2-in-1 convertible laptops are no longer a default, upscale piece of hardware. Just as you can find low-cost classic clamshells, you can also find low-cost ones: take Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5i: its modest 3.31-pound weight makes it easy to switch quickly between touch tablet and regular laptop modes. That lightness is coupled with a redesigned, sturdy hinge and a 14-inch touch display, a screen size increasingly favored for convertibles. While there is room for improvement in some areas, such as panel brightness and battery life, at $799 for the test unit (models start at $669), it is a solid, though not award-winning, 2-in-1 in the popular price range.
Port options are the same as the 2021 model; competing models like the Dell Inspiron 14 7420 2-in-1 don’t support Thunderbolt at all, making this one of the few inexpensive convertibles that does support Thunderbolt 4. Keep in mind that the HDMI port is only 1.4a, so a 60Hz external 4K monitor will need to be connected via USB-C DP instead. We hope that future models will do away with the proprietary barrel AC adapter port and adopt two USB-C ports. Most other laptops, including the aforementioned Dell, have already moved to USB-C charging only.
The keyboard itself is still excellent for the price. Key travel isn’t as deep as on the ThinkPad, but it’s still comfortable to type on for long periods of time. Large keycaps, crisp fonts, and backlighting all contribute. It should be noted that the navigation keys double as arrow keys, so if you want to use Home, Pg, or End, you’ll have to hit the Fn key shortcut. The precision touchpad makes good use of the available space under the keys. There is plenty of room for gestures, and the clicks are adequate. The wobble that bothered us with last year’s model is still present, but it is a common symptom of laptops in this price range.
We were so impressed with the performance of the Ryzen released last year that we wanted to see how the Intel model fared; the Core i5-1135G7 is unfortunately a bit underpowered on multi-cores, as you can see in the benchmarks below. Single-core scores are healthy.
The AMD version of the IdeaPad Flex 5 was highly regarded for its performance with the Ryzen 5 4500U. That was impressive at the time, but what a difference a year later.
It is no longer the previous generation of chips, and the new Ryzen 5000 series processors are significantly faster – and the difference between the previous version and the current 11th generation Intel version is not that great. My review unit is a Core i5-1135G7 with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid state drive (SSD), allowing me to compare it with current laptops as well as previous AMD models.