The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook (priced at $409) is cheap, but it doesn’t feel, look, or act like it. Even though its name contains “Flex,” ironically, its sturdy metal casing has a premium quality and part-aluminum body.
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook may be mistaken for another gray clamshell laptop at first glance, but thanks to its sturdy 360-degree hinge, it can also transform into a tablet. You’ll appreciate the clicky keyboard’s ability to transport you to typing nirvana.
However, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook has one significant issue – it’s mediocre. Its display, battery life, and performance are just adequate; they’re not the worst, but they could be improved.
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook isn’t a powerhouse, but for Frugal Frans on a budget, it’s a fantastic device that provides a lot of bang for the buck.
LENOVO FLEX 5 CHROMEBOOK SPECS
- CPU: Intel Core i3-10110U
- GPU: Intel UHD
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 64GB
- Display: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080
- Battery: 7:20Size: 12.2 x 8 3 x 0.7 inches
- Weight: 2.9 pounds
- Peppy performance
- Handsome design sneaks under 3 pounds
- Responsive keyboard
- No HDMI port
- Slightly dim display
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook: What you need to know
This isn’t Lenovo’s first 2-in-1 Chromebook. The Chromebook 500e, for example, was a fantastic educational device, and the old Yoga Chromebook C630 was a strong, more business-oriented effort. This one sits in the more mainstream IdeaPad range, where the “Flex” label denotes a 360-degree hinge that allows you to fold the lid against the back of the machine.
For example, if you want to use the laptop as a tablet, simply prop it upright. It’s great for playing games or watching videos in this open position. It has a 13.3-inch Full HD display and either 4GB or 8GB of RAM, depending on the configuration.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook price and configurations
The most affordable Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook configuration is currently $409.99 and includes a 13.3-inch, 1080p display, an Intel Core i3-10110U CPU with integrated Intel UHD graphics, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB eMMC flash memory.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Design
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is a professional-looking machine with a conventional design. It’s all-grey and composed of plastic and aluminum. It’s just as easy to carry around as many slim and light Windows laptops, weighing only 1.34kg.
The Lenovo Flex 5’s lid is low-key anodized aluminum, not overly eager to show it is metal. The plastic upper and lower body plates have a lovely smooth finish. The keyboard surround on the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook reminds me of the Dell XPS 13, which I regard as high praise.
Nothing about the Lenovo Flex 5 screams “expensive,” yet it has a premium feel to it. It does not immediately appear to be a budget laptop. There are some indications, after all, as a rather large blank space around the flat glass display. The presence of such an element is certainly disappointing in a $1000 notebook in 2020.
Even under heavy finger pressure, the keyboard plate has little flex and, as the name implies, it is a hybrid design. You may push the Lenovo Flex 5’s screen back so that it rests on the keyboard component.
The Lenovo Flex 5 has two distinct configurations. The first is the “tent” position or sitting on the keyboard. There’s just one problem with this design. The 360-degree hybrids have a little wobble to them, as do most of them. Use the Lenovo Flex 5 on your knees in front of a window, and the movable screen reflections may become bothersome. To be clear, though, the hinge will not sag at any angle regardless of how you’re using it.
The ThinkPad Flex 5 charges via a USB-C connection, and the charger brick is quite tiny if you’re concerned about mobility.
A single USB-C, as well as a conventional full-sized USB-A and a MicroSD slot, are among the other connections. There’s also a camera, but it’s only a 720p sensor. It does have a lens-blocking slider for those concerned about privacy.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook ports
The Lenovo Flex 5 has a sufficient amount of legacy and current ports.
On the laptop’s left side are two USB 3.2 Type-A and Type-C ports, as well as an audio jack and a microSD card slot, all on the right side.
There’s a second USB-C connection on the right, as well as a power button, a volume rocker, and a security-cable lockdown notch.
There are no HDMI ports on the chassis, so you’ll need a USB-C DisplayPort dongle to connect an external display.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook display
The display on the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook, which is 13.3 inches and 1080p, is rather uninteresting to state the obvious. The screen isn’t fantastic, but it’s not terrible — it’s simply adequate.
