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When compared to the 2019 Flex 14, the 2021 version has a thinner “chin” bezel for an overall smaller footprint. Its visual design is otherwise very similar including the integrated ports and thick lid. Build quality remains above average for its budget category as creaking is minimal and flexing is only moderate at worst when applying pressure down the center of its keyboard. The overall plastic makeup and soft-touch surfaces don’t feel luxurious on other more expensive models.
IdeaPad keyboards don’t hold a candle to the pricier ThinkPad keyboards as they have always been noticeably shallower and lighter to reflect their cheaper starting prices. The Space and Enter keys in particular are too soft here and could have benefited from firmer feedback. Even so, we find the keys on the IdeaPad Flex 5 14 to be overall crisper than on the competing Asus VivoBook Flip 14 or HP Pavilion x360 series.
The clickpad is decently sized (10.5 x 7 cm) with a smooth and slightly rubberized texture. Fingerprints accumulate extremely quickly as a result and so users can expect the clickpad to look unsightly after just a few short weeks of use. Its integrated mouse keys are also spongy, loud, and with weak feedback when pressed for an unsatisfying experience.
The display here is perhaps the biggest aspect differentiating the IdeaPad series from the Yoga series. Visual quality is noticeably worse on the IdeaPad as exemplified by the lower maximum brightness, narrower gamut, and more poorly calibrated colors. It works well enough for browsing, emailing, and the occasional games, Connecting an external monitor with more accurate colors is also an option.
The Ryzen 7 5700U is Lenovo’s wild card for this particular IdeaPad 5 14 configuration. As one of the first laptops in our database equipped with the Zen 2 5000U series Lucienne CPU, this IdeaPad will have a lot to live up to as users will inevitably compare it to the latest 11th gen Tiger Lake options from Intel. It also carries a notable distinction of being an octa-core U-series CPU with 16 simultaneous threads much like the last generation Ryzen 7 4800U.
We recommend owners become familiar with the Radeon software as all graphical settings are found here. The software UI is organized arbitrarily and confusingly, but it integrates more features than Intel Command Center. Users should also become familiar with the pre-installed Lenovo Vantage software for Lenovo-specific drivers and performance settings. Our unit was set to “Extreme performance” mode prior to running any performance benchmarks for the highest possible scores out of the laptop.
Raw CPU performance is incredible with CineBench scores that outperform even the Core i7-10875H in both single-thread and multi-thread loads. When compared to the already impressive Ryzen 7 4700U that our Ryzen 7 5700U replaces, multi-thread performance can be about 25 percent faster. Intel Core U options continue to be limited to just 6 cores and 12 threads at most.
Graphics performance hasn’t changed since last year’s Ryzen 4000 series which is good because the Radeon RX Vega 8 is still impressive for an integrated GPU, but it’s also bad as Intel has now caught up with its competing Iris Xe series. At best, our Radeon-powered Lenovo is able to match Iris Xe or, at worst, underperform by about 30 percent depending on the game.
The highlight of the latest IdeaPad Flex 5 14 is clearly its AMD CPU. The octa-core Ryzen 7 5700U is insanely fast even when compared to the best Tiger Lake Ultrabooks in the market or even Core H CPUs in many gaming laptops. It’s a lot of raw processing power for what is supposed to be a budget 14-inch convertible.
If your daily workloads can benefit from extra multi-thread CPU performance, then look no further than the inexpensive AMD-powered Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14. For regular on-the-road browsing or video streaming, however, a slimmer and lighter 10th gen Core Yoga, Spectre, or XPS would be a more balanced option.
Look beyond the CPU and almost everything else is more or less mediocre and reflective of the affordable price point. The IdeaPad Flex chassis is thick and heavy for in its size class and also louder when running games. The clickpad, Enter, and Space keys are spongy, the poorly calibrated IPS touchscreen is too dim for outdoor conditions, the soft-touch plastic chassis is a huge fingerprint magnet, and there is no Thunderbolt or DisplayPort support despite having a USB-C port. The long battery life and easy SSD upgrade deserve a mention, but they don’t really make up for the longer list of disadvantages.
Kindly note that this article was outsourced and the information within was collected from various online trusted sources. We don’t own, or performed any mentioned tests personally.