Lenovo Flex 5i 14″ (2023) Review: Affordable Flexibility With Trade-Offs

Key Takeaways

  • The Lenovo Flex 5i offers a solid build and reliable performance, making it a suitable choice for everyday tasks.
  • The fast charging feature is a plus for users who need quick recharging.
  • However, the display quality is underwhelming, and the battery life is below average, which may be a drawback for some users.

The Lenovo Flex 5i 14″ (2023) offers a unique blend of the 3Ts: Versatility, Productivity, and Flexibility. Unfortunately, the laptop ends up feeling like a case of too many teas spoiling the brew.

With the sheer number of laptops available online, finding a mid-range option that delivers on both affordability and performance can feel like hunting for a hidden treasure. Lenovo’s Flex 5 series has long aimed to cater to that demand, offering convertible 2-in-1 laptops with a promise of solid productivity at an appealing price. The 2023 iteration follows suit, boasting a 360-degree folding hinge, a touchscreen, and an upgraded chipset, aiming to please professionals, students, and casual users alike.

However, the focus on a broader niche seems to have its drawbacks. While it doesn’t outright disappoint in anything, it fails to truly shine in crucial areas. The display delivers average picture quality with muted colors, and the battery life leaves something to be desired for a productivity-focused machine. While other laptops in the $500-700 range face similar challenges, at its original price of $800, the Flex 5i may leave you wanting more.

Lenovo Flex 5i 14-inch 2023

Lenovo Flex 5i 14″ (2023)

If you prioritize affordability, versatility, and decent performance for everyday tasks, the Lenovo Flex 5i 14″ (2023) can be a suitable choice, especially if you can find it at a discounted price.


Abyss Blue

512GB M.2 TLC Solid State Drive

13th Gen Intel Core i5-1335U (10-Core) Processor

16GB LPDDR4x 4266MHz RAM

Operating System
Microsoft Windows 11 Home (64-bit)

3-Cell 52.5WH Lithium-Polymer Battery

1x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (supports USB charging), 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x HDMI 1.4b, 1x 4-in-1 Card Reader, 1x Headphone/Microphone Combination Jack

FHD 1080p Webcam with Privacy Shutter

Display (Size, Resolution)
14″ Touchscreen IPS LCD with LED Backlit WUXGA (1920 x 1200) 300-Nits Display


Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics

12.33 x 8.85 x 0.70in

Wi-Fi 6 (2×2/160) Gig+ and Bluetooth 5.0

2x 2W Stereo Speakers with Dolby Audio

Fingerprint Reader


  • Solid build, sturdy hinge
  • Reliable performance
  • Fast charging

  • Underwhelming display
  • Below-average battery life

Pricing and Variants Explained

Currently, the 2023 Lenovo Flex 5i 14″ is only available at Costco and priced at $800. However, it has already been on sale a couple of times, with the price even dropping to $700.

Lenovo’s website doesn’t have this exact SKU listed, but it does provide similar configurations in the Ideapad Flex 5i series, offering a choice between an 8GB and a 16GB RAM variant, both equipped with a 512GB SSD and powered by the same 13th Generation Intel Core i5-1335U processor.

We’ll delve deeper into pricing and its impact on our final buying recommendation later. For the purpose of this review, I had the opportunity to test the 16GB RAM variant, available solely on Costco as of writing this review.

Build Quality and Design: Industrial Design That Holds Up

The home screen of the Lenovo Flex 5i 14

Jason Montoya / How-To Geek

When I unboxed the Lenovo Flex 5i, I noticed it had a slightly weightier feel than expected. Weighing in at around 3.31 lbs, it’s not too bulky or excessively heavy, but for a laptop that’s supposed to be used in “tablet mode” at times, the heftiness makes handheld usage almost impractical.

While it may not be the slimmest or lightest option available, it does offer a practical advantage in the form of a diverse selection of ports. With USB-C featuring Thunderbolt 4 support, USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI 1.4b, a 3.5mm audio jack, and an SD card reader, you’ll have no shortage of connectivity options at your disposal. Our review unit was the Abyss Blue colorway, and it’s definitely a looker. The blue-black aesthetic lends a premium feel to the exteriors, while the contrasting gray keyboard adds a touch of classy sophistication on the inside.

