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Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 2-in-1 review

Amongst the best for work as well as play

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Ryzen
(Image: © Srivatsa Ramesh)

TechRadar Verdict

The Lenovo Flex 5 is our favourite work from home laptop of the year. You get excellent performance and insane battery life, thanks to the Ryzen 4000 processor. The convertible form factor means you can quickly switch from work mode to entertainment mode. Additionally, you also get a privacy shutter, fingerprint scanner, front firing speakers, and fast charging

Pros

  • +

    Excellent performance

  • +

    Insane battery life

  • +

    Comfortable keyboard

Cons

  • -

    Display not bright enough

  • -

    Buggy in tablet mode

Two-Minute review

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is one of the most powerful 2-in-1 laptops (opens in new tab) available in the county right now. The machine is priced pretty aggressively compared to the competition. If you are looking for a good laptop to get your work done while starting at your home, this might be the perfect one for you. 

Spec sheet

Here is the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 configuration sent to TechRadar for review: 

CPU: 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 5 4500U (six-core, 8MB cache)
Graphics: AMD Radeon 7 (integrated)
RAM: 8GB RAM
Screen: 14-inch Full HD (touch-screen)
Storage: 512GB M.2 2242 PCIe NVMe SSD
Ports: 1 x Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, HDMI 1.4b, audio combo, microSD card
Connectivity: Intel Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0
Camera: HD webcam with privacy shutter
Weight: 1.5 kg
Size:  32.1 x 21.7 x 2.1 cm

For starters, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is a 2-in-1 laptop which is priced under Rs 60,000. On the inside, there is powered by Ryzen 5 4500U processor making it one of the few laptops in the segment to sport the chipset. The raw CPU performance beats the competitions with a fair bit of margin.

The chipset impact is also seen on the battery life. The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 offers an insane battery life of up to 9 hours consistently and sometimes even further. With this laptop, you can easily get your one day work without having to plug in the charger in the middle. If needed, the fast charging comes in handy.

The design is premium and classy. The laptop comes with a hinge mechanism which allows you to use it in any angle you want - laptop, tablet, tent mode. The display is good for indoor usage while in outdoor conditions it is very reflective and the 250nits brightness makes it harder to see the content. 

Apart from these, the Lenovo Flex 5 offers excellent audio, privacy shutter for camera, fingerprint scanner which is reliable, and excellent keyboard and trackpad. Overall, this is the best laptop for work and thus wins our Best Work from Home laptop award

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Pricing and availability

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Lenovo IdeaPad Fle...

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Price: Rs 58,990

In India, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is priced at Rs 58,990 for the base variant with the Ryzen 5 4500U chipset. The higher-end variant, with the Ryzen 7 4700U is priced at Rs 63,990. On eCommerce platforms though, the price is usually a little higher, so be sure to track the pricing to get a better deal.

Design

Lenovo is not a new name in the laptop segment and neither is it new to the 2-in-1 space. The iconic Yoga series from Lenovo (opens in new tab) is known for its design. The Lenovo Flex 5 is an attempt to bring the goodness of the Yoga series which is basically a 2-in-1 form factor to a more affordable segment. Let’s start off with the colour here. The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 comes in the sole Graphite Grey colour option. This colour looks classy and looks premium in the first look itself. 

It has a soft-touch finish with metallic coating on the front with small metal Lenovo branding placed towards the right, while the rest of the area remains plain. Opening up the laptop, you will be greeted with a 14-inch screen, keyboard and trackpad combo along with two front-firing speakers. Right below the keyboard, you will find the fingerprint scanner. The machine comes with 360-degree rotatable hinge which is built fairly well and sturdy material. The laptop weighs 1.5 Kgs and has a thickness of 17.9mm - this combo is considered as a thin and light laptop. While we do agree that as a laptop, this is definitely light but as a tablet, this feels quite heavy. So, it’s better to use it in the tent mode as I did. 

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The high mechanism is quite smooth and I did not have any issues. Lenovo claims that the hinge can survive up to 25,000 opening and closing actions over a course of four years, which is 17 times a day on average. On the left of the laptop, there is a barrel charging port, HDMI 1.4b port, USB-C port with power delivery certification, and microphone combo jack. To the right side, you get two USB 3.1 (Gen 1) ports, an SD card reader, and a power button. The power button acts as the regular power button on your smartphones. It works both in laptop and tablet mode. To the bottom, you get the air vent out and rubberized pads which provide grip. 

Although the laptop is made up of plastic, Lenovo has done a good job here with the looks. It does feel sturdy, classy, and the Graphite Grey colour makes it look premium. The Lenovo Flex 5 also comes with a Lenovo digital pen in the box which comes in Graphite Grey colour and comes with 2 customizable buttons. It has 4.096 levels of pressure sensitivity and takes in a AAAA battery.

