Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (2020) Review

I’ve taken a closer look at the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5, a 2-in-1 convertible laptop. It boasts a 14-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS touchscreen display, delivering 250 nits of brightness for a glossy viewing experience. Under the hood, it’s powered by an Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor with integrated UHD graphics.

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Specifications and Price

Display14-inch FHD 1920 x 1080 IPS 250 nits glossy touch + Pen support screen.
CPUIntel Core i5-1035G1
GraphicsIntegrated UHD Graphics
Memory16Gb Soldered DDR4-3200
Storage512GB SSD M.2 NVMe
Battery3-cell 52.5Wh
Wireless802.1ac 2×2 Bluetooth 4.2
Weight1.5 kg
Price$610

Read Also: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) Review

Design and Build Quality

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (2020) Review: Laptop Design

When you open the box, you’ll find the Lenovo Flex 5 itself, a 65-watt USB power adapter, along with some documentation and warranty information. The Lenovo Flex 5 shares the same build quality as its AMD counterpart. The lid of the IdeaPad Flex 5 is crafted from metal, while the rest of the body is made of plastic with a smooth, matte coating that enhances its premium feel. I appreciate the laptop’s build quality, and although it weighs 1.5 kg, it’s not the lightest option available, but it’s certainly portable enough to take with you on the go.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (2020) Review: Both Side Ports close up

The port selection starting on the left side, you’ll find the power port. The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 comes with a USB-C power adapter included in the box. Additionally, there’s an HDMI port, a USB-C port, and a 3.5-millimeter audio jack. On the right side, you’ll find the power button and a full-size SD card reader. It would be great to see two USB-A ports added to further enhance the port options on the Lenovo Flex 5. Overall, this represents a pretty good range of ports for a laptop in this price range.

User Upgradeability

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (2020) Review: Internals

I appreciate Lenovo’s approach in making it relatively straightforward to access the interior of the Flex 5. Just remove the screws, pop off the bottom plate, and you’re in. Once inside, you’ll find a single fan for cooling and a 52.5-watt-hour battery. Unfortunately, the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard, meaning you won’t be able to upgrade it. However, the SSD is user-upgradeable, allowing you to expand your storage capacity. Speaking of the SSD, it delivers impressive read and write speeds. As you can see from these results, it offers excellent performance in both reading and writing data.

Display and Speakers

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (2020) Review: Display

Let’s talk about the Flex 5’s display, which closely resembles its AMD counterpart. It boasts a full HD resolution of 1920 by 1080 on a 14-inch screen and can reach a brightness level of up to 280 nits, a slight improvement over the 250 nits. The Intel version, at least the unit I’m reviewing, seems to offer a slightly brighter display. The black levels are impressive at 0.30, with lower values indicating better performance. The contrast delta E-score is decent, although I would prefer it to be a bit lower.

When it comes to color accuracy and coverage, the color gamut isn’t the best, with figures at 65% sRGB, 49% Adobe RGB, and 49% NTSC of the DCI Coloride color gamut. This may not be the ideal choice for content creators who rely on applications like Lightroom, Photoshop, and video editing. However, for the average consumer, it delivers more than adequate color performance. The display features relatively slim side bezels and a somewhat slim top bezel, but it does have a small chin at the bottom, which is a common design element in convertible laptops.

And we have the two speakers, which are situated on the keyboard deck, as you can see from the speaker grilles above. To my surprise, these speakers offer a rather impressive audio experience, effectively filling the room with decent bass and midrange tones. It’s quite unexpected, especially given the laptop’s price point, but it’s a delightful surprise to enjoy such decent sound quality on the Flex 5.

Webcam and Fingerprint Scanner

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (2020) Review: Fingerprint Scanner

Moving to the top bezel, you’ll find the webcam housed there. Speaking of which, the front-facing camera on the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 514 Intel version is a 720p 30 frames per second webcam. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support Windows Hello, so you won’t be able to use facial recognition for logins. However, it works perfectly fine for Zoom and Skype calls. One feature I really appreciate is the physical shutter switch that allows you to easily turn off the webcam, enhancing your privacy and security.

It’s worth noting that this camera is not an infrared camera, so it’s not compatible with Windows Hello. On the bright side, there’s a fingerprint scanner located below the keyboard on the right side, and it functions reliably, registering my fingerprint accurately every time I used it. This is a great feature for Windows Hello login.

