Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 Review: Add Intel, Lose Velocity

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 review: When selecting Intel hurts

MSRP $735.00

“With Intel inside, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 loses each efficiency and battery life in comparison with its AMD-powered cousin.”


  • Strong construct high quality
  • Snug keyboard and touchpad
  • Good audio system
  • Energetic pen included


  • Unimpressive efficiency
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Unacceptable show

I reviewed the AMD Ryzen model of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 convertible 2-in-1 laptop final 12 months, and located it to supply a ton of efficiency for a really enticing $600 worth. It didn’t fairly make our checklist of finest funds laptops, however it was shut. This 12 months, I used to be provided the prospect to review the 2021 refresh, which doesn’t change a lot — most notably, Intel is on faucet this time round. I appeared ahead to seeing how this model compares.

I reviewed the $735 midrange configuration of the IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 with a Core i5-1135G7, which is the correct Intel chip to check to the Ryzen 5 4500U within the earlier review unit. That’s barely a funds laptop worth (though it does double the storage over the AMD machine), and I discovered the Intel model presents much less worth than final 12 months’s mannequin. You may get a Core i3 for a extra enticing $570, however you surrender half the RAM and storage. Ultimately, it proves why AMD continues to be the chief in funds laptops.


The IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 follows the identical design because the earlier mannequin, however with glass fiber combined into the plastic lid to present it a sturdier really feel. The remainder of the chassis is all plastic, however it nonetheless feels strong — extra so than some premium laptops that use magnesium alloy to scale back weight. In comparison with the budget-oriented and fairly bendable Asus VivoBook Flip 14, which makes use of plastic within the chassis and aluminum alloy lining the lid, the IdeaPad Flex 5i appears like 1,000,000 bucks.

The IdeaPad’s hinge can be surprisingly good, being free sufficient to open with one hand, however then stiffening when it reaches an upright place to carry it in place in clamshell, tent, media, and pill modes. Total, the IdeaPad Flex 5i’s construct high quality exceeds its price ticket.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 folded into a tablet.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Image of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 laptop folded backwards sitting on the ground.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Image of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 laptop folded backwards sitting on the ground.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

The two-in-1 maintains its darkish gray aesthetic, with only a contact of chrome within the Lenovo brand on the lid and the keyboard deck. It’s a really understated look, with a couple of angles to present it a streamlined look, following the minimalist pattern Lenovo has utilized in its funds and midrange designs. The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is a bit more dynamic in its look, however that doesn’t imply it’s better-looking — it truly suffers from a lime inexperienced lining across the Enter key that breaks up its coloration scheme. I’d say the IdeaPad Flex 5i appears to be like higher than it prices, and it gained’t make you’re feeling such as you’re slumming it whenever you take it to a fancy coffeehouse.

Like final 12 months’s mannequin, although, the IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 is bigger than it ought to be. Its show bezels are skinny on the edges however giant on prime, and the chin is large. That makes it deeper than crucial. It’s additionally fairly thick at 0.82 inches and barely heavy at 3.3 kilos. The Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 (about $200 greater than the IdeaPad) is 0.69 inches and three.09 kilos, whereas the Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is available in at 0.72 inches and three.31 kilos. If there’s one space the place the IdeaPad Flex 5i reveals off its low-cost nature, it’s within the outsized nature of its chassis.

Connectivity is strong, with a proprietary energy connector (though my review unit got here with a USB-C charger), USB-C 3.2 port, full-sized HDMI 1.4b port, and three.5mm audio jack on the left-hand aspect, and two USB-A 3.2 ports and a full-size SD card reader on the right-hand aspect. Sadly, there’s no Thunderbolt 4 help, which is disappointing even at a $735 worth level. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 present wi-fi connectivity.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 right side USB ports snd SD card port.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 USB ports on the right side.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Charging port, micro USB port, HDMI port, and headphone jack on the left side of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits


We lauded the AMD model of the IdeaPad Flex 5 for its efficiency due to its Ryzen 5 4500U. On the time, that was spectacular, however what a distinction a 12 months makes. That’s now a previous-generation chip, and the brand new Ryzen 5000 sequence processors are considerably sooner — and the delta between the earlier model and the present Eleventh-gen Intel model can be much less vital. My review unit outfitted the Core i5-1135G7 to go together with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD), letting us examine not solely towards the earlier AMD mannequin but additionally present laptops.

Don’t trouble with gaming.

