Budget-friendly multimode computing is here at last in the Lenovo Flex 2 (14 inch), a 35.56cm (14) dual-mode laptop with a touchscreen that flips 300 degrees from laptop to stand mode. Lenovo has a knack for crafting seductive laptops, but the Flex 2 isn’t the company’s prettiest creation. I was fond of the striped, metal-brushed aluminum deck and slim edges, but the bulky backside offsets those features. A somewhat unsightly gap between the notebook’s 300-degree hinge and its 15.6-inch display mars the back.
Lenovo Flex 2 Review –
- Price : $519
- Screen Size : 15.6 inches
- Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
- Max Screen Resolution : 1920×1080 pixels
- Processor : 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5
- RAM : 6 GB DDR3
- Memory Speed : 1600 MHz
- Hard Drive : 1000 GB
- Wireless Type : 802.11bgn
- Average Battery Life (in hours) : 7 hours
The Flex 2 sports a smooth, plain-black lid, with a reflective silver Lenovo logo at its top left. The underside is similarly simple, with a duo of long vents in the center and a subtly speckled finish. Measuring 15.04 x 10.87 x 1.06 inches and weighing 5.6 pounds, the Flex 2 felt bulky when I transitioned between laptop and stand mode. Still, the device is roughly the same size and weight as 15-inch competitors like the Acer Aspire E15 Touch (15.02 x 10.08 x 1.24 inches, 5.6 pounds) and Dell Inspiron 15 5000 (14.9 x 10 x 0.9 inches, 5.4 pounds).
Like its predecessor, the Flex can be used in both laptop and stand modes, thanks to its 300-degree hinge. The Flex 2 worked efficiently in both configurations, but the notebook’s wide frame and hefty weight made switching between modes feel cumbersome. On the plus side, the notebook recognized every transition I made, and prompted me to check out ideal apps for each mode whenever we switched to one. The Flex 2 offers half of the display modes of Lenovo’s Yoga series, which also supports tent and tablet modes. The Flex 2 can technically be used in tent mode, but there aren’t any rubber stoppers to keep the notebook secured if you try to use it in that orientation. I enjoy Windows 8.1 tablet-laptop hybrids, so it was a bit of a letdown that I couldn’t use the Flex 2 as a slate.
I got some solid entertainment mileage out of the Flex 2’s 1920 x 1080 display. The multicolored Windows 8.1 Start menu looked crisp, as did colorful websites such as ESPN.com and Laptopmag.com. The display also did an admirable job handling the 1080p trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. I could clearly make out the facial pores and stringy moustache of Bard the Bowman, and the films grassy plains and icy battlefields looked rich. The Flex 2’s screen produced 200 nits on our light meter, slightly outshining the 193-nit Aspire E15 but falling behind the Inspiron 15 (244 nits) and the 257-nit mainstream notebook average. This laptop’s display reproduced only 55.5 percent of the sRGB color gamut. That’s a bit less than the Aspire E15 (59.5 percent), and far less than both the Inspiron 15 (94.7 percent) and the category average (80 percent). The Flex 2’s display wasn’t very color accurate, either. The notebook’s Delta E rating landed at 9 (closer to 0 is better), which is worse than the Inspiron 15 (6.3) and the Aspire E15 (7.6).
Softer rock songs such as Incubus’ “Drive” fared better, as the Flex 2’s speakers ably handled the track’s smooth guitars and silky vocals. The sound still felt thin, overall, though. The Flex 2 registered a whopping 94 decibels on our audio test (tone playback from 23 inches away), outcranking the Inspiron 15 (87 decibels), Aspire E15 (79 decibels) and the mainstream average (86 decibels).
I don’t expect a lot of endurance out of 15-inch laptops, but the Flex 2 15 didn’t impress. The notebook lasted 5 hours and 7 seconds on our battery test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits). That runtime is comparable to the Inspiron 15 (5:04) but well below the Aspire E15 (7:19) and the mainstream average (6:30).