I was able to detect faint, barely-there blush on Marisa Tomei’s cheeks and forehead wrinkles as she contorted her face into a worried expression in the Venom 2 trailer. So while the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook display has enough sharpness and detail for visual enjoyment, the colors might be brighter. At such a low price, though, I’d be insane to expect top-tier screen specifications.
I was easily able to play around with Chrome OS touch gestures, such as swiping up to go back to the home screen and swiping left to go back to previous web pages, when I converted the Chromebook into a tablet. It’s also worth noting that this display supports digital-pen input, but no Stylus is included in the package.
According to our colorimeter, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook’s display covers 66% of the sRGB color gamut. This is far lower than the typical Chromebook’s 79 percent color gamut coverage. Unfortunately, the Flex 5 falls short in comparison with its competitors: The HP Chromebook x360 12b (79%) and Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (93%), both have more vivid displays.
The Flex 5 Chromebook’s screen is also not excellent in low-light conditions, so you may want to avoid using it on a bright, sunny day. The Flex 5’s display has a lower brightness level than the average 275-nit Chromebook (226 nits as opposed to 275 nits). The HP Chromebook x360 12b’s display, on the other hand, is considerably worse with a terrible 216 nit brightness. With a panel that produces 286 nits of brightness, the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 beats both the Flex 5 and x360 12b.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Keyboard
The Lenovo Flex 5 has a great keyboard and touchpad. The highlight of the keyboard is its 1.4mm key travel, non-hollow feel, and excellent feedback from both rapid and good actuation. This isn’t a “meaty” or high-resistance keyboard, but your fingertips will glide across it with ease.
The Lenovo Flex 5’s keyboard is superior to a lot of far more expensive Windows laptops, as well as most MacBooks. Perhaps the reason it appears to be such a high-quality laptop is because of this.
The display is quite bright, with its backlight offering more control than most. To cycle through five brightness levels, you must press “alt” and the screen brightness buttons. The light bleed around the sides of the keycaps is significant, but this is to be expected of a laptop without per-key illumination.
The Lenovo Flex 5’s touchpad, on the other hand, is less responsive but does the job well enough. It has a mylar (plastic) surface rather than a glass one in high-end laptops.
While a finger glide on this cheap touchpad is less creaky than on many low-cost plastic ones, it does not have the same smooth feel as textured glass. The pad is also overly sensitive, erroneously recognizing everyday swipe mouse movements as clicks. To correct this issue, turn off “tap to click” in Chrome OS’s settings.
There’s no annoying pre-click pad wobble, and the clicker doesn’t need much pressure to operate. To reduce a cheap click sensation and sound, the mechanism is slightly dampened.
The Lenovo Flex 5 offers a pleasant computing experience with a fantastic keyboard and a decent touchpad.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Performance
This is one of the most powerful Chromebooks on the market, with a 10th generation Intel Core i5-10210U processor, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD.
The SSD read rate is 677MB/s, which is not great for solid-state storage but sufficient for ChromeOS. The transition from 4GB of RAM, seen in less expensive Chromebooks, to 8GB is welcome. More RAM allows you to open more browser tabs and run more applications at the same time without seeing delays.
An Intel Core i5-10210U is a fantastic CPU for a Windows laptop, but it’s debatable whether it’s worth the additional expense over a Core i3 or Pentium/Celeron processor in a Chromebook. Why? Even with an Intel Core i5, Chromebooks run Android apps but not the more demanding ones well.
Certain applications and games won’t function at all. The Lenovo ThinkPad Flex 5 may not display certain apps and games properly. Others may appear to operate correctly but don’t perform as well as you would hope.
Gameloft’s Asphalt 9, for example, runs at lower frame rates and has more obvious laggy drops than the best $200 smartphones. Because Chromebooks lack support for Vulkan graphics, no visuals beyond the menu are visible in Ark: Survival Evolved. I tried playing N64 classic Goldeneye on an emulator and while it was playable, there were frequent frame rate dips that surpassed what you’d see on a Windows laptop with this kind of power.
