The Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 is impressive in the day-to-day stuff I do, which is mostly browser-based. If you need a machine to surf on, handle e-mail, work in Microsoft Office, and make Zoom calls on, this should fit the bill.
- Thin and light frame
- Great Keyboard
- Lenovo Pen included
- Long battery life
- Runs Ubuntu well
Intel Iris Graphics aren’t quite powerful enough for video editing
Lenovo Pen holder is easy to knock off
Keyboard backlight is not quite as bright as I would like
Some of my favorite laptops have been from Lenovo over the years. I’ve had many Thinkpads and laptops, and I currently own a Yoga 710. When they offered to send me the 2021 version of the Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptop (ITL05) on loan, I had to check it out. Will the 11th generation Core i5, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage in this svelte frame impress, or will it disappoint? Let’s take a look.
As a Yoga Book owner, I know the work Lenovo has put into making their machines thin and portable, and this machine is right up with the Yoga 710 I have.
Slightly smaller than my Yoga 710 but bigger than my Surface Pro 6, the Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 with an 11th generation Core i5, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage on board was able to handle my normal day to day and then some.
However, where this does drop down a notch is when it comes to video editing. The Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 can do video editing to an extent. Still, I’d be more comfortable if this had a discrete graphics card versus the integrated Intel Iris graphics, as I keep pushing the resolution of my videos up to 4K. I would much rather have had an NVIDIA card in this machine.
Still, the Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 is impressive in the day-to-day stuff I do, which is mostly browser-based. If you need a machine to surf on, handle e-mail, work in Microsoft Office, and make Zoom calls on, this should fit the bill.
Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 Specifications
- Processor & Memory: 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 Processor; 16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64 bit)
- Drives: 512GB NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive (No Optical Drive)
- Graphics & Video: 14.0″ Touchscreen IPS LCD with LED-backlit FHD (1920 x 1080) Display; Integrated Intel Iris X Graphics
- Communications: Intel Wi-Fi 6 (2×2/160) Gig+ and Bluetooth 5.0; Integrated 720p Webcam with privacy shutter
- Audio: 2x 2W Speakers with Dolby Audio DAX3
- Keyboard: Backlit Keyboard with Fingerprint Reader
- Ports & Slots: 1x USB 3.1 Type-C with Power Delivery, 2x USB 3.11x ,HDMI-Out,1x 4-in-1 Media Card Reader,1x Headphone/Microphone Combination Jack
- Battery: 3 cell 52.5 WH Lithium Polymer battery
- Dimensions: 12.66″ on x 8.56″ wide x 0.82″ thick
- Approximate Weight: 3.63 pounds
The webcam is only 720p, but that is more than enough for Zoom; I really appreciate that the webcam has an integrated physical cover. So there are no worries about accidentally sharing your bedhead when you decide to skip the shower for that 8:30 AM Zoom session.
Lenovo has also included a Lenovo Pen in the box, and while as a Surface Pro owner, I appreciate having the pen, It’s simply not as good as the pen on my Surface Pro.
While the Lenovo Pen is useful and nice for working in a graphics editor or even writing notes, Lenovo has more work to do regarding their pen. It’s nice to have, but it really doesn’t match up to the Surface Pen.
I also wish they would use a magnet or some other method to hold the pen to the machine versus the little holder it comes with. The holder is designed to slot into one of the USB ports. However, it sticks out when in use; there have been multiple times where I accidentally sent the pen flying. A magnet on the screen or a stylus silo somewhere on the machine would make it less obtrusive.
The Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 can also flip the screen back 360-degrees to be used as a tablet. I need to be honest here, my Yoga 710 does the same thing, but I rarely use it. I DO like having a touch screen, but I don’t see myself flipping it into tent mode or tablet mode much. I don’t even detach the keyboard from my Surface Pro 6 that much.
Like the pen, it’s a nice feature to have but not really as useful as I once thought. At least the folding mechanism is solid and works well when I do flip it around. If I didn’t have an iPad, I might use the tablet mode a bit more than I do now, but this feature is not really important to me. It’s a nice idea, but I wish Microsoft could make this mode more useful in Windows 10 than it is.
The Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 has a USB Type-C based charger, but as I look around the frame, it also appears like the machine can also accept a more standard barrel connector too. The port you plug the power adapter into is a standard USB Type-C with Power Delivery, but it’s not a Thunderbolt port. If it were, the Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 would be in the running as my next purchase, as I could also pick up an external graphics card (or eGPU) to help Creative Cloud render video a bit faster. So close but not quite.
Still, the power supply does charge the laptop up very quickly, so if you use your laptop away from a wall outlet for a while, this laptop should work well for you. I’ve yet to run the battery flat, so if you are mobile and make frequent stops to do work, you should be able to last all day with this machine.
It’s a Lenovo, which means the keyboard is pretty good, but I wish the keyboard backlight were a little brighter. The keys aren’t mushy, and the deck does have a little bit of flex, but not so much that it feels cheap. This is one of the nicer keyboards I’ve used in a while. It’s not a perfect keyboard, but it is good enough to get the job done.
Below the keyboard is the standard Lenovo fingerprint reader, which can be used with Windows Hello. It works well and has been my preferred method when signing into my Lenovo laptops. My Surface does not support a fingerprint reader with the keyboard I have for it, and I do wish it had one, so that’s a point in the Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1’s favor.
All in all, this machine has stood up to the normal quality I expect from Lenovo. The 11th Generation Core i5 is faster than my Yoga 710, which has a Core i7 from a couple of generations back.
The only thing I wish that Lenovo would do with this particular laptop is to make a similarly sized one to my 12.3″ Surface, but the Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 is still small enough I could carry it along with my corporate laptop when I am traveling. If money were no object, I would seriously consider buying one to replace my Surface and Yoga 710.
Lenovo, as always, continues to impress me with well put together hardware, and if I were in the market for a new machine right now, it is very close to what I would want.
If you need a strong Windows 10 machine that is svelte and has plenty of power for normal day-to-day use, the Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 should fit the bill. The only real improvement I would like to see would be a model with an NVIDIA card.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, it will run Linux. I tried booting Linux on it off of a thumb drive, and Ubuntu worked great! The only thing I could not get to work with Ubuntu was the Lenovo Pen, but everything else worked great out of the box. That is a testament to the years of work that the kernel developers and Ubuntu team have put into my favorite Linux distro.
The Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptop starts at $549; it is available directly from the manufacturer, Amazon, and Walmart.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review unit on loan
What I Like: Thin and light frame; Great Keyboard; Lenovo Pen included; Long battery life: Runs Ubuntu well
What Needs Improvement: Intel Iris Graphics aren’t quite powerful enough for video editing; Lenovo Pen holder is easy to knock off; Keyboard backlight is not quite as bright as I would like