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Lenovo Flex 6 14-inch review: A budget 8th-gen 2-in-1 that falls short in the graphics department

Lenovo Flex 6 14 review: A budget 8th-gen 2-in-1 that falls short in the graphics department

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It’s acquired a discrete GPU, however the graphics don’t ship.

The Lenovo Flex 6 14″ boasts peppy productiveness efficiency, a discrete GPU and strong battery life for a comparatively budget worth, however it additionally comes saddled with a dim display and iffy graphics.

Execs
  • Comparatively skinny and lightweight
  • Budget price ticket
  • Peppy productiveness efficiency
Cons
  • Dim show
  • Disappointing graphics efficiency

One among the least expensive thin-and-light convertibles we’ve examined to pack in a quad-core Eighth-generation Intel CPU, the Lenovo Flex 6 14 boasts peppy productiveness efficiency and strong battery life for a comparatively budget worth. Sadly, the Flex comes saddled with a dim display and iffy graphics, disappointing given the system’s discrete Nvidia graphics core. When you don’t care about gaming or photograph modifying and also you’re on a budget, the Flex may be value contemplating, however in case you’re looking for true graphics energy in an ultraportable, look elsewhere (maybe at the Asus ZenBook 13).

Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN

Worth and configuration

We examined the $800 configuration of the Lenovo Flex 6 14 (out there on Amazon), which comes with Intel’s quad-core, eighth-generation Core i5-8250U, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 14-inch 1920×1080 contact show, a 256GB solid-state arduous drive, and discrete Nvidia GeForce MX130 graphics.

The Flex’s $800 price ticket is fairly good on paper—and certainly, it’s amongst the least expensive 2-in-1 techniques we’ve examined with an Eighth-generation Intel CPU.

lenovo flex 6 14 lid
The Lenovo Flex 6 14’s slim shell seems to be plain however skilled.

For instance, the Asus ZenBook Flip 14, an identical 14-inch convertible with the similar Core i5-8250U processor and solely built-in Intel graphics has an inventory of $900, when you might drop greater than $1,800 on Lenovo’s premium, Core i5-8250U-powered ThinkPad X1 Yoga.

Then once more, if you wish to save money by selecting the Lenovo Flex 6 14, you’ll should put up with some compromises. Learn on.

Design

Measuring 12.9 x 9 x zero.7 inches and weighing in at about three.75 kilos (or 4 kilos when you embrace the compact, 7-ounce AC adapter), the onyx-black Flex 6 14 is slim and lightweight sufficient to fall into the ultraportable class, though it’s a tad heavier and thicker than a few of its pricier rivals.

The Flex’s sturdy plastic shell seems plain however skilled, with a only a small Lenovo emblem on the fringe of the gently tapered lid. A brushed aluminum palm relaxation sits inside. The matte floor of the Flex’s lid resists fingerprints however (not unusually) tends to draw oily hand smudges.

lenovo flex 6 14 tent mode
You possibly can tent the Lenovo Flex 6 14 in a V-shape, sit it keyboard-down with its display tilted again, or swivel its show all the approach round for pill use.

Being the 2-in-1 convertible system that it’s, the Flex boasts a pair of 360-degree hinges, permitting you to make use of the laptop computer in clamshell mode, pill mode, or a V-shaped “tent” mode in between. The Flex’s twin hinges felt reassuringly sturdy, holding the show in place with a minimal of wobble.

Show

The Lenovo Flex 6 14’s Full-HD show appears fairly sharp and vivid by itself, however it pales—fairly actually—in comparability whenever you stack it up towards different, brighter laptops screens. We measured the most brightness in the middle of the display at 224 nits (or candelas), which falls considerably short of our 250-nit low-water mark for snug indoor viewing. When you can view the show comparatively simply in an workplace setting, don’t be stunned if you end up squinting at the display when outdoor or close to a vibrant window.

On the plus aspect, viewing angles on the Lenovo Flex 6 14’s IPS-technology show have been fairly good. The display dimmed solely barely when seen from excessive angles and confirmed no indicators of inverse colours, as you’ll typically see on cheaper shows.

The Flex’s contact show responded easily to my faucets and swipes, and it additionally boasts pen help. You’ll be able to snag Lenovo’s Lively Pen, full with 2,048 ranges of strain sensitivity and a plastic USB pen holder, for $40.

