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Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Review: Ryzen To The Top

AMD flexes its muscle

Verdict: AMD’s flexing its muscle in a space traditionally held by long-term rival Intel, and companies like Lenovo and their IdeaPad Flex 5 show how well their Ryzen 4000-series processors fare in both performance and battery life against the competition. And while the IdeaPad Flex 5 has its fair share of quirks like a not-so-color accurate display and spotty WiFi connectivity, it’s simply hard to ignore how much value for money AMD’s Ryzen 4000-series processors offer in the 2-in-1 segment.

The Ryzen 7-4700U variant of the IdeaPad Flex 5 is priced at Php 49,995.

Pros 

-Ryzen processor outperforms Intel processors at the same price point

-Durable, smudge-resistant plastic body 

-Better battery life than its Intel counterpart 

 

Cons 

-A bit on the heavy and bulky side 

-Display not the most color-accurate out there 

-Spotty WiFi connectivity

AMD’s new Ryzen 4000U-series are here, and we’re feeling the heat from the red team in terms of performance per peso. And while the IdeaPad Slim 5 isn’t the Intel version per se of the notebook we’re reviewing right now, it’s close enough to the hardware specs that it’s going to be our benchmark of sorts in comparing the performance of the new Ryzen-equipped notebook. With several thousand pesos separating the two while meeting, and sometimes exceeding, the performance of its silicon rival, should you drop money on this instead of the more expensive Intel variant?

Design 

The IdeaPad Flex 5 follows the same design cues as the IdeaPad Slim 5, which basically means minimalist Lenovo branding for both the lid and keyboard area, along with front-facing speakers and a physical shutter for the webcam. 

The IdeaPad Flex 5 mostly uses a plastic chassis and lid, which is a bit of a downgrade from the IdeaPad Slim 5’s metal lid. The change was no doubt made to make production costs lower, which translates to a lower sticker price for consumers. The unit weighs in at 1.5 kilos. 

Aside from being more resistant to smudges, the IdeaPad Flex 5 is less prone to chips—an issue I encountered during my time with the IdeaPad Slim 5. The only metal part on the IdeaPad Flex 5 is the hinges, which provide enough rigidity when using the IdeaPad Flex 5 as a tablet or in tent mode. The rear has a vent for dissipating heat.

Like the IdeaPad Slim 5, you get the same set of ports on the IdeaPad Flex 5: a barrel-type charging port, a USB-C port that can be used for charging, HDMI port, combo headphone jack, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and an SD card reader. It’s a little odd that Lenovo still includes a barrel charging port on the notebook when the charger they provide in the box (at least for our review unit) charged the notebook via the USB Type-C port, reducing the amount of usable Type-C ports to 0 when you’re charging. 

As a 2-in-1 device, the IdeaPad Flex 5 comes with a digital pen. While it is not a garaged pen like the one on the Yoga C940, Lenovo includes a pen holder that you plug into one of the USB-A ports for safely storing the pen when you are on the go. Powering the pen is a single AAAA battery.  

Display and Speakers

The IdeaPad Flex 5’s display is similar to the IdeaPad Slim 5 save for the touchscreen functionality. The display is a 14-inch panel with a Full HD resolution and 45% NTSC color gamut. The brightness is decent for outdoor use, and viewing angles are better than on the IdeaPad Slim 5 due to its hinge design. 

However, those planning to use the IdeaPad Flex 5 for creative work might be turned off by its color gamut. While colors appear vibrant when watching videos, the IdeaPad Flex 5’s color accuracy might not be up to par for people who require color-accurate displays. As for audio, the IdeaPad Flex 5’s front-facing speakers deliver the same audio quality as the IdeaPad Slim 5i, which is at par with most mid-range notebooks in the market today.

 

Keyboard and Trackpad 

Both the IdeaPad Slim 5i and Flex 5 share the same keyboard and trackpad layout. The well-spaced keys and good key travel makes them a pleasure to type. In fact, the majority of Lenovo laptops excel in this department, making it great for typing reports and articles for long periods.  

While the trackpad appears to be similar, the IdeaPad Flex 5 gets Windows gestures for better multitasking. Because of the relocated power button, you get a dedicated fingerprint scanner right below the keyboard. 

 

Performance and Battery Life

Our review unit comes with a Ryzen 7-4700U processor, Vega 7 integrated graphics, 8GB LPDDR4 RAM, and 512GB PCIe storage. According to most outlets, the Ryzen 7-4700U performs close to the Core i7-1035G7—a processor found on the IdeaPad Slim 5.

While they have different form factors, we compared the Flex 5 and Slim 5 in this section because Flex 5’s Ryzen 7-4700u processor has a performance that is close to the Slim 5’s Core i7-1065G7 processor, on top of having the same RAM and SSD, configured at 8GB and 512GB respectively.

How does Team Red fare against Team Blue? Check out the benchmarks below: 

Save for GeekBench 5 Single-Core, the IdeaPad Flex 5’s Ryzen 7-4700U processor performed better than the IdeaPad Slim 5i’s Core i7-1065G7, especially in GeekBench 5 Multi-Core. As for GPU, the Vega 7 performed slightly better than the Iris Plus G7 in GeekBench Compute, though it is still far from the performance of the MX350 discrete GPU.  

When it comes to storage, the NVMe SSDs used on both the IdeaPad Slim 5i and Flex 5 are neck-to-neck in read speeds, with the IdeaPad Slim 5i faring better than its 2-in-1 sibling when it comes to write speeds. While it has a powerful processor and a decent NVMe SSD, we encountered problems with the Flex 5’s WiFi connectivity.

Compared to the MacBook Pro I use as my daily driver at home, I noticed that the IdeaPad Flex 5 has a tendency of throttling internet speeds. Several forums on the internet explain this issue as a problem with the Realtek WiFi card the Flex 5 uses. We hope that Lenovo and Realtek issue a software update to remedy this issue, which can be annoying if you are dependent on WiFi and can’t make the most out of your fast Fiber Internet speeds. 

Aside from being more powerful, the Ryzen 7-4700U is also better when it comes to battery life. Despite having a smaller 52.5wHr battery (the IdeaPad Slim 5i has a 57wHr cell), we managed to clock in around 5.5 hours with our YouTube video loop test, which is an hour better than what we got with the IdeaPad Slim 5i. The 7nm architecture of both the Ryzen 7-4700U processor and Vega 7 integrated GPU played a big factor with the IdeaPad Flex 5’s better battery life. 

Like the IdeaPad Slim 5i, you can choose to use the USB-C port or barrel plug port in filling up the IdeaPad Flex 5’s battery with 65w charging speeds. It takes around 2.5 hours to fully charge the IdeaPad Flex 5’s battery from empty to 100%. 

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