I reviewed the Lenovo Flex 6 14" laptop last year and thought it was one of the best overall consumer devices on the market bearing in the cost to feature ratio of the average notebook purchase.
At roughly $850, a buyer would be in possession of laptop housing an FHD (1920 x 1080) panel, up to 16GB of DDR4 memory, a 256GB PCIe SSD, integrated Intel HD graphics 620 card and a battery that could realistically last up 6 hours under heavy usage.
Well, Lenovo hasn't changed the recipe all that much for 2019 when it comes to the refreshed Lenovo Flex 14. In addition to trimming the name down from the Lenovo Flex 6 14" to just the Flex 14, the company also shaved a significant portion of the price off it offering.
Now, for around $314 a buyer will receive much of what made last year's model a recommended buy as well as few new additions for 2019.
While the overall design remains intact, the color pallet is a bit darker this year. The Flex 14 (2019) uses the same soft-touch lid and aluminum body combination, U-shaped squircle keyboard button layout, the two-option backlit keyboard panel, 1/4-inch bezel display and weights around the same as it did last year at 3.65 lbs (1.65 kg).
The latest addition to the Flex line is Lenovo's TrueBlock Privacy Shutter. The enterprise-level security shutter now comes standard on the Flex 14 and offers users a manual shutter to cover their webcams when not in use. No longer are duct tape or post-it notes necessary to gain a sense of privacy.
Intel is once again packing its latest 8th Generation Core i5 chipset into this device, which should offer a boost with its 4 core 6MB cache on an i5 architecture.
Lastly, it seems Lenovo improved upon my biggest gripe with the Flex 14 (2018) by making some tweaks to the battery performance of the Flex 14 (2019).
Using the same sort of workflow I did when reviewing the 2018 model, I was able to squeeze out 45 extra minutes of on-screen time with brightness at 85% and running multiple applications, browser tabs and streaming music/podcast from Spotify and the web. While 7 hours of usage may not seem like much in 2019, combined with the quick charge technology in the Lenovo Flex 14, I rarely found myself in dire straits on the go.
The only real negative I can see the average consumer looking for a pocket-friendly laptop could take away from the Flex 14 is Lenovo's insistence on selling its digital pen separately. With a panel that supports pen input, it would have been the ultimate bang-for-the-buck to include, but that's a relatively minor quibble compared to the Flex's 2019 cost savings.
With all things considered, the Lenovo Flex 14 may be the company's best offering to date, despite being a rehash of Lenovo's mostly "down-the-middle" laptop formula outside of its ThinkPad line.Further reading: Intel, Lenovo Flex 14, Microsoft