Laptop Mag Verdict
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i takes full advantage of Google’s AI-infused Chrome OS and delivers potent performance that will impress you.
Speedy AI-infused performance
The display could be brighter.
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CPU: Intel Core i3-1315U
GPU: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics
Storage: 128GB eMMC
Display: 14nch, FHD IPS Touchscreen (1920 x 1080)
Size: 12.4 x 9.0 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 3.57 pounds
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus is part of a new breed of ChromeOS-powered devices that, over the past week, have won me over. The IdeaPad Flex 5i takes full advantage of Google Chrome’s AI infusion to deliver potent performance that provides many users with a smooth, productive experience.
At just $499.99, the Flex 5i gets the most out of its 13th Gen Intel Core i3-1315U CPU combined with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of eMMC storage. I found the Flex 5i willing, ready, and able to handle everything I needed and wanted to do. From pushing documents to editing photos and videos, with some gaming on Nvidia’s GeForce Now, this IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus happily and speedily handled everything.
Thanks to ChromeOS AI improving overall performance, Chromebooks are entering a new next-level phase and should be taken seriously. Jump on board and fasten your seatbelts; this 2-in-1 likes to get things done quickly.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus pricing
The $499.99 Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus comes with a 14-inch IPS (1920 x 1080) touchscreen, a 13th Gen Intel Core i3-1315U CPU with integrated Intel UHD graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB eMMC for storage.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus design
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is attractive, with an aluminum storm grey colored lid and match color throughout the plastic body. The overall aesthetic has excellent curb appeal, both business casual and funky, thanks to its 360-degree hinge design that allows you to use it in tent mode or as a tablet.
When you open the cover, the hinges offer firm resistance and feel sturdy in all positions. Lenovo is known for its excellent keyboards, and the same can be said about the backlit Chiclet-style keyboard above the centered touchpad. The unit has no fingerprint reader, which is odd, nor does this touchscreen 2-in-1 come with a stylus.
When looking up past the keyboard, your eyes are met by the immersive 14-inch display that feels larger, thanks to its 16:10 aspect ratio. The bezels are nice and thin, giving the user more display to enjoy. At the top center of the bezel, we find the built-in webcam with a physical security shutter.
Measuring 12.4 x 9.0 x 0.8 inches and weighing 3.57 pounds, the Flex 5i is not the lightest system in our Chromebooks test group. The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 takes that honor, coming in at a svelte 3.02 pounds. The Acer Chromebook Plus 515 was our thick clamshell, tipping the scales at 3.7 pounds.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus security
There is a webcam shutter to provide security when you’re done with video calls, and although I searched every inch of the unit, there is no fingerprint scanner to speak of. There is a nano Kensington lock on the right side.
I suggest using a password and PIN to lockdown, reopen your laptop, and keep your files safe.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus ports
The Flex 5i arrives with a decent assortment of ports for a Chromebook to connect your favorite peripherals.
On the left, we find a microSD card reader, a 3.5 combo audio port, a USB Type-A port, and another USB Type-C port.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus display
Lenovo's IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus 14-inch, 1080p touch display is crispy, vivid, and reasonably bright. I enjoyed watching videos on the unit; the screen makes it a great little laptop to binge-watch your favorite shows and do some photo and video editing.
I watched the first episode of season two of Loki on Disney Plus, and Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of the pasty-hued god of mischief is always a hoot. You can see the panic in Loki's eyes as he is time slipping through the TVA.
Also, seeing my old friend Eugene Cordero reprise his role as Casey is a great joy. The Flex 5i did an excellent job reproducing the episode's sepia tone and yellow-hued imagery. Also, special effects were solidly saturated.
The display did a lovely job with the monochrome imagery of the Meg Thee Stallion "Her" video. I found the touch aspect of the display to work flawlessly and just wished they had included a stylus so that I could take full advantage of the feature.
While editing a video in LumaFusion, I found the display pretty color-accurate, and the experience was very smooth. I will add that tenting the display and watching content this way is a nice feature.
I was surprised to learn that the Flex 5i covered a disappointing 46.5% of the DCI-P3 color gamut during our testing, below the 64.8% Chromebook average. The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 led our group with 76%, followed by the Chromebook Plus 515's score of 43.4%
Our Flex 5i produced 306 nits of brightness during our testing, which put it below the Chromebook average of 435 nits. The Spin 714 scored 389 nits, and the Chromebook Plus 515 averaged 271 nits.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus audio
No budget-friendly laptop will be a boom box, but the IdeaPad Flex 5i holds its own, providing solid, clear audio with hints of depth. I could hear it across my tiny studio apartment and while on video calls.
There's not much bass to speak of as I listened to Megan Thee Stallion's "Her." The mid-range tones dominated the track, but you can clearly discern the house music-inspired baseline. If you're a serious audiophile, I suggest using a pair of headphones for a better audio experience.
