Lenovo Flex 15D review

3 stars
If you need a big laptop on a small budget, the quirky, shape-shifting Lenovo Flex 15D could be just what you're looking for

In a world dominated by 7in tablets and 11in MacBook Airs, 15-inch laptops are starting to feel rather retro - but there are benefits to the Flex 15D's great expanses.

Those of us old-school enough to appreciate a proper keyboard with a numeric keypad will welcome the Lenovo's QWERTY with open palms, and the bigger screen has obvious benefits for video viewing.

And if that's not enough reason to give it a look there's always its £500 price tag and contortionist body... 

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Folding form

What makes the Lenovo Flex 15D really unusual is the way its screen can be folded back, up to 300-degrees, to give you a variety of viewing options.

It's a trick Lenovo has tried a few times before, most notably on its appropriately named Yoga tablets and Twist hybrids. And the good news is that it's more than just a gimmick. 

It's not possible to push the display all the way around, so you can't use it exactly like a tablet, but for small presentations or desktop video sessions you can prop it up like a tent, or put the keyboard facing down with the screen angled up. Both of those permutations are useful when you don't have much desktop space, such as on a tray table on a train or plane.

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Big and bold

The Flex 15D is a bit bigger than it needs to be, due to the double frame around the screen; first there's the bezel from the main casing, then an additional black border within that before the pixels shows themselves. Which is great if you're a huge fan of bezels, but otherwise a bit annoying.

The display resolution is 1366x768, which is unusually low by modern standards, especially for a screen this size. Pixel-spotters will have a field day. Brightness levels and colour saturation could be better too, and power users could find there aren't enough dots to render all the app windows they'd like.

It's hard to be too critical given the £500 price, but if a decent screen is a must, you'll want to look elsewhere.

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Made for movies?

Even though films are going to be rendered closer to 720p than 1080p, the Lenovo Flex 15D does make a good viewing portal.

Those alternative hinge angles are useful and the speakers have more weight and clout than you get from most smaller laptops. There are some nifty Kinect-style gesture recognition features too, so you can raise a finger to your lips to mute the sound or show it your fist to pause the action. It isn't foolproof, but in our tests it worked about nine times out of ten.

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More after the break...

Power to burn?

Lenovo Flex 15D - Power to burn? 2Lenovo Flex 15D - Power to burn? 3

This is not a laptop designed for big jobs such as video editing or Photoshop marathons, or for playing the latest games on. Instead, its quad-core AMD processor is adept at juggling a number of undemanding desktop apps, such as a browser, word processor, email client and the like.

It simply doesn't have the raw speed and power to handle the best games. We tried a spot of virtual looting in the latest Thief game, but experienced so much lag that we were in danger of being caught in the act.

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An odd touch here is the removable battery, something we haven't seen since the days of floppy disks and steam trains.

It's a welcome feature, though, as in our rundown test the Flex 15D lasted for a mere five hours before it needed charging. While that will see you through half a series of Game Of Thrones, it's not really good enough even at this price. 


If you find yourself asking people to 'Take a look at this…' or telling them 'Here, I'll show you…' on a daily basis, the Lenovo Flex 15D is worth checking out. Its adaptable form suits the classroom or boardroom, in which situations you're unlikely to notice the lack of gaming and number-crunching power. And for £500, you do get quite a lot for your money.

For everyone else, however, its lacklustre battery life and low-res screen make it hard to recommend. 

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Lenovo Flex 15D

The Lenovo Flex 15D is a good value laptop with impressive presentation skills, but a low-res screen and lack of power count against it

Lenovo Flex 15D Windows 8 laptop review
3 stars
Decent speakers
Adaptable folding design
Great for video viewing
Low-resolution screen
Big and heavy
Underpowered for games and creative apps
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