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

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 review: When deciding on Intel hurts

MSRP $735.00

“With Intel inside, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 loses every effectivity and battery life as compared with its AMD-powered cousin.”

Execs

  • Robust assemble top quality
  • Cosy keyboard and touchpad
  • Good audio system
  • Energetic pen included

Cons

  • Unimpressive effectivity
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Unacceptable present

I reviewed the AMD Ryzen mannequin of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 convertible 2-in-1 laptop ultimate 12 months, and situated it to produce a ton of effectivity for a extremely attractive $600 price. It didn’t pretty make our guidelines of best funds laptops, nonetheless it was shut. This 12 months, I was supplied the prospect to review the 2021 refresh, which doesn’t change rather a lot — most notably, Intel is on faucet this time spherical. I appeared forward to seeing how this mannequin compares.

I reviewed the $735 midrange configuration of the IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 with a Core i5-1135G7, which is the right Intel chip to examine to the Ryzen 5 4500U inside the earlier review unit. That’s barely a funds laptop price (although it does double the storage over the AMD machine), and I found the Intel mannequin presents a lot much less price than ultimate 12 months’s model. It’s possible you’ll get a Core i3 for a further attractive $570, nonetheless you give up half the RAM and storage. Finally, it proves why AMD continues to be the chief in funds laptops.

Design

The IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 follows the an identical design as a result of the sooner model, nonetheless with glass fiber mixed into the plastic lid to current it a sturdier actually really feel. The rest of the chassis is all plastic, nonetheless it nonetheless feels robust — further so than some premium laptops that use magnesium alloy to cut back weight. Compared with the budget-oriented and pretty bendable Asus VivoBook Flip 14, which makes use of plastic inside the chassis and aluminum alloy lining the lid, the IdeaPad Flex 5i seems like 1,000,000 bucks.

The IdeaPad’s hinge might be surprisingly good, being free ample to open with one hand, nonetheless then stiffening when it reaches an upright place to hold it in place in clamshell, tent, media, and capsule modes. Complete, the IdeaPad Flex 5i’s assemble top quality exceeds its price tag.

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 2-in-1 maintains its darkish grey aesthetic, with solely a contact of chrome inside the Lenovo model on the lid and the keyboard deck. It’s a extremely understated look, with a few angles to current it a streamlined look, following the minimalist sample Lenovo has utilized in its funds and midrange designs. The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is a little more dynamic in its look, nonetheless that doesn’t indicate it’s better-looking — it really suffers from a lime inexperienced lining throughout the Enter key that breaks up its coloration scheme. I’d say the IdeaPad Flex 5i seems to be like larger than it costs, and it gained’t make you are feeling comparable to you’re slumming it everytime you take it to a elaborate coffeehouse.

Like ultimate 12 months’s model, though, the IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 is greater than it should be. Its present bezels are skinny on the perimeters nonetheless big on prime, and the chin is massive. That makes it deeper than essential. It’s moreover pretty thick at 0.82 inches and barely heavy at 3.3 kilos. The Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 (about $200 better than the IdeaPad) is 0.69 inches and three.09 kilos, whereas the Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is out there in at 0.72 inches and three.31 kilos. If there’s one area the place the IdeaPad Flex 5i reveals off its low-cost nature, it’s inside the outsized nature of its chassis.

Connectivity is robust, with a proprietary power connector (although my review unit obtained right 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 side, and two USB-A 3.2 ports and a full-size SD card reader on the right-hand side. Sadly, there’s no Thunderbolt 4 assist, which is disappointing even at a $735 price degree. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 current 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

Effectivity

We lauded the AMD mannequin of the IdeaPad Flex 5 for its effectivity as a consequence of its Ryzen 5 4500U. On the time, that was spectacular, nonetheless what a distinction a 12 months makes. That’s now a previous-generation chip, and the model new Ryzen 5000 sequence processors are significantly sooner — and the delta between the sooner mannequin and the current Eleventh-gen Intel mannequin might be a lot much less very important. My review unit outfitted the Core i5-1135G7 to go along with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD), letting us look at not solely in the direction of the sooner AMD model however moreover current laptops.

