Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 review

You're getting you money's worth with Lenovo's Flex 14

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 review

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Like many Lenovo laptops, the Flex 14 comes in a number of different configurations. The model we tested packed the following components:

  • CPU: Intel 1.6 GHz Core i5 4200U
  • Graphics: Intel integrated HD 4400 graphics
  • RAM: 8GB of DDR3
  • Storage: 128GB SSD hard drive
  • Screen: 14-inch 1366x768 LED screen
  • WiFi: Intel Wireless-N 7260 network adapter (2x2 802.11bgn)
  • Ports: 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 Ethernet port, headphone/mic jack, HDMI out, SD/MMC card reader
  • Webcam: 720p front-facing camera
  • Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Size: 13.25 x 9.50 x 0.85 inches

At the low-end of the Flex 14's configuration, the unit comes with Intel's 1.40GHz Celeron ULT 2955U CPU, the previous iteration of Intel's integrated HD Graphics part, 4GB of memory, and a 500GB 5,400 rpm mechanical drive for $469. At the mid-range, $549 buys Intel's 1.7GHz Haswell-based Core i3 4010U with integrated HD Graphics 4400, 4GB RAM, and the same 5,400 rpm 500GB drive as above.

Intel's Core i5 4200U is a nice choice for the brains behind this laptop. This mid-range 22nm Haswell processor runs at 1.6GHz across two cores, with Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz when a single-core is active, and up to 2.3GHz with both cores active. The processor also supports HyperThreading, which means that each core is capable of handling an extra thread.

Lenovo Flex 14 review

For graphics, Lenovo wisely chooses to rely on Intel's HD Graphics 4400 part, which is integrated into the Core i5-4200U. It is worth noting that this is the same exact CPU Lenovo used in the Flex 14's higher-end cousin, the Yoga 2 Pro. That says a lot about both the Haswell microarchitecture: a processor fast enough and affordable enough to exist in one of Lenovo's flagship systems as well as its budget laptop is definitely doing something right.

The presence of a standard Ethernet port is commendable because so many thin-and-light laptops are choosing to omit it these days. It's not the kind of thing you miss until you really need it. It's yet another part of the Flex that flexes, expanding to accommodate an Ethernet plug while keeping the system's frame nice and slim.

Lenovo Flex 14 review

Also commendable is the 128GB of solid state storage, even if it left us concerned that this might not be enough space for many home/school users.

Aside from a higher-resolution screen, the only thing we found ourselves wishing for was a network adapter that supports 802.11ac. This would be a nice way to future-proof the Flex 14, but it is not essential or expected at this price point.