The Good Following in the form of a leaner, smaller yoga, two smaller yoga classes, Lenovo’s 15.6-inch Flex 5 display gives you more room to work and, along with speakers, makes it very good for video, music and games. It also has enough battery life to keep you going throughout the day.
The Bad Outside of its 360-degree hinges, the design is basic, and it’s too big and heavy to be conveniently used as a portable tablet. Exhaust fans are really loud under load.
The Bottom Line The 15.6-inch Lenovo Flex 5 is a nice alternative to a traditional laptop, especially if you are thinking of entertainment.
Editors’ note: Lenovo has updated the 15-inch Flex 5 with eighth-generation Intel processors. A version similar to the one discussed here is available with new processor capabilities.
Lenovo’s line-up of two-in-one Yoga notebooks is so diverse in size and configuration that it can be difficult to eliminate the differences between them. To complicate matters further, the Yoga 520 in the US is called the Flex 5, and it comes in two sizes, one of which is the 15.6-inch model discussed here – only available in the US.
The 15.6-inch Flex 5 starts at around $ 600 and goes up to $ 1,110 (that’s roughly £ 780 or $ 1,430). I reviewed the configuration – it is a nice place in the lineup that provides a good balance of performance, features and battery life. Lenovo also makes a 14-inch Flex 5, also called the Yoga 520 for the UK and Australia, but none of them can be configured the same as a 15.6-inch Flex 5.
The larger 15.6-inch screen size makes it a good choice for those who want to have one computer for work and entertainment while still being portable enough to throw in a backpack or briefcase. In addition, the larger two-in-one design is great for watching movies or presenting, and the discrete graphics of this system allow even low-level gaming. However, if you are going to travel a lot or need something for a daily transit route, you can go with something smaller and easier like 13.3-inch Yoga 720 . (The 720 also has a 15.6-inch size, but more on that later.)
Lenovo Flex 5-1570
|Price as reviewed||$850|
|Display size/resolution||15.6-inch 1,920×1,080 touch display|
|PC CPU||2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U|
|PC memory||8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz|
|Graphics||2GB Nvidia GeForce 940MX|
|Storage||256GB PCIe SSD|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
The 15.6-inch weight of 4.4 kilograms of Flex 5 (2 kg) and its larger size make it a bit tricky to use as a tablet. Put it on your lap or desk and the extra screen space is really nice to have, especially for Full HD display configurations. (It is also available with a 4K UHD resolution display, but it does not support the active knob, and higher resolution usually shortens battery life.)
Although the screen brightness and color quality are very good, it does not become bright enough to combat the glare from the glass panel. Trying to use this under bright lights or outside is frustrating. Otherwise, the screen I tested in full HD was great for photos and videos and was sensitive to both the fingers and the Lenovo active pen.
Large-screen 360-degree hinges are also valuable for turning off the keyboard so you can focus on the display for video or presentations. Or you can plug in an external keyboard and mouse to get more desktop experience. There are two USB 3.0 ports – one on each side – and USB Type-C 3.0 (gen 1), SD card reader, HDMI output, and microphone / headphone jack, so there are plenty of options to get around, but you’ll need Ethernet adapter.
When you’re away from the desktop, the keyboard, touchpad, and speakers of this system deliver high performance. The backlit keyboard is travel-friendly and responsive enough to make printing comfortable for long stretches and the Windows Accuracy Touchpad is smooth and responsive without any bounces. The speakers are loud, with good clarity and adequate bass. However, you will be better off with headphones or external speakers if you are trying to hear the system fans when the laptop is overloaded.
Lenovo Flex 5-1570
All day long
There are several configurations available for the Flex 5, so your performance will vary depending on what you get. The combo I proved to be a good balance of performance and price. The seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor is the best deal, but you can get it with the Core i3-7100U or i5-7200U. Other options include 8GB or 16GB of storage; 256 GB or 512 GB PCIe SSD or 1 TB 5 400 rpm hard drive 1 TB 5 400 rpm plus 512 GB PCIe SSD; and Nvidia GeForce GT 940MX or Intel HD Graphics 620 integrated.
While not necessarily for general use, the 940MX was nice to have for photo and video editing. This is not intended for gaming, but if you set the game’s graphics settings to a low level, you can get frame rates using it. For best performance, I would keep a slow hard drive out of your configuration. In addition, if you want a 15.6-inch, two-in-one design with more graphics power, you can go for the Yoga 720, which is available with the Nvidia GeForce 1050 GPU.
Lenovo estimates battery life up to 8 hours for the Flex 5, but we did better than the streaming video. You can view a lot with our configuration, which lasted 10 hours and 23 minutes.
Rollover for the big screen
The 15.6-inch Lenovo Flex 5 is a very good alternative to a traditional laptop. Although thin and relatively light, it may just be too much to wear on a daily basis. However, the larger screen makes it a good choice for general home office or school work, especially if you use it constantly. And when it’s time to quit and step back, the extra screen flexibility and crisp Flex audio stereo speakers are great for movies, music and games.
|Lenovo Flex 5-1570||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce 940MX; 256GB SSD|
|Samsung Notebook 9 Pro||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 2GB AMD Radeon 540 Graphics; 256GB SSD|
|Asus VivoBook S||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 128MB Intel HD Graphics 620; 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD|
|Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce 940MX; 256GB SSD|
|Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)||Apple MacOS Sierra 10.12.5; 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 4GB Radeon Pro 560 / 1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 630; 512GB SSD|
|LG Gram 15||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 512GB SSD|