Thin is in, so is speed, lasting power and good looks — in your laptop
When UPS delivered my Lenovo IdeaPad Flex-14API ($679), I lifted the package and wondered if they made a mistake. It was so light, I wondered if they sent me an empty box.
There was no mistake. Inside was an adorable 3.65-lb. compact laptop, with a decent sized keyboard — without the number pad that I never use anyway — and an AC adapter plug no bigger than a ring box. I questioned if something so tiny could have the capacity to meet my demanding needs as a writer and blogger who is on my computer a minimum of 12 hours a day, often working with a lot of images, and receiving and sending hundreds of emails per day, so I immediately put it to the test.
To start, I simply pressed the power button; and it was pretty exciting. As someone who has not gotten my own new personal computer in more than two years, I was delighted by the ease of the process. First, Cortana came on to prompt me and give me specific directions regarding what I should do to set up the computer the way I wanted it. I customized my desktop and synced my settings on my Microsoft account, and I added a fingerprint on the tiny sensor pad below the keyboard, in addition to a pin, for security.
Just as Microsoft promised — convenient but a little creepy — all my settings from my other devices were imported, and sure enough, I started seeing an ad for the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2, which my son had been shopping for the night before. While sometimes I feel a little stalked, in the end I do appreciate that the ads I have to see in any case at least are targeted to me, though for the life of me, I can’t figure out why Fox News keeps coming up on my feed.
Within minutes, I was up and running. First thing I did was install Office 365 and sync my files from OneDrive. I also downloaded and made Google Chrome my default browser – sorry Microsoft, love you, but Edge still just doesn’t cut it for me.
Some great features I discovered were the Lenovo Vantage app, which works in combination with Microsoft Cortana voice assistant. Once set up, a user can command Cortana to tell Lenovo to do any number of tasks, from check for new drivers to update apps.
There were plenty of guided tutorials to show me how to use some of these new tools, which is a good thing, since the laptop only came with two small pieces of paper, one being the warranty, and the other a very brief explanation of how to turn on the computer to get started. For those who enjoy the long form, the full user guide is available under the help and support tab of the Lenovo Vantage program, or you can snap a pic of the QR code on the quick start guide to access the e-manual..
While I usually use a mouse and keyboard — go ahead, call me old school — I was so impressed with the large and responsive touchpad, as well as having the option of a touchscreen, that I did not even mind that I did not have my tactile crutch.
I was so enthralled with this little machine, that I did something I never do – I went through the “what’s new“ tutorials.
What better can you say about a new computer than it was completely plug-and-play? The set-up was flawless. Everything worked, the screen optics were terrific, the speakers sounded fabulous, and the speed was remarkably fast. Perhaps I had lower expectations because of the size of this baby, but when I went to my clunky five-pounder two-year-old laptop to compare, there was no doubt that the Lenovo was a superior machine.
For the spec geeks out there, here’s some numbers to process: AMD Ryzen 7 3700U Processor (2.30GHz, up to 4.00GHz with Max Boost, 4 MB Cache. Memory: 8 GB DDR4 2400 MHz Storage: 512 GB SSD.
Another number to note is 7, which is how many hours the battery will last, after charging just 60 minutes for up to 80 % power.
I have very few complaints about the idea pad flex, but here they are: the AC adapter, which Is basically a long thin table with a large plug, is so big that on most power strips it takes up three outlets. The plug pretty much has to go on the end of a power strip, blocking the adjacent outlets.
The only other thing that at first I didn’t like, but now I have gotten completely used to, is the low profile of the keyboard keys. They are so smooth that for big clumsy hands it takes some practice to isolate the keys. Also, I did wish the keyboard were backlit, but hey, for a powerhouse of an affordable little computer like this, I figured that is a bit too much to ask. But just as I said that, my wish came true. As I was following a tour to tutorial on Cortana and Vantage, I learned that I could command the machine to turn on the keyboard backlight. I also then did a quick search and found that by pressing the function key and the little sunrise icon you can also turn on the backlight.
For anyone looking for a very portable, nimble and reliable laptop, the IdeaPad-FLEX-14API is a lot of bang for your buck.