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

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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.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 5
  • Performance 6
  • Battery 8

Review Sections

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.

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.

14-lenovo-flex-11

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.)

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