Lenovo Flex 5 vs HP Envy x360: Battle of 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptops with Active Stylus Pens (2020)

My two favorite 2-in-1 convertible touchscreen laptops are Lenovo Flex 5 and HP Envy x360. To decide which laptop gives you the best bang for bucks, I will put both these laptops through a grueling 10 round match. Who will be crowned the champion and who goes home the loser, let's find out!

Build Quality (HP 1 Lenovo 0)

At a first glance, Lenovo Flex 5 looks like an expensive laptop with all metal design. But it's actually made from machined ABS polymer. This gives Flex 5 a metallic look, yet it is light in weight and feels soft and grippy while holding. HP Envy x360 on the other hand is made from aluminum and it is sporting a sandblasted anodized finish. This is a very macho laptop with solid build quality, well defined edges and corners and a rugged yet classy look and feel. When closed, the top and the bottom lid come together to create a wedge style grip which makes opening this laptop with one hand very easy. 

Both laptops sport a clean minimalist look with no gaudy flourishes or distractions. They both have metallic hinges which provide sturdy support to the screen. I flipped both these laptops multiple times from clamshell mode to tent mode and to tablet mode without any issues. But I prefer the hinge on Envy x360, it is built like a tank and feels very durable. Because of its metallic construction, HP Envy x360 weighs 4.5 pounds which is a lot heavier than Lenovo Flex 5 weighing only 3.3 pounds. Overall, I think the all metal construction of HP Envy x360 gives it a definite edge over Lenovo Flex 5. So I will give this round to Envy x360. The score reads 1-0 in favour of HP

Round 2: Display (HP 1 Lenovo 0)

Both Lenovo Flex 5 and HP Envy x360 have a 1080p touchscreen display with support for active stylus pen. Envy x360 is rocking a larger 15.6” screen while Flex 5 comes with a smaller 14” display. Both these displays are using LED backlit IPS panels which deliver around 250 nits of brightness. It's plenty bright for indoor use including brightly lit areas like office space and conference rooms. But this display will struggle outdoors in bright sunlight. When it comes to color reproduction, Lenovo Flex 5 delivers 62% sRGB while Envy x360 delivers 59% sRGB color gamut. Now these are not stellar numbers and they will certainly disappoint professionals who do color correction and grading on softwares like Davinci Resolve and Adobe Photoshop. Such folks are probably better off connecting this laptop to an external color calibrated monitor. 

But for the rest of the population, I think both these laptops are offering a pretty good screen for the price. The screens are glossy in nature and make videos and pictures pop out. The text looks sharp making web browsing and document creation pleasing to your eyes. Both laptop screens have minimal bezels which get out of the way while watching videos in full-screen. The top bezel on both these laptops is wide enough to house a 720p webcam which is adequate for typical zoom video calls. Overall, I think there is nothing really separating these two laptops when it comes to screen quality. If you appreciate more screen real estate, go with the larger 15.6” HP Envy x360. If you want a more compact laptop which is lighter and easier to carry around, go with the 14” Lenovo Flex 5. So this round ends in a tie. After round 2 the score still reads 1-0 in favour of HP Envy x360

Round 3: Active Pen (HP 1 Lenovo 1)

Next, let's compare the active stylus pen experience on both these laptops. Envy x360’s 15.6” screen provides a lot more real-estate for taking notes and making sketches than Lenovo Flex 5’s 14” display. While some may prefer this large writing surface, I personally like the smaller 14” display on Lenovo Flex 5. It's more convenient to hold and take down notes with the active pen. Both laptops come with Windows Ink Workspace and Microsoft Onenote software for jotting down notes and making sketches. 

Even though both these laptops are running an identical version of windows 10 operating system, the screen digitizer technology used is very different. HP Envy x360’s screen digitizer is built on “N-trig” technology. This is the same tech that Microsoft uses in their latest Surface Pro devices. Lenovo Flex 5 on the other hand is using something called Wacom AES which is an active electrostatic digitizer technology from Wacom, a japanese company that specializes in graphics tablets. Unfortunately these 2 technologies are incompatible with each other. So that means the HP pen will not work with Lenovo Flex 5 laptop and the Lenovo pen will not work with HP envy x360 laptop.

I have extensively used both Lenovo Active and HP Envy x360 pens in the past few few months for note taking and sketching. Both these pens offer good accuracy, latency and palm-rejection. Both pens offer various levels of pressure sensitivity which coupled with low screen latency results in a great note taking experience. Since you are writing on a glass surface, the tip of the pen needs to provide adequate resistance to simulate a paper & pencil experience. Both HP and Lenovo do a good job in this respect. 

