Lenovo Flex vs Yoga Laptops in 2021

Kaelum Ross

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Jan 18, 2021

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Lenovo is one of the greatest names in the PC manufacturing business.

This brand has produced countless iterations of decent portable choices, and standing tallest amongst their Ideapad laptops are the Flex and Yoga series models.

But how do you decide between these 2 offerings?

Today’s feature is here to help by detailing the differences between the Lenovo Flex and Yoga, and informing you which is better depending on your budget and requirements.

Table of Contents

Differences Between Lenovo Flex and Yoga

Short answer: the IdeaPad Flex laptops are usually defined by being the cheaper, more mainstream choice of laptops. While the IdeaPad Yoga is the “premium” range designed for users after the longest-lasting 2-in-1 machines.

First Main Difference – Price

There’s no denying it; a majority of the Flex choices are notably cheaper than the Yoga offerings. However what you’re getting for your money is really what the question is about, which we talk more about in the other 2 key differences.

Bear in mind that there are expensive Flex laptops and cheap Yoga laptops, we break down which is best in each price-bracket later in this feature.

Second Main Difference – Build Quality

  • Lenovo Flex laptops are generally made of cheaper plastics/metals and may have more basic hinges and designs to keep costs as affordable as possible for the mainstream.
  • The Lenovo Yoga series, on the other hand, are often made with very high-quality metal, feel impressively durable, and are often extremely slim/some of the most beautiful laptops you’ll find on the market.

Now don’t get us wrong; for the average consumer, the build quality of an IdeaPad Flex laptop is still excellent. The durability of their hinges is unrivaled at their price range, you really won’t find better without spending significantly more.

The Yoga’s build quality is more important if you’re purchasing something pricey (say, around/over $1,000) and want to make sure that your expensive laptop is built to last (especially important with those who plan on constantly switching between tablet and laptop mode and challenging the longevity of the hinge).

Third Main Difference – Hardware

  • Lenovo Flex laptops are usually built with less powerful specs. Think less RAM, slower CPUs, smaller SSDs, and screens that are slightly less colorful/vibrant.
  • Yoga laptops will often come with better main specs. One area this range often shines in is the quality of their displays. If you’re purchasing a premium Yoga PC, some of the options expand into 4k, 500-nits, and excellent color accuracy.

As we alluded to in the price discussion, the hardware is very dependent on budget. Don’t assume you are getting a laptop with better specs just because it is a Yoga. We’ll explain more below…

Lenovo Flex vs Yoga – Which is Better?

So, now that we’ve been through the key differences, which comes out on top?

As a rule of thumb, we’d say that if you are looking for a budget to low-mid range laptop, the Lenovo Flex range is perfect for you.

If you are looking for a premium 2-in-1 laptop that is built to perform and last, go for the Yoga series.

BUT, this is just a rule of thumb, and we want to help you choose the exact right laptop for your needs.

The problem? This rule of thumb is not universal when considering the IdeaPad Flex vs Yoga. These types of Lenovo laptops come in many different models of different quality.

To put it another way; the most expensive IdeaPad Flex laptop will be way better than the cheapest Yoga laptop. Other resources imply that the Yoga series is “always” better. Yes, this will usually be true, but stating it’s “always” the case is just lazy.

So, how do you determine which one is right for you?

This will all depend on what requirements and budget you have.

This is why the rest of today’s feature is dedicated to which series comes out on top for each of the main budget requirements, or even where a different laptop range should be considered.

Overall Best Flex / Yoga Laptop (Budget Choice): Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 Laptop

Arguably one of the best laptops available on the market in any category, this pick feels like a bit of a no brainer to satisfy most readers of the list.

The Ideapad Flex 5 14″ hits the perfect sweet spot between build quality, hardware, great battery life, and price. The only touchscreen laptop that really comes close to this Lenovo offering is the latest HP Envy x360 model. However with that machine, you’re paying more to get less RAM, so you can probably see why we rate the Flex 5 so highly.

