Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 (2021) Overview

As succesful as it’s reasonably priced, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 (begins at $559.99; $735 as examined) units the usual for 2-in-1 convertible laptops. It is obtained the fundamentals lined: a 14-inch display, your selection of Intel or AMD processors, and a well-crafted 360-degree hinge that allows you to prop it on a desk like a tent or an easel or flip it into pill mode. Add reassuring construct high quality and a low value, and also you get an Editors’ Alternative award winner for greatest midrange convertible laptop computer. 

A Convertible for the Remainder of Us

The class pioneer, Lenovo is aware of tips on how to make convertible laptops higher than many different firms (and plenty of different firms make them). However over time for the reason that first Yoga was launched, the Chinese language tech large has broadened the class so considerably that it may be arduous to make sense of all of the choices. The Yoga moniker reveals up on premium shopper designs, but additionally a variety of ThinkBook and ThinkPad enterprise laptops. There are even one-off curiosities just like the e-ink-equipped Yoga E-book.

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The laptop computer reviewed right here belongs to a wise center floor of Lenovo 2-in-1s that bear the Flex moniker. They’re accessible in a number of display sizes from 11 to fifteen inches, however the 14-inch IdeaPad Flex 5i is arguably the sweetest spot. It isn’t cumbersome, which suggests you’ll be able to maintain the laptop computer in a single hand and rotate the display or faucet on it along with your different hand. However it has sufficient display actual property to make film watching and spreadsheet enhancing attainable on a cramped airplane tray desk.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 tent mode

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Completely different retailers promote varied Flex 5i 14 configurations. Our unit is round $735 at Walmart, and sports activities a latest-generation Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 16GB of reminiscence, and a 512GB solid-state drive. These are beneficiant RAM and storage quantities for the value. Different configurations embrace Core i3 or Core i7 processors and varied reminiscence and storage choices. There are additionally variations with fourth- or fifth-generation AMD Ryzen processors. Observe, nonetheless, that not even Lenovo itself sells the entire configurations—you may need to hit up the web sites of shops like Greatest Purchase and Amazon to take inventory of all of your choices. The scattered nature of IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 gross sales is unlucky, nevertheless it’s a mirrored image of our COVID-impacted gross sales and manufacturing setting, with back-to-school discount hunters competing for a restricted provide of respectable, reasonably priced laptops. 

A Moody Grey 2-in-1

Coloration choices fluctuate by retailer, too. Our overview unit takes an uncontroversial strategy, clad in darkish Graphite Grey. I discover it darker and moodier-looking than the intense silver tones of rivals just like the HP Pavilion x360 15. There’s additionally a lighter Platinum Grey possibility, in addition to a extra placing Abyss Blue scheme should you’re fancying a pop of coloration. Whichever hue you select, the chassis is clad in the identical sturdy supplies—anodized stamped aluminum for the highest cowl and a mixture of polycarbonate and glass fiber for the bottom. It is reassuringly sturdy to carry.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 right angle

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The Flex 5i 14 is not glossy, although. It measures 0.8 by 12.7 by 8.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.3 kilos, which simply barely qualifies it as an ultraportable. The fashionable, ultrapremium Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 measures simply 0.56 by 11.7 by 8.2 inches and weighs 2.9 kilos, although it does have a smaller show.

The 14-inch display of our Flex 5i 14 overview unit is usually enough, though it suffers from a couple of shortcomings widespread within the sub-$1,000 laptop computer class. I recognize the shiny end, which helps colours pop somewhat with out unnecessarily reflecting glare from ambient lights. It is a full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) panel with a 16:9 facet ratio, which places it proper on the cash for the capabilities we anticipate at this value level. It helps contact enter by way of the elective Lenovo Digital Pen; our configuration contains this digital stylus within the field, that includes 4,096 ranges of strain sensitivity however missing tilt detection. It is high quality for jotting fast notes or tough sketches. 

The Flex 5i 14’s display does undergo a bit from low coloration accuracy and a comparatively dim backlight. It is rated for 250 nits of brightness and simply 45% of the NTSC coloration gamut. In our testing, the display managed to show 64% of the sRGB gamut and topped out at 257 nits. At peak brightness, it is completely viewable in a daylight-lit room, however viewability drops off rapidly as you scale back the brightness. 

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 left angle

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

HDMI Port Included 

On the Flex 5i 14’s left edge, you may discover a energy port, an HDMI 1.4b video output, a USB Kind-C port, and an audio combo jack. The USB-C port can be utilized to cost the laptop computer, and Lenovo contains an AC adapter with a USB-C plug, rendering the devoted energy port an anachronism. Cheaper configurations might include a barrel-style AC adapter that connects to the devoted port as an alternative. That is truly preferable, since you can cost the laptop computer and use the USB-C port on the identical time, and you’ll at all times swap in a special USB-C charger should you misplace the laptop computer’s twine. 

On the proper edge, there are two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Kind-A ports, a rarity on ultraportable laptops today, and helpful for connecting one of many huge variety of gadgets that have not but moved to USB-C. The appropriate edge additionally hosts a full-size SD card reader and the Flex 5i’s energy button. Aspect-mounted energy buttons are simpler to make use of when the laptop computer is propped up like an easel, however watch out to not by chance press the button if you grasp the Flex 5i on its sides. There are not any Thunderbolt 4 ports, however we do not anticipate one at this value. 

