The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook is a very stylish device. However, that beautiful appearance alone can’t hide some of the more serious shortcomings. At first glance, we have to point out that the screen is rather underwhelming, and the battery life can be improved. However, let’s discuss in more detail what are the things we liked and didn’t like when it comes to the new Lenovo Chromebook.
- Decent CPU for a Chromebook
- M.2 SSD
- Elegant design
- Underwhelming display
- Short battery life
There are Chromebooks that meet multiple US military standards, they are extremely durable, but they are not pretty to look at. Lenovo shows there’s another way with the IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook. It’s the little black dress among Chrome OS devices. The design is simple but elegant. And like Coco Chanel’s influenced dress, it fits almost every occasion.
An Elegant Chromebook
The Lenovo not only looks good in the office, but also in a café, on a business trip on a plane, on the train, or just on the sofa at home. Thanks to the folding hinges, it can be easily turned into a tablet by simply rotating the screen. Even if it’s a lightweight Chromebook weighing in at just 1.4 kilograms, it’s a bit on the heavy side when compared to other Chromebooks. With your knees as a shelf, you can spend a few hours relaxing on the sofa with the Lenovo. Great: there are volume controls for tablet use outside.
But it’s not just about a sleek exterior. After all, even the most beautiful dress can contain an unpleasant surprise. And, in fact: the noble appearance and great workmanship ensure a dazzling first impression. However, the screen with its diagonal of approximately 34 centimeters does not get it. Because even for a Chromebook it’s very dark. With 241 ppi, it becomes difficult to see anything outdoors especially if the sun is positioned behind you.
If you want to spend the first sunny days of spring with the Lenovo on the terrace, you are in poor condition. It’s not the only screen problem. The colors look pale, the contrasts are scarce. The resolution could have been a little higher. In the price segment starting at 600 euros, buyers can expect more than Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) from a Chromebook.
A Decent Processor
But the internal values are correct: an Intel Core i5-1135G7 from the Tiger Lake series is found on the IdeaPad Flex 5i. This ensures high speed when working with Google’s office software around Google Docs. Sure, the programs eventually run in the Chrome browser. But the device also offers great performance for other tasks.
Although Windows programs can’t be installed on Chrome OS, Android apps from the Google Play Store can run instead. If you want to quickly crop an image for Instagram, you’ll find a useful alternative in Photoshop Express. The application ran smoothly in the test and deployed the inputs quickly.
Not Really Suited for Gaming
In gaming benchmarks, the IdeaPad achieved the best values ever measured by us for a Chromebook. The racing game “Asphalt 9: Legends” brought it to the screen without problems. It’s a pity that the mobile branch of “Call of Duty” has failed. It crashed as soon as it started. However, the IdeaPad’s battery life is short, just over five hours. If you want to use it for an entire workday, you have to leave the Chromebook plugged in at least during lunchtime. If the battery is completely empty, the Lenovo needs about two and a half hours to charge.
Keyboard and Touchpad Build Quality
The other components aren’t entirely convincing either. The keys offer a pretty good pressure point and typing feels very comfortable. However, the space bar sometimes gets a little stuck in the wording of the test device. The touchpad is a bit small. It also feels a bit ramshackle when clicked. On the other hand, the operation through the touch screen works well.
Lenovo decided to equip the IdeaPad with an M.2 SSD with 256 gigabytes of base storage. There are also Chromebooks with up to 512 gigabytes of space, but the memory built into this model should be enough for most casual users. After all, music and movies it’s unlikely that someone will store big files on their Chromebook, be it videos, music, or anything else since that’s not the primary use case of a lightweight Chromebook. More storage can be added via the dedicated microSD card slot, an additional 256 gigs are available for about 30 euros.
All in all, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook is a very stylish device. However, the beautiful appearance can’t hide the shortcomings. The screen is sparse, the battery life can be improved. If it’s a Chromebook, users drive better with the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. It’s even a few dollars cheaper.