Boasting a 4th gen Ryzen processor, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD, the specs on this machine are unrivaled in its price range. You have hardware that is perfect to provide enough performance for general use, media, and drawing/notetaking.

You’re getting an IPS panel touchscreen here with decent brightness. We appreciate Lenovo not going for a TN/VA panel as many convertible laptops do at this cost. You’re not going to get quite the same display vibrance as that of the premium Yoga picks below, but we doubt you’ll find better at this price.

The build quality is also deceptively good for the budget; with a nice, sturdy hinge that feels designed to be rotated 360 degrees regularly. The laptop’s material is decently durable, looks great, and also comes with a thermal design capable of keeping at decent temps even during intensive computer work.

Yes, the build quality will be inferior when compared to our Yoga picks, but we still think that the average user that can’t stretch to 4 figures will still be pleasantly surprised by what’s on offer here.

We love that Lenovo has still included a pen despite everything else on offer here. The pen is usually one of the sacrifices manufacturers make at the very low price-points.

Lenovo Yoga C740 vs Flex 5

Before we count the Yoga series out at this price range, it’s only fair to show you the Yoga laptop that the Flex competes with.

The latest Yoga C740 model is a decent offering focussed on the Yoga’s superior build quality. It also offers a large SSD than the Flex.

But we simply can’t recommend it over the fantastic Flex 5 for pretty much every type of user because the C740 comes with half the RAM and a significantly inferior CPU. You’ll miss the performance boost of the Flex 5 way more than the slightly superior build quality of the C740 (if you want both, check our next pick out).

What else is there to say? By what feels like wizardry, this IdeaPad Flex laptop is the clear winner at a budget to mid price range, and arguably one of the best touchscreen laptops on the market. If you can’t stretch to our Yoga picks below, we think you’ll love this Flex model.

Best Flex / Yoga Laptop Under $1,000: Lenovo ThinkBook Yoga 14s

Next up is one of the best Yoga laptops on the market and perfect for someone after a Windows 10 PC just under the 4-figure mark.

The Thinkbook 14s Yoga has some similar main specs to our top Flex choice. Led by the 11th Gen Intel i7-1165G7 processor, this CPU rivals the performance of the Ryzen 4500U (with both laptops having a decent 16GB RAM).

So, in the Lenovo Flex 5 vs Yoga 14s battle, where does this premium option come out on top?

Well firstly, the 14s Yoga boasts a 512GB SSD, twice the size of our top Flex pick and what we consider a nice storage option if your budget can stretch this far.

This Yoga choice also takes its display further. Led by another IPS panel, you are getting 300 nits of brightness and a 100% sRGB color gamut all housed in a gorgeous thick glass glossy display. If you plan on consuming a lot of media or writing/drawing a lot, it’s hard to overstate how beautiful a screen this will be to perform on.

Finally, there is the build quality of the Yoga 14s.

Like we said before, the Flex 5 is a well-built machine that feels deceptively sturdy for its price range.

But there’s no denying that the Yoga 14s is not just notably more durable, but also one of the best looking laptops at the $1,000 dollar mark. With some gorgeous colors, a high-quality metal, and excellent hinges, the machine is a sight to behold.

And what’s more, this thing is light. It’s impressive to see specs of this magnitude in such a lightweight machine. It’s even notably thinner than the Flex (which is already very thin as it is).

Performance-wise, you won’t see crazy benefits from spending the extra money on the Yoga 14s over the top Flex PC.

But that’s only because all the real benefit has been recorded in its amazing screen, build, design, and storage space.

The Yoga 14s is built to last. If you’re looking at the $1,000 price-point, this is comfortably our best choice for the best 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop.

Best Premium Flex / Yoga Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 5th Gen

Our next pick is for those after the best convertible touchscreen laptop possible in either the Flex or Yoga range.

