Shopping for a laptop can be a huge pain. Retail sales associates will tell you anything to make a sale, and you don’t know who to trust. You don’t need anything spectacular, just something to handle your day-to-day. All you want the best laptop for home use, and some kid at Best Buy is trying to pitch a $3,000 gaming behemoth. Joe’s Laptop Buying Guide is here to help, with our Lenovo Flex 6 review.
This is the sixth iteration of Lenovo’s Flex series of 2-in-1 laptops. I’ve been a fan of these laptops since I bought my fiancé a Flex 2 years ago. They offer a lot of power for the price, great displays, and a variety of input options.
For a home user, a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid is a great feature, but you probably don’t want to drop three grand on a Surface Book 2. Most manufacturers have a version of an “everyday” two-in-one, and the Lenovo Flex Series has produced some of the best. But, does the Lenovo Flex 6 meet the standard?
Is this the Best Laptop for Home Use? Here are the Specs:
The Lenovo Flex 6 comes with:
16GB of DDR4 RAM
256GB PCIe SSD
NVIDIA GeForce MX130 Graphics
14” IPS FHD Touchscreen Display
As a computer salesperson, it wasn’t very long ago I told my home-use customers that all they needed was an i3 or an equivalent. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.
As programs and internet functions become more and more complex, we continue needing more power to do the same things. Unfortunately, the companies who manufacture processors, which are the brains of computers, haven’t been able to keep up with the advancements in programming.
This means that it takes your computer more processing power to do the same functions you’ve done in the past. Photo editing software has gotten heavier and heavier. The same is true for Microsoft Office products and even simple browsers.
Now, when customers tell me they have really basic needs, I still recommend at least an i5 or equivalent. If you purchase something with less power than an i5, you will probably be unsatisfied. Streaming videos will be buffering for a long time, music will take a long time to load, and you’ll run a higher risk of programs crashing in the middle of a job. An i5 has truly become the bottom tier processor for everyday use.
But this guide isn’t for the bare minimum; it’s for the best laptop for home use. And, to reach that goal, you need an i7.
An i7 gives you even more processing power than the i5. Also, the advanced architecture will provide better performance as the laptop ages. It will take longer to become outdated, which will hopefully save you from needing to replace your laptop too soon.
Fast Boot with SSD
A solid-state drive is a must-have for any laptop competing to be the best laptop for home use. If you’ve had an SSD in the past, I promise you won’t be able to go back to a traditional HDD.
For those who don’t know, an SSD is a hard drive that works without any moving parts. This laptop uses a PCIe SSD, which is a type of storage called flash memory. It works by magic, saving your files without screaming like a garbage disposal. Having an SSD will speed up your boot time from two minutes to less than ten seconds. You may not think boot times are a big deal, but trust me, you’ll never go back after having a solid-state drive.
This laptop’s SSD comes with 256gb of storage, which is perfect for most home users. In my opinion, 128gb tends to go fast, but most home users will need a new laptop by the time they fill 256. And, if you run out, you should be using cloud storage anyway! It saves you space on your laptop and your files are safe even if your hard drive breaks.
I personally like using Carbonite. It is fast and easy to install, and it backs up your files automatically (unless you tell it not to). It’s also a bargain for the yearly subscription.
For many of my customers, touchscreens are weird and confusing. However, like an SSD, once you’ve had one, I promise you won’t want to go back.
Something I tell customers a lot is that nobody is forcing you to use a touchscreen. This is all about options. You have the option to flip the screen over and use tablet mode for games or drawing. You have the option to set the computer up like a tent to watch YouTube. And, you have the option to ignore all these options and just use it like a normal laptop. The best laptop for home use is one which gives you options. The Lenovo Flex 6 gives you the ability to choose how you use it.
Many are surprised to find that a 1080p resolution screen still isn’t standard for laptops. I get a lot of people in my store who expect all laptops to have 4k displays by now.
Here’s the thing; my Surface Book has a 2k screen. I use it for art, and I can barely tell the difference between this and my fiancé’s 1080p screen. However, the difference between a 720p HD display and a 1080p FHD screen is very noticeable.
Also, the Lenovo Flex 6 has a screen which beautifully displays a wide gamut of colors. This is something you have to see to understand. It looks much better than the Dell next to it in my store; even though the resolution is the same.
Lightweight and Mobile
The Lenovo Flex 6 weighs less than 4 pounds. If memory serves, and it probably doesn’t, the Flex 5 was over 5 lbs. Earlier versions were as heavy as 7lbs, which is basically a dumbbell in your backpack.
This laptop is the perfect weight to feel sturdy and safe to carry around, without needing a lifting belt to get it off your coffee table.
Decent Battery Life
The Lenovo Flex 6 has an internal battery which lasts up to eight hours. While this doesn’t sound like much, remember that more performance requires more power. The i7 processor takes a lot of battery power, and manufacturers like Lenovo have done a great job in the past year to improve in this area.
Don’t Break Those Hinges
So, in 2013 I bought my then girlfriend a Lenovo Flex 2 for Christmas. A few months later, she dropped it and broke one of the hinges. Not only was it not covered under warranty (I cheaped out on the SquareTrade, big mistake), but it couldn’t be fixed in the US. Lenovo operates out of China and evidently doesn’t fix laptops stateside.
So, I could pay them hundreds of dollars to ship my laptop to China, or I could pay more than I paid for the laptop for a repair guy in town to figure out how to fix it. So, I did what any reasonable person would do, and let her live with a taped together laptop for a few years.
Now, I’m a big advocate of extended warranties, and one of my customers had this exact scenario happen with the Lenovo Flex 3, but she had a warranty. She contacted SquareTrade, who informed her they couldn’t fix the hinge because nobody stateside had the parts. And so they bought her a new laptop! She came back into my store and bought a Flex 4 with another SquareTrade, and she didn’t spend anything over the gift card they sent her.
Seriously people, get warranties on laptops.
Bloatware for Everyone!
Lenovo has come under fire for having extreme amounts of unnecessary bloatware on their computers. They’ve even been accused of preinstalling adware and malware on their machines.
Most manufacturers include a whole bunch of trial software on their new computers. This helps them make money when you decide to buy McAfee Antivirus after your trial runs out. However, Lenovo does get carried away.
As part of the setup process when you buy a new computer, you should go through the program list and delete programs you don’t need. However, if you aren’t tech savvy, ask someone who is before you just start deleting things. Corrupting your operating stystem isn’t something you want to do on day one.
So, is the Lenovo Flex 6 the best laptop for home use?
It’s kind of impossible to say, but I can say it’s a very good contender. Yeah, you could find some $3,000 dollar laptops that are a lot better, but to me, that defeats the purpose.
I’d say this is probably the best laptop you’ll find at this price point. If you want a laptop for home use that you don’t have to wonder if it can handle what you’re doing, then this will work for you. The Lenovo Flex 6 is a powerful, versatile 2-in-1 that will make home users very happy.