The Lenovo Flex 5 is an effective mid-range Chromebook with an honest show, glorious audio system, a pleasant keyboard, and versatile connectivity.
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Those on the lookout for an affordable Chromebook are definitely spoiled for selection however, as talked about in my guide to buying a laptop without getting screwed, shopping for the correct Chromebook might be tough. Many funds fashions have lackluster processors, minimal RAM, and sub-par shows.
Lenovo’s Chromebook Flex 5 is a 13-inch, 2-in-1 Chromebook that tries to outpace essentially the most cheap programs with out inflating the worth. It’s principally profitable in its effort, however homeowners should tolerate occasional reminders of the system’s funds roots.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 specs and options
I reviewed the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13ITL5, a particular configuration only available at Best Buy. It’s just like essentially the most primary mannequin obtainable via Lenovo’s personal net retailer however bumps up the processor to an Intel Pentium Gold dual-core with two cores, 4 threads, and a most clock velocity of 3.5GHz. It has a listed MSRP of $419 however is at present on sale at $389.
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 7505 @ 2GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR4
Graphics/GPU: Intel UHD
Display: 13.3-inch 1080p IPS touchscreen
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Connectivity: 2x USB-C with DisplayPort, 1x USB-A, 3.5mm audio jack
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is a surprisingly enticing and assured laptop computer. I notably just like the look of Best Buy’s unique configuration which is a deep navy blue. I’m all the time a sucker for different laptop computer colorways and I particularly like how the Flex 5’s grey keycaps praise the subdued blue chassis.
It feels substantial in-hand as effectively due to the steel show lid and the textured plastic of the laptop computer’s decrease half. A little bit of flex is noticeable when dealing with the laptop computer roughly, but it surely’s not apparent in regular day-to-day use. The show lid is very inflexible for a funds laptop computer, exhibiting solely the slightest trace of give.
That’s a great factor as a result of, as talked about, the Chromebook Flex 5 is a 2-in-1. You can flip the show 360 levels to transform the laptop computer right into a pill. This is now not a novel idea and, sadly, the Flex 5 has all the standard issues of this design.
Tablet use is feasible, sure, however the Flex 5 weighs almost 3 kilos and is bigger than even the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Flicking via net pages whereas propping the laptop computer up with a leg or arm is extra awkward than it’s pleasant.
The so-called tent and presentation modes, which use the keyboard as a stand, are extra sensible. You can flip the hinge 270 levels to prop the 2-in-1 in your lap or a desk. This is ideal for viewing Netflix or YouTube.
Like many 2-in-1 Chromebooks, the Flex 5 locations energy and quantity buttons on the correct flank of the laptop computer as a substitute of above the keyboard (or each). This location is smart when utilizing the 2-in-1 in pill mode however is awkward in any other case. I’d sometimes put the laptop computer to sleep or modified the amount whereas fidgeting with the right-side ports.
Every Chromebook Flex 5 configuration has a 1080p IPS touchscreen. This is among the many laptop computer’s biggest perks. A 1080p display screen is just not assured on the $350 worth level, but it surely’s a giant plus and it separates the machine from much less interesting rivals just like the HP Chromebook x360 14a and entry-level variants of the Asus Chromebook Flip line.
It’s an honest show as effectively. I measured a most brightness of 298 nits, which is greater than the promised 250 nits and excessive sufficient to make the shiny display screen pleasant when used indoors (open air use, nonetheless, is a no-go).
1080p video seems to be sharp and shiny. Colors are noticeably subdued to any premium laptop computer however, at this worth level, it’s exhausting to complain. I did discover just a few shiny spots alongside the sides of the display screen in darkish scenes, which might be distracting when watching video in a darkish room.
If I used to be happy by the display screen, I used to be shocked by the audio system. The Flex 5 has a pair of upward-facing audio system alongside both sides of the keyboard. That already places it forward of many most funds laptops, which frequently put audio system in a downward-facing place that may sound muffled in your laptop computer. Better nonetheless, the audio system are loud, clear, and have simply the slightest trace of bass.
Need a laptop computer that’s nice for video conferencing? You’ll wish to cross on the Flex 5. It has a easy 720p webcam that commits all of the sins widespread to laptops. Video high quality is delicate, fuzzy, grainy, washed-out, and almost unusable in low gentle. The microphone sounds skinny and uninteresting, although it rejects undesirable noise pretty effectively.
There is one bit of excellent information: the digicam has a built-in bodily privateness shutter.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 has a wonderful keyboard. Key really feel is crisp and taut with vital key journey and a backside motion that’s agency however not harsh. While the keyboard definitely doesn’t use mechanical switches, it does have a assured, tactile really feel that will attraction to followers of mechanical keyboards.
