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Lenovo Flex 11 (2018) review: A two-in-one that's inexpensive without feeling cheap

Lenovo’s latest 360-degree hybrid keeps costs down but makes for a decent laptop and tablet on-the-go.

Justin Jaffe Managing editor
Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.
Expertise Credit cards, Loans, Banking, Mortgages, Taxes, Cryptocurrency, Insurance, Investing. Credentials
  • Coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015)
Justin Jaffe
4 min read

The 2018 edition of Lenovo's 11-inch Flex convertible gets the job done both as a laptop and tablet -- and at $330 (roughly £250 or AU$450), currently discounted to $263, it's an excellent value.


Lenovo Flex 11 (2018)

The Good

The 11-inch Lenovo Flex has a compact, sturdy design and enough power and endurance to capably take on basic productivity and entertainment tasks.

The Bad

The display is dim and has limited viewing angles. The Celeron processor can only handle so much. The stereo speakers produce tinny, mediocre audio. No stylus included.

The Bottom Line

The Lenovo Flex cuts some corners but ultimately delivers as an affordable combination laptop and tablet, if you keep expectations in check.

A caveat: The Flex isn't a great laptop, nor is it a great tablet. But it competently combines the two into a device that works reasonably well in both modes. If you're looking for a dedicated laptop or a dedicated tablet in this price range, there are plenty of better options. If you have a bigger budget and like Lenovo's 360-hinge design, check out the Yoga 920. And then there's the significantly more expensive Microsoft Surface Pro, which remains the gold standard in this category. But if you're looking for a versatile two-in-one that's more portable and less expensive than competitors such as the Acer Spin 3 or Asus NovaGo, the Flex 11 is worth a look. 

Note: Lenovo variously to this laptop as both the Flex 6 11-inch and the Flex 11.

Lenovo Flex 6 (11-inch)

Price as reviewed $330
Display size/resolution 11.6-inch 1,366x768-pixel touchscreen
CPU Dual core 1.1GHz Intel Celeron N4000
Memory 2GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 600
Storage 64GB eMMC
Webcam Built-in 720p HD camera and mic
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1
Operating system Windows 10

The Flex is made of plastic but doesn't feel cheap or pliable, as some laptops and tablets in this price range do. The sturdy, 360-degree hinge inspires confidence when switching between laptop and tablet mode, and I appreciated its firm hold at every intermediate angle I chose.   

Cutting a few corners

The biggest drawback here is the HD IPS display. It's reflective and prone to glare. Even at its brightest setting, it was hard to make out details in the more dimly lit scenes of the few movies I watched. In laptop mode, I had to set the screen at just the right angle to make it viewable. Swiping and scrolling worked well in tablet mode, but I often had to tap repeatedly to click buttons or adjust settings.


The sturdy Flex hinge makes it easy to go from laptop to tablet and back. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Flex 11 is compact, measuring roughly 12 by 8 inches and just slightly more than one half-inch thick. At 2.75 pounds, it's lighter than its excellent, higher-end sibling, the much more expensive Yoga 920. It's certainly portable enough to travel with -- but it's a bit heavy for a tablet and I found myself laying it on my lap or a table when using it in that mode. Also, the keyboard, which automatically deactivates, feels a bit weird under your fingers in tablet mode. 

Like the 14-inch and 15-inch Flex, the 11-inch Flex runs Microsoft Windows 10. Note that Lenovo makes another Flex convertible, the similar but even less expensive Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook which runs Google's stripped-down operating system. The Chromebook version offers greater durability and battery life but lacks the Windows edition's superior processing power. (Also, I came across some negative reviews users wrote about the Chromebook's keyboard. I did not test that one, but found the Flex 11's keyboard responsive and comfortable to use.)

Faster than it looks

CNET tested the baseline model, which retails for $329 (though Lenovo is currently offering it for $263). For $430, you can step up to a Flex 11 that features a Pentium Silver N5000 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB hard drive -- though, at that price, the competition stiffens.

The test unit performed well enough, booting up up quickly and handling basic tasks like word processing and Web browsing. Even after I opened up a bunch of apps, it continued to stream video smoothly. Though Microsoft's Edge browser is usually well optimized on lower-end machines like the Flex 11, I found that Google's Chrome browser usually loaded Web pages more quickly.

The Celeron CPU has its limits, however, and the machine stuttered occasionally as I moved between tasks or browser windows. Typical of most laptops and tablets in this price range, the stereo speakers produced tinny, trebly audio, so using headphones is recommended.


  • One USB-C, one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0
  • HDMI out
  • four-in-one SD card reader
  • Headphone jack

Lenovo says the 11-inch Flex 6 delivers about 6 hours of battery life; our test machine lasted for 8 hours and 45 minutes in CNET's online video streaming test. I wrote parts of this review on the Flex 6 using Google Docs, with lots of browser windows open, including one with a series of movies streaming on Netflix. The Flex 11 chugged along for about 7 hours -- not too shabby. Better still, it recharged fully in about an hour and a half.


Port-wise, the Flex 11 covers all of the basics.

Sarah Tew/CNET

A cheap double date

If you're looking for an inexpensive hybrid that runs Windows and has both a traditional keyboard-touchpad interface and a touchscreen, the Lenovo Flex 11 checks all the boxes. If you've got wiggle room on any of those conditions, however, there are better alternatives. The best two-in-one devices start at $1,000 or more -- but adding even a couple hundred dollars to the Flex 11's $263 starting price will improve your options considerably. And if you're negotiable on Windows, Lenovo's own $310 Flex 500e, which runs Google's Chrome operating system, includes a stylus and delivers superior battery life and durability. 

Geekbench 4 (multi-core)

Acer Spin 3 8163Lenovo Flex 11 3296Asus NovaGo TP370QL 2762
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R15 CPU (multi-core)

Acer Spin 3 306Lenovo Flex 11 124
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test (Streaming)

Asus NovaGo TP370QL 792Lenovo Flex 11 525Acer Spin 3 473
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

System configurations

Lenovo Flex 11 Microsoft Windwos 10 Home (64-bit); 1.1GHz Intel Celeron N4000; 2GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 600; 64GB eMMC
Asus NovaGo TP370QL Microsoft Windwos 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile processor; 8GB 1,866MHz LPDDR4x onboard; Adreno 540 Graphics; 128GB SSD
Acer Spin 3 Microsoft Windows 10 Hone (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i3-8130U; 4GB DDR SDRAM 2,400MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics; 1TB HDD

Lenovo Flex 11 (2018)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 5Performance 6Battery 8