Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5i ChromeBook Plus Review

Earlier this week I talked about Google’s new Chromebook Plus specification that will be setting a standard for higher performing Chromebooks. In my latest video I review the new IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus from Lenovo, one of the first Plus devices on the market. You can find one here at Best Buy for $499 (compensated affiliate link).

The Flex 5i is equipped with an i3-1315U processor from Intel, 8 GB of non upgradeable RAM, and 128 GB of eMMC storage. The display is a 14-inch IPS running at 1920×1200, which is a 16:10 aspect ratio. Although it supports 45% of the NTSC color space, it might not be the best choice for color-critical tasks like photo or video editing. It is though adequately bright coming in at 300 nits.

The build quality is commendable, with a mix of metal and plastic. It’s a 2-in-1 device, allowing it to be also used as a tablet. The touch display complements the keyboard and trackpad, providing a versatile user experience. However, it’s a bit on the heavier side, weighing 3.57 lbs or 1.62 kg.

Battery life is around the 10-hour mark, depending on usage.

The 1080p webcam is decent, and Chromebook Plus has introduced some new features, allowing users to add blurring and noise reduction directly through an OS level control (more on that in my Chromebook Plus explainer video). There’s also a handy shutter to cover the webcam when not in use.

The keyboard and trackpad are impressive. The keys are well-spaced, and the keyboard is backlit. The trackpad is responsive, and the speakers provide decent sound quality. In terms of ports, it offers two full-service USB-C 3.2 ports, a USB-A port, a headphone/microphone jack, and a micro SD card slot.

Performance-wise, web browsing is smooth. Video playback, especially on platforms like Netflix, is better in the browser than in the app due to some DRM restrictions. For those interested in gaming, while it’s not ideal for Steam games, game streaming and casual Android games work well.

The 5i also supports USI compatible pens, providing a responsive drawing and writing experience. Additionally, it’s compatible with Linux applications, allowing users to run both command-line and graphical applications.

Google recently extended the support life for ChromeOS, with most devices now receiving updates for a full decade from their platform release date. This particular Chromebook will receive updates through June of 2032.

The Lenovo Flex 5i offers good value for its price point. While it’s definitely not the best choice for creative work or heavy-duty gaming, it does well in most other general computing tasks.