Hands on: Lenovo Flex 14

This budget-conscious 2-in-1 brings on the power

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The Lenovo Flex 14 (known as Yoga 530 outside the US) is a good choice if you're in the market for a 2-in-1 laptop, but don't necessarily have the budget for its larger sibling, the Yoga 730.

For

  • Full-sized ports
  • Fast-charging features
  • Powerful innards

Against

  • Slightly hard to open with one hand
  • Display appears too reflective

There were a few things worth noting at Lenovo’s MWC 2018 booth, the first being the Lenovo Yoga 730. But, in a close second is the Lenovo Flex 14 (or Yoga 530 outside the US), a 14-inch 2-in-1 laptop that aims to deliver both solid performance and portability.

While it’s not as flashy as the Yoga 730, it’s still a good purchase to consider if you’re a fan of Lenovo’s Yoga series, which confidently swaps the device around into various positions, depending on your use case.

Read more: Lenovo Flex 6 14

We got some time to play with the Flex 14 at MWC 2018, so read on to see if it's the right pick for you.

Price and availability

With the smaller Yoga 730 sitting in at around $879, the Flex 14 is much more affordable, coming in at $549 (about £393, AU$700) for the lowest-spec version. 

As for availability, Lenovo is looking at a release window of April 2018 for the US specifically, but there’s no word yet on when it’ll come to international markets.

For that price and upward, you're getting up to a 1080p touch display powered an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor paired with up to 16GB of memory, as much as 512GB of SSD space and an optional Nvidia GeForce MX130 graphics chip with 4GB of DDR5 memory.

Design

From a design point of view, the Flex 14 looks like most 2-in-1 models from Lenovo’s lineup. 

There’s the polished aluminum surface that gives the laptop a sleek and premium look, while the flexible hinge is still sturdy enough to prop the device easily into a number of different positions.

Lenovo Flex 14

It’s still a bit challenging to open with one hand, but that’s just an early observation. Weighing in at 1.6kg (about 3.5 pounds), the laptop is easy enough to carry around, but obviously isn’t as slim and light as some of Lenovo’s other offerings.

Lenovo Flex 14

Inside, the chiclet keyboard is sturdy and comfortable to type on, and both touchpad and touchscreen were responsive to use. 

A fingerprint reader sits discreetly just below the bottom right of the keyboard, making it easy to get back into Windows with just a quick swipe.

Lenovo Flex 14

The bezels on the Yoga 530 are a bit more noticeable than we’d like them to be, but for the price point on offer, it’s a trade-off we’ll have to live with.

Performance

Battery life for the Flex 14 is said to sit firmly at around 10 hours, though this, of course, will vary greatly depending on your configuration and usage. Thankfully, you can quickly squeeze in two additional hours of usage from a dwindling battery in just 15 minutes of charging with the optional, fast-charging 64W power adapter.

The Flex 14 has a number of configurations available, starting from 7th gen Intel i3 processors all the way to the latest 8th gen i7 models. The 14-inch display comes in both HD (1,366 x 768) and FHD (1,920 x 1,080) variants, with either Intel integrated or dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX130 graphics. RAM goes up to 16GB, with storage sitting in at a max of 512GB. 

The Flex 14 is also available in three colors - Onyx Black, Mineral Grey, and Liquid Blue.

Lenovo Flex 14

With regards to connectivity, you’ve got full-sized ports for HDMI, two USB 3.0, one USB-C, and a card reader. 

Lenovo’s also thrown in support for its Active Pen 2 stylus. When combined with Windows Ink, this turns the Flex 14 into a potentially great device for design users or students to sketch on.

Early verdict

The Lenovo Flex 14 could be a solid offering for those who don’t necessarily have the budget to splurge on the Yoga 730, but still require a dependable 2-in-1 laptop that swiftly delivers on both portability and performance.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone. 

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.