We spent some quality time with the fine folks at Lenovo this week but the highly-anticipated Chromebook Duet Tablet wasn’t the only device awaiting us when we arrived for our meeting. We had plenty of reasons to believe that Lenovo had a next-get Comet Lake device in the works and as we arrived in Vegas, those suspicions were confirmed with the announcement of the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5.
As various news outlets began publishing hands-on videos of Lenovo’s new Chrome OS tablet, we noticed that no one had footage or on-site photos of the Flex 5. So, as we headed to our meeting with Lenovo, we weren’t getting our hopes up that the convertible flagship would be available for us to take a closer look. We were wrong.
As we took the tour of new products from Lenovo, I mentioned the Flex 5 and the Director of PR said they had ONE on-site but that it had just arrived and that it wasn’t technically supposed to be part of the product exhibition. He then proceeded to go get it and we got a chance to take a closer look at what could possibly become the Chromebook for the masses in 2020. More on that in a moment. First, here’s a hands-on look at the all-new Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 first look
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 didn’t come to Vegas to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook or the ASUS Flip C436 and that’s okay. As we’ve seen over the past couple of years, the average consumer is much more interested in a solid device with some flagship-caliber features that keep the price tag around $500 or less and that’s exactly why the Flex 5 is poised to be a massive success. With a starting price of only $359, the Flex 5 Chromebook should experience the same type of consumer popularity that we saw with the HP Chromebook X360 14 that offered a premium experience with powerful specs and could frequently be found on sale for less than $450.
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 isn’t slated for release until June of this year so it may be some time before we can get a full review out there. Still, my initial impressions are very positive and I feel like Lenovo has hit a home run with the Flex 5. Returning to a 13.3″ display size, the Flex 5 is the closest thing to a spiritual successor of the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 that was a fan favorite for countless Chrome OS users.
The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 will offer up to a Core i5 processor just like the ultra-premium Galaxy Chromebook and you will be able to equip it with 8GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage. It features a spill-resistant backlit keyboard, a FullHD display at 300 nits and a 2-in-1 convertible form-factor. The chassis is at least partially plastic and the trackpad isn’t glass but it doesn’t detract from the overall look and feel of the Chromebook.
There was also mention of optional stylus support but it isn’t clear whether that includes the emerging USI technology or if the Flex 5 will only work with a Lenovo stylus. We’re awaiting the official word from Lenovo and will let you know.
Update: We have confirmed with Lenovo that the stylus support will include USI pens. Another feature of the Flex 5 that is very unique to Chrome OS is a slideable camera cover for users concerned about webcam privacy.
Again, this Chromebook isn’t looking to compete with the ultra-premium devices that will get you into the thousand dollar price range and that’s exactly why it should be a huge success. You get a lot of great specs and a Chromebook that’s portable, versatile and quite attractive. Plus, you get it for more than half of what some flagships will run you. Hat tip to Lenovo for looking at where the current market is at and making a device that the majority of Chrome OS users will love to have at a price that most can afford. We’re looking forward to getting some more time with the Flex 5 and bringing you our full review as soon as we can get our hands on one. Stay tuned and don’t forget to check us out on social for all our coverage of CES 2020.