Lenovo Flex 5i Review

$357.76 $549.99 SEE AT AMAZON

7.8 Total Score
GOOD

The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook is a great convertible laptop that’s hugely versatile and has good battery life, but we only wish it offered more storage options. Still, it boasts solid performance, a beautiful design, and a comfortable keyboard, all at a reasonable price.

PROS
  • Solid performance
  • Good audio quality
  • Responsive, backlit keyboard
  • Long battery life
  • Competitively priced
CONS
  • Only 64GB of storage
  • Pen not included

The Lenovo Flex 5i is the convertible version of our favorite IdeaPad 5i and brings Chromebook enthusiasts a more affordable 2-in-1 form factor to work with. Here you’ll find a 1080p display that rotates 360 degrees, a fairly powerful 11th Gen Intel processor, and a large battery all packed into a svelte piece of hardware. It competes with the likes of Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 and others under $500 Chromebooks.

Indeed, this laptop stands out as a compelling all-rounder, delivering some decent components at a very reasonable price. Along with that Intel CPU, the highlights kick-off with a 13-inch touchscreen. It offers a Full HD 1,920 by 1,080-pixel resolution and IPS panel technology. Being a ‘Flex’ model, the screen is hoped to the IdeaPad’s chassis via a full 360-degree hinge and thus can be used in full Tablet mode.

At this price point something inevitably has to give and as reviewed the most obvious drawback is the meager 64GB storage. It doesn’t have a huge impact on performance as you will be running most of your tasks on browser tabs, but should you need to download lots of files, that can be limiting. In that case, you can get an external hard drive to store most of your files, but the 8GB RAM offers decent pep to run most daily tasks.

In previous iterations of the IdeaPad Flex 5, we’ve run into issues with middling battery life and overheating, but with the Flex 5i, it seems like the issues have been addressed. Now delivering long battery life and improved cooling, nothing can hold back the Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook. This is a nice machine for the money.

Lenovo Flex 5i lid

Lenovo Flex 5i Specifications

Laptop ClassCollege, Work
Display13.3-inch IPS LCD, 1,920 x 1,080
ProcessorIntel 11th Gen Core i3
RAM8GB LPDDR4x
Storage64GB
Webcam720p, Privacy shade
Dimensions12.2 x 8.43 x 0.67 inches
Weight‎2.97 pounds
ColorAbyss Blue

Lenovo Flex 5i Review: Design

The IdeaPad Flex 5i 13 uses the same design as the previous model, with aluminum on the lid to give it a sturdier feel. The rest of the chassis is made from a blend of polycarbonate and polymer, but it still feels solid – even sturdier than some premium laptops that use magnesium alloy to reduce weight. Compared to the much affordable and quite bendable Asus VivoBook Flip 14 that uses plastic in the chassis and aluminum alloy lining on the lid, the Lenovo Flex 5i feels more luxe.

The Flex 5i 13’s hinge also feels good, and flexible enough to open with one hand, but then gets a little stiff when it reaches an upright position to hold it in place in clamshell, tent, media, and tablet modes. Overall, this IdeaPad’s built quality exceeds its budget price tag.

The 2-in-1 maintains its Abyss Blue aesthetic, with just a touch of chrome in the Lenovo logo on the lid and the keyboard deck, keeping up with the minimalist trend Lenovo has used in its budget and midrange designs. The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is a little provocative in its appearance, but that doesn’t mean it’s better-looking that the Flex 5. I’d say the Lenovo Flex 5i looks better than it costs, and it won’t look odd when you take it to a posh coffeehouse.

Lenovo Flex 5i flat

Like its predecessor, the IdeaPad Flex 5i 13 looks larger than it should be. Its display bezels are thin on the sides but large at the top and bottom. That gives it a fairly deeper look than necessary. It’s also quite thin at 0.67 inches and quite light at 2.97 pounds., while the comparable Asus VivoBook Flip 14 comes in at 0.72 inches and 3.31 pounds.

Port selection is excellent. You get two USB-C 3.1 gen 1 ports with support for Power Delivery 3.0 and Display Port 1.4, one on either side, as well as a USB-A 3.1 gen 1 port on the left. The Flex 5i also gets a microSD card slot and a headphone/microphone combo jack along the left edge. There’s also a power button, volume toggle, and Kensington lock on the right edge.

Lenovo Flex 5i Review: Display

On the Flex 5i, Lenovo doesn’t attempt to push any boundaries when selecting the display panel. The Chromebook comes with a standard screen that gets the job done without separating itself from the competition. The display measures 13.3 inches and has a 16:9 aspect ratio, both common among mid-range Chromebooks.

The screen is large enough for work and the shape is bright enough to watch video content, though I prefer a taller screen, something like the 16:10 aspect ratio screen on the MSI Creator Z16 or the Apple MacBook Pro, both are high-end machines, though.

Lenovo uses the typical Full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080) which you’ll find on most screens in this segment. This resolution is more than ideal for general use, delivering sharp-looking detail on websites and keeping documents and spreadsheets readable, even when working with small fonts.

Lenovo Flex 5i tablet

Video content you’ll find on the web and streaming services looks good for the most part. The Full HD resolution may not be enough for you if you’ll be doing complex tasks like editing photos or video.

The 13.3-inch IPS LCD screen’s 250 nits of brightness is fine for this class of device, but it could be better. The display provides enough light for indoor working and viewing conditions, but it will be harder to read outdoors, particularly when there’s bright sun in the sky.

