Lenovo Flex 15D full review
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The Flex is an admirable attempt to adapt the convertible design of Lenovo's Yoga Ultrabooks to make a bendy laptop at a more affordable price point – although that attempt is only partly successful. (See: What's the best budget laptop?)
It's not quite as versatile as the Yoga though, as it doesn't allow you to wrap the screen right around so that it folds flat against the keyboard to turn the entire device into a weighty tablet.
Instead, the Lenovo Flex only allows you to fold the screen back through about 300 degrees, to form an A-shaped tent that acts as a stand for the screen while you sit back and watch some video.
That doesn't strike us as a huge selling point, to be honest, but the touch-sensitive screen does come in handy here as it allows you to control music or video playback with a quick tap on the glass with your finger.
The Flex is quite neatly designed for a budget 15-inch budget laptop. Like many laptops since the MacBook Air, there's no optical drive, and it weighs 2.3 kg and measures 24.7 mm thick – that's about average for a 15-inch model. We wouldn't want to carry it around in a backpack all day, but it's a handy design if you want a large-screen laptop that you can easily carry from room to room at home. (See also: What's the best laptop?)
Build quality is good, with a sturdy plastic casing and a large, comfortable keyboard and trackpad. The low-res 1366 x 768 resolution is more acceptable in a low-cost laptop such as this, and the large screen works well for watching streaming video when it's in tent mode. But while the image is bright and colourful when viewed from directly in front, the viewing angles are quite limited and you may need to nudge the screen every now and then in order to improve visibility. The speakers lack bass, but they're loud enough to listen to music videos on YouTube without needing headphones.
Performance is a bit disappointing, though. The Flex is equipped with a quad-core AMD A6-5200 processor with 2 GHz clock speed, and a healthy 8 GB of memory. That sounds like quite an attractive specification, but the sluggish 5400 rpm hard drive proved to be a real weakness, and the Flex could only achieve a score of 1750 points when running the general-purpose PCMark 7 benchtest.
We noticed the poor disk performance in other areas too. The Flex woke from standby in 12 seconds using the Window 8 'fast-start' option – but there was sometimes a noticeable pause and a few seconds of cursor-spinning when we tried to launch programs.
Battery life is also not great – we saw 4 hours of streaming video in our tests, which makes Lenovo's claim of ‘up to nine hours' look rather mendacious.
Lenovo Flex 15D: Specs
- Display size and type: 15.6-inch (1366 x 768, 100 ppi) gloss TN LCD
- Operating system: Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
- Processor: AMD A6-5200 (quad-core)
- Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 8400 (integrated)
- Storage: 1 TB, 5400 rpm
- Memory: 8 GB DDR3L
- Ethernet: 10/100
- Video out: HDMI 1.4
- Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
- Webcam: 0.9 Mp
- Speakers: stereo
- Audio in: built-in mic
- Audio out: 3.5mm line-out
- USB: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0
- Card slot: SDXC
- Trackpad: 105 x 70 mm, two-button, multi-touch
- Power adaptor: 45 W mains adaptor
- Battery: 32 Wh lithium-ion, removable
- Dimensions (wdh): 381 x 273 x 22.2 mm
- Weight: 2.30 kg
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