Laptop Mag Verdict
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is an affordable 2-in-1 with a fantastic keyboard, but it has middling performance.
Flexible 2-in-1 design
Touchscreen with pen support
Webcam privacy shutter
Below-average battery life
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CPU: Intel Core i3-10110U
GPU: Intel UHD
Display: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080
Size: 12.2 x 8 3 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 2.9 pounds
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook (reviewed at $409) is easy on the pockets, but let me tell you, it doesn’t feel, look or act cheap. This Chromebook may have “Flex '' in its name, but ironically, its solid metal chassis is stalwart with a premium-feeling, part-aluminum body.
At first glance, you may dismiss the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook as another gray, clamshell laptop, but this shape-shifting device can also transform into a tablet thanks to its sturdy 360-degree hinge. You’ll also love its clicky keyboard that’ll transport you into typing heaven.
However, the Flex 5 suffers from one insy winsy little problem — mediocrity. Its display, battery life and performance are simply OK; they’re not the worst, but they could be better.
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook might be a middling performer, but with a $400 price tag, it’s a superb laptop for Frugal Frans who want a lot of bang for their buck.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook price and configurations
The only Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook configuration available today costs $409.99 and comes with a 13.3-inch, 1080p display, an Intel Core i3-10110U, integrated Intel UHD graphics, 4GB of RAM and 64GB eMMC flash memory.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook design
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is a humble fellow — its graphite gray color scheme gives this laptop a low-key, nondescript appearance. On the top right of the lid, you’ll find the word “Chromebook” next to a white Google Chrome logo. On the top left side of the lid, you’ll discover the word “Lenovo” emblazoned across a shiny rectangle.
Pop open the aluminum lid, and you’ll be greeted by more graphite-gray goodness across the keyboard deck, which has a satisfying, smooth stone-like feel. Two sets of speaker grilles flank the island-style keyboard à la the MacBook Pro. The gray key caps feature white letters and characters. A generously spaced, gray trackpad sits below the space bar.
The bezels on the display are neither thick nor thin — they’re somewhere in the middle. One bezel, though, is not like the others, and that’s the bottom bezel with its super-large chin. On the top bezel, there is a 720p webcam equipped with a privacy shutter.
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook has dimensions of 12.2 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches and weighs 2.97 pounds, which is marginally lighter than its 2-in-1 Chromebook rivals: the HP Chromebook x360 12b (2.98 pounds) and the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (3.1 pounds).
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook ports
The Lenovo Flex 5 has a decent stock of legacy and modern ports.
On the left side of the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook, you’ll find a USB Type-A port, a USB Type-C port and a headset jack.
On the right side, there is a microSD card reader, a Kensington lock slot and another USB Type-C port.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook display
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook’s 13.3-inch, 1080p touch display is, to put it succinctly, unremarkable. The screen isn’t outstanding, but it’s not subpar either — it’s simply decent.
I watched the Venom 2 trailer, and I could spot the faint, barely-there application of blush on Marisa Tomei’s cheeks and her forehead wrinkles as she contorted her face into a worried expression. So the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook display has sufficient crispness and detail for visual enjoyment, but the colors could be more vibrant. However, at such an affordable price, I’d be crazy to expect top-tier screen specs.
When I transformed the Chromebook into a tablet, I had no issues playing around with Chrome OS touch gestures, such as swiping up to navigate back to the home screen and swiping left to visit previous web pages. It’s also worth noting that this display supports digital-pen input, but a stylus isn’t included in the package.
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook’s display covers 66% of the sRGB color gamut, according to our colorimeter. This is far lower than the color-gamut coverage of the average Chromebook, which is 79%. Unfortunately for the Flex 5, it also falls short compared with its rivals: the HP Chromebook x360 12b (79%) and the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (93%) both have more vivid displays.
Also, using the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook on a bright, sunny day might not be ideal. With 226 nits of brightness, the Flex 5’s display is dimmer than the average 275-nit Chromebook. The HP Chromebook x360 12b’s display, on the other hand, is far worse with a dismal 216 nits of brightness. The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 surpasses both the Flex 5 and the x360 12b with a 286-nit panel.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook keyboard and touchpad
You’re going to love the Flex 5 Chromebook’s keyboard; it’s the laptop’s most standout feature next to its build quality. This backlit, island-style keyboard has one of the clickiest, bounciest keys I’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing to date. The Flex 5 Chromebook is perfect for productivity work because the keyboard will have you flying through any word-processing tasks with rhythmic speediness.