In all instances, besides towards the Acer Aspire 5 with its core i3-1115G4 that was included for some distinction, the IdeaPad Flex 5i didn’t impress. It was slower in all however the 3DMark Time Spy take a look at than the earlier AMD mannequin, together with fairly a bit slower in our Handbrake take a look at that encodes a 420MB video as H.265. In all our benchmarks, it was additionally slower than the opposite Core i5 laptops on our checklist, significantly the Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2. The distinction isn’t large, however it’s sufficient to position the IdeaPad Flex 5i close to the underside of our comparability group.

In real-life use, I didn’t discover the IdeaPad Flex 5i being a gradual laptop. However then once more, just about all trendy laptops are quick sufficient to run Home windows 10 and primary productiveness duties like internet shopping, Workplace apps, and the like with out slowing down. It’s whenever you want an additional push of efficiency for heavy multitasking or extra intensive duties that you just would possibly discover a hiccup or two. I’d price efficiency as acceptable for the worth, however not something to write down dwelling about.

Geekbench (single/multi) Handbrake
Cinebench R23 (single/multi) PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14
(Core i5-1135G7)
1397/4301 213 1325/4411 4550 1026
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 2020
(Ryzen 5 4500U)
1096/4543 160 n/a n/a 957
Asus VivoBook Flip 14 (Ryzen 5 5500U) 1102/5432 131 1180/7579 5191 1099
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2
(Core i5-1135G7)
1406/5379 178 1357/5502 4668 1511
HP Envy 14 (Core i5-1135G7) 1549 / 5431 204 1399 / 4585 n/a 1380
Acer Aspire 5 2021 (Core i3-1115G4) 1215/2544 300 1274/3128 3752 652

Don’t trouble with gaming. The IdeaPad Flex 5i is restricted to Intel Iris Xe graphics, and it didn’t carry out very impressively even for that chip. Its 3DMark Time Spy take a look at wasn’t nice, and it solely hit 16 frames per second (fps) in Fortnite at 1080p and excessive graphics. You’ll wish to look elsewhere to your gaming wants.


Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 screen.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

The second I turned on the IdeaPad Flex 5i 14, I knew that the 14-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS show can be its main weak point. The colours appeared off, the display had an disagreeable yellow-green tint, and the distinction didn’t blow me away. I don’t typically react so badly to a show, however this one was disappointing. Observe that the show is within the old-school 16:9 facet ratio, as taller shows haven’t but made a lot headway in funds laptops.

My colorimeter largely confirmed that subjective expertise. To start with, brightness was low at simply 231 nits, properly beneath our most popular 300-nit threshold. Which means the show is likely to be arduous to learn with brilliant overhead lighting. The distinction was higher than I anticipated at 800:1 (however once more beneath our most popular stage, 1,000:1). Colours had been very slim at simply 49% of AdobeRGB and 65% of sRGB — midrange and premium laptops are round 72% and 95% or higher — and coloration accuracy was simply OK at a DeltaE of two.37 (1.0 or much less is great).

Sure, funds laptops typically skimp on the show. The Asus VivoBook Flip 14, for instance, was remarkably related at 230 nits of brightness, a distinction ratio of 720:1, 50% of AdobeRGB and 66% of sRGB, and coloration accuracy of two.62. However that doesn’t change the truth that these aren’t nice shows to make use of even for easy productiveness work, they usually’re nowhere close to what artistic sorts are searching for.

The audio was higher, with upward-firing audio system flanking the keyboard on all sides. Quantity was greater than acceptable with zero distortion, and whereas bass was missing, mids and highs had been clear. You’ll be capable of watch some Netflix and hearken to music with these audio system, which is healthier than most funds machines.

Close up image of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 stylus and speaker on the right side.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Keyboard and touchpad

The IdeaPad Flex 5i has the standard Lenovo keyboard that you just’ll discover on every little thing however the ThinkPad line. It’s shallower than I like, however it has sufficient of a click on and a cushty sufficient bottoming motion to permit for exact contact typing. The beneficiant key spacing and key dimension assist make this funds keyboard that’s solely a few steps behind wonderful keyboards like HP’s Spectre line and the Apple Magic Keyboard. Quick typists ought to regulate to this keyboard rapidly sufficient and rise up to hurry in brief order.

The touchpad can be good, with a good dimension and a clean and cozy floor. The Microsoft Precision Touchpad drivers allow the complete suite of Home windows 10 multitouch gestures, all of which labored properly. I’ve no complaints.