Even the format is great. Most Chromebooks have an analogous key format, however some fashions can really feel a bit cramped. The 13-inch Flex 5 largely avoids this drawback and in addition provides an honest quantity of house on the palm relaxation. Professional NBA gamers would possibly really feel cramped, however most homeowners will likely be comfy.
The touchpad measures about 4 inches broad and three inches deep, which is common for a 13-inch laptop computer, and responds effectively to the contact. I’m not a fan of its easy plastic texture, although, because it creates only a bit an excessive amount of friction when scrolling via paperwork of internet sites. It will get the job performed, a minimum of. And don’t overlook the touchscreen. It offers a helpful different for scrolling or zooming.
Lenovo’s USI Pen is suitable with the Chromebook Flex 5 and might be helpful for individuals who need extra exact contact enter. It was not included with my assessment unit, nonetheless, so I used to be unable to check it.
The Chromebook Flex 5’s connectivity seems to be in the direction of the longer term. It has two USB-C ports, each of which assist DisplayPort 1.2 and Power Delivery 2.0. The included charger additionally connects over USB-C.
A single USB-A port offers legacy connectivity. It’s joined by a 3.5mm combo audio jack and a microSD card reader on the 2-in-1’s left flank.
Wireless connectivity consists of Bluetooth 5 and Wi-Fi 6. The Chromebook Flex 5’s Wi-Fi efficiency was glorious. It achieved obtain speeds of as much as 568Mbps when 5 toes from a Wi-Fi 6 router and speeds of as much as 87Mbps when positioned 50 toes away in a indifferent workplace.
These are sturdy outcomes for a laptop computer at any worth level and effectively above the Internet speeds obtainable in most houses.
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 configuration I reviewed had an Intel Pentium Gold 7505 dual-core processor with 4 threads, a base clock velocity of 2GHz, and a most Turbo Boost velocity of 3.5GHz. Although branded as a Pentium processor, it’s based mostly on the Tiger Lake structure widespread to Intel Core 11th-gen chips. The processor is paired with 4GB of DDR4 reminiscence and a meager 32GB of eMMC storage.
CrXPRT 2 efficiency rating: 124, 124
Speedometer 2.0: 78.84, 78.32
Basemark Web 3.0: 907.16, 947.66
Jetstream: 126.190, 131.741
The Chromebook Flex 5’s benchmark outcomes are high-quality however not spectacular. These scores definitely lag what you possibly can count on from an Intel Core i3 processor. However, they simply defeat an entry-level Chromebook with a MediaTek chip or an Intel Pentium processor that’s a number of generations outdated.
Real-world efficiency fell consistent with the benchmark outcomes. The Chromebook Flex 5 is quick sufficient for many net looking, doc enhancing, or marking up PDFs in an internet app, however can really feel taxed by demanding duties. It balked and sputtered via a big Google Sheets undertaking and commenced to pant when my tab rely exceeded a dozen.
Gaming is a wrestle. I attempted a number of Android video games together with Genshin Impact, Alto’s Odyssey, and Fallout Shelter. Each stuttered incessantly, and Genshin’s Impact crashed on the login display screen (which, to be honest, has occurred on each ChromeOS laptop computer I’ve examined this yr). I managed to get pleasure from just a few Itch.io video games operating via WebGL, a minimum of, and Stadia labored in addition to on different laptops.
The tiny 32GB eMMC might be an issue. My assessment unit had solely a smidge greater than 10GB of storage obtainable once I first booted the machine. That’s satisfactory for a Chromebook since you’ll be able to lean closely on Google Drive, however just a few massive Android apps or video recordsdata can eat up that house in a rush.
This would possibly all sound disappointing however, as all the time, worth issues. The Flex 5’s efficiency is appropriate for a laptop computer in its worth vary and it’ll get most individuals via day-to-day use with out subject. More highly effective ChromeOS 2-in-1s just like the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 include the next price ticket.
Every Chromebook Flex 5 configuration has a 51 watt-hour battery. This led the 2-in-1 to a battery results of eight hours and 22 minutes within the CrXPRT 2 battery benchmark, a mean end result for a Chromebook.
Real-world battery life didn’t fairly dwell as much as the benchmark. The Flex 5 lasted six to seven hours in my typical use, which consists of looking net pages, watching YouTube, and enhancing paperwork in Google Docs, Sheets, and Microsoft Office net apps.
Overall, the Flex 5’s battery efficiency is appropriate for the worth. Most laptops beneath $400 have a smaller battery and a few have a bigger show, which ends up in even much less spectacular endurance. Need true all-day portability? Spend extra or purchase an iPad.
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is a stable mid-range Chromebook with a great show, glorious audio system, a pleasant keyboard, and versatile connectivity. Its efficiency and battery life fail to face, however that’s acceptable on the 2-in-1’s $389 worth level. The Flex 5 didn’t blow away my expectations, however I did get pleasure from utilizing it and that alone makes it simple to advocate for customers on a $400 funds.