Modes and Pen Support

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (2020) Review: Modes and Pen

The IdeaPad Flex 5 is a convertible laptop, offering a range of versatile modes. You can switch it into tent mode, perfect for enjoying media content like Netflix and YouTube. The same applies to stand mode, which is great for hands-free viewing. Moreover, it can transform into tablet mode, and it works seamlessly with a pen. It’s worth mentioning that the pen is not included; it’s a separate accessory.

Similar to the AMD version, the pen performs well thanks to its use of Wacom AES technology, making it suitable for tasks like note-taking and sketching. There’s also an accessory available that allows you to conveniently store the pen in one of the USB ports, as I demonstrated in my review of the AMD version. However, please note that this accessory is not bundled with the laptop; it’s a separate purchase.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (2020) Review: Keyboard

As for the keyboard, when it comes to key travel, it’s a bit shallow, so it’s worth noting. However, the Flex 5 offers decent tactile feedback. Typing for extended periods was comfortable, and I didn’t feel like my fingers were constantly hitting the bottom.

Turning to the touchpad, it’s a plastic precision touchpad with a reasonable size. It performs well with two-finger scrolling, and all the Windows 10 gestures function as expected. The touchpad does a commendable job. Additionally, you have the option to use a pen, as it’s compatible with the Wacom AES pen, for navigating through the operating system. I found this to be a very comfortable alternative. Navigating with your fingers on the touch display also proved to be effective.

Performance and Gaming

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (AMD)Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (Intel)
PCAMRK 10 – 4,772PCAMRK 10 – 3,987
GEEKBENCH 4.0 (Single-Core) – 4,761GEEKBENCH 4.0 (Single-Core) – 5,437
GEEKBENCH 4.0 (Multi-core) – 17,007GEEKBENCH 4.0 (Multi-core) – 15,765
GEEKBENCCH 4.0 (OpenCL) – 36,508GEEKBENCCH 4.0 (OpenCL) – 24,002
AMD vs Intel Performance

The performance of the Flex 5, It’s worth noting that the AMD version tends to outperform the Intel version, primarily due to its superior integrated Radeon graphics. However, the Intel version still delivers very good results. If you lean towards an Intel-based laptop, the PCMARK 10 score serves as a reliable indicator of everyday performance, and it performed well in this aspect. Additionally, the laptop achieved respectable scores in all other benchmarks.

It’s important to clarify that this laptop is not geared toward gaming. If you wish to play games, you’ll need to lower the settings to either medium or lower to attain playable frame rates. However, it’s crucial to manage your expectations; this laptop is not designed for running AAA titles at their highest settings.

Battery Performance

Acer Swift (2020, AMD Ryzen 7)11 Hours 07 minutes
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020, AMD Ryzen 5)8 hours 56 minutes
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020, Intel Core i5)7 hours 47 minutes
Battery life Performance

The battery life of the IdeaPad Flex 5 is commendable, though it falls slightly short of the endurance offered by the AMD Ryzen 5 version. Nonetheless, it’s a solid performance. In my continuous web surfing test over Wi-Fi at 150 nits, it held up for an impressive seven hours and 47 minutes. Lenovo includes a 65-watt USB-C power adapter in the box, and it’s capable of fully charging the laptop in under two hours, which is quite efficient.

Conclusion

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 514 with Intel processors comes highly recommended, especially given its attractive price point. It boasts a sleek design, impressive battery life, comfortable keyboard, and precise touchpad, along with surprisingly good sound quality for a mid-range laptop. Its compatibility with a stylus adds versatility, and the inclusion of a full-size SD card reader is a standout feature. Despite being primarily constructed from polycarbonate or plastic material, with limited color gamut coverage, it remains a solid choice for most users, except for content creators or professionals requiring precise color grading capabilities.

The separate Wacom pen enhances note-taking capabilities, although additional artwork features require separate purchase. The build quality is comparable to the AMD model, featuring a premium metal lid, polycarbonate exterior, and a keyboard deck with a soft coating for a luxurious feel. While not as powerful as the AMD Ryzen 5 version, particularly in graphics, it handles everyday tasks effortlessly.

The 14-inch display, slightly brighter than its AMD counterpart, offers 280 nits brightness, contributing positively to user experience. As a 2-in-1 convertible, it offers versatile usage modes, complemented by the Wacom AES technology for pen input. Battery life, slightly shorter than the AMD version but still respectable at over seven hours and 45 minutes, ensures reliable performance throughout the day. Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 514 with Intel processors delivers impressive features and performance at an affordable price, making it a worthwhile investment for most users.

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