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Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is easy on the pockets, but let me tell you, it doesn’t feel, look or act cheap. This Chromebook may have “Flex” in its name, but ironically, its solid metal chassis is tough with a premium-feeling, part-aluminum body. At first glance, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook may look like another gray, clamshell laptop, but this shape-shifting device can also turn into a tablet thanks to its sturdy 360-degree hinge. You’ll also enjoy the clicking keyboard that takes you to typing heaven. This is our Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review.

Specifications

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Specs
Price:$410
CPU:Intel Core i3-10110U
RAM:4GB
Storage:64GB
Display:13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080
GPU:Intel UHD
VRAMNo
Battery life:7 hours and 20 minutes
Size: 12.2 x 8 3 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 2.9-pounds

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review: Design

$599.66
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Last updated on August 10, 2020 9:27 am

Flex 5 Chromebook is a humble guy – its graphite gray color scheme gives this laptop a low-key, unobtrusive look. At the top right of the lid, you’ll find the word “Chromebook” next to a white Google Chrome logo. The top left of the lid is the word “Lenovo” in a glossy rectangle. Open the lid, and you’ll be greeted by more graphite-gray goodness over the keyboard cover, which has a satisfying, smooth stony look.

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review

Two sets of speaker grilles flank the island-like MacBook Pro keyboard. The grey keys feature white letters and characters. Under the space bar is a generous gray trackpad. The edges of the screen aren’t thick or thin – they’re somewhere in the middle. One ring isn’t like the other, though, and that’s the bottom ring with its super-sized chin. On the top edge is a 720p webcam with a privacy shutter.

The Lenovo Flex 5 has quite a bit of legacy and modern ports. On the left side of the Flex 5 Chromebook, you’ll find a USB Type-A port, a USB Type-C port, and a headset jack. To the right are a microSD card reader, a Kensington lock, and another USB Type-C port.

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook measures 12.2 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches and weighs 2.97 pounds, which is slightly lighter than its 2-in-1 Chromebook rivals: HP’s Chromebook x360 12b (2.98 pounds) and Asus’ Chromebook Flip C434 (3.1 pounds).

Keyboard and TouchPad

You’ll love the Flex 5 Chromebook’s keyboard; it’s the laptop’s most eye-catching feature in addition to its build quality. This backlit, island-like keyboard has one of the most clickable, bouncy keys I’ve ever had the pleasure of judging. The Flex 5 Chromebook is ideal for productivity work because the keyboard lets you fly rhythmically through any word processor.

The 4 x 2.6-inch touchpad on the Flex 5 Chromebook is impressively responsive. I also had no problem experimenting with Chrome OS gestures, such as pinching the zoom and swipe two fingers to visit previous pages.

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review: Display

The Flex 5 Chromebook’s 13.3-inch, 1080p touchscreen is, to put it succinctly, unobtrusive. The screen isn’t excellent, but it’s not subtle either – it’s just decent. I looked at the Venom 2 trailer, and I could see the faint, barely visible blush on Marisa Tomei’s cheeks and her forehead wrinkles, while she distorted her face to an anxious expression. So the Flex 5 Chromebook display has enough crispness and detail for visual pleasure, but the colors could be more vibrant and rich.

However, at such a low price, I’d be crazy to expect top-tier screen specs. When I turned the Chromebook into a tablet, I had no problem with the Chrome OS touch gestures, such as swiping up to go back to the home screen and swiping left to switch previous web pages. It’s also worth noticing that this display supports digital pen input, but there is no stylus in the package.

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook’s screen covers 66% of the sRGB color gamut, according to our colorimeter. This is much lower than the 79% color gamut coverage of the average Chromebook. Unfortunately, the Flex 5 also falls short of its competitors: the HP Chromebook x360 12b (79%) and Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (93%) both have a livelier display.

Using the Flex 5 Chromebook on a bright, sunny day may not be ideal either. With 226 nits of brightness, the Flex 5 Chromebook’s display is dimmer than the average 275 nits Chromebook. On the other hand, HP’s Chromebook x360 12b’s screen is much worse, with a bleak brightness of 216 nits. The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 outperforms both the Flex 5 and the x360 12b with a 286-nit panel.

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review: Audio

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook’s unhindered, upward-firing dual speakers flank the keyboard, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well the sound filled my mid-size test room. I listened to Chloe x Halle’s “Ungodly Hour” on Spotify, and the most angelic voices coming out of the speakers sounded a bit hollow and lacked that full, round audio I’ve come to expect. But the room-filling sounds from the speakers are passable and provide the much-needed, enjoyable music sessions when you take a work break.

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review: Performance

I tested the Flex 5 Chromebook’s multitasking muscle by running 32 Google Chrome tabs, including two YouTube (1080p) videos. Equipped with an Intel’s Core i3-10110U CPU and 4GB RAM, the Chromebook took up my challenge when I went through a Google Docs assignment without experiencing any delays or system slowdowns. However, one thing struck me: when I flooded Chrome with tabs, the bottom of the laptop was toasted a bit.

With a score of 1,643 in the Geekbench 5 overall performance test, the Flex 5 beat the category average (1,563) and the HP Chromebook x360 12b (802). Still, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 could not compete with the Chromebook Flip C434 (6,968).

On the Jetstream 2.0 benchmark, which tests web browser speed, the Lenovo Flex scored 5 100.7, which is better than the average Chromebook category (83.97), the Chromebook x360 12b (43.73), and the Chromebook Flip C434 (76.7).

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review: Battery Life

The battery backup of the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is disappointing for a Chromebook (the average Chromebook has a running time of 10 hours and 14 minutes). The Lenovo Flex 5 lasted 7 hours and 20 minutes on our battery test, surfing the web continuously with 150 nits of screen brightness. This is below our average recommended 8-hour runtime. HP Chromebook x360 12b (8:06) and Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (9:58) provide longer battery runtimes.

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review: Heat

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook remained relatively cool while I tested it — except when I challenged it to endure 30 open Chrome tabs and two YouTube videos without delay. On our heat test, which includes streaming a 1080p YouTube video for 15 minutes, the touchpad and keyboard center hit 78 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, which is below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The bottom of the laptop crawled up to 92 degrees, and the hottest part of the laptop – which is near the vents located between the hinge – reached a roasted temperature of 99 degrees.

Price and Configuration Options

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is available only in one configuration, and it costs $409.99 and comes with a 13.3-inch, 1080p display, Intel’s Core i3-10110U, integrated Intel’s UHD graphics, 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC flash memory.

Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Review: Conclusion

If someone approached me and said: “I need a perfect laptop that costs less than $500”, I would advise them to give up Windows and consider buying a Chromebook – a Flex 5, in particular. For $409, the Chromebook Flex 5 offers excellent value for your money, including a comfortable keyboard with perfect tactile feedback, a privacy hatch for your webcam, a 360-degree hinge for a convertible device, and a solid chassis with the impressive build quality.

However, Flex 5 also has several features that will remind you of its low price, including a weak display, below-average battery life, and average performance. For those willing to shell out an extra $100 for better battery life and brighter screen, check out the Asus Chromebook Flip C434, which is also a 2-in-1 convertible with Chrome OS.

But for high productivity users who want to keep within their $500 budget, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is a great choice. For more options, check our list of Best Laptops Under $500

7.5 Total Score
Our Verdict

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is an affordable 2-in-1 with a great keyboard, but with average performance.

PROS
  • Flexible 2-in-1 design
  • Touchscreen with pen support
  • Exceptional keyboard
  • Webcam privacy shutter
  • Affordable
CONS
  • Below-average battery life
  • Average performance
  • Dim display
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