Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook: The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook from last year was and continues to be one of our top recommendations in the category, owing to its low price for a quality Chromebook. The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook for 2021 (with the extra I denoting an Intel CPU; there is no AMD version) is much the same as the 2020 model and remains an outstanding bargain for its build quality, features, and performance.
The biggest difference between last year’s model and this year’s is a switch from Intel’s 10-gen Core i3 CPU to an 11th-gen Core i3 processor, which improves performance while essentially maintaining battery life, which we measured at over 11 hours.
The Flex 5i is a terrific place to start if you’re seeking for a better Chrome experience at a more reasonable price. However, the 10th-generation model is still available and is a bargain for roughly $330.
The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook has an 11th-generation Intel Core i3, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC flash memory for storage and starts at $450 straight from Lenovo. Consider purchasing the configuration I tested, which includes the same Core i3 CPU with 8GB of RAM and a larger, faster 128GB SSD for storage if you can afford an extra $100 and have access to a Costco membership. The RAM is soldered on, as is the case with many computers these days, and cannot be changed afterwards.
While Chrome works fine with 4GB of RAM, increasing it to 8GB will provide you more capacity for more demanding activities now and in the future. Even though the present Flex 5i isn’t available in the UK or Australia, the 2020 Flex model is, with prices beginning at £430 and $649, respectively.
LENOVO FLEX 5I CHROMEBOOK
|Price as reviewed||$550|
|Display size/resolution||13.3-inch 1,920×1,080-pixel touch display|
|CPU||3GHz Intel Core i3-1115G4|
|Memory||8GB LPDDR4X 3733MHz (onboard)|
|Graphics||128MB Intel UHD Graphics|
|Storage||128GB PCIe SSD|
|Networking||802.11ax wireless, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Connections||USB-C (x2, 3.1 Gen 1), USB-A (3.1 Gen 1), HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack, microSD card slot|
|Operating system||Chrome OS/Android 11|
A step up for student Chromebooks
Most Chromebooks with cheaper prices feature smaller displays, all-plastic casings, and weaker CPUs than the Flex 5i. It’s worth paying a little extra for this Lenovo since it’s just superior. The lid is composed of metal, while the chassis is constructed of soft-touch plastic, giving it a more premium appearance and feel.
It’s only a hair bigger than 11.6-inch devices that are routinely used in schools. When browsing through instructional sites or simply needing to view more of your work on the screen at once, the larger 13.3-inch display here makes a great difference.
The color and contrast of the display are great, however, the screen is a little faint. I found myself attempting to push it over its maximum setting on a frequent basis. This happened most of the time whether I used it in a bright room with a window or outside.
Nevertheless, the display was sufficient, and it is pen-enabled through the USI (Universal Stylus Initiative), so it will function with Lenovo’s USI Pen and others.
A usable 720p webcam is mounted above the display. The mic quality is also good, so you should be able to see and be heard at your next Google Meet. Considering the rise in remote work and education, almost no Chromebooks feature quality 1080p-or-better cameras, which is a tragedy. Lenovo did, however, provide a hardware privacy shutter for the webcam on the Flex 5i model, allowing you to block it instantaneously. For most individuals, this is likely more beneficial than a higher-resolution camera.
A USB-C connector, volume rocker, and power button are all accessible in tablet form on the right side of the laptop. But be careful: while you’re steadying the laptop to insert anything into a port on the left side, it’s possible to mistakenly click the power button. It’s not a major concern because Chrome asks you what you want to do before it does anything — power off, sign out, or lock; it’s just irritating. Lenovo did include USB-C connectors on both sides, so the Chromebook may be charged from either.
The remainder of the Flex 5 is simply fantastic. The keyboard is pleasant to use and has a satisfying snappiness. It’s also illuminated, which you won’t get on less expensive versions. The touchpad isn’t very impressive, but it gets the job done and is just large enough.
Overall, I didn’t notice any sluggishness while working in Google Docs and Sheets, streaming video or music, or performing basic picture and video editing. In our streaming video test, the battery life was rated at 10 hours and 48 minutes. I’d anticipate it to last approximately 6 to 7 hours before needing a charge for more average business use, but that depends entirely on what you’re doing.
You may download Android games from the Google Play store and play them without experiencing any lag. You’ll enjoy the Flex 5i’s fast Wi-Fi 6 connectivity if you want to use Stadia, Google’s streaming gaming service, or Nvidia’s GeForce Now service (though you’ll probably need a new router to do so).
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5i is a great option if you need a Chromebook as your primary computer, especially when it’s on sale, which occurs frequently. Chromebooks that are less expensive might surely assist you in getting your task done right now. The Flex 5i’s features and performance, on the other hand, should keep you running for a bit longer for a little more money.
Is Lenovo Flex 5i a Chromebook?
The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook is a strong laptop with good performance, a full day’s battery life, and a pleasant display, keyboard, and trackpad combo. It has all of the ports that the majority of customers would require.