Colors look accurate and viewing angles generous with a glossy finish to it, but it doesn’t come with annoying reflections or glare. Finally, it’s a touchscreen and supports 10-point multi-touch – it’s responsive to finger-based input and be used with a Stylus Pen (sold separately).

Lenovo Flex 5i Review: Keyboard and Touchpad

The Flex 5ji has a keyboard with the right feel, and the deck is among the best you’re going to use on a Chromebook. The trackpad is great, too. The keyboard stands out visually, it has black keys that complement the blue shade of the overall shade. The keyboard surface is recessed, with keys protruding up just the right distance from the polycarbonate deck.

The individual key size and shape are exactly what you’d want from a laptop keyboard. More importantly, key travel and feedback are excellent. Also, the keys are backlit but the light beneath the keys could be brighter, it’s still sufficient to ensure the keys are visible no matter the ambient lighting conditions.

Lenovo Flex 5i keyboard

The trackpad, it’s also on the good side, but we’ve seen it better on Chromebooks. The size is fine, and it never feels like you’re moving the cursor around the display. Lenovo uses mylar instead of glass, though it does almost feel like glass. We very much prefer true glass trackpads, especially at this price point. Nonetheless, still it feels responsive and solid.

Lenovo Flex 5i Review: Performance

For a device designed solely for content consumption, the Lenovo Flex 5i gets the job done. With the combination of Intel Core i3-1115G4 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage, this Chromebook delivers a responsive experience within certain confines. If you keep a few tabs open in a browser and editing a text document, for instance, all runs well.

However, up the number of tabs and run some image editing simultaneously, and everything will grind to a relative stop. Of course, having 8GB of RAM helps things out, but it’s still limited to the number of complex tasks you can run on this Chromebook.

By other metrics, performance is a mixed bag, not surprising at this market positioning. The 13.3-inch 1080p IPS display has good colors, but it would be brighter. The Flex 5i has speakers that are mounted on either side of the keyboard, and are tuned by Waves Audio they provide balanced sound. Also, the webcam is rated at 720p, which is simply not enough pixels but it still looks fine and comes with a physical shutter that can cover the camera when you’re not using it.

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Lenovo Flex 5i Review: Battery life

Lenovo says the Flex 5i should last well over 10 hours on a single charge. The company doesn’t clarify if those numbers apply to the Core i3 or i5, or the LCD or OLED variants of the machine. Either way, you aren’t getting those results. The Flex will give you around nine hours of runtime consistently, and nine and a half hours on some instances. This should get most users through a full work or school day, though it might not be enough if you find yourself working late into the night.  

The included 47W charger plugs into either USB-C port and takes around three hours to fully charge the Flex 5i from empty. Competing Chromebooks juice up much faster.

Lenovo Flex 5i Review | Verdict

As priced, the Intel Core i3 version of the Lenovo Flex 5i (82M7000SUX) is a well-performing bargain. Competing in the under $500-$600 segment takes a lot and Lenovo did its homework well. Many of the best Chromebooks dominate this space and dialing the right competition of specs, design, and everyday performance requires some industry experience to get everything right.

To that end, I think Lenovo has done a good job and fielded a solid offering in the Flex 5i. This Chromebook isn’t necessarily the best in any one area, but taken as a whole it punches well above its price to deliver decent performance. Where it loses on storage, it makes up with a screen and battery life that match much of the competition.

The keyboard, trackpad, and ports are all helpful and while the webcam would be better, the privacy shade is much appreciated and the speakers are as good as they can be. Perhaps one aspect that sets the Lenovo Flex 5i from its similarly-price peers is the beautiful design, with an appealing Abyss Blue color theme. The closest competitor is the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, and while this Samsung svelte can be configured with the same Full HD, Core i3, RAM, and better storage, its price will be too hot to handle.

If you need something a little bigger and tougher, the Acer Spin 514 is a good place to start. It comes with a 14-inch display and MIL-STD rating, but its battery and processor don’t match those of the Flex 5i.

Have a flexible budget? The Acer Spin 713 is the best Chromebook we’ve reviewed this year. Another full convertible, the Spin 713 boasts a taller 3:2 display and can be configured with processors up to 11th Gen Core i7. It remains our Editor’s Choice for 2-in-1 Chromebooks.

Should you buy the Lenovo Flex 5i?

Yes. The Lenovo Flex 5i is a beautiful Chromebook with solid performance. It packs the same specs and performance you’ll find on lots of laptops in this price range (though most will offer better storage), and it stands out a little thanks to its solid hardware.

Overall, the Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook shines at its price point. It’s a versatile all-rounder at a reasonable price, making it an excellent choice if you want touchscreen, and 2-in-1 functionality on a large screen.

Last update on 2022-10-04 at 09:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

OUR PICK

Lenovo Flex 5i 13 Chromebook 2-in-1 Laptop, Intel Core i3-1115G4, 8GB RAM, 64GB Storage, Intel UHD Graphics, 13.3" FHD Touchscreen Display, Chrome OS, Abyss Blue

$549.99
$357.76
 in stock
28 new from $357.76
9 used from $286.68
Amazon.com
as of October 4, 2022 9:57 am
Lenovo Flex 5i Review
Lenovo Flex 5i Review
$357.76 $549.99
Digital Weekly
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