Don’t hassle with gaming.

In all situations, in addition to in the direction of 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 nonetheless the 3DMark Time Spy check out than the sooner AMD model, along with pretty a bit slower in our Handbrake check out that encodes a 420MB video as H.265. In all our benchmarks, it was moreover slower than the other Core i5 laptops on our guidelines, considerably the Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2. The excellence isn’t massive, nonetheless it’s ample to place the IdeaPad Flex 5i near the underside of our comparability group.

In real-life use, I didn’t uncover the IdeaPad Flex 5i being a gradual laptop. Nonetheless then as soon as extra, nearly all stylish laptops are fast ample to run Residence home windows 10 and first productiveness duties like web buying, Office apps, and the like with out slowing down. It’s everytime you need an extra push of effectivity for heavy multitasking or further intensive duties that you just simply may uncover a hiccup or two. I’d value effectivity as acceptable for the value, nonetheless not one thing to write down down dwelling about.

Geekbench (single/multi) Handbrake
(seconds)
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 hassle with gaming. The IdeaPad Flex 5i is restricted to Intel Iris Xe graphics, and it didn’t perform very impressively even for that chip. Its 3DMark Time Spy check out wasn’t good, and it solely hit 16 frames per second (fps) in Fortnite at 1080p and extreme graphics. You’ll want to look elsewhere to your gaming needs.

Present

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 present might be its most important weak level. The colors appeared off, the show had an unpleasant yellow-green tint, and the excellence didn’t blow me away. I don’t usually react so badly to a present, nonetheless this one was disappointing. Observe that the present is inside the old-school 16:9 aspect ratio, as taller reveals haven’t however made rather a lot headway in funds laptops.

My colorimeter largely confirmed that subjective experience. To begin with, brightness was low at merely 231 nits, correctly beneath our hottest 300-nit threshold. Which suggests the present is prone to be arduous to study with sensible overhead lighting. The excellence was larger than I anticipated at 800:1 (nonetheless as soon as extra beneath our hottest stage, 1,000:1). Colors had been very slim at merely 49% of AdobeRGB and 65% of sRGB — midrange and premium laptops are spherical 72% and 95% or larger — and coloration accuracy was merely OK at a DeltaE of two.37 (1.0 or a lot much less is nice).

Certain, funds laptops usually skimp on the present. The Asus VivoBook Flip 14, as an illustration, was remarkably associated at 230 nits of brightness, a distinction ratio of 720:1, 50% of AdobeRGB and 66% of sRGB, and coloration accuracy of two.62. Nonetheless that doesn’t change the reality that these aren’t good reveals to utilize even for straightforward productiveness work, they often’re nowhere near what creative kinds are looking for.

The audio was larger, with upward-firing audio system flanking the keyboard on all sides. Amount was better than acceptable with zero distortion, and whereas bass was lacking, mids and highs had been clear. You’ll be able to watch some Netflix and be all ears to music with these audio system, which is more healthy 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 usual Lenovo keyboard that you just simply’ll uncover on each little factor nonetheless the ThinkPad line. It’s shallower than I like, nonetheless it has ample of a click on on and a comfortable ample bottoming movement to allow for actual contact typing. The generous key spacing and key dimension help make this funds keyboard that’s solely a number of steps behind fantastic keyboards like HP’s Spectre line and the Apple Magic Keyboard. Fast typists ought to manage to this keyboard quickly ample and rise as much as hurry in short order.

