Back in 2011, Lenovo made waves in the world of computers by introducing a highly capable 2-in-1 laptop. Since then, the company has continued to make innovations in this segment and has introduced many convertible 2-in-1 laptops in varying price ranges.
For our comparison today, we look at two of Lenovo’s widely popular laptops; the Lenovo Flex 5 and the Lenovo Yoga 720. Both of these are affordable, mid-range laptops packed with full features, offering serious utility at their respective price points.
We will do a Lenovo Flex 5 vs Yoga 720 comparison based on their relative performance and usability. We will first discuss the design and overall feel of both laptops and talk about their performance, hardware, and display panels. Then we will compare their keyboards and trackpads, audio systems, and battery. After this will offer our final verdict and choose a winner between the two.
The Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 14” is the latest 2 in 1 convertible laptop released by Lenovo in 2020.
Overall, it is good value for money and offers premium features and performance at a reasonable price. With an attractive outer shell, the laptop feels sturdy yet soft and boasts an impressive all-day battery life. Where we find the laptop lacking is the display brightness and overall weight.
Lets’ dig into the specs and detailed review of the Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5.
The Lenovo Flex 5’s Graphite Gray (also available in Platinum Gray) design is minimalist and stylish with its’ narrow bezels. The laptop’s body is coated with a special soft-touch material that makes it feel premium. Furthermore, the laptop has been designed specifically for flexibility, with a 360-degree hinge. This allows you to pitch it up like a tent or fold it flat and use it as a tablet.
However, one area in which Lenovo has cut costs is the Laptop’s weight, which is 3.6 lbs. It is a known fact that 2-in-1 laptops with 360-degree hinges need to be extra sturdy. However, expensive laptops are able to achieve this in a weight-efficient manner. The Flex 5 is not exactly ultraportable with dimensions of 12.65″ x 8.56″ x 0.7-0.82″ (H x W x D).
Alternatively, other premium 2-in-1 laptops are lighter but also much more expensive. The HP Elite Dragonfly 13” weighs 2.2 lbs., while the Dell XPS 13” and the Acer Spin 7 both weigh 2.9 lbs. However, these flagship laptops are much more expensive, and essentially, you are paying a lot less for a little extra weight. The Yoga 720 13” is lighter as well, weighing in at 2.9 lbs.
There are ample connectivity options on the Flex 5. Apart from a charger port, there is a USB Type-C port that can be used to charge the laptop, and an HDMI port, and a headphone jack on the left side. On the other side panel, the 2 USB type-A ports and the SD card reader are welcome additions to a laptop of this size.
Where the Flex 5 really shines is its performance. It can be fitted with AMD Ryzen fourth-gen or Intel Core i7 11th gen processors. The more readily available and cheaper option will be the 2.3 GHz AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, with six processor cores. It is one of the best bargain chipsets in the market and, according to GeekBench, scores 1094 in the single-core test and 4292 in multicore tests. It is also fitted with an AMD Radeon Graphics card, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The drive and processor can be upgraded to a 512GB SSD and AMD Ryzen 7 4700U for even better storage and performance.
We believe that AMD Ryzen 5 4500 U offers perfect value for this laptop. It provides enough power to work through multiple tasks and windows and can also manage complex jobs such as heavy video editing. It is also faster than the competitive Intel Core i5 and Core i3 chipsets, according to benchmark tests by PCMark and GeekBench. It is also quite faster than the Intel Core i5 processor on the Yoga 720.
We believe that another area in which Lenovo has cut costs with Flex 5 is its display. The 1920x1080p FHD IPS panel is really good, but it’s not very bright. The 250 nits of brightness coupled with the glossy screen are definitely not good enough for working outdoors or even in brightly lit rooms. Color reproduction is slightly lackluster as well, with a color gamut of just 63% of sRGB and 47% of AdobeRGB.
The laptop can also be paired with a digital stylus, the Lenovo Digital Pen, which supports up to 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. This is a good option to have for anyone looking to edit videos and do creative work.
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Keyboard and Touchpad
The laptop’s keyboard is backlit and has the typical solid Lenovo feel. The shallow and spaced out keys might not be to everyone’s taste, but we believe that it is quite comfortable and ergonomic to use. The touchpad is nothing special; it’s large and accurate, albeit a little stiff.
The Flex 5 comes with a 52 WHr battery, which can seem a little mediocre for a 14-inch laptop. But in reality, it is not really that bad; according to PCMark’s test, it can last for around 16 hours while playing a 720p video.
The two-watt Dolby Audio speakers on the Flex 5 are located next to the keyboard on each side. The bass isn’t very high, but the speakers are sufficient for Zoom videos or for watching Netflix. However, since they are located next to the keyboard, they are not ideal when the laptop is in tent mode or tablet mode.