While the side bezels around the screen have been shaved down, the top and bottom bezels remain quite thick, putting a slight damper on its modern aesthetic. The top bezel houses a 1080p webcam with a nifty physical shutter to address privacy concerns. The chassis predominantly consists of sturdy plastic, although the keyboard deck does exhibit some flex. On the other hand, the lid is made of aluminum, which adds a touch of durability to the mix.

The hinge is doubly important for a 2-in-1 laptop, and the one on the Flex 5i 14″ (2023) does a stellar job of holding up, quite literally. It can keep the laptop open at virtually any angle, all the way up to the screen being folded flat along the laptop’s base (known as Tablet mode). Throughout my testing, the hinge remained sturdy and free from noticeable creaks. However, due to its tightness, opening the laptop requires the use of both hands.

How To Geek open on the Lenovo Flex 5i 14 laptop
Credits: Jason Montoya / How-To Geek

The display performance of the Flex 5i 14″ is a mixed bag. The glossy screen finish can be a double-edged sword, depending on your surroundings. One of my work setups at home (yes, it’s me lying on my couch) is such that there’s a window right behind my screen, and the glossy surface may become overly reflective, impacting visibility. With a brightness of 300 nits, the display fares well indoors but isn’t comfortable for sunny outdoors at all.

Where the problem lies is in the colors. Out of the box, the screen looks a tad muted, somewhat reminding me of a phone screen with low-quality tempered glass. With a narrow color gamut coverage, even the most colorful content I checked out on YouTube and Netflix lacked vibrancy and saturation, particularly when compared to other devices side-by-side. On the bright side (pun intended), the panel boasts respectable contrast, with blacks that hold up reasonably well for an IPS display. Viewing angles are also satisfactory.

How To Geek open on the Lenovo Flex 5i in tented mode

Jason Montoya / How-To Geek

The Flex 5i’s 16:10 aspect ratio introduces black bars when watching 16:9 content, which can be a minor annoyance. However, this aspect ratio proves useful when browsing websites or multitasking, as it gives you a bit more vertical space to work with. The 60Hz refresh rate is standard, providing a smooth enough experience without any major issues.

It’s worth noting that opting for a non-touchscreen or OLED laptop within the same price bracket can undoubtedly yield a superior multimedia experience. The Flex 5i’s display, while adequate for general productivity, falls short of delivering the immersive and vibrant visual experience that movie-watching demands. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The lackluster colors are offset by reliable performance, as the display handles 4K HDR videos without any noticeable frame drops or screen freezes.

Dolby Audio branding on the Lenovo Flex 5i 14

Jason Montoya / How-To Geek

The Flex 5i 14″ features dual speakers located on either side of the keyboard, delivering decent sound quality for video calls and lectures. Vocals come through clearly, and the volume level is adequate. However, when it comes to bass, it’s noticeably absent. Attempting to compensate by turning up the volume to the maximum results in significant audio distortion. Nevertheless, when using headphones, whether through Bluetooth or the 3.5mm jack, the audio quality proves satisfactory.

Performance: Good While It Lasts

The 2023 Flex 5i 14″ comes equipped with the 13th-gen 15-watt Intel Core i5-1335U processor. With ten cores, including two performance cores clocked up to 4.6GHz and eight efficient cores running at 3.4GHz, this chip offered reliable performance when it comes to daily tasks like running multiple Chrome tabs and working on spreadsheets. While some occasional Windows quirks did arise, overall performance remained smooth and satisfactory. Here’s a quick glance at some benchmark scores, and for the most part, the Flex 5i manages to deliver what’s expected from a laptop in its class.

While the Lenovo Flex 5i is not designed for intensive gaming, the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics chip surprised me with its ability to handle casual gaming. FIFA 22, for example, ran smoothly with graphics quality set to “Auto” and no frame rate lock, although occasional micro-stutters and frame drops did occur during more demanding moments. Extended gaming sessions did reveal the limitations of its graphics capabilities, but casual gaming sessions with titles like FIFA and Rocket League are still enjoyable.