The touchpad might be good, with an excellent dimension and a clear and comfortable flooring. The Microsoft Precision Touchpad drivers enable the whole suite of Residence home windows 10 multitouch gestures, all of which labored correctly. 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 present was responsive, and Lenovo consists of an vigorous pen with 4,096 ranges of stress sensitivity. I found it pretty good for sketching (not that I’m an artist) and handwriting on the present, although the 14-inch present and common bulk of the 2-in-1 made it uncomfortable in capsule mode. Nonetheless, along with the pen inside the area is a plus that few funds laptops can match. As an added bonus, look rigorously on the in-box provides and in addition you’ll uncover a little bit of pen holder that slips proper right into a USB-A port and retains the pen helpful. The truth is, that blocks every ports and so that you just’ll should take away the pen to plug in a peripheral.

Lastly, Residence home windows 10 Whats up assist is obtainable by a fingerprint reader on the upper-right nook of the keyboard deck. It was fast and reliable. Lenovo moreover outfitted the IdeaPad Flex 5i with its ThinkShutter privateness show for the webcam — merely slide it over and the lens is bodily blocked, offering 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 combined with the Core i5 and the 14-inch Full HD present, left me questioning what kind of longevity to depend on. The AMD model was merely OK by the use of battery life, able to presumably eke out a full day’s work on a value for individuals who didn’t push it too arduous.

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

Based mostly on our benchmarks, the Intel mannequin dropped barely beneath that threshold of all-day battery life. It lasted merely 7.25 hours in our web-browsing check out, as compared with the AMD mannequin’s eight hours, and 11.5 hours in looping our native Avengers check out video, the place the AMD mannequin lasted for 11 hours. So that’s a toss-up, although the net check out offers a better idea of productiveness effectivity. The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 made it to 9 hours of buying the net and 12 hours inside the video check out — stronger scores for sure.

I moreover ran the PCMark 10 Functions battery check out, the place the IdeaPad Flex 5i managed 9 hours. That’s merely seven minutes decrease than the AMD mannequin, nonetheless beneath the ten or further hours we’ve seen as a minimum with most completely different laptops we’ve examined. That’s the perfect check out of productiveness battery life, and the IdeaPad Flex 5i didn’t do all that correctly. Throughout the PCMark 10 Gaming battery check out, it lasted for barely beneath two minutes, which is about widespread for this check out.

Complete, the IdeaPad Flex 5i’s battery life is disappointing. Similar to the AMD mannequin, it’d take you via a day’s work in case your workflow is gentle, nonetheless getting precise work achieved with out plugging in is prone to be an issue.

Our take

At $600, the AMD mannequin of the IdeaPad Flex 5 14 was a well-performing discount. At $735, with the first distinction being a 512GB SSD versus a 256GB SSD, the latest IdeaPad Flex 5i isn’t pretty so attractive. It doesn’t perform as correctly, and it doesn’t maintain with one other laptops working the an identical CPU. Its battery life doesn’t impress, and its present — although equally unhealthy as a result of the sooner mannequin — is an precise letdown.

There are completely different laptops on this price fluctuate that are further worth your money. The IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 misplaced its luster inside the swap to Intel, and I can’t uncover rather a lot to counsel it.

Are there any choices?

The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is throughout the an identical price and presents significantly larger effectivity. The present and battery life aren’t any larger, nonetheless at least you’ll get a sooner laptop that will cope with further demanding workloads.

If you don’t desire a 2-in-1, then the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED UM325UA is an excellent choice. It’s inside a number of hundred {{dollars}} of the IdeaPad Flex 5i, nonetheless it presents considerably higher effectivity, an exquisite and color-accurate OLED present, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. In case your funds can cope with it, then the ZenBook 13 should be in your guidelines.

One different 2-in-1 to consider is the HP Envy x360 13. It’s moreover an AMD machine and rather a lot sooner, and it has a considerably higher present. It’s moreover a bit costlier, nonetheless it’s worth the extra cash.

How prolonged will it ultimate?

The IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 presents robust constructing that should evoke confidence in years of service. Its elements are up to date, if not the quickest, so it ought to carry you productive for merely as prolonged. You gained’t similar to the industry-standard one-year assure.

Do you need to buy it?

No. Take away the effectivity of the AMD processor from its predecessor and add on better than $100 to the value, and the IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 isn’t a number of a discount.

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