Lenovo has come a long way with the design of their laptops, and the Lenovo Flex 3’s design does not disappoint. Although the laptop is sleek and stylish, does the overall size get in the way? Read on to find out.
Design and Form Factor
Lenovo’s Flex 3 has a great design, and quite frankly, it surprised me when I took it out of the box. Having used Lenovo’s enterprise grade laptops for work for years, I did not have high expectations when it came to the overall design of the Lenovo Flex 3. My previous experience has been that Lenovo focuses on functionality above style. The Flex 3 is all black with silver hinges. The body is made of plastic, but the plastic feels strong and sturdy. I have owned laptops in the past where I felt any weight on top would cause damage to the screen, but this is not the case with the Lenovo Flex 3. Additionally, the keyboard is made of a metallic material rather than plastic that gives it an extra flair.
Lenovo’s recent claim to fame has been their “hinge” which allows you to rotate the screen 360 degrees. This allows the users to utilize the Flex 3 as a laptop, tablet, and anything between. The Flex 3 has four “modes”: laptop, tent, stand, and tablet. After using the Flex for about a month, I found myself only use the laptop and tent mode. I found the flex difficult to use as a tablet, simply due to its large screen size. At 15 inches the laptop was difficult to hold with one hand, which made typing on the screen nearly impossible to do. The times that I did need to type I had to place the Flex 3 on my lap or table. Yes, the idea of having a 15-inch tablet is cool but when it came down to it, 15 inches are not practical for tablet applications.
I also found that I never used the Flex 3 in stand mode. I figured the purpose of this mode was to better hear the sound as the speakers are located directly under the screen on the keyboard. When the Flex 3 is in stand mode the speakers are facing directly
at you which provides a better listening experience. When it came down to it, I was worried to rest the laptop on the keys of the keyboard that could potentially damage the keys. Although you might lose sound quality, it was much less stressful using the Flex 3 in Tent mode.
Some of you may be asking yourself, “what if you hit a key while in a mode other than laptop mode?” No need to worry, the Flex 3 can sense what mode it is in and will disable the keyboard in all modes except laptop mode. After a little testing, I found that the laptop is disabled once you break the 90 degree mark. If you ever need to use the keyboard, simply touching the small keyboard icon on the taskbar will allow you to type whatever is needed in all four modes.
I am what some may consider a typing snob. Many 2-in-1 laptops do not provide a good typing/mousepad experience. For example, I can’t stand typing on the Microsoft Surface Pro, but the Lenovo Flex 3 provides a great typing experience and has a very responsive mousepad with a solid click. However, if you are new to the mouse-pads that provide a single pad that you use for all of your gestures, there might be a bit of a learning curve.
Screen and Inputs
The Lenovo Flex 3 comes in 11, 14, and 15-inch models, all of which have a 1920 x 1080 anti-glare multi-touch screen. I watched a number of movies on the Flex 3 and was impressed with its image quality and overall screen brightness. Colors are vivid and bright, and the built-in Intel HD graphics card more than suffice. Although the laptop does not have the highest resolution screen available, I was never disappointed.
What the Lenovo Flex 3 is not lacking is the variety and amount of inputs it has. The Flex 3 comes with 2 USB 3.0, 2. USB 2.0, HDMI-out, Ethernet, Audio, and a 4-in-1 card reader port. The 4-1 card reader supports Multimedia Card, Memory Stick, Secure Digital, and xD-Picture Card. Since Lenovo is trying to keep the Flex 3 to 1 inch thick, they had to do without the DVD/CD drive. While I thought this would be difficult to overcome, I have quickly realized that it is really not needed. Unless you like you own DVD’s or listen to your music on a CD, you don’t need to worry about not having a DVD/CD drive.
Sound and Speakers
I was most impressed with the sound and speakers of the Lenovo Flex 3. The Flex 3 has 1.5W stereo Speakers with Dolby Home Theater certification. The speaker is located directly under the multi-touch display that faces towards the back of the keypad. The speakers provide a crisp and clear listening experience.
When watching different movies and listening to some songs, I was surprised by the sound level the speakers were able to produce. I decided to take the speakers to max volume and came to the conclusion that I would probably never have a reason to max out the volume on the speakers.
Specs and Performance
The review unit that was provided to us came with a Intel Core i5-5200 processor, 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a surprising 1 TB Solid State Drive (SSD). Outside of the 1 TB SSD, the specs of the Lenovo Flex 3 are up to par with what you would find with any mid-tier laptop.
After using the PC for a month, I never felt the urge to throw it against the wall due to performance. With that said, I used the Lenovo Flex 3 as most day to day consumers would. I browsed the internet, watched movies through Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and even wrote a few articles with it. No matter what task I was trying to perform I did not have a problem when it came to processing speed.
I did try to load a large excel file that took about 2 minutes to load, but only 45 seconds with my high-end personal laptop supporting an i7 processor. However, when loading new blank documents the document opened relatively quickly (under 10 seconds).
After running a benchmark test, I was surprised by the results. The Intel Core i5-5200 processor did not perform as well as some other processors on the market.
Intel’s i5 processor is more than enough processing power for the everyday consumer. When you add 8GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD many will be more than satisfied with the power that the Lenovo Flex 3 provides. If you are looking to have a little more processing power, Lenovo provides a number of upgrades that you can incorporate into the Lenovo Flex 3.
After using the Lenovo Flex 3 for about a month, I would recommend this laptop to those that are looking for an everyday computer. If you are looking to perform heavy process tasks such as video editing, processing large amounts of data, or even playing intense video games, I would suggest looking at higher end laptops on the market. When you add the functionality that the Flex 3 provides, there are few laptops that will be able to beat it. With that said, I would look into getting a smaller screen size if you want to take full advantage of the tablet functionality.