The mic array on the Flex 5i does an excellent job focusing on your voice while using Google's AI-enhanced audio controls to keep out background noise on both sides of a conversation.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus keyboard and touchpad
The backlit Chiclet-style keyboard is a joy to type on. Lenovo does keyboards right, and the one on the Flex is clicky, super responsive, with excellent bounciness.
I took the 10fastfingers typing test and scored 88 words per minute with an accuracy score of 93%, which is better than my typical 85 wpm and 88% accuracy.
The 2.8 x 4.8-inch touchpad is spacious, responsive, and accurate when navigating websites or documents. It performed well when I used two-finger gestures.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus performance
With a 13th Gen Intel Core i3-1315U CPU, 8GB of RAM, 128GB eMMC, and integrated Intel UHD Graphics running the lightweight, AI-infused Chrome OS, the Lenovo Flex 5i’s performance is spunky with near-instant boot times. The Flex 5 faced no issue when I had 35 Google Chrome tabs opened with five 1080p videos playing. I worked on documents in Google Docs without any lag or sputtering performance.
The IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus also benefits from the AI infusion in content creation and editing. I could speedily edit photos in Adobe PhotoShop and pass them along to the Adobe Creative online suite, where I enhanced them further using Adobe’s FireFly AI. It was an enjoyable experience. I will explore more in the future.
I also edited a short 4K video using LumaFusion, and it was shockingly fast and easy to use. Although it may not yet have all the tools of Davini Resolve, and I have yet to explore it fully, I was able to quickly cut up and edit the footage and then save it to my Google Drive. After that, I played Star Conflict on GeForce Now, and it was a great deal of fun as I enjoyed flawless, lag-free gameplay.
During Geekbench 6, a synthetic overall performance test, the Flex 5i registered 5,384, scoring above the 5,259 Chromebook average. The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 led our group (Core i5-1335U), scoring 6,335, followed by the 515 (Intel Core i3-1215U), which tallied 5,052.
The IdeaPad Flex 5i tested well during our Jetstream 2.0 benchmark, hitting 272.91, above the Chromebook average of 231.1. The Acer Chromebook Plus 515 led our group, scoring 275.37, followed by the Spin 714, which scored a solid 250.18 in this benchmark.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus battery life
Chromebooks are known for battery life, and our Flex 5i fell a tad short of the Chromebook average of 9 hours and 50 minutes, lasting 9 hours and 43 minutes during our testing, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits. I experienced between 11 and 12 hours of battery life during intermittent use this past week, but take that with a grain of salt.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 led our group at 12:43, followed by the Acer Chromebook Plus 515 at 8:21.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus heat
The Flex 5i stayed cool throughout my usage and our testing. During our heat test, which consists of running a fullscreen HD video for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured 75.5 degrees Fahrenheit, while the space between the G and H keys measured 82 degrees. The laptop’s bottom reached 89.5 degrees, below the 95-degree comfort threshold. I never heard the fans come on during my time with the Flex 5i.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus webcam
The IdeaPad Flex 5i has an FHD 1080p webcam, which produces excellent photos and videos, fully utilizing Google's AI. While using Google Meet, I looked flawless, and honestly, it's one of the better built-in webcam experiences, with the webcam producing perfect skin tones and color accuracy. You can now access Google's AI tools for video and photos, like Magic Eraser. You will find that you can fine-tune your video and enhance the lighting quickly.
My daughter commented that I looked clear, fantastic, and almost three-dimensional. However, I suspect she was buttering me up before she asked me to Venmo her some money. This being my second webcam experience with a Chromebook Plus, I firmly believe excellent cam performance will be typical and appreciated.
Nonetheless, if you want to bump things up to 4k, I would consider having a look at our best external webcams page.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus software and warranty
Chrome OS has gained popularity and can be found in the business world with enterprise support. Chrome OS and Google Workspace are claiming market share in the business and education sectors. Thanks to Google’s artful use of AI, ChromeOS is becoming a viable option for content creators. I never thought I would write that, but here we are, which is fantastic.
Chrome OS has been a solid option for users on a budget, students, or light productivity users. With the addition of AI, you can now quickly and smoothly edit photos and videos. It is game-changing when you are a young creator on a tight budget to have access to an affordable tool.
Google and its OEM partners like Lenovo are changing the affordable laptop landscape with devices like the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus and leveraging the potency of Google's AI-enhanced ChromeOS to pack a great deal of performance into a sub-$ $500 device. During my short time with the IdeaPad Flex 5i, I pushed documents, edited mixed media, and gamed till I needed a nap.
If you're a young content creator on a budget or a small business owner, you could achieve a lot with a Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus and save money to purchase other things you need to further yourselves. Yes, it's at its best when connected to the internet, but how often are you not? We’re getting a small peek into the future of Chromebooks, and the future looks terrific, and so do the savings. This Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus is an affordable option consumers should take seriously.
Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.