Display

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5  comes with a 14-inch screen upfront, which has a Full HD resolution (1920x1080). This is a glossy display with an 88% screen to body ratio. The display supports 10-point Multi-touch and has narrow bezels on the sides while there is a noticeable amount of bezel on the top as well as at the bottom. The display has a peak resolution of 250 nits. The touch response is quite good here but I mostly used the keyboard as using the touchscreen requires extra responsibility of keeping the screen very clean. 

In my usage, I had no issues with the laptop screen indoors - It was bright enough to work. But, things changed when I took it outside, the display’s 250 nits brightness is not enough to view the screen and on top of it, the glossy reflective screen makes it even harder to see the content on the screen. The display is almost unusable if you are outdoors thanks to the 250nits reflective glossy display. Really wish Lenovo had packed in a matte finish display as we’ve seen on multiple laptops or even higher brightness value. 

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Apart from this issue, the display is good and I enjoyed it for work and viewing content on YouTube (in tent and tablet mode). Overall, if you are working from home or office cabin, you should have no issues as such with the IdeaPad Flex 5. If you are the one who goes out on work, the screen could be a deal-breaker. 

Performance

Display so reflective, it almost feels like a mirror (Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

As a device that is built to offer long-lasting consistent performance, the Lenovo Flex 5 does a tremendous job here. It beats the competition from Intel counterparts by a fair margin. And, as a machine for work or even to watch movies or shows, the Lenovo Flex 5 won’t disappoint you. 

On the inside, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is powered by AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor which makes the Flex 5 one of the cheapest laptops in India with Ryzen 5 4000 series chipset. It is a six-core CPU with a base clock speed of 2.3GHz and turbo clock speed of up to 4GHz. To handle the graphics, there is AMD Radeon R5 GPU onboard, which is decent for light to medium tasks. 

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 comes with 8GB DDR4-3200Mhz RAM which is Soldered. However, it supports up to 16GB of RAM. Further, it also packs in 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD which can’t be further expanded. 

The laptop showed no signs of overheating during my testing time

The day to day performance of the laptop was smooth and enjoyable. There was no lag, screen freezing at any given point of time. My usage included at least 15 chrome tabs including Google docs, sheets, Slack Application, a bit of photoshop, attending a couple of meetings, and downloading a few images and playing a few videos online. I had no issues doing all these throughout my time with the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5.

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

For those who want the benchmarking scores, here’s how the Lenovo Flex 5 performed in a couple of benchmarking tests we ran. Just to give you the reference, we also added scores of the Acer Swift 3 with 11th gen Intel processor and Dell XPS 13(10th gen Core i7) for the sake of comparison. 

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Cinebench scores
Single core Multi core
Flex 5 (Ryzen 5)1081 5020
Swift 3 (i5, 11th gen)1312 4087
XPS 13(i5, 10th gen)755 2332

I got 2111.57MB/s and 1020.73MB/s sequential read and write respectively in the CrystalDiskMark test. These scores are similar to what we get with the 10th gen Core i7 laptops. 

Though it doesn't come with a dedicated GPU. I tried out games such as Valorant, Counter Strike Global Offensive. All of these ran smoothly without any lag or jitter. It also handled photoshop without any hiccups. In a nutshell, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is a beast when it comes to performance. If you are looking for raw CPU performance, this will not disappoint you. 

Battery Life

One thing that Lenovo has maintained over the last few years is the good battery life on its range of laptops across segments. But, to be honest, I was pretty skeptical at the start. Given the form factor, I was expecting the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 to last anywhere from 4 hours to 5 hours. But, the end result took me by surprise. 

Once fully charged at 9 AM in the morning, the 52.5Wh battery unit easily lasts until evening 5 PM and even further on a few occupations. Since we were working on TechRadar India Awards, my work included opening up multiple docs, sheets, a bit of photoshop, multiple chrome tabs, and lastly, constantly communicating with teammates on Slack. The brightness was always set at 100%. With this usage for over three weeks, I was able to get over 8 hours of screen time consistently. On a few occasions, I even cross the 9 hours mark. I was truly taken aback by the battery life on this machine. Thanks to the not so bright display and powerful and efficient Ryzen 4000 processor, the battery life is one more thing that the Flex 5 ticks right.

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Next up for charging, Lenovo Flex 5 comes with a 65W barrel-style AC adapter in India. In some markets like the US, it comes with a Type-C charger. The India variant does support charging via Type-C port but is not fast as the barrel charger unless you have a supported adapter. The laptop supports fast charging which comes in really handy since it's a 2-in-1 machine. In my testing, the Flex 5 went from 10% to 100% battery in 90 minutes, whereas in the first 30 minutes, the battery status went to 55% and in an hour the laptop reached 90%. 