Many applications will appear to be running on a tiny phone app within your laptop when they’re in portrait mode. The majority of them may be resized to fit the Lenovo Flex 5 screen (after re-loading), but Android programs aren’t quite as at ease on Chromebooks as one would expect.
Even though there are some methods to get Minecraft on a Chromebook, it is only available in one form: Minecraft: Education Edition, which will only work when you’re logged into a school account. There are ways to install it on here, but not user-friendly ones. Because Chrome OS does not support Fortnite, it cannot be played on the Lenovo Flex 5 either.
This laptop is perfect for having fun, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy yourself on it. However, make sure it can do what you need because Minecraft and Fortnite are still two of the most-wanted Android games. This is a laptop best utilized for work and online surfing.
Finally, the Lenovo Flex 5’s speakers are a letdown. The left and right sides of the keyboard contain drivers for a good stereo effect. They lack bass, and the mids sound compressed and tiny rather than full and round.
The Lenovo Flex 5 is well equipped to handle everyday office activities, basic office work, image editing on your phone, web browsing, and Netflix streaming. As long as you don’t mind the poor speaker sound quality.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook audio
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook’s upward-firing, unobstructed twin speakers provide excellent sound filling my medium-sized testing space.
I used to listen to Chloe x Halle’s “Unjustified Hour” on Spotify, and the voices that emanated from the speakers were somewhat hollow and lacked a full, round sound. The speaker’s room-filling sounds are tolerable, though, so they’ll come in handy when you need a music break.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Battery life
A Chromebook’s limitations are minimal (if not nearly as severe as they once were), but you typically get longer battery life in return.
Lenovo claims that the Lenovo Flex 5’s battery can last up to 10 hours. Low-strain activities will see it survive a lot longer.
The brightness lasts for 12 hours and 45 minutes of YouTube streaming over Wi-Fi at 150 nits. It should withstand a full day’s work if your profession mainly involves writing papers and sending emails. To avoid excessive battery drain, be careful with the browser tabs.
With a 4-cell battery, this laptop lasts almost twice as long as a similarly equipped Windows ultrabook with the same battery capacity.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook webcam
For security-conscious laptop users, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook includes a 720p webcam that has a privacy shutter.
The picture quality isn’t great, and it’s not the greatest at color accuracy. My brown skin looked dull and bright-red fake flowers from a nearby nightstand had a pale, peachy color on the camera.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook heat
The Lenovo Flex 5 kept a reasonable temperature when I tested it, except for when I forced it to endure 30 opened Chrome tabs and two active YouTube videos without stuttering.
On our hot test, which involves streaming a 1080p video for 15 minutes, the touchpad and center of the keyboard reached 78 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, both of which are below our 95-degree comfort limit. The bottom of the laptop rose to 92 degrees Fahrenheit, while the hottest section of the laptop — positioned between the hinges — reached a scorching temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook software and warranty
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook runs Google’s Chrome operating system. A taskbar on your desktop contains pinned applications for those who enjoy using Google-based software, such as Chrome, Gmail, Google Docs, and YouTube.
The Google Play Store will be your closest ally on a Chromebook; it’ll help you download any applications or games you want to use.
I had fun with several games on the Flex 5, including Sniper 3D, which made excellent use of the touchscreen and touchpad. I was able to use my cursor to aim and pull the trigger by tapping the screen.
If you prefer Microsoft productivity software such as Word, a Chromebook may not be for you — you won’t be able to use the full-featured, desktop version on your laptop.
If you rely on Google apps such as Docs, however, you’re a great candidate to purchase a Chromebook.
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 comes with a one-year limited warranty. See how Lenovo fared in our annual special reports, including Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands, to learn more about its service history.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Competition
With each passing year, more Chromebooks become available — we adore it. The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook holds its own against the competition, which is great to see. The ASUS Chromebook Flip C434, which was released last year and is becoming increasingly difficult to find, is the most apparent alternative to the Flex 5. The C434 does have an 8GB option and a larger display as well as a distinct “Spangle Silver” design that I prefer over the Flex 5’s keyboard.