I typed on this keyboard like I’ve had it all my life. On the 10FastFingers.com test, I reached my typical 87 words-per-minute average.
The 4 x 2.6-inch touchpad on the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is impressively responsive. I also had no issues experimenting with Chrome OS gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom and two-finger swiping to visit previous pages.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook audio
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook’s unobstructed, upward-firing dual speakers flank the keyboard, and I was pleasantly pleased by how well the sound filled my medium-sized testing room.
I listened to Chloe x Halle’s “Ungodly Hour” on Spotify, and the usually angelic voices that emanated from the speakers sounded slightly hollow and lacked that full, round audio I’ve come to expect. But the speaker’s room-filling sounds are passable and will provide much-needed, enjoyable music sessions when you’re taking a work break.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook performance
I tested the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook’s multitasking muscle by flooding Google Chrome with 31 tabs, including two 1080p YouTube videos. Equipped with an Intel Core i3-10110U CPU and 4GB of RAM, the Chromebook handled my challenge well as I breezed through a Google Docs assignment without experiencing any lag or system slowdowns.
One thing I did notice, though, was that as I flooded Chrome with tabs, the underside of the laptop became a little toasty.
With a score of 1,643 on the Geekbench 5 overall performance test, the Flex 5 bested the category average (1,563) and the HP Chromebook x360 12b (802), but the Lenovo Chromebook could not compete with the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (6,968).
On the Jetstream 2.0 benchmark, which tests web browser speed, the Flex 5 scored 100.7, which beats the average Chromebook (83.97), the HP Chromebook x360 12b (43.73) and the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (76.7)
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook battery life
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook’s battery life is a bit disappointing for a Chromebook (the average Chromebook has a runtime of 10 hours and 14 minutes). The Flex 5 lasted 7 hours and 20 minutes on the Laptop Mag test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness. This is below our minimum recommended 8-hour runtime.
HP Chromebook x360 12b (8:06) and the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (9:58) offer longer battery runtimes.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook webcam
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook features a 720p webcam, which is equipped with a privacy shutter for security-minded laptop users.
The picture quality is nothing to write home about as it’s not the best at capturing color accuracy. On the camera, my brown complexion looked dull and bright-red faux flowers from a nearby nightstand had a pale, peachy color.
Check out our best external laptop webcams page for better video-conferencing options.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook heat
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook stayed relatively cool while I tested it -- except when I challenged it to endure 30 opened Chrome tabs and two active YouTube videos without lagging.
On our heat test, which involves streaming a 1080p video for 15 minutes, the touchpad and center of the keyboard hit 78 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, which is below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The bottom of the laptop creeped up to 92 degrees, and the hottest part of the laptop — located near the vents, which are situated between the hinge — reached a toasty temperature of 99 degrees.
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook software and warranty
The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is powered by Chrome OS. On your home screen, you’ll find a taskbar that houses pinned apps for users who love to work and play with Google-based software, including Chrome, Gmail, Google Docs and YouTube.
The Google Play Store will be your best friend on any Chromebook; it’ll help you download your favorite apps and games to fulfill your various needs.
I experimented with some games on the Flex 5, such as the Sniper 3D game, which made perfect use of the Flex 5’s touchscreen and touchpad capabilities. It allowed me to aim with my cursor and pull the trigger by tapping the screen.
If you have a preference for Microsoft productivity apps such as Word, a Chromebook may not be for you — you won’t be able to use the full-featured, desktop version on your laptop.
However, if you live, breathe and sleep Google apps like Docs, you’re a perfect candidate for owning a Chromebook.
If someone approached me and said, “I want a really good laptop that’s less than $500,” I’d tell them they’d have to forgo Windows and consider getting a Chromebook — a Flex 5, in particular.
For $409, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 offers a lot of value for your hard-earned money, including a comfortable keyboard with perfect tactile feedback, a privacy shutter for your webcam, a 360-degree hinge for a convertible device, and a solid chassis with impressive build quality.
However, the Flex 5 also has some features that will remind you of its low price point, including a dim display, below-average battery life and middling performance.
For those who are willing to shell out an extra $100 for better battery life and brighter display, check out the Asus Chromebook Flip C434, which is also a 2-in-1 convertible with Chrome OS.
But for high-productivity users who want to stick to their sub-$500 budget, the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is a great pick.
Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!