This week has been full of news surrounding the release and availability of the upcoming Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook. From the Core i3 model actually going up for sale to Canadian availability to our podcast conversation being primarily about Lenovo’s current hardware position in the Chromebook market, the Flex 5 has simply dominated our attention this week and it is for good reason. This device combines nearly all of the fundamental things we all look for in a solid Chromebook and it keeps the price in check.
Right now, you can go buy the Core i3 version of the Flex 5 with 4GB of RAM for a silly-low price of $409 at Amazon. While that is likely the best deal in the mid-range Chromebook space right now, we’ve known since CES 2020 that a more-powerful version of this Chromebook would show up at some point as well. On Lenovo’s ‘coming soon’ page for the Flex 5, however, it lists the Chromebook as only having up to a Core i3 and up to 4GB of RAM. Upon seeing that landing page this week, we were a bit bummed at the idea of this Chromebook not shipping with a higher-end model available for those that want it. Adding to that is the fact that we’ve seen these Amazon listings for the Celeron and Core i3 models for weeks at this point without a single mention of the i5 version.
Just as we began to entertain the idea that perhaps Lenovo had scrapped the higher-end version, one of our readers (George E.) came across a nice little tidbit that shows the upper-end version of the Flex 5 coming soon with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of NVMe storage. Thanks to a certification listing with Energy Star, we have clear evidence that a version of the Flex 5 with a Core i5 and 8GB of RAM has been cleared and should be arriving in retail channels at some point in the near future. You can check out the Energy Star listing here if you like, but what you need to know is this listing puts the high-end version of the Flex 5 in line with what we’re seeing listed on the UK Lenovo site, which also includes 128GB of NVMe storage. It stands to reason that the i5 model will have this spec line across the board in all markets.
For now, however, the only version we’re seeing in stores and on Lenovo’s product reference page for the US is the Core i3 model. There are listings for the Celeron model at both Amazon and B&H Photos, but they are marked as ‘coming soon’ or ‘unavailable’, so that model may take a bit of time to show up as well. With the Celeron version coming in at $379 at least on B&H Photo, I’d firmly recommend most users get the $409 Core i3 model at this point anyway.
What really becomes intruiging is the price hike we will see for the Core i5 model. While the Celeron and i3 models boast 64GB of eMMC storage, 4GB of RAM, and cheaper processors, the i5 version will improve on all these fronts with double the RAM, double the storage (in a higher-quality, faster NVMe variety), and obviously a faster, more-expensive processor. Even if Lenovo bumps things up by $150-$200 to offset the improvements, that would still put a device that competes with any high-end Chromebook available on the market at around $599 for the asking price.
For comparison, the last-gen Chromebooks that launched around this $599 price were devices like the HP Chromebook x360 14 and Dell Inspiron Chromebook. While very nice devices, both had slower 8th-gen processors, last-gen WiFi 5, older Bluetooth 4.2, and oddball combos like 128GB of storage with only 4GB of RAM or 8GB of RAM with only 64 GB of storage. Oh, and both were slower eMMC storage as well. Stand the Lenovo Flex 5 up against any of the devices in this price range from the last generation and it tramples them all with the combo of a faster processor, more RAM, faster storage, WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5.
As a matter of fact, I get serious Pixelbook Go vibes from this Flex 5 Chromebook and the similarly spec’d Pixelbook Go comes in at $849, loses the convertible form factor, pen support, and NVMe storage. What I’m getting at here is the fact that Lenovo is jumping into the market with great devices and fantastic prices and I think the various models of the Flex 5 could end up being among some of the most successful Chromebooks of 2020. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for the i5 model’s official arrival, but you can rest assured it is likely coming soon.