Keyboard, trackpad, audio system and extras

The Lenovo Flex 6 14’s backlit keyboard feels enough, with barely concave keys that sport a tactile bump about midway via every keystroke. Correctly eschewing a 10-key numeric keypad, the Flex’s keyboard feels fairly roomy, with straightforward discovery and (until you press arduous) little signal of bending in the center.

lenovo flex 6 14 keyboard
The Lenovo 6 14’s backlit keyboard feels roomy, with keys that boast a tactile bump midway by means of every keystroke.

The Flex’s midsize trackpad felt clean and conscious of my fingertips, and it by no means registered any false swipes throughout my testing, though it does require a good quantity of strain to click on.

Simply beneath the bottom-right nook of the keyboard sits the Flex’s fingerprint reader, which helps you to unlock your Home windows profile and open Home windows Hiya-compliant apps with a single contact. I used the fingerprint reader all through my testing and infrequently had any issues.

The Lenovo Flex 6 14’s bottom-firing Harman Kardon audio system are a tiny reduce above your common laptop computer audio system, however they’re nonetheless fairly (and unsurprisingly) iffy. Whereas I loved the vast separation between the left and proper stereo channels, particulars have been a bit muddy, bass was nearly non-existent, and the sound wasn’t that loud even after cranking the quantity all the method up. That’s all fairly typical so far as laptop computer audio system go, however don’t get your hopes up due to the Harman Kardon model identify.

In the meantime, the Flex 6 14’s 720p webcam (which sits in the prime bezel of the display) is pretty respectable—somewhat grainy and noisy, as standard, however nonetheless it nonetheless manages to seize comparatively clear and sharp video, useful for Skype chatting.

Ports

The Lenovo Flex 6 14’s assortment of ports is strong, however nothing particular. On the left aspect, you get barrel-shaped charging port, a full HDMI video port, the first of two USB three.zero Sort A ports, a single USB three.zero Sort C port, and a combo audio jack.

lenovo flex 6 14 left side
The Lenovo Flex 6 14’s left-side ports embrace a full HDMI port, a USB three.zero Sort A port, a USB three.zero Sort C port, and a combo audio jack.

On the proper sits a Kensington lock slot, a second USB three.zero Sort A port, an SD card reader, and the energy button.

lenovo flex 6 14 right side
Proper-side ports on the Lenovo Flex 6 14 embrace USB three.zero Sort A and an SD card reader, however no Thunderbolt three.

General, that’s a wonderfully respectable assortment of ports, though we’re bummed by the lack of Thunderbolt three ports, probably a concession to the Flex’s budget price ticket.

Common efficiency

After placing it by means of a collection of benchmarking exams, we’re assured in saying that the Lenovo Flex 6 14 is a clean, comparatively speedy performer on the subject of basic productiveness duties, notably given its budget worth and svelte chassis. However as you’ll see in a second, the Flex 6 14’s graphics efficiency comes up disappointingly short, a disgrace given the system’s discrete graphics core.

PCMark eight Skilled Work

First, we fired up PCMark eight to see how the Lenovo Flex 6 14 performs when it got here to day-to-day computing duties akin to net shopping, composing Phrase paperwork, tinkering with spreadsheets, and the like.

lenovo flex 6 14 pcmark 8 work 2 conv
PC Mark Work eight Typical ought to be a breeze for a quad-core Core i5-8250U similar to the Lenovo Flex 6 14 sports activities, and it’s, making it well-qualified for mainstream productiveness purposes. 

Unsurprisingly, the Flex 6 14 handed our PCMark eight check with room to spare, simply besting the 2,000 mark that we deem the minimal for clean Workplace efficiency, in addition to notching a outcome that’s in line with competing 2-in-1 ultraportables.

HandBrake

Whereas PCMark eight is a benchmark at which even cheaper dual-core laptops can excel, our subsequent check is one other story. Through the use of the free HandBrake utility to transform a 30GB MKV video file into an MP4 file, we will get a reasonably good concept of how a given laptop computer beats the head beneath a protracted and crushing CPU load.

lenovo flex 6 14 handbrake
The Lenovo Flex 6 14 in all probability took somewhat longer to complete the HandBrake encode due to thermal throttling as the CPU heated up.