The Lenovo Yoga 720 13.3” was released in 2017 as a midrange 2 in 1 convertible laptop. The laptop offers adequate performance, attractive looks, and a really nice display. It has a sleek design and does not weigh much, making it a perfect option as an ultraportable laptop. What we don’t like about the laptop are its weak speakers and the display’s low brightness.
At first glance, the Yoga 720 is, well, very silver, to say the least. But that’s not exactly a bad thing. The laptop as a whole looks sleek and stylish and feels very small. Once you open up the lid, the silver dual hinges are quite obvious in contrast to the black lower bezel. The side bezels are very thin as well and add to the overall thin design and make the screen look bigger. The screen can be rotated 360 degrees, and the laptop can be used in “tent mode” or be made completely flat like a tablet.
Where the Yoga 720 really beats the Flex 5 and its competition is its weight and size. The laptop weighs just 2.9lbs and has dimensions of 12.2 x 8.4 x 0.56″ (HxWxD). This makes it ultraportable and very comfortable to use in tablet mode. Despite its small size and low weight, the laptop’s aluminum body feels solid. For added security, there is a fingerprint scanner next to the keyboard.
On the left side of the Yoga 720, there is a headphone jack and two USB-C ports that can be used to charge the laptop. While on the right side, the laptop is fitted with a USB-A port. Overall, the Yoga 720’s three USB ports are equal to the Flex 5; however, the lack of an HDMI and SD card reader can be a hassle for some.
The Yoga 720 comes with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-7200U processor, but it can be fitted with an 8th gen Intel processor like the Core i5-8250U. The processor works well with the 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD; however, you can get the base model with 8GB memory and 128GB SSD.
We believe that the Core i5 configuration with 8GB RAM is perfect for everyday tasks on an ultraportable laptop. But still, if you want more processing power and speed, then you can pay extra for the Intel Core i7 configuration with 16GB of RAM. The laptop also has an integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 Card.
The Intel Core i5-7200U chipset on the Yoga 720 has 2 cores, each with dual threads compared to AMD Ryzen 5 4500U’s 6 cores (6 threads) on the Flex 5. We compared both processors side by side on CPUBenchmark and found the Intel Core i5 to be quite inferior to the newest AMD Ryzen 5 chip.
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The 13.3” 1080p FHD IPS touchscreen on the Yoga 720 is rich in color. But like the Flex 5, it is not very bright, measuring at just 255 nits, which is below the industry average for such laptops. The screen itself is glossy, and glare can be an issue, especially in bright places. The thin bezels make the screen look bigger, especially when used in “tablet mode.”
Overall, the screen offers vivid and sharper colors than Flex 5. Color reproduction is 99% of the sRGB color gamut and 76% AdobeRGB, much higher than Flex 5. You can option the laptop with a 4K screen for an added cost; however, that might have a detrimental effect on battery life. We believe that the FHD panel is good enough for the Yoga 720.
The touchscreen is responsive and has Windows Ink that can be paired with the Lenovo Active Pen 2. The pen feels very nice to use and has a soft rubber nib, which is particularly useful since the screen is prone to leaning back if touched too strongly in “laptop mode.” Like Flex 5, the pen is an optional extra; we believe that this is a prudent strategy by Lenovo since integrated pens can be quite small.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The touchpad on the Yoga 720 is adequately sized at 4.1×2.7” and accurately tracks movements. The keyboard is quite comfortable to use as well, although, like the Flex 5, it can feel shallow for some. Overall, we like Lenovo’s keyboards, and this is no different. There is plenty of space beside the touchpad to rest your palms on while typing.
The Yoga 720 is fitted with a 48 Whr battery that is slightly below par for ultraportable laptops. The USB-C charger takes 2 hours to fully charge, and according to PCMark’s test, the battery lasts for 12 hours.
Where we find the Yoga 720 lacking is the audio quality of its speakers. The 2 JBL speakers are located on the belly, towards the front of the laptop. The sound is low and just good enough for one person. Using it in your lap can muffle the sound somewhat.
There is no doubt that the Yoga 720 is ultraportable, it’s light and thin, making it perfect for working on the go. Its display is also slightly better than the Flex 5 in terms of color reproduction.
However, we believe that the Flex 5 truly steals the show with its stellar performance. The new AMD Ryzen 5 processor is simply too good for the old 7th gen Core i5 on the Yoga 720. It is also remarkable value for money, and we think that gaining a little weight is a just compromise for the performance offered by the Flex 5. It also has better speakers and more connectivity options. And although looks are subjective, we find the flex 5 to be slightly more attractive than the Yoga 720.
Marcus has a graduate degree in computer engineering and has many years of experience in cutting-edge technology research and development in both startups and Fortune 500 corporations. In his free time, he enjoys RTS gaming.
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