plastic touchpad is reasonably sized. While the CPUs in the lower-end models are powerful enough to make web browsing and word processing smooth and responsive, they aren't suited for heavier multitasking. Unfortunately, the built-in webcam and microphone are mediocre for video calls.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is a good productivity laptop compared to other models in its price range. It stands out for its long battery life, comfortable keyboard, and outstanding performance over time.
The HP ENVY x360 13 (2020) and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) are very similar 2-in-1 convertible laptops, as they both have a 360-degree hinge that lets you flip the screen around into tablet mode. The quality of the keyboard and touchpad is similar on both devices, but the ENVY x360 has a better port selection, including Thunderbolt 4 support on the Intel variants. Performance-wise, the ENVY x360 comes out ahead for the most part because it's available with a newer generation of CPUs. The ENVY x360 throttles under load, while the IdeaPad Flex 5 doesn't suffer from any performance loss. If you work in a very well-lit or sunny environment, the ENVY x360 has a much brighter display option to combat glare.
The ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (2020) and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) are Windows 2-in-1 convertible laptops. The Lenovo is better for the most part because its keyboard provides a better typing experience, its touchpad is more responsive, and its webcam has better video quality. It also has a better port selection and longer battery life. The Lenovo is available with much more powerful CPUs and more memory, meaning it can handle significantly heavier workloads than the ASUS. Our VivoBook Flip 14 has an inferior 720P TN display, but you can get it with a 1080p IPS screen instead, which we expect will perform similarly to the Lenovo's.
The Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 (2021) and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 15 14 (2020) are both 2-in-1 convertible laptops with 14-inch screens. The Yoga 7i is a more premium device with a sturdier aluminum chassis, and it provides a better user experience, like a more colorful display, better-sounding speakers, and a more responsive touchpad. The Yoga 7i also has a much longer battery life, lasting 4 hours more in light productivity workloads, and it doesn't get as hot or loud under load. On the other hand, the IdeaPad Flex 5 has better performance over time as its CPU doesn't throttle under load.
The Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) are both 14-inch Windows laptops. However, the IdeaPad Flex 5 is a 2-in-1 convertible that you can use as a tablet, while the Swift 3 is a more traditional clamshell laptop. The Swift 3 has a more colorful screen with full sRGB coverage, while the IdeaPad Flex 5's looks a bit washed out. Additionally, the Swift 3 has longer battery life, a better port selection that includes a USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 support, and it doesn't get as hot under load. The IdeaPad Flex 5 has a better webcam, and its keyboard is more comfortable to type on because it doesn't feel as cramped.
The HP Pavilion x360 14 (2021) and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) are both 2-in-1 laptops with 360-degree hinges, but the Lenovo is a better laptop overall. The Lenovo's keyboard feels better to type on, its battery lasts significantly longer, and it throttles much less under load. Additionally, you can get it with a variety of Intel and AMD CPUs, as well as a dedicated, entry-level NVIDIA GPU. On the other hand, the HP has a much better-quality webcam, its USB-C port can output to an external display, it has an HDMI 2.0 port, and it doesn't get as hot under load.
The ASUS VivoBook 15 OLED K513 (2021) and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) are both ultraportable Windows laptops. However, the Lenovo has a 360-degree hinge that lets you use it as a tablet, which you can't do on the ASUS. The Lenovo laptop's keyboard feels more comfortable to type on, but the ASUS laptop's touchpad is smoother and more responsive. The ASUS also has a much better display as it uses an OLED panel that can produce deeper blacks and gets brighter. The ASUS' Intel 11th Gen processors perform better than the Lenovo laptop's AMD Ryzen 4000-series and Intel 10th Gen CPUs in single- and multi-threaded workloads. However, the Lenovo has a much longer battery life, lasting almost twice as long as the ASUS.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) is a 2-in-1 touchscreen convertible laptop, while the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020) is a portable, premium-feeling laptop running macOS. The MacBook is better for business use and multimedia viewing, with a significantly better-performing CPU and GPU and a much better and brighter display. Also, it has a much better touchpad, speakers, webcam, and microphone. On the other hand, the Lenovo's hinge can flip a full 360 degrees for use in tablet mode, its keyboard feels better to type on, and it has a much better port selection.
The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) is a premium-feeling laptop that runs macOS, while the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) is a 360-degree 2-in-1 with a touchscreen. The MacBook is particularly better for workstation and business use, with a better-performing CPU and GPU and a significantly better and brighter display. Also, it has a much better touchpad, speakers, webcam, and microphone. You can use the Lenovo in tablet mode, and it has a much longer battery life, a significantly better keyboard, and a more flexible selection of ports. There are variants of the Lenovo with a better CPU and an entry-level dedicated GPU, but we expect the battery life to be much worse.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) is much better than the ASUS X515 for most uses. Although the IdeaPad Flex has a slightly smaller display, it has a 360-degree hinge that lets you use the laptop as a tablet, while you can only use the X515 in clamshell mode. The IdeaPad Flex's keyboard provides a better typing experience, its touchpad has better tracking, and its webcam captures more details due to its higher resolution. The IdeaPad Flex also has longer battery life, and it can be configured with Intel or AMD CPUs, while the X515 is only available with Intel processors.