Personally, I prefer Lenovo’s note taking experience over HP. The palm rejection seems to work better on Flex 5 and I also prefer it's more manageable 14” screen size. On HP Envy x360, in order to get the palm rejection to work properly, I had to modify the pen driver settings to disable touch inputs while using the pen. Without this fix, the touch-screen would register double taps from my palm and behave erratically. So I will give this round to Lenovo Flex 5. Right out of the box, the writing experience on Lenovo Flex 5 is amazing while HP Envy x360 required some tweaking to get it to work. So after round 3, scores are now tied at 1-1

Round 4: Keyboard/Trackpad (HP 2 Lenovo 1)

Both Lenovo Flex 5 and HP Envy x360 come with an island style backlit enabled keyboard. The keys on Flex 5 are platinum grey in color while Envy x360’s keys are rocking a darker shade of black. With the backlight turned on, I find the white lettering on the darker HP Envy x360’s keyboard more readable. Since Envy x360 has a larger 15.6” chassis, HP has equipped it with a full size keyboard complete with numerical keypads. The smaller 14” chassis of Lenovo Flex 5 doesnt have space for numerical keys, so spread-sheet warriors would probably prefer the layout of HP Envy x360. The typing experience on both these laptops is fantastic. You get plenty of key travel and a springy tactile feedback while typing. I am someone who types a lot, and I have really enjoyed typing on both these laptops. Both laptops are equipped with fast and responsive fingerprint readers for quick and secure passwordless logins.

Now let's talk about the trackpad. Lenovo Flex 5’s trackpad is taller measuring 4.2 by 3 inches while Envy x360 offers a wider trackpad measuring 5 by 2.5 inches. I personally prefer the taller trackpad on Lenovo Flex 5, it provides more vertical space which makes scrolling webpages easier. The build quality of both these trackpads is pretty good. They don't wobble and give a satisfying clicking sound when pressed. Envy x360’s trackpad surface has a layer of glass giving it a more premium feel. It is noticeably smoother than Flex 5’s trackpad and feels great when sliding fingers across it. Both these laptops come with windows precision drivers and support all windows 10 gestures. This is a tough round because both laptops are equipped with great keyboards and trackpads. But since HP is offering a full size keyboard and a glass coated trackpad, I will award this round to Envy x360. So after round 4 HP leads this contest 2-1

Round 5: CPU & GPU (HP 3 Lenovo 1)

Let's talk about the hardware specs. When it comes to the CPU and GPU, both these laptops offer similar choices. You have the option of going with the latest Ryzen 4000 series CPUs or Intel’s 10th generation CPUs. Both Intel and AMD are good choices, but AMD Ryzen 4000 series CPUs give better bang for the bucks. Regarding graphics, both laptops come with integrated GPUs based on either AMD Vega or Intel UHD graphics. In my experience integrated Vega graphics performs better than Intel in both gaming and media playback. When it comes to system memory, Lenovo Flex 5 offers 8 GB and 16 GB configuration. My unit has 16 GB of DDR4 3200 MHz RAM which is blazing fast, but unfortunately it's soldered to the motherboard. So that means memory on Lenovo Flex 5 cannot be upgraded.

HP Envy x360 also offers 8 and 16 GB RAM configuration but luckily it is user upgradeable. Although HP doesn't make it any easier to perform these upgrades. You will need to remove 8 screws that are hidden beneath the rubber feets on the bottom of the laptop. After opening the back of the laptop, you will have to remove an aluminum shield covering the DIMM slots. It's held in place by clips that need to be removed first before you can access the RAM. I have linked compatible RAM sticks that will work with HP Envy x360 laptop. Both these laptops use a fast PCIe NVME SSD storage, but only Envy x360 lets you upgrade the SSD. So Round 5 goes to Envy x360 because you can upgrade RAM and SSD on this laptop unlike Lenovo Flex 5. After round 5, HP Envy x360 now has a commanding lead of 3-1

Round 6: Battery Life & Thermals (HP 4 Lenovo 1)

Lenovo Flex 5 ships with a beefy 3 Cell 52.5 Whr battery which is impressive for a 14” laptop. HP Envy x360 on the other hand ships with a slightly larger 4-cell 55.7 Whr battery. Both laptops deliver around 8 hours of battery life in PCMark 10 Battery test. Historically when it comes to battery life, Ryzen CPUs have always trailed behind their Intel counterparts. But Ryzen 4000 series processors are far more power efficient thanks to the new Zen 2 architecture and the 7 nm process technology. As a result, Ryzen 4000 series laptops now match Intel Laptops in battery life. Both Flex 5 and Envy x360 come with a 65-Watt A/C adapter which supports fast charging, juicing up the laptop from 0 to 50% in approximately 45 minute. BTW you can also charge both these laptops via the USB Type-C connector which is an added bonus.

