The Lenovo Ideapad Chromebook Flex 5 is this year's best Chromebook award. And not because it's the most powerful, but because it's the best.
The Lenovo Ideapad Chromebook Flex 5 is the best Chrome OS device you can buy in 2020. That stems primarily from its position as the most well-rounded, feature-rich Chromebook 2-in-1. It's backed by Lenovo's world-class support, with the requisite hardware to keep everything buttery smooth.
There are two models for this particular device, with an 8GB RAM model launching within the past several weeks. The standard 4GB model, announced at CES 2020, starts out at just $409.99. And there's almost nothing to complain about for that price but there's a whole lot to love.
Starting from the outside, the metal frame and lid, comfortable feature-rich keyboard, brilliant display panel, and ports are all driven and supported by a great processor.
It goes without saying that's not the most powerful Chromebook around. But it's more than enough for just about anybody who wants a Chromebook. All without costing an arm and a leg. The battery and secondary components behind that are well above what's needed for most uses too. And the design itself is modern, sleek, and comfortable.
Lenovo Ideapad Chromebook Flex 5 is one 2-in-1 Chromebook that's absolutely impossible to ignore. Making it an obvious choice for our top pick for 2020.
Lenovo Ideapad Chromebook Flex 5 delivers performance and battery life
Of course, there are more powerful Chromebooks on the market, especially when we're considering the best devices around. But when it comes to the power-to-efficiency ratio, Lenovo Ideapad Chromebook Flex 5 is the best without a doubt. In our review of this gadget, this Chromebook managed over eight-and-a-half hours of screen-on time. That's at full brightness for the display. And with the Chromebook working at least moderately the entire time.
In terms of charging, that's kept at under 2-hours via the included 45W charging brick and cable. Despite up to 8GB RAM, 64GB or 128GB storage, and either a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 or i5 processor.
Lenovo fine-tuned and optimized this Chromebook to offer the fastest start-ups, updates, and performance in its class. It succeeded spectacularly. That processor was more than capable of running any Android game or app thrown its way. It was capable of multitasking those alongside video-editing, drawing, and browsing the web too. All without causing too big a drain on the battery life.
Regardless of how this Chromebook will be used, it's going to perform and it's going to keep doing so all day long. Whether for school, work, or play, this is the Chromebook to buy.
Connectivity, ports, keyboard, and mouse are at the top of their game
Now, on connectivity, including the ports, Lenovo aimed for the top of the pile. That started with support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. Summarily, although there are in-between iterations of Bluetooth available with higher version numbers, this is the best you'll likely find in a Chromebook. Wi-Fi 6 is the very latest in wireless connectivity protocols. Supporting up to 2.4Gbps on a single stream, it's just blistering fast.
But the connectivity doesn't stop with wireless either. Lenovo also includes all the ports you could need. From its two newer USB-C ports to its single old-school USB-A port. And the design-savvy didn't stop there.
The keyboard on the Lenovo Ideapad Chromebook Flex 5 is one of the most comfortable around. Lenovo also backlit the keyboard standard so you won't have to pay extra for that feature. Plus, the keyboard is spill-resistant. So it's safe for the young and the accident-prone alike. The accompanying trackpad is coated in Mylar, for a smooth and comfortable experience too. As well as for a longer-lasting finish. Both components are near the top of the pile in terms of long-term use and comfort.
With regard to durability and build quality, the keyboard, mouse, and ports all follow the example set by the aluminum lid. They're well-built, clicky, and fit snugly in their respective positions. Lenovo engineered this Chromebook to outlast the typical lifecycle of a Chrome OS laptop and it shows.
The display here can only be described as brilliant
Topping off the list of must-have next-gen features, Lenovo linked up the hardware above with a stunning FullHD screen. Specifically, that's a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, 10-point touchscreen. But it brings more than just great contrast and clarity or app-support. It's also USI stylus-ready.
In a nutshell, that means this bright backlit panel works with just about any pressure-sensitive active stylus on the market, so long as it's USI-compatible. And that makes it one of the most affordable Chromebooks on the market with that feature — if not the most affordable.
Coupled with the hardware mentioned above, and with Lenovo offering a compatible stylus for under $50, users can do pretty much everything with this Chromebook. Whether that's handwriting, signing documents, making notations, drawing, photo or video editing, or any number of other use cases.
With consideration for those features, the fact that this Chromebook is a 2-in-1 is just icing on the cake. For clarity, this Chromebook can be used in clamshell, tent, stand, or tablet mode. With that being enabled by a firmly-set, well-made 360-degree hinge.
The Lenovo Ideapad Chromebook Flex 5 the best, bar none
With consideration for all of the great Chromebooks to launch this year, picking the perfect device for this award was no easy task. ASUS, for instance, really deserves a mention for its Chromebook Flip c436. As does Acer, when it comes to its Chromebook Spin 713. Both Chromebooks are more than capable and priced at a desirable entry point. But they don't quite stack up by a respectable margin in terms of the cost-value ratio. Or in terms of what users are really going to want or need.
Conversely, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook aimed to break every mold with its AMOLED 4K display panel and ultra-slim design. Unfortunately, it also has a number of issues, primarily relating to its battery life.
As a result of those differences, Lenovo Ideapad Chromebook Flex 5 is a shoo-in for the best Chromebook of 2020. Its special features, ports, connectivity, accessories compatibility, price-point, and build quality were already well above a large segment of the competition. With the additional benefit of an all-day battery without cutting into performance, for under $500, this is one Chromebook that nobody should overlook.