Overall, we were pretty impressed with the battery life on the device and on top of that, the fast charging is also pretty nifty addition. Once charged, the device can last one full working day. 

Keyboard and trackpad

The keys on the Flex 5 are spaced well and have a good amount of travel. Typing a long document or writing a script was very enjoyable. Like most laptops, we’ve seen of late, the Lenovo Flex 5 comes with half-sized upper and lower arrow keys, which is the one thing I didn’t like here. But, that’s been my personal preference for years. There is also backlighting onboard which comes handy during low-light. It comes in two types of lighting the keyboard which can be enabled by Fn + spacebar keys. The keyboard layout looks really good when you turn on the backlighting. 

The trackpad, on the other hand, is very spacious and works well. It supports gestures and clicks. It is smooth and responsive. There is no separation here for right and left-click - it is an all in one plane surface. 

Lenovo also bundles a stylus or Lenovo Digital Pen which is the official term. The pen comes with 4096 levels of pressure and can be used for accessing content on the screen, doodling, taking notes, drawing, and much more. It comes with two customizable buttons which can be mapped according to the requirement. However, there is no way to keep the pen attached all the time as it is not magnetic, instead, Lenovo is bundling a plastic holder with which you can store the pen using one of the USB ports. It found the pen useful while taking some notes on the tent mode and doodling occasionally. It’s a good addition that comes in the box but, you might not use as much as you’d expect to. 

Everything else

While the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 shines as 2-in-1, with reliable performance and battery life, there’s more to the list which makes this a great laptop. As for the security features, the laptop comes with a fingerprint scanner which is fast and reliable. It works with Windows Hello authentication and even stores multiple fingerprints. Additionally, the laptop also comes with a camera privacy shutter, which is a neat addition. The slider works as intended and you can open it only when you are using the camera. 

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Furthermore, as a device that is also made to watch content apart from work, the Flex 5 comes with dual front-firing speakers. It offers rich, clear and loud audio. The mic quality is also surprisingly good here, I did not have to use any headphones during multiple meetings I attended over the last few weeks. The camera, however, is just average and is usable for meetings and class. It’s good but not extraordinary. 

As for the connectivity, the Flex 5 offers dual-band Wi-Fi support and Bluetooth 5.0. I had no issues with the network or Bluetooth connectivity - both were connected seamlessly. On the software front, the machine runs on Windows 10 Home edition with a regular set of features offered from Microsoft. You also get Office Home and Student 2019 bundled with this. 

One of the other issues I found on the Flex 5 was actually a bug. When the slack application is open in laptop mode and switch to tablet mode, the slack app refuses to close and there is no way to close the application unless I switch back to laptop mode. Also, on multiple occasions, the device did not switch to table mode even when it was folded completely - these are software related issues and can be fixed with an update in the near future. 

One of the bugs that I spotted on the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex was the inability to close Slack after switching to tablet mode. Sometimes, Windows would refuse to switch to tablet mode altogether. Since these are software issues, there’s a chance that an update could address these.

Verdict

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Buy it if...

You’re looking for a powerful laptop

The Lenovo Flex 5 is a beast when it comes to raw performance, be it chrome tabs, photoshop edits, or using multiple applications simultaneously, this machine is made to handle it all. 

You want  full-day battery life

The Ryzen 5 4500U is an efficient six-core processor, which not only offers excellent performance but delivers battery life that can be turned insane. The machine will easily last a full workday and beyond. Additionally, there is also fast charging when needed.

Your work involves a lot of typing

The keypad and trackpad combo is excellent and for anyone whose work requires the usage of keyboard and trackpad extensively, this will not disappoint you. For those who are night owls, it also comes with backlighting. 

Apart from this, you can also purchase the Flex 5 if you enjoy viewing content on a laptop, care about additional security(privacy shutter and fingerprint scanner), and for those who want a good 2-in-1 hybrid. 

Don't buy it if...

If you work outdoor

The display on the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is good but it's not bright enough to work outdoors. It can only go up to 250 nits. Also, the panel is very reflective and makes it hard to see the content. 

If you game a lot

Although the laptop can play a few medium graphics games, the Flex 5 is not made for gamers as it does not come with a dedicated GPU. If you want a gaming laptop (opens in new tab), look elsewhere. 

Srivatsa Ramesh
Srivatsa Ramesh

Srivatsa is a prolific writer who spearheads the core writing team on tech news, buying guides, reviews, and all gadget articles. He is passionate about technology.