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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The very best $499 ChromeOS laptop computer I’ve used

After almost two weeks of utilizing the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook, I’m impressed. A lot in order that I can confidently say it’s the very best $499 Chromebook I’ve ever used. Much more spectacular to me is that as a ChromeOS energy person, I may simply use this laptop computer every day. Many of the further goodies that include the Chromebook Plus platform aren’t that compelling to me. Even so, most individuals would nonetheless be pleased with the Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook Plus at this value, which is discovered at Finest Purchase.

In fact, there are a number of different Chromebook Plus fashions out there. And a few begin as little as $399. I haven’t used all of them however given the slight variations between the {hardware} on these and the Flex 5i, I’d say actually you’ll be able to’t go unsuitable with any of them. I like a bit extra horsepower although, so I’d spend the additional $100.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus display

I say this as a result of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus handles my duties and workflow in addition to my 2022 Acer Chromebook Spin 714. And the Lenovo choice is priced a lot decrease than final yr’s Acer. But, whether or not I’m coding in a Linux desktop software, working the occasional Android app, or researching on-line with 20 tabs open, the Flex 5i retains up simply in addition to the Spin 714.

My suspicion on how this occurs is said particularly to the Thirteenth-gen Intel Core i3 processor within the Lenovo. For reference, I’ve a Twelfth-gen Core i5 within the Spin 714.

And but, day-to-day work occurs simply as shortly with the Core i3. Artificial benchmarks bear this out as properly. Working varied assessments on the 2 units exhibits a digital tie.

In some, the Spin 714 narrowly edges out the Flex 5i. In others, the Lenovo system “flexes” its muscle and comes out forward. Neither system scores increased than the opposite by greater than eight p.c in a given take a look at. Given fewer cores on this CPU, the fan runs a bit extra on the Flex 5i in comparison with my very own Chromebook. I don’t discover the fan obnoxiously loud although.

Contemplating the MSRP of this yr’s Spin 714 is $699, I believe you’ll be able to perceive why the Flex 5i impresses me. Even on sale proper now, the Spin 714 is $60 costlier than the newer Lenovo, though it does provide double the native storage and a 13-gen Core i5 CPU. The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook Plus matches it with 8 GB of reminiscence and provides a microSD card slot at the price of the Acer’s HDMI port.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook left side ports

The purpose is, that most individuals utilizing Chromebooks for typical day by day utilization don’t want a Core i5 CPU. They’ll get a superb ChromeOS expertise with the chipset within the Flex 5i with out having to spend more cash. Nor will they sacrifice construct high quality or the “really feel” of the laptop computer itself.

Listed here are the remainder of the specs of this laptop computer, though each Chromebook Plus system meets or exceeds sure minimal {hardware} necessities:

CPU Thirteenth-gen Intel Core i3-1315U Processor, as much as 4.5 GHz,
6 cores / 8 threads
GPU Intel UHD,
Core i5 mannequin makes use of Intel Iris Xe
Show 14-inch IPS 1920 x 1200 show, 16:10 side ratio,
300 nits brightness, 45% NTSC coloration gamut
Reminiscence 8 GB LPDDR4x, 4266 MHz
Storage 128 GB eMMC 5.1 storage,
(increased configurations use NVME SSD),
MicroSD card slot
Connectivity 802.11ax (2×2) WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.0
Enter Backlit keyboard, multitouch trackpad, USI stylus help
1080p FHD RGB webcam, dual-array microphones,
fingerprint sensor
Ports 1 USB Sort-C 3.2 (Gen 2), 1 USB Sort-C 3.2 (Gen 1),
1 USB Sort-A 3.2, 1 combo microphone/headphone jack
Battery Claimed run-time as much as 10 hours
Weight 3.57 kilos / 1.62 kilograms
Software program Chrome OS computerized updates by way of June 2032

Lenovo has completed an important job designing and constructing its Flex 5i collection up to now. The Chromebook Plus version isn’t any completely different. The chassis has a small little bit of flex however in any other case, the pc feels strong and premium. There’s virtually no display screen flex, for instance.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus keyboard and trackpad

The backlit keyboard is snug to make use of as is the trackpad. I discovered the default trackpad velocity a bit too quick, which is uncommon for me. Slowing it down one stage within the Settings was a simple tweak although. The general design is agreeable, a minimum of to me, with snug rounded corners.

Dare I say it’s a extra engaging laptop computer than my Spin 714? I known as that Chromebook a little bit of an unsightly duckling that’s a pure workhorse. The Flex 5i is a better-looking, similar-performing workhorse. Once more, for much less cash. No, you don’t get the premium design of an HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook. If you need that, it’s important to double your spending finances.

The Flex 5i Chromebook Plus additionally excels in another areas too. Output from the 1080p webcam with temporal noise discount may be very crisp. Utilizing a few of the new video background capabilities is enjoyable however not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, they work properly. Like most new laptops these, days, there’s a digital camera shutter swap for privateness on the Flex 5.

Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook Plus using Google Meet
Even in comparatively low mild with a brilliant window behind me theres little to no noise in video calls ARGGGH

The upward-firing facet audio system are above common to my ears, each for spoken voice and watching motion pictures. I did notice that I’ve to have the speaker quantity as much as round 40 p.c earlier than I can really hear the content material. I’m wondering if the output wants somewhat tweaking with a software program replace.

That apart, when paired with the 300 nit, 1920 x 1200 decision contact display screen, I’ve loved watching movies on this laptop computer. Viewing angles are good throughout. Since it is a Flex mannequin, you’ll be able to rotate the display screen by 360 levels for varied viewing modes. Whereas the Chromebook is appropriate with any USI stylus, one isn’t included for you note-takers on the market.

Utilizing Google’s commonplace battery assessments, Lenovo says the Flex 5i Chromebook Plus ought to run for 10 hours. I didn’t obtain that metric in my day by day use however I did common between 6.5 and seven.5 hours on most days. Extra run-time is at all times higher in fact. Nevertheless, I discover the battery life to be greater than acceptable.

One factor that may damage battery life on any system is further background options. That’s why I are inclined to go imply and lean, not utilizing many Chrome extensions. I typically skip display screen savers too. However Chromebook Plus units have new, unique display screen savers, and I’ll say they’re good to take a look at.

Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook Plus exclusive screen savers

Each the Cloud Move and Earth Move display screen savers are animated, giving a bit extra life to the show. I’d relatively look out a window to see transferring clouds if it saves me battery life although.

My very own private preferences apart, the Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook Plus is an outstanding ChromeOS laptop computer for $499. It’s a giant step up from the entry-level Chromebooks within the $250 to $350 vary. And it’s not too far behind if in any respect, these priced within the $600 and above vary.

Name it a strong mid-range Chromebook with hints of premium options and efficiency. Taking a look at it from that perspective, know that you simply’re getting a superb laptop computer with the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus. Like I stated, I’m a ChromeOS energy person. And if I could be pleased with the Flex 5i for my day by day use, most of you in all probability could be too.

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