The X1 Yoga combines the sleek, beautiful 2-in-1 design of the Yoga series with the incredible durability and first-class performance of the ThinkPad series (Lenovo’s most classic offering designed to last an incredibly long time).

In terms of RAM and CPU, the X1 Yoga doesn’t do better than our Yoga pick directly above.

But that’s not what you’re paying the extra money for, the performance is already good enough with these specs. Where this Yoga offering goes so much further is in its screen.

A 4k laptop, this screen doesn’t just have a striking UHD resolution, but also 500-nits of brightness, excellent color accuracy, and a finish that works well as an anti-reflective/fingerprint surface. It’s one of the nicest laptop screens we’ve come across.

What’s more, the X1 Yoga has a pair of Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, alongside all of the other ports you’d hope for in a premium model. Perfect for transferring data to and from it’s enormous 2TB PCIe SSD. You won’t find a better storage solution on a laptop this lightweight.

The final area we want to discuss on the X1 is its superb build quality. Yes, we’ve made it clear that beautiful design and top durability is what the Yoga series is all about. But the X1 takes this further, with excellent results across noise and thermal benchmarks, the fact that the machine offers stable performance as a lightweight 4K convertible laptop is truly remarkable; there really isn’t anything else like it on the market.

Don’t be concerned by the lack of customer reviews here; this is just because the 5th gen is the latest iteration of a long line of ThinkPad X1 Yoga laptops, the series already has a great reputation.

If budget isn’t a concern for you, and you like the sound of having an incredible 4k screen to go alongside the top-of-the-line build quality for ultralight laptops, then we don’t think you’ll find better than the ThinkPad X1 Yoga 5th gen.

Cheapest Flex / Yoga Laptop: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13″

Our final pick is for users who are essentially after the cheapest touchscreen laptop possible that is still suitable for general use.

The Chromebook Flex 5 is an excellent option for this. While you may be getting a reduced Chrome OS instead of Windows 10, we think this will cover the needs of many people looking at this budget range (if you do want a full Windows laptop, the cheapest offering we would recommend is this Flex model).

What really stands out to us with the Chromebok Flex 5 is how it doesn’t feel like a cheap laptop. The build quality is decent, the display bezels are relatively thin, the weight/dimensions are low and yet the battery life is fantastic. 

Of course, in a laptop of this price, the specs are notably diminished from our other picks. With only 4GB RAM, a Core-i3 processor, and 64GB memory, you can expect a reduction in performance over the more expensive picks. The full HD laptop screen is well built and relatively pretty, but won’t provide the same brightness and colors as our other picks.

But with that said, with the Flex 5 13″ running on Chrome OS, the machine is still perfectly suitable for general web browsing, media use, and simple document tasks.

Would we push you towards our IdeaPad Flex 14″ top pick if you can? Absolutely, but if your budget can’t stretch that far, know this Flex offering is a fantastic one and gets a lot done for its low price.

Lenovo Flex vs Yoga for Gaming?

If you’re after the best gaming laptop, we cannot recommend either of these laptop models.

There are companies that not only have laptops with significantly better graphical capabilities (full GPUs, not just integrated graphics) but also come with screens designed for high refresh rate gameplay.

The only time we’d recommend these Lenovo PCs is if you absolutely need a 2-in-1 laptop that also has some gaming potential. If that’s the case, then go with one of the premium Yoga picks above.

But for most after a gaming laptop, look at our features on the best 144hz laptops, or the best gaming laptops available on Amazon.

Lenovo Flex vs Yoga Final Word

If you’re a general user with a low to mid-range budget, chances are you’ll prefer our Flex laptops picks above.

If you’re a buyer with more of a budget after the best touchscreen laptop possible (and perhaps the best-looking laptop range too), then the Yoga will be for you.

Either way, whatever your budget, we love both of these ranges and think you will too. Lenovo has shown again and again that they can create laptops ahead of the competition in their respective price brackets.

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