Earlier this month, Lenovo quietly rolled out the highly-anticipated Tiger Lake refresh of the company’s popular Chromebook Flex 5. As we expected, the beefier version of the Flex 5i was launched exclusively at Costco. Despite a minimal $50 price bump from the original Flex 5, the new 11th Gen Core i3 convertible offers up an impressive spec sheet for relatively little money. Shortly thereafter, Best Buy picked up the Pentium model of the Flex 5i, and while it’s likely a solid performer, $419 for 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage is a bit pricey. This is especially true when you can get a beast of a Chromebook like the ASUS CX5 right now for as little as the same price with Best Buy’s student deals discount.
To add some confusion to the mix, Lenovo has now released yet another version of the Chromebook Flex 5i on its own website and it’s currently discounted as part of the PC maker’s Back to School sale. Now, before you go grabbing your credit card, let’s take a quick look at what the new Flex 5i is actually offering. First off, this model features the same paltry 4GB of RAM as the Pentium model at Best Buy. It does double the storage to 64GB but it is eMMC storage. The model at Costco has twice the RAM and twice the storage. The latter of which is also NVMe which is faster and should be swappable if you feel the itch to upgrade.
Next, we have the price. Yes, this model is on sale at the moment and the $115 discount makes it more palatable if you’re looking to stay under $500. That said, the retail price of the Core i3, 4GB/64GB Flex 5i is $539 and that’s simply outlandish, in my humble opinion. For ten dollars more, you can get the Costco model and the better user experience from the extra RAM will easily pay for itself. Additionally, you get significantly faster are larger storage. With Lenovo’s current sale, you can grab the 4GB/64GB model for only $425 but I’d argue that there are way better options out there for around the same money and personally, I don’t see myself ever recommending this configuration of the Flex 5i.
Lenovo makes some solid Chromebooks and honestly, the original Flex 5 is one of my favorite devices. I’m sure that the new Core i3, 8GB/128GB model will go on sale from time to time and it will make an already cost-friendly flagship even more affordable. However, I do not understand why Lenovo and other manufacturers continue to make these “premium” devices with 4GB of RAM and minimal storage. Save that for the bargain basement devices and give premium users what premium users want – a premium experience. Anyway, you can see the new Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5i at the link below but I’m going to take a hard pass.
Big shout out to George E. for spotting this new model from Lenovo.