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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Gadgets-Reviews

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Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 10 review
Sarthak Saraswat, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 29, 2014
First Published: 11:19 IST(29/5/2014)
Last Updated: 12:02 IST(29/5/2014)
Whether it is the ultra-portable laptops or miniature smart watches that make you feel like James Bond, portable gadgets are in great demand. With increasing number of people adopting the work hard-party harder mantra, a device that can double up as your work and play partner is something everyone is looking for.
 
Since the introduction of its Yoga series laptops, Lenovo has been trying to fulfill this demand. From screens that can bend to suit users’ convenience to rotating and detachable ones, the company has attempted to give portability a ‘new dimension’ with every launch.
 
Now, with its touch-enabled Windows 8 IdeaPad Flex 10 notebook, the company is again vying to attract users addicted to portability.

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Design:
Out of the box, the Flex 10 has a sturdy built and compact design. The 17.3mm thick notebook has a high quality finish and weighs about 1.2 kg. It has a deep-brown lid which is finger print repellent and has a cloth-like texture. Although it is made entirely of plastic, none of its parts have a cheap look or feel.
 
The ports and buttons are housed on either side of the device. The power button, a USB port and the volume button are located on the right side while the left side contains the charging point, a USB port and an HDMI port. It also has a 3.5 mm headset port and a tiny hole that acts as a mike.
 
As we open the lid, a 10.1" screen stares at us, which is noticeably smaller than the lid. The bezels on the left and the right side are nearly an inch thick and there’s a bright Lenovo logo on the top left corner of the screen which is a bit distracting. Around the top-centre of the screen is the web camera.

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The Flex 10’s screen can be folded backwards up to 300 degrees. This brings the screen closer to the user and allows it to be tilted at a comfortable angle.
 
Features and specifications:
The Flex 10 is powered by a lowly Intel dual-core Celeron N2805 processor clocking at 1.46 GHz.
 
Operating on Windows 8, the notebook is equipped with a 2GB DDR3L RAM and a 5,400 rpm 500 GB mechanical hard drive.
 
The device has only two USB ports, out of which only one supports high-speed USB 3.0 peripherals. It also lacks an SD card slot. Wireless connectivity options include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

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The primary feature of the Flex 10 is the dual mode, which allows users to switch between the traditional laptop mode and the stand mode. This can be done by folding the screen backwards up to 300 degrees, allowing the unit to stand up with the keyboard deck forming the base. Since the screen supports touch functionality, it can be also be used like a tablet. A Windows logo is centred at the bottom of the screen which acts as a capacitive touch button.
 
The notebook comes pre-loaded with Veriface Pro, a face recognition software, that allows users to log in using the integrated webcam.
 
Performance:
The 10.1” HD screen with a resolution of 1366x768 is crisp and clear. But, the exciting part is the 10-point multi-touch display – optimized for Windows 8 – that allows users to directly interact with the device using simple gestures. The touchscreen is quite sensitive and responds well.
 
The AccuType keyboard, which covers the entire width of the device, doesn’t offer a satisfying feel and takes some time getting used to. We found the trackpad rather cramped with very little wrist space which makes scrolling a bit uncomfortable. The response wasn’t up to the mark either.

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Attaching a mouse would probably help.
 
The integrated 720P HD webcam does a decent job and offers ample clarity during online video chats.
 
However, the video appears a bit grainy if lighting in the room is low.
 
We were quite impressed with the speakers which offered a sufficiently loud output while retaining clarity.
 
As far as battery is concerned, the Flex 10 leaves much to be desired. It was able to sustain for around 3.5 hours while performing heavy duty tasks and around 4 hours while performing light tasks.
 
Verdict:
The Flex 10 is a device for those who like the feel of a traditional keyboard as well as the thrill of a touchscreen. Thanks to its compact design, it can be carried around easily. However, owing to its low configuration, you will not be able to use resource-hogging software like Photoshop.
 
The notebook is perfect for browsing, responding to mails, making presentations, doing some typing, playing games and watching movies while travelling. With the Flex 10 priced at around Rs. 26,000, you can probably get more powerful notebooks for the same amount. But you’ll have to give the touchscreen feature a miss.
 
Love:

Small and compact design
 
Good construction quality
 
10-point multi-touch display
 
Hate:

Limited expansion and connectivity
 
Low performance
 
Tacky trackpad

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