Lenovo Flex 3 11-inch

Affordable 11-inch Laptop that Doubles as a Tablet

Lenovo Flex 3 11-inch 2-in-1 Laptop
Lenovo Flex 3 11-inch. ©Lenovo

The Bottom Line

Oct 7 2013 - Lenovo's Flex 3 finally manages to get a true 2-in-1 experience by allowing the screen to fold all the way back into a tablet mode. The system is still affordable and the 11-inch size makes it more function as a tablt although it is still quite heavy. What sets it apart is the storage capacity but it does come at the price of slightly lower running times than its competition.

Pros

  • Huge Storage Capacity
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable and Accurate Keyboard

Cons

  • Performance Below Similarly Priced Laptops
  • Quite Heavy for 11-inch Convertible
  • Slightly Below Average Battery Life

Description

  • Intel Pentium N3540 Quad Core Mobile Processor
  • 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
  • 1TB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 11.6" WXGA (1366x768) Multitouch Display with 480p Webcam
  • Intel HD Graphics Integrated Graphics
  • 802.11ac Wireless, Bluetooth
  • One USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, 4-in-1 Card Reader
  • 11.77" x 8.23" x .86" @ 3.0 lbs.
  • Windows 8.1

Review - Lenovo Flex 3 11-inch

May 29 2015 - Lenovo's Flex laptop lineup was designed to be a bridge between a traditional laptop and a convertible. The main thing holding it back was the ability to have the display fold all the way back to become a tablet. With the latest Flex 3, that barrier has been broken and the system is not an affordable alternative to the more expensive Yoga lineup.

The smallest of the options is the Flex 11 which is provides it with the best tablet experience but it is still rather thick at .86-inches and fairly heavy weighing roughly three pounds. The construction is mostly plastic which is expected for its low price which means it doesn't have the premium feel or solid feeling of the Yoga laptops.

One of the first ways that this is a budget class system is the processor. Rather than using a laptop class processor, the Flex 3 11-inch model is using the Intel Pentium N3540 which is more akin to the Atom based processors than the Core ones. It is a quad core processor but has a number of architecture restrictions that means performance is below even a low end Core i3-5010U dual core processor found in some other low cost options. It still provides enough performance for the basic tasks of browsing the web, streaming media and productivity applications. It is just going to be extremely slow for demanding tasks like desktop video work. Past of this is becasue the processor is limited to 1333MHz memory bust and just 4GB of memory.

Now this version of the Flex 13 11-inch model is one of the more expensive because it provides a large one terabyte hard drive for storing applications, data and media files. This is twice the size of hard drives found on most budget class laptops. While it does provide a large amount of data space, performance is a bit limited especially when compared to solid state based versions. Admittedly, the Flex 3 models that feature SSD use eMMC interfaces and have just 32GB meaning they are extremely limited as well.

If you need to add more storage, there is a single USB 3.0 port for use with high speed external hard drive. It would have been nice to have more of this class ports but once again, this is common for lower cost systems.

With its small size and low cost, it is no surprise that Lenovo is using a fairly low cost display for the Flex 3. The 11-inch panel features a typical 1366x768 native resolution which is typical of budget laptops. The only downside here is that most tablets generally feature higher resolutions for this price point. This is part of the price consumers pay for low cost convertible systems.

Color, brightness and viewing angles are all acceptable but are nothing when you compare it to the Yoga 3 line with its impressive display. The glossy coating of the multitouch display will make it somewhat difficult to use outside in bright sunlight. The system does use the Intel HD graphics but these are much less powerful than the 5000 series graphics found on the Core i processors. The result is a system that is not really suitable even for PC gaming at all. It may be able to play some older games at low resolutions but it is not really worth it.

Lenovo has been known for producing some incredible keyboards on their systems over the years. With the smaller size of the Lenovo Flex 3 11-inch, the keyboard obviously has to be smaller than what you find on many 13-inch systems. Even with this, the keyboard is very impressive. It offers an accurate (as long as your fingers are not too big) and comfortable typing experience. It is not quite as good as their larger keyboards but certainly very good for the size and cost of the system. The trackpad is a decent size and features integrated buttons. It works well enough but with the touchscreen and hybrid nature of the Flex 3, many people will probably find they are not using it.

Lenovo states that the Flex 3 11-inch system can achieve up to five hours of running time on the 30WHr capacity batter built into the system. In digital video playback testing, the system was able to run for roughly four and a quarter hours before going into standby mode.

It would have been nice that it was longer but this is quite good for budget class laptops. It certainly is not as high as other non-convertible laptops can achieve such as the MacBook Air 11 that was able to get almost twice the running time.

 

Now the starting price for the Lenovo Flex 3 11-inch is $300 but that is with a very different configuration than the one in this review that is priced around $500. This is certainly affordable but there are many more options for 2-in-1 systems now. The closest competitor to the Flex 3 is the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1 which offers a very similar experience for nearly the same price. The primary difference between the two is battery life and storage. Dell offers longer running times from a larger battery while Lenovo offers twice the storage capacity.