With its Handbrake rating of almost four,400 seconds (or about an hour and 13 minutes), the Lenovo Flex 6 14 lands proper in the combine with different Eighth-generation 2-in-1 laptops we’ve examined. The Flex 6 14 throttled its CPU clock velocity to about 2.three GHz (down from its typical cruising velocity of three.38 GHz) throughout most of the check. Such a concession to the warmth is typical for current convertible methods we’ve tried. Laptops with conventional, easier-to-cool clamshell type elements (like the Dell XPS 13) can typically get away with speedier HandBrake efficiency.

Cinebench

Whereas Handbrake places a heavy pressure on a CPU for about an hour or extra, our processor-intensive Cinebench check (which includes rendering a 3D picture in actual time) lasts mere minutes, giving us a greater understanding of how a laptop computer handles short bursts of stress.

lenovo flex 6 14 cinebench 1t mt

 

The Cinebench CPU check confirmed that the Lenovo Flex 6 14 can maintain its personal in single-threaded purposes. In multi-threaded purposes (the longer bar), it as soon as once more restrained itself for the sake of thermals, however not by a lot. 

With four cores and eight threads in its CPU, plus Hyper Threading, which allocates CPU assets dynamically, the Lenovo Flex 6 14 brings loads of assets for mainstream duties. In each single-threaded and multi-threaded Cinebench testing, it turns in a efficiency in line with different sub-$1000 Eighth-generation 2-in-1 techniques, although it dials down its CPU clock velocity to about 2.4GHz to regulate temperatures.

3DMark Sky Diver

An $800 ultraportable with a discrete graphics core: That’s the promise of the Lenovo Flex 6 14, and on paper, the prospect sounds engaging. In apply, nevertheless, we have been pretty underwhelmed by the Flex’s graphics efficiency.

Armed with the Nvidia Geforce MX130, which sits in the center of Nvidia’s entry-level cellular MX line, the Flex solely managed a mean general Sky Diver rating of about three,100, nicely under the outcomes of competing 8th-gen 2-in-1s with built-in Intel UHD 620 graphics.

lenovo flex 6 14 3dmark sky diver
With its discrete GeForce MX130 GPU, we anticipated extra from the Lenovo Flex 6 14 in gaming benchmarks. The convertible seems to be holding again to regulate thermals. 

We ran the Sky Diver benchmark a number of occasions simply to make certain. Even the Flex 6 14’s best scores (about four,020, solely twice out of 10 tries) nonetheless got here in considerably under what we noticed in competing convertibles with built-in graphics, and method behind a current laptop computer (the Asus ZenBook 13) with MX150 graphics.

The Flex 6 14’s disappointing Sky Diver efficiency might merely be a thermals challenge, and certainly, we observed the system briefly slamming the brakes (by way of power-limit throttling) on the CPU a few minute or so into the check as inner temperatures started to mount.

Whereas discrete cellular graphics playing cards like the MX130 are meant extra for enhancing photograph and video modifying relatively than enjoying video games, we went forward and fired up a number of gaming favorites. The Tomb Raider reboot from 2013, for instance, solely gave us a woeful four.four frames per second with the graphics settings maxed out, or simply 22.eight fps on the lowest graphics settings. In the meantime, we needed to dial down Fortnite all the method to the lowest settings (together with painfully blocky visuals) simply to take care of a gentle 30 fps.

Battery life

We measure battery life by looping a 4K video utilizing the inventory Home windows Films & TV app, with display brightness set as near 250 nits as potential (solely 224 nits, alas, on the Flex 6 14’s dim show). We additionally set quantity at the 50-percent mark, with headphones plugged in.

lenovo flex 6 14 battery

 

The Lenovo Flex 6 14’s 7.5 hours of battery life brings up the rear in comparison with comparable competitors, although to be truthful, some do have bigger batteries. 

The Lenovo Flex 6 14’s common battery drain results of 441 minutes (roughly 7.5 hours) isn’t dangerous contemplating its 45 watt-hour battery, and it’s comparable to a different Eighth-generation convertible with a similar-sized battery, the Samsung Pocket book 7 Spin. Different methods in our comparability chart boast extra battery capability.

Conclusion

Positive, it’s superb that now you can snag an ultraportable 2-in-1 with a quad-core Intel CPU and discrete GPU for simply $800, however the Lenovo Flex 6 14’s dim display and disappointing graphics efficiency rely as main drawbacks.

(pcworld.com, http://bit.ly/2OSRYrk)

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