There are compelling reasons to compare the Lenovo Flex 5 to the HP Chromebook 14 G5 or G6, but I’d advise you against it. Even though the G6 is more costly than the Flex 5 and has a lower resolution, it’s still better because of its stronger processor and longer battery life (at least according to Crayon). Consider upgrading to the Lenovo Chromebook C340-15 if you like what the Flex 5 has to offer but need more than a 13-inch screen; nevertheless, stay with three cores instead of a starting level Pentium Gold.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook Should you buy it?
In certain ways, the Lenovo Flex 5 is a Chromebook. It includes a nice keyboard, a strong display, good construction quality, and a sophisticated, adult appearance. Battery life is also very good.
The quality of its speakers is poor, and the value of the more high-end model reviewed here is questionable, especially given recent Surface Laptop Go arrivals in a similar price range.
Chromebooks are great for light users who just need to accomplish simple tasks, but the advantages of a relatively powerful processor like an Intel Core i5 aren’t as apparent in a ChromeOS device.
Who it’s for
- Someone who is looking for a laptop that may be used in school, at work, and on the go
- A fine option for those who work from home or travel frequently (or at least move from room to room seeking peace while everyone else is working).
- Laptop users who watch a lot of videos
- People who want a 2-in-1 with a touchscreen
Who it isn’t for
- Those who require enormous displays
- Someone who requires a lot of storage
- Tab hoarders
We usually discuss trade-offs when it comes to Chromebooks, especially those under $500, but with the Flex 5, how well-rounded an experience is given up. The Flex 5 contradicts its price tag and appears to be a more planned machine than some of the $600-$800 laptops I’ve seen, and it makes me believe that maybe, just maybe, you truly can have it all without emptying your bank account.
The Lenovo Flex 5 is my new daily driver going forward, between the backlit keyboard and its compact size, which is barely bigger than my beloved C340-11. The Lenovo Flex 5 is a great fit for my life and will more than likely be a fantastic fit for yours, too, equally suited to pounding out stories while I’m huddled up on the couch or performing some light research while I sit in the shade and people watch.
AGREE TO CONTINUE: LENOVO FLEX 5 CHROMEBOOK
Before you can use a smart device, you must agree to a variety of conditions and terms — contracts that no one reads. We can’t read and analyze every single one of these contracts. But since these are agreements most people don’t read and can’t negotiate, we started keeping track of how many times you have to consent to utilize devices when we examine them.
You must agree to the following before you can begin using the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook:
- Linking up your Wi-Fi network
- Google Chrome OS terms
- Sync your bookmarks, history, usernames, and passwords to your Google account (can be reviewed after installation)
- To provide an improved user experience, Google may utilize your online browsing history to personalize search, advertising, and other Google services (can be reviewed after setup)
- Google Play terms of service
You can also say yes or no to the following:
- Send Chrome OS diagnostic and usage data to Google
- Sign in to a Google account
- Google Drive backup
- Allow apps and services with location permission to use your device’s location
- Google Assistant voice match
- Let Google Assistant show you info related to what’s on your screen
In all, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook requires five essential contracts and six optional ones for use.
If someone asked me if I could recommend a laptop for them that was under $500, I’d inform them they’d have to give up on Windows and choose a Chromebook – in this case, the Flex 5.
For $409, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 offers a lot of value for your money, including a comfy keyboard with excellent tactile feedback, a privacy shutter for your webcam, a 360-degree hinge for a convertible device, and a sturdy frame with an amazing build quality.
The Flex 5, on the other hand, has several features that remind you of its low price tags, such as a faint screen, poor battery life, and mediocre performance.
If you’re willing to spend an extra $100 for longer battery life and a brighter display, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 is a 2-in-1 convertible with Chrome OS.
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is a fantastic option for high-productivity individuals on a tight budget who want to remain under $500.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook
13" Laptop, FHD (1920 x 1080) Touch Display, Intel Core i3-10110U Processor, 4GB DDR4 Onboard RAM, 64GB eMMC, Intel Integrated Graphics, Chrome OS, 82B80006UX, Graphite Grey
Product Brand: Lenovo
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: $329.99
Product In-Stock: InStock