Lenovo Flex 2 is a significant upgrade over the original
Published on Jul 4, 2014 5:00 AM
Lenovo's Flex 2 can switch from clamshell laptop to stand mode suitable for presentations and watching videos.
For stand mode, fold the touchscreen back such that the keyboard ends up face down on a desk or table with the display propped up in front of you.
These machines were introduced last year as reasonably priced alternatives to Lenovo's Yoga convertible devices. But the Yoga, with its 360-degree hinge, offers two extra usage modes over the Flex 2.
Instead of revamping the look of the Flex for the latest version, Lenovo has upgraded the hardware.
Firstly, the 14-inch screen has been bumped up from the 1,366 x 768 pixels of the original Flex to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. More importantly, the display is now a proper in-plane switching (IPS) panel, with much improved viewing angles.
The only blemish is the air gap between the outer touchscreen layer and the actual LED screen, which results in a fairly reflective display.
Powering it is a newer and slightly faster Intel Core i7 processor, while RAM has doubled from 4GB to 8GB. The graphics chip is the new entry-level Nvidia GeForce GT 840M, which is said to perform better while being more power efficient than those of the previous generation.
Even the Wi-Fi gets an upgrade to a newer 802.11ac adaptor, albeit a budget single-stream model that is capped at 433Mbps instead of the typical 867Mbps.
Overall, performance is boosted by these upgrades, though it is probably limited by the mediocre 5,400RPM 1TB hard drive. To be fair, a solid-state drive is probably out of the question with its $1,299 price point.
In Bioshock Infinite, I managed to run it at around 26 frames a second at Medium setting. If you lower the screen resolution, you can probably push it to High. It is far from being a gaming machine, but older games should run decently with appropriate graphical settings.
The Flex 2 is attractive enough in red and black. It has the same port layout, which includes an Ethernet connector but only a single USB 3.0 port. The keyboard has a good amount of key travel, though it also exhibited some flex. The touchpad is a good size for multitouch gestures and feels smooth.
The battery capacity of the Flex 2 is smaller than that of the original. Hence, uptime has declined from 6hr 19 min to 5 hr 51 min. It is still more than decent, especially with a full high-definition display.
- Despite a raft of improvements, the Flex 2 costs just $100 more than the original version. While it loses out to the premium Yoga in terms of build quality and features, the price is attractive.
This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on July 2, 2014.
Processor: Intel Core i7-4510U (2GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GT 840M DDR3 4GB
Screen size: 14 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Connectivity: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI, SD card reader, Ethernet, headphone jack
Battery: 32 watt-hour
Value for money 4/5
Battery life 4/5