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 left ports

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

It is good to see assist for the most recent Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) normal on the Flex 5i 14. Final 12 months’s mannequin lacked it, and like Thunderbolt ports, it is not a requirement for a laptop computer on this value vary. Bluetooth 5.0 wi-fi connectivity additionally comes normal, however there is no such thing as a possibility so as to add an LTE or 5G modem.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 right ports

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

Along with inventing the 2-in-1 convertible, Lenovo can be well-known for the typing consolation of its ThinkPad enterprise laptops. Most non-ThinkPad fashions, together with the Flex 5i 14, use some adaptation of the ThinkPad keyboard, with scalloped keys, sturdy switches, and beneficiant journey distance. Two 2-watt audio system flank the keyboard, and a perform row is on the prime, with some uncommon shortcut keys. I recognize Home windows Snip & Sketch for taking screenshots and one-touch entry to the Lenovo Settings app (F9). Beneath the keyboard, the touchpad is a bit small and stiff for my liking, however nonetheless tracks precisely. 

The Flex 5i 14’s HD webcam affords predictably ho-hum video high quality, with appreciable graininess even in well-lit settings. However that is par for the course even with costlier laptops, and the Flex 5i 14 features a nifty, unobtrusive built-in privateness shutter. In the meantime, a fingerprint reader mounted beneath the proper nook of the keyboard affords password-free logins by way of Home windows Whats up. 

Testing the IdeaPad: On a regular basis Computing Is a Cinch 

Efficiency from the eleventh Gen Core i5 CPU is completely enough for performing fundamental productiveness duties or streaming internet movies. I by no means skilled even a touch of sluggishness whereas looking with a number of tabs open or putting in apps over the course of a number of days of testing. The beneficiant 16GB of reminiscence possible helps considerably on this regard; it is the identical capability we sometimes see in 2-in-1 laptops that value twice as a lot. 

To quantify the Flex 5i 14’s efficiency, I in contrast its ends in our benchmark assessments with these of some key rivals in the identical value vary. Along with the Pavilion x360 15, I am additionally together with the Asus VivoBook S14 and the extra business-oriented Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga for comparability functions. Listed below are their specs: 

All these techniques supply wonderful efficiency within the Geekbench CPU check and PCMark 10 complete productiveness suite. Whereas the Flex 5i 14 falls a bit behind the Core i7-based ThinkBook 14s Yoga, it nonetheless simply hurdles the 4,000-point mark that signifies wonderful efficiency. 

In relation to storage efficiency as measured by PCMark 10’s Full System Drive benchmark, the Flex’s 512GB SSD simply outclasses the VivoBook’s drive. Some techniques, together with the Pavilion x360 15, fail to finish this wide-ranging set of real-world trace-based assessments, which embrace launching advanced apps like Adobe Photoshop and booting up Home windows 10. (See extra about how we check laptops.)

The Flex 5i 14 is not designed for extra CPU-intensive duties like 3D rendering in Maxon’s Cinebench, manipulating pictures in Adobe Photoshop, or transcoding 4K video utilizing the open-source HandBrake app. The final trial represented a selected problem, with the Flex ending in final place, although it was extra aggressive within the picture enhancing and 3D rendering trials. 

The Flex 5i 14 additionally is not designed for 3D gaming. It makes use of the Iris Xe built-in graphics constructed into Intel eleventh Era laptop computer processors as an alternative of a discrete GPU. Because of this, it posted comparatively low scores in our 3DMark and GFXBench sport simulations.

However it’s not far behind the outcomes of its rivals, most of which use the identical graphics processor. It is also price noting that if, you play easy browser-based video games like these represented by the comparatively forgiving GFXBench Automobile Chase check, you’ll be able to nonetheless anticipate respectable body charges in extra of 60 frames per second.

You must also anticipate cheap battery life from an ultraportable, even a sub-$1,000 one, and right here the Flex 5i 14 doesn’t disappoint. It lasted for almost 13 hours in our video rundown check, which includes looping a regionally saved 720p video file at 50% display brightness with Wi-Fi turned off till the battery quits. That is one thing of a best-case state of affairs, and the Flex 5i 14’s mixture of a dim show and capacious 52.5-watt-hour battery possible helped lots.

Energy, Flexibility, and Worth

Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 is strictly the form of 2-in-1 convertible you’d anticipate from the corporate that pioneered this class. It is a smart machine that is pleasing to make use of as a standard laptop computer, or propped up for a presentation in easel or tent mode. The chassis is well-engineered, even when it is not the sleekest or lightest round. And the processing energy is respectable, thanks largely to the beneficiant 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD of our check unit.

You are able to do higher should you enterprise north of $1,000—our prime premium 2-in-1 choose is the HP Spectre x360 14, whereas the ThinkBook 14s Yoga is nice for small and medium companies. For round $700, although, it is arduous to beat this configuration of the Flex 5i 14, which claims our Editors’ Alternative award for greatest midrange 2-in-1 convertible.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 (2021)


  • Sensible, sturdy design

  • Comfy keyboard

  • Beneficiant reminiscence and storage quantities

  • Two USB Kind-A and HDMI ports

  • Webcam privateness shutter and fingerprint reader

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The Backside Line

As succesful as it’s reasonably priced, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 is a midsized convertible that will get the fundamentals proper.

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