Regarding thermal heat dissipation, Lenovo Flex 5 uses 1 large cooling fan and a dual pipe heat-sink to keep the CPU cool. In my testing I have noticed that the Intel version of Flex 5 runs cooler than Ryzen 4000 series configuration. Under heavy load, especially when running demanding jobs like 4K video editing for a long period of time, the 8-core ryzen 4700u model gets noticeably warmer around the keyboard, trackpad and the palm rest area. But I did not experience any system instability or CPU throttling. HP Envy x360 on the hand delivered much better thermal performance. The area around the keyboard, trackpad and the palm rest never felt uncomfortably warm. I think the larger 15.6” chassis helps with heat dissipation because there is more room for internal components to cool down.

So, this round goes to HP Envy x360 because of its better thermal performance. And with this win, Envy x360 has extended its lead to 4-1

Round 7: Audio & Webcam (HP 4 Lenovo 1)

Let's talk about audio. Lenovo Flex 5 comes with top firing stereo speakers that can get really loud in laptop mode because they are facing upwards. There is minimal distortion and sound quality is pretty good for watching videos & listening to music. But the speakers don't sound their best in tablet mode because they are facing away from you. Although you are usually holding the laptop closer to you in tablet mode, so the sound quality is still fine. HP Envy x360 also comes with top firing stereo speakers. These are tuned by Bang & Olufsen and they are reasonably loud. The speakers are actually located towards the rear of the laptop, and this prevents the palm rest from vibrating when listening to music at full blast. HP offers an easy-to-use audio tuning software which not only lets you adjust the bass & treble, but also offers a fully featured 10-band graphic equalizer.

Both laptops come with a 720p webcam which offers around 85-degree field of view suitable for zoom and skype video calls. But if you want to step up your video quality, I would recommend picking an external 1080p USB webcam. These offer much better video quality and they are tiny enough to sit on the top bezel. I have linked some of my favorite 1080p webcams in the video description below. So I will declare this round a tie since both laptops offer decent audio quality and serviceable webcams. After round 7, HP Envy x360 is still maintaining a commanding 4-1 lead over Flex 5

Round 8: Ports (HP 5 Lenovo 1)

Let's talk about ports. Both laptops have 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports supporting data transfer speed upto 5 gbps. Both laptops also come with a USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 1 port. The USB Type-C port on Envy x360 supports both Power Delivery and DisplayPort 1.4. So that means you can not only charge Envy x360 with this port, you can also connect it to a 2nd monitor via USB Type-C to HDMI cable or dongle. This makes HP Envy x360 a great laptop for creating a dual monitor setup suitable for enhancing both work productivity and game play. 

Unfortunately Lenovo Flex 5’s USB Type-C implementation does not support displayport protocol. So you will have to use the HDMI port for connecting this laptop to an external monitor. Both laptops offer a full size SD card reader which is great for folks like me who routinely transfer pictures and videos from their cameras. One important thing missing in Lenovo Flex 5 is support for the latest WiFI 6 protocol. HP Envy x360 on the other hand offers full WiFi 6 support. So HP is the clear winner of this round. It has a USB Type-C port supporting Power Delivery and DisplayPort protocols and it also gives full WiFi6 support. After round 8, the score reads 5-1 in favour of HP Envy x360

Round 9 Value for Money: (HP 5 Lenovo 2)

Ryzen 4500u model of Flex 5 can be purchased for this price if you can find one in stock. At this price, Flex 5 clearly provides the best bang for bucks. You are getting a kickass 6-core touchscreen laptop with support for an active stylus pen. HP Envy x360 on the other hand is usually more expensive, but it does offer a better build quality. This is a tricky round, because prices on amazon tend to fluctuate a lot. But assuming you can find Lenovo Flex 5 at its retail price, it will clearly win this round. With Flex 5 you are getting a lot of value for the money. But since I cannot guarantee these prices, I will do the next best thing and put links to both Intel and AMD versions of Lenovo Flex 5 and HP Envy x360 in the video description below. These links reflect the most up to date price on Amazon. So score after round 9 is 5-2 in favour of HP Envy x360

Round 10 Final Thoughts

So which laptop should you buy? Honestly, both these are excellent choices. You are getting an amazing full-HD touchscreen IPS display with active stylus pen support, a good build quality, solid keyboard and trackpad, kickass CPU and graphics performance, and a very decent battery life. But if you want a bigger 15.6” 2-in-1 touch screen laptop with Active pen support and premium build quality go with HP Envy x360. On the other hand, if you want a lighter and smaller 2-in-1 touch screen laptop with Active pen support that is easy to carry around and doesn't break your wallet, go with Lenovo Flex 5

Purchase Links

Buy Lenovo Flex 5 14"
👉 Buy 6-core (Ryzen 5 4500U)
👉 Buy 8-core (Ryzen 7 4700U)
👉 Buy 4-core (Intel)

Buy HP Envy x360
👉 Buy 6-core (Ryzen 5 4500U)
👉 Buy 4-core (Intel)

Buy Accessories
👉Buy Active Stylus Pens
👉 Buy recommended RAM upgrades
👉 Buy recommended PCIe NVMe SSD upgrades

Disclosure: Some links may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases