Lenovo’s Flex line has more or less become the budget Yoga line, but that doesn’t mean you should stop reading. For a budget 2-in-1, the Lenovo Flex 3 is boasting some awfully impressive specs for the price, at least in my opinion and is something that could fit into a lot of people’s budgets but will do a lot of things that a lot of budget priced laptops won’t do.
About The Lenovo Flex 3 15
The Windows 8.1 2-in-1 will come in three models—11.6″, 14″, and 15.6″. They’ll all come standard with 1366 x 768 touch displays, with a 1920 x 1080 display optional for the Flex 3 14 and 15. The Flex 3 14 and 15 will also feature brand new 5th generation Intel Core i processors, while the 11 probably represents a weaker value with an Intel Pentium processor. Regardless of which model you get, you’ll be able to have as much as 8 GB of RAM. Optional discrete NVIDIA graphics are a welcome surprise, although the Flex 3 comes standard with integrated Intel HD graphics.
The Lenovo Flex 3 15 is a 15.6-inch convertible notebook series with a 360-degree hinge for multi-mode use as a laptop, tablet, or multimedia stand. With its form factor, specifications, and price, the Flex 3 15 competes directly against systems such as the Asus Flip Q502LA, Toshiba Radius P55W, and HP Envy x360 15.
Lenovo Flex 3 15 Design
It’s a laptop that makes you say, “I can’t believe it’s budget!” With the Flex 3 11-inch, the line between Lenovo’s elegant Yoga series and the no-frills Flex has been significantly blurred. It shows off gently rounded corners and a not-quite-soft-touch black-plastic finish that manages to avoid looking or feeling chintzy.
The brushed-finish interior and chrome-lined touchpad only reinforce the high-end aesthetic. The surface is highly susceptible to oil, so you’ll want to keep a cleaning cloth nearby. For ports, you get USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI and expandable gigabit Ethernet, as well as a power button, on the right side. On the left side, there’s another USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader, a headset jack, a secure lock slot and the company’s proprietary charging port.
This 3-pound, 11.8 x 8.2 x 0.86-inch device is one of the chunkier budget hybrids we’ve tested. The Toshiba Satellite Radius is lighter and thinner, at 2.9 pounds and 11.25 x 7.75 x 0.65 inches, while the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 is slightly heavier and has a thinner profile, at 3.1 pounds and 11.81 x 7.93 x 0.75 inches.
The compromises Lenovo had to make in the name of saving a few bucks became quickly apparent when I started typing on the island-style keyboard. The smile-shaped keys look like those on the keyboards I’ve come to associate with the brand’s upper-tier products.
The 3.5 x 2.3-inch Elan touchpad provided better performance, with smooth, fluid navigation on websites and documents. Gestures such as pinch-zoom and three-finger swiping were swift and responsive.
Lenovo gave the Flex 3 15-inch four modes: Laptop, Tablet, Tent and Stand. Flip the keyboard onto the lid using the 360-degree hinges for Tablet Mode. To switch to Tent mode, fold the display and keyboard backward, like an upside-down book. Place the keyboard facedown and leave the display exposed to enter Stand mode, which is perfect for watching movies or sharing presentations.
Lenovo continues to represent the gold standard for convertible laptops, thanks to the sturdy hinges that provide seamless transitions among the modes. But the Harmony software is the real star of the show. When you switch between modes, Harmony offers to launch apps optimized for that particular setup. It also shows how much time you spend in each mode compared to other Flex owners.
Other than McAfee Central, you won’t find too many third-party apps on the Flex 3 11-inch. However, there’s plenty of Lenovo-branded software to wade through. Lenovo Companion monitors system performance, and OneKey Optimizer enhances performance by keeping drivers and firmware up to date. VeriFace Pro lets you log in using facial recognition, delivering an added layer of security.
If you need more storage beyond the 500GB hard drive, there’s REACHit, which provides access to all your files across devices and goes one step further by bringing all your cloud storage accounts together for quick interaction. Motion Control allows you to adjust the volume, scroll through pictures, and zoom in and out by performing certain gestures in front of the webcam, with mixed results.
Battery life is always important when it comes to laptops as most of us use them while we’re on the go or we like to lay in bed while watching TV and use them without being plugged into an outlet 24/7. The Lenovo Flex 3 has decent battery life as I averaged around 6 hours and 30 minutes on each full charge of the device. For a budget style laptop this is pretty decent and something that I could certainly live with if I were to purchase the Lenovo Flex 3 15-inch laptop.
Lenovo Flex 3 Performance
The Lenovo Flex 3 15-inch laptop was decent in my opinion in the performance category. Since I don’t do heavy video editing or graphics work, I wasn’t able to test it in those types of situations. What I was able to do was test it using Chrome with several tabs opened up at one time on sites that are full of images as well as streaming a Netflix movie at the same time.
The Lenovo Flex 3 managed to hold its own and didn’t struggle necessarily, but you could certainly tell it was at its max as far as to what it could handle. I could tell that if I had added a couple more tabs to Chrome that I’d probably start running into some issues and into some sluggishness of the device.
The display on the Lenovo Flex 3 is decent at best. Again, this is a budget laptop so it’s nothing like my 4K Toshiba Satellite display, but it works for what it is. The colors are bright and vibrant for the resolution and text and images are relatively clear and crisp. Watching a movie on Netflix proved to be decent as well. I chose to watch Top Gun in HD and I was quite satisfied and would definitely recommend it to anyone in the market for such a laptop.
I’ve gotten a little bit spoiled by using my Toshiba Satellite that I got a month or so back when it comes to sound quality. Mainly because my laptop has top facing Harmon-Kardon speakers which are amazing. The Lenovo Flex 3 15 has speakers on the bottom of the device and this is something that I’ve grown to dislike as it really seems to take a lot of quality away from the sound. With that being said, the sound quality on the Lenovo Flex 3 isn’t bad or horrible, just not as good as a device with top facing speakers. Or at least not in my opinion and you might feel differently.
I listen to a lot of music while using my device so the sound quality is important to me. Would I not purchase the Lenovo Flex 3 just because of the speakers being on the bottom? Absolutely not I wouldn’t. I have just grown accustomed to having them on the top which for me personally sounds much better.
For a budget style laptop, the Lenovo Flex 3 15-inch is definitely a good purchase assuming that’s what you need. It will handle quite a few open tabs within Chrome while still being able to stream some music or a movie or anything similar. For a starting price of $449 and up, it’s definitely something I’d grab one of if I needed one for my teenage son or maybe even my fiancee who doesn’t do a lot of heavy computer usage.
You can purchase one of these via the link below on Amazon. Remember, you can have different configurations as far as harddrive space and various other things. Just depends on how much money you want to spend and what exactly it is you need in a laptop.