Lenovo is a brilliant computing brand that is known for its laptops. Especially in the world of gaming, the company has acquired considerable fame and appreciation. They have been providing high-end laptops that are designed to handle graphic-intensive games. Lenovo also manufactures machines for groups such as students and young children. We previously reviewed the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, which was an ideal machine for school-going children. We were recently sent their Chromebook Flex 5.
Body of a Laptop
What makes the Flex 5 a brilliant machine is that, despite being priced like a Chromebook, it features the body, build and feel of a laptop. The previously-reviewed Chromebook Duet, as great as it was, had a couple of issues that had to do with its tablet-like body – a common feature in Chromebooks. The kickstand panel is usually finicky to use. It’s hard to open and usually requires two hands. Moreover, the keyboard usually sports trimmed-down keys and the punctuation buttons are half the size of the already small letter keys. People with bigger hands or less manual dexterity often find it difficult to use these machines.
The Flex 5 is a sturdy device that features a 2.9-pound body. Measuring 12.2 by 8.42 inches, this Chromebook is of an acceptable size as well. It doesn’t sport a kickstand mechanism nor does it feature a detachable keyboard that is more often a menace than a blessing. It features a 360-degree convertible design in a slim and lightweight body. Whether it’s in laptop, tent, or stand mode, it looks great. The configuration I received the Flex 5 in is one of the most beautiful shades of abyss blue that you’ll ever come across. It makes the machine stand apart from the typical black and grey laptop bodies.
The Flex 5 doesn’t feel like a $425 device at all. It is strategically designed with both aesthetic and utility in mind. The underside of the machine hosts a fairly generous-sized thermal vent and the sides of the laptop host an abundance of ports. Again, as opposed to the controls on the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, the Flex 5 sports quite a lot of ports that extends the machine’s utility by a great margin.
The right side hosts the power button with a volume rocker next to it, followed by a USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port and a Kensington security lock slot. The left side hosts two more USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a headphone/mic combo 3.5mm jack and a microSD card slot.
Great Display for the Price
The Chromebook Flex 5 features a 13-inch FHD display with a 1920×1080 resolution. For a Chromebook, this display size is great. The resolution is also sufficient and provided me with clear and focused graphics. The colors are clear and easily discernable. Flex 5 offers a wide color palette, precise picture quality and immense richness. Its display also features IPS technology which made sure that viewing angles aren’t distorted by the sun or other factors. Whatever angle I put the screen in, the graphics remained clear and focused. They didn’t lose their clarity to the sun at any point. The Flex 5 has a glossy display which made the viewing experience much better.
It’s also touchscreen and sports brightness of up to 250 nits. With integrated Intel UHD graphics though, don’t expect the graphics on this machine to be out of this world. Your games will not be as intense either; more on that later.
Pretty Cool Processing Power
The Flex 5 comes in various variations. It starts from 4GB and 32GB of RAM and ROM and goes up till 8GB and 128GB. I received the laptop in the latter configuration. This is probably the reason why I had no issues with the machine’s speed. But I can imagine the 4GB configuration being hard to manage for people who plan on using it for graphic-intensive gaming. Flex 5 features the Intel Core i3 processor and the Chrome OS. Its advertised battery life is 10 hours, but its 4-cell 51Whr internal battery lasted me around 11 hours and its 45W AC adapter was able to get it to a 100% full battery in around two-and-a-half hours.
While you can easily rely on the Flex 5 for everyday tasks, don’t expect it to fulfill your gaming or design needs. It is incapable of providing the kind of power that is needed for such tasks. No matter how laptop-like this machine may be, at the end of the day, it is still a Chromebook and has to be treated as such. It is also unfair to expect a $425 device to fulfill the requirements of a laptop anyway.
Great Keyboard, Average Trackpad
The Flex 5 has a great keyboard. It features excellent travel, plenty of space and fast response. The keys aren’t trimmed down and the function keys provide sufficient shortcuts. The mouse, however, could use a lot of improvement. It lagged in its performance and wasn’t as responsive as a mouse on a machine worth this price should be.
All in all, I highly recommend the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5. It’s a pretty great device for a reasonable price. It fulfills the basic requirements of a Chromebook while also ticking some boxes from the laptop requirements category.
Is It Hardcore?
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is a great device. While it could have made use of a better trackpad, it has an excellent body, a great display and a spacious, well-sized keyboard.