Review: Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop. Is Ryzen 5 3500U better than Core i7-8550U with GeForce MX130?

Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 convertible laptop is the best selling laptop in its category. These come in two configuration: AMD Ryzen 5 3500U and Intel Core i7-8550U paired with GeForce MX130 Graphics. So which one is a better value for you hard earned dollars? Let's find out!

Lenovo Flex 14 with AMD Ryzen 5 3500U (81SS000DUS)

AMD version comes with Ryzen 5 3500U processor. This configuration is currently the number one best selling 2-in-1 laptop on amazon. It comes with 12GB DDR4 system memory and 256GB NVMe SSD storage. Click here to check the current price

Lenovo Flex 14 with Intel Core i7-8550U and GeForce MX130 Graphics (81EM000DUS)

A more beefier version of Lenovo Flex 14 comes with Intel Core-i7-8550U processor along with Nvidia discrete GPU. It has 16GB DDR4 system memory and 256GB NVMe SSD storage. Click here to check the current price.


Both Intel and AMD version come with a Full HD touch screen display. It is a 1920X1080 LED backlit IPS panel. The screen pumps out a maximum brightness of 250-nits. This is perfectly good enough for indoor use, including bright lit classrooms and office-space. But this screen will struggle if you plan to use this laptop outdoors. This is because of its glossy finish which causes lot of glare and reflections.
But the good thing is that the screen is touch enabled. It supports active Stylus Pen Pencil whatever you want to call it. Lenovo calls it an Active Pen and interestingly the AMD version includes it for free. But for some weird reason, intel version does not include the pen. Its an extra purchase. The Active pen will be useful for students or creative professionals. The pen is fairly accurate and supports palm-rejection. It's not as precise as the Apple pen on iPad or the Microsoft Surface pen, but it is good enough for taking notes, sketching or doodling.

360 Hinge

Since Lenovo Flex folds 360 degrees back, the hinge reliability is very crucial. Thankfully, the hinge on this laptop is really awesome. It has a solid build quality and should be able to handle the stress that comes with foldable design. The tablet mode is great for media consumption like watching Netflix or YouTube videos. Another good thing is that the battery life. Both Intel and AMD version are rated at 10 hours of battery life. I managed to get about 7 hours of battery life on normal use.

CPU: Ryzen 5 3500U vs Intel Core i7-8550U 

Now, let's talk about the internal hardware. Lenovo Flex 14 is available in both Intel and AMD configuration. Intel version comes with Core i7-8550U processor. Unfortunately, this isn't the latest intel CPU. This is actually the 8th generation Kaby Lake Refresh which was released at the end of 2017. The AMD version, on the other hand is using Ryzen 5 3500U processor, which was released at the beginning of 2019. 

Th following chart shows the performance rating from passmark benchmarking software. In the single thread performance, Intel Core-i7 is 17% faster than Ryzen 5. Specifically Intel chip scores 2127 points versus the AMD chip which scores 1809. The gap narrows in the multi-thread benchmarking, but Intel still comes out ahead narrowly beating AMD by 5%

GPU: GeForce MX130 vs Radeon Vega 8

Intel configuration also comes with a faster GPU than AMD version. Lenovo Flex has paired Intel with NVIDIA GeForce MX130. On the other hand AMD is paired with Radeon Vega 8. The chart below shows the comparative performance of both these GPUs. 
In most of the synthetic benchmarks, NVIDIA MX130 is about 15 to 50 percent faster than Vega 8. But realistically speaking both these GPUs are pretty good. You can play titles like Fortnite and PupG on both these laptops without any issues. 4k video playback from YouTube and Netflix is smooth with no dropped frames

System RAM

Now moving on to system RAM, both these laptops have similar memory configuration. System Memory is divided into 2 parts. There is 4GB of on-board RAM that is soldered to the motherboard. The remaining RAM is installed on a solitary DIMM slot. Intel configuration comes with a total of 16 Gig RAM while AMD version has 12 Gig RAM. So that means you only get 1 DIMM slot for RAM upgrade. You put a maximum of 16GB RAM in this DIMM slot. If you choose to do so, you will be able to boost the total system RAM to 20GB. 16GB in DIMM slot + 4GB onboard soldered RAM. 

Now when it comes to storage, both these laptops have 256 Gig of NVMe SSD storage. Unfortunately there is no extra SATA3 or M.2 slot available for installing an additional SSD. So if you want to increase the storage, you will have to replace this 256 Gig SSD with a bigger one.

Moving on to the keyboard, both these laptops come with good quality keyboard. The keyboard is backlit illuminated which is awesome. The Keyboard feels sturdy and typing experience is pleasant. The key travel is short but understandable due to thin-n-light nature of the laptop. The laptop comes with a large trackpad which supports multi finger gestures. It comes with windows precision drivers and supports pinch and zoom, scrolling and all other windows 10 gestures. Both AMD and Intel version come with fingerprint scanner for passwordless login.

Conclusion: The bottomline

So overall, I think Lenovo Flex 14 is a great laptop not only for students and creative professionals, but for anyone looking for a thin and light laptop. Between Intel and AMD configuration, I would recommend the AMD version. You will save over your hard earned dollars without sacrificing any significant performance. If you plan to game a lot on this PC, then Intel version is a better choice because it comes with a discrete Nvidia GPU

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