Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 Convertible Ultrabook Review: An Affordable Convertible
8 December 2013
Excerpt: Contortionist PCs are a big deal these days as convertible models take the stage to help bridge the gap between notebook and tablet. But not everyone wants to drop a grand on a convertible, and not everyone wants a 12-inch notebook, either. Meanwhile, these same people may not wish to blow their cash on an underpowered (and far less capable) Chromebook or tablet.
Excerpt: Lenovo has seen the future, and the future is hinges. Or so it thinks. As the industry continues to try to distinguish laptops from tablets, many manufacturers are focused on giving notebook PCs enhanced flexibility without sacrificing power. With the new IdeaPad Flex , Lenovo takes a cue from its biggest success on this front to date, the IdeaPad Yoga , which features an innovative hinge that lets the screen rotate through a full 360 degrees.
Pros: Overall good performance, and exceptional battery life. Sturdy chassis. Dragon Assistant comes preinstalled, so you can you navigate by voice (but not dictate memos). Solid audio.
Cons: Half-baked hinge design. Rickety touchpad. Rotten viewing angles, a low resolution, and a dim LCD will have you rubbing your eyes.
Summary: A flexible solution. The Flex 14 is essentially a low-cost alternative to the well-known Yoga series. Starting at just $479, it certainly has the looks and design of a notebook at twice the value. Looks aren't everything of course, and we find out in this review just how well the Flex 14 can perform.
Pros: Brushed aluminum, rubberized matte surfaces and glossy plastic all in one!, Fast system performance (for the SSD model), Moderately easy to access internal components, Appealing design for the price, Overall good build quality, Available mSATA slot, Large touchpad, Rigid hinges, Low starting price, The Flex 14 provides a fast Ultrabook-like experience at a reasonable price with a spacious touchpad. It is visually appealing and relatively easy to upgrade down the road.
Cons: CPU Turbo Boost is disabled if running on batteries, Brightness not suitable for outdoor use, Attracts fingerprints and grease easily, CPU suffers slightly from throttling, Keyboard keys feel very light, No higher resolution options, Lid quality could be better, No Kensington lock, Higher resolution options, keyboard backlight and a Kensington lock would up the ante in its budget category for a more luxurious feel.
Conclusion: Given the huge discount Lenovo is currently offering for the IdeaPad Flex 14, it's worthy of consideration for any budget shopper, even if you plan to use it as a standard laptop instead of flexing it into its secondary stand mode.
Pros: Long-running battery, Strong application performance, Big audio output
Cons: Falls short of rotating into tablet mode, Dull, low-resolution screen, Cheap touch pad
Summary: Lenovo certainly put some thought into its Flex series of ultrabooks, although we still can’t see why anyone would want to own something this specific. We’ve seen hybrid notebooks that allow you to either shift and chance the computer to offer multiple uses, as well as come apart to become a more portable tablet. But the Flex 14 is unique in that it’s a laptop that can only double as an LCD stand with touchscreen controls.
Conclusion: Lenovo’s Flex is a compromised laptop, but not because of the 300-degree hinge, which serves its purpose of making touch use more convenient. The problems are more traditional issues which have plagued budget laptops for years: display, touchpad, materials. In short, the Flex is affordable, but it feels cheap, and constantly reminds the user that they received what they paid for.
Pros: 300-degree hinge make touch use convenient, Solid performance, Decent battery life, Affordable
Summary: First the good: the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 offers solid performance and graphics along with above-average battery life. This notebook also boasts fast boot and transfer times and surprisingly good audio. However, the Flex doesn't offer the versatility of the Yoga. We're not sure how many people just want Stand Mode for their touch-screen laptop.
Pros: Strong performance, Above-average battery life, Fast SSD, Good audio quality
Cons: Low-resolution display for price, Thick backside, Limited usage modes compared with Yoga
Summary: Lenovo tries something new with the semi-hybrid IdeaPad Flex 14. The fold-back hinge is of dubious practical use, as it doesn't fold all the way down into a tablet, but if you pick the right configuration, this is still a good, inexpensive Core i5 laptop, even without the gimmicks.
Cons: Because the hinge doesn't go back a full 360 degrees, it's not as useful as tabletlike hybrids. The largely plastic body doesn't have that premium IdeaPad feel.
Conclusion: Anders als das Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 kann das hier getestete Flex 14D nicht überzeugen. Die Vorteile der Serie bleiben davon unberührt. So ist das um 300 Grad schwenkbare Touchscreen ein nettes Feature, welches vor allem in den unteren Preisklassen sonst nicht zu finden ist. Auch die Verarbeitung kann sich sehen lassen. Das TN-Panel selber ist etwas dunkel, jedoch gut ausgeleuchtet und für den Indoor-Gebrauch vollkommen ausreichend.