Image of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14, showing the keyboard, trackpad, and stylus.
Close up image of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 trackpad and stylus.

The contact show was responsive, and Lenovo consists of an lively pen with 4,096 ranges of stress sensitivity. I discovered it fairly good for sketching (not that I’m an artist) and handwriting on the show, though the 14-inch show and general bulk of the 2-in-1 made it uncomfortable in pill mode. Nonetheless, together with the pen within the field is a plus that few funds laptops can match. As an added bonus, look carefully on the in-box supplies and also you’ll discover a bit of pen holder that slips right into a USB-A port and retains the pen useful. In fact, that blocks each ports and so that you’ll must take away the pen to plug in a peripheral.

Lastly, Home windows 10 Whats up help is offered by a fingerprint reader on the upper-right nook of the keyboard deck. It was quick and dependable. Lenovo additionally outfitted the IdeaPad Flex 5i with its ThinkShutter privateness display for the webcam — simply slide it over and the lens is bodily blocked, providing you with a contact of privateness.

Battery life

Image of an opened Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 laptop sitting on the ground.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

The IdeaPad Flex 5i retains the 52.5 watt-hour battery of its predecessor, which, when mixed with the Core i5 and the 14-inch Full HD show, left me questioning what sort of longevity to count on. The AMD mannequin was simply OK by way of battery life, capable of possibly eke out a full day’s work on a cost for those who didn’t push it too arduous.

Total, the IdeaPad Flex 5i’s battery life is disappointing.

Based on our benchmarks, the Intel model dropped slightly below that threshold of all-day battery life. It lasted simply 7.25 hours in our web-browsing take a look at, in comparison with the AMD model’s eight hours, and 11.5 hours in looping our native Avengers take a look at video, the place the AMD model lasted for 11 hours. In order that’s a toss-up, though the online take a look at provides a greater concept of productiveness efficiency. The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 made it to 9 hours of shopping the online and 12 hours within the video take a look at — stronger scores for certain.

I additionally ran the PCMark 10 Purposes battery take a look at, the place the IdeaPad Flex 5i managed 9 hours. That’s simply seven minutes lower than the AMD model, however beneath the ten or extra hours we’ve seen at the least with most different laptops we’ve examined. That is the very best take a look at of productiveness battery life, and the IdeaPad Flex 5i didn’t do all that properly. Within the PCMark 10 Gaming battery take a look at, it lasted for slightly below two minutes, which is about common for this take a look at.

Total, the IdeaPad Flex 5i’s battery life is disappointing. Just like the AMD model, it’d take you thru a day’s work in case your workflow is mild, however getting actual work accomplished with out plugging in is likely to be a problem.

Our take

At $600, the AMD model of the IdeaPad Flex 5 14 was a well-performing cut price. At $735, with the primary distinction being a 512GB SSD versus a 256GB SSD, the newest IdeaPad Flex 5i isn’t fairly so enticing. It doesn’t carry out as properly, and it doesn’t sustain with another laptops working the identical CPU. Its battery life doesn’t impress, and its show — though equally unhealthy because the earlier model — is an actual letdown.

There are different laptops on this worth vary which are extra value your cash. The IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 misplaced its luster within the swap to Intel, and I can’t discover a lot to suggest it.

Are there any options?

The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is across the identical worth and presents considerably higher efficiency. The show and battery life aren’t any higher, however no less than you’ll get a sooner laptop that may deal with extra demanding workloads.

When you don’t want a 2-in-1, then the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED UM325UA is a superb selection. It’s inside a few hundred {dollars} of the IdeaPad Flex 5i, however it presents significantly better efficiency, a beautiful and color-accurate OLED show, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. In case your funds can deal with it, then the ZenBook 13 ought to be in your checklist.

One other 2-in-1 to think about is the HP Envy x360 13. It’s additionally an AMD machine and a lot sooner, and it has a significantly better show. It’s additionally a bit costlier, however it’s value the additional money.

How lengthy will it final?

The IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 presents strong building that ought to evoke confidence in years of service. Its parts are updated, if not the quickest, so it ought to hold you productive for simply as lengthy. You gained’t just like the industry-standard one-year guarantee.

Do you have to purchase it?

No. Take away the efficiency of the AMD processor from its predecessor and add on greater than $100 to the worth, and the IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 isn’t a lot of a cut price.

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