Editors' note: Lenovo has updated the 15-inch Flex 5 with eighth-generation Intel processors. A similarly configured version to the one reviewed here is available with new processor choices.
Lenovo's Yoga two-in-one laptop line is so varied in sizes and configurations that it can be very difficult to nail down the differences between them. To further confuse things, the Yoga 520 is called the Flex 5 in the US and it comes in two sizes, one of which -- the 15.6-inch model reviewed here -- is only available in the US.
The 15.6-inch Flex 5 starts around $600 and goes up to $1,110 (that's about £780 or AU$1,430). The configuration I reviewed is a sweet spot in the line, delivering a good balance of performance, features and battery life. Lenovo makes a 14-inch Flex 5, too, that's alternatively named the Yoga 520 for the UK and Australia, but none of them can be configured quite the same as the 15.6-inch Flex 5.
The larger 15.6-inch screen size makes it a good choice for those who want to have one computer for work and entertainment, while still being portable enough for throwing in a backpack or briefcase. Plus, the bigger two-in-one design is great for watching movies or giving presentations, and this system's discrete graphics even allow some low-level gaming. That said, if you are going to do a lot of traveling or need something for a daily transit commute, you may want to go with something smaller and lighter like the. (The 720 also comes in a 15.6-inch size, but more on that later.)
Lenovo Flex 5-1570
|Price as reviewed||$850|
|Display size/resolution||15.6-inch 1,920x1,080 touch display|
|PC CPU||2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U|
|PC memory||8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz|
|Graphics||2GB Nvidia GeForce 940MX|
|Storage||256GB PCIe SSD|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
The 15.6-inch Flex 5's 4.4-pound weight (2 kg) and larger size make it a bit unwieldy to use handheld as a tablet. Set it down on your lap or a table and the extra screen space is really nice to have, particularly for configurations with the pen-enabled full HD display. (It's also available with a 4K UHD-resolution display, but it doesn't support an active pen and the higher resolution typically shortens battery life.)
While the screen's brightness and color quality are very good, it doesn't get quite bright enough to combat the glare off the glass panel. Trying to use this under bright lights or outside was frustrating. Otherwise, the full HD screen I tested was excellent for photos and video and was responsive to both fingers and Lenovo's Active Pen.
The 360-degree hinges paired with the larger screen is also valuable for getting the keyboard out of the way so you can focus on the display for video or presentations. Or you can hook up an external keyboard and mouse for more of a desktop experience. There are two USB 3.0 ports -- one on each side -- and a USB Type-C 3.0 (gen 1), an SD card reader, an HDMI out and a combo mic/headphone jack, so there are plenty of connection options to go around, but you'll need an adapter for Ethernet.