There are a good many clamshell laptops under $500, and most will cover the basics with entry-level hardware and design. But if you desire something a little more advanced, a little more 2021, then a lightweight 2-in-1 laptop is what you really need.
There aren’t many 2-in-1 laptops in this price range that offer both the flexibility of the design and decent performance, but we noticed last year’s Lenovo Flex 5 14″ presently available for just $500 on Amazon!
Yes, we know this is not the latest in the portfolio, and there is already a refreshed variant out in the market. However, the hardware inside is still super relevant for present times, especially considering the Ryzen 5000 U-series processors launched this year are, for the most part, just a rebranding of last year’s Ryzen 4000 U-series chips. So, even if you go for this, you will end up with more or less the same performance but for much lesser damage to your pockets.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 Laptop Deal
The Lenovo Flex series has always been a top choice among 2-in-1 laptops. It’s part of the IdeaPad lineup, which brings down the popular premium features from the more expensive ThinkPad and Yoga lineup and incorporates them into a cheaper build that may not look the best but will perform much above expectations.
The IdeaPad Flex 5 has an added advantage over regular clamshell laptops in the way it’s designed. By simply rotating the hinge 360-degrees, you can convert this innocuous-looking laptop into a touchscreen Windows tablet. It’s a free-angle hinge, so you can even shape it into a tent for presentations and movie marathons.
The laptop packs a 14-inch Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) IPS LCD with a 360-degree rotating hinge, allowing much more freedom in the way you’d use the laptop. It’s a touchscreen, so you can use it like an iPad alternative, and at just 3.64 pounds, it isn’t too heavy. Most clamshell laptops at this price are much heavier and thicker.
The deal also bundles the Active Pen inside the box, which would particularly be helpful for students for taking notes in class or for a budding digital artist. The design will have you little to complain. It has a backlit keyboard and an assortment of ports, including USB 3.2 (Gen 1) Type-C with USB Power Delivery support, HDMI output, 3.5mm audio jack, and a full-sized SD card reader, along with the usual USB Type-A ports.
While it has the bells and whistles to count as a laptop fit for 2021’s new standard, its forte is what counts the most — Performance. It packs last year’s 7nm AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, and while there is a refreshed variant with Ryzen 5 5500U, they’re really close to each other, both sporting AMD’s Zen2 architecture.
In real-world testing, the Lenovo Flex 5 14″ felt intuitive, and we enjoyed catching up on our favorite episodes on the bright display, with no distractions thanks to the ‘Tent Mode.’ And whatever slowness you may feel for it having last year’s chipset, that’s compensated by 16GB RAM and 256GB PCIe SSD storage, making it significantly better in performance than any other sub-$500 laptop.
During our review, the Ideapad Flex 5 14″ with the Ryzen 5 4500U easily beat the Intel Core i5-1035G7 with a significant lead, and the integrated AMD Radeon Vega graphics even gave us decent 60FPS performance on CS:GO and Valorant. However, don’t expect more demanding games like Watchdog Legion 2 or Forza Horizon 4 to run smoothly.
So, all things considered, the Lenovo Flex 5 2-in-1 laptop can easily beat most other offerings in the $500 price range with a hefty lead, both in performance (thanks to the extra RAM) and in design with the 360-degree hinge and touchscreen display with pen support.