The Flex 5i also managed light photo or video editing tasks reasonably well, although rendering times understandably took longer compared to devices equipped with dedicated graphics cards. Thermal management remained commendable, too, with the laptop’s fans kicking in only during intense benchmarking sessions or extended gaming periods. All in all, the Flex 5i is not intended for running the latest demanding PC games, but for casual gaming and productivity tasks, it performed adequately well.

Related: The Best Budget Laptops of 2023

While the performance itself wasn’t a problem, the duration of it was. With a modest 52.5-watt-hour battery capacity, the Flex 5i struggled to keep up with prolonged workdays. During medium workloads involving tasks like browsing multiple tabs, downloads, and typing, I observed a significant drop of up to 30% in battery life within an hour, resulting in a maximum screen-on time of approximately 3–5 hours. Video playback fared slightly better, losing the same 30% in about two hours, resulting in around 6–8 hours of usage.

While these figures aren’t disastrous, they fall below average for a productivity-focused machine with an energy-efficient chipset and a 60Hz display. To its credit, the included 65W charger allows for a relatively quick recharge, taking around an hour to charge from 10% to 90%, with a full charge requiring an additional 20 minutes.

Software and User Experience: Meets Expectations

Person typing on the Lenovo Flex 5i 14

Jason Montoya / How-To Geek

The backlit keyboard on the 2023 Flex 5i 14″ is well-designed and offers a comfortable typing experience. The keycaps are large, and the layout is spacious, providing a natural and responsive typing feel. While it may lack the premium touch of higher-end laptops, the keyboard here delivers satisfactory tactile feedback and key travel, ensuring typing accuracy without any major issues.

Moving on to the touchpad, it offers smooth cursor control and supports multi-finger gestures. It’s spacious enough for precise navigation, although the clicking experience could be more refined. Additionally, the Flex 5i 14″ supports an optional active pen for note-taking and digital drawing purposes. Our review unit didn’t come with the pen, but for what it’s worth, the few times that I actually used the touchscreen, it was reliable and responsive.

Person using the touch screen on the Lenovo Flex 5i 14 in tented mode

Jason Montoya / How-To Geek

In terms of bundled software, it’s a standard Windows 11 affair, with “Lenovo Vantage” being the only add-on as a device utility and system management tool. For secure login, you have a physical fingerprint reader here that performs well. The webcam quality is acceptable, although competitors like the Acer Aspire Vero 15 have started offering better quality, high-res webcams. In terms of wireless connectivity, the Flex 5i 14″ features Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, and I had no troubles with wireless connectivity during my usage.

Should You Buy the Lenovo Flex 5i 14″ (2023)?

The Lenovo Flex 5i 14 in tent mode to use the touch screen

Jason Montoya / How-To Geek

It’s clear that the 2023 Lenovo Flex 5i 14″ is all about striking a balance between performance and affordability whilst trying to appeal to a wide audience. While it may stumble in certain areas, mainly battery life and display quality, it still manages to flex its potential when it comes to productivity tasks. The build quality holds up quite well, the performance is reliable as long as you don’t push it too hard, and the added flexibility of having a touchscreen and a 360-degree hinge has its advantages too.

In terms of alternatives, the Asus ZenBook 14 is a compelling option offering a vibrant OLED display, longer battery life, and excellent build quality. HP’s Pavilion x360 series offers flexibility and decent performance in a similar convertible design. If you don’t need a touchscreen, the Acer Swift 3 delivers powerful performance, solid build quality, and good battery life at a competitive price.

If you prioritize affordability, versatility, and decent performance for everyday tasks, the Flex 5i 14″ can be a suitable choice, especially if you can find it at a discounted price. However, if you are spending upwards of $700 or if you prioritize factors like vibrant display quality, longer battery life, or more powerful gaming capabilities, there are other options worth considering.

Lenovo Flex 5i 14-inch 2023

Lenovo Flex 5i 14″ (2023)

If you prioritize affordability, versatility, and decent performance for everyday tasks, the Lenovo Flex 5i 14″ (2023) can be a suitable choice, especially if you can find it at a discounted price.

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