Performance – Processor, General

With a Haswell CPU and a quick solid-state drive, the Flex 14 ought to perform well in everyday tasks. Most interesting of all will be how it compares to the IdeaPad Yoga 11S, which it has already beaten handily on battery life. Apart from simply energy savings, the CPU in our Flex 14 review unit ought to also outperform that of the Yoga 11S, but the jury’s still out on the SSD’s performance. Let’s dig in.

For purposes of comparison, we’re still building up a new selection of benchmarks for office-grade and general use notebooks with 768p panels (and typically integrated GPUs) for our new reviewing process. Thus, some of the competition we’ve chosen are actually 2012 models—but nevertheless, for sake of reference, it’s still a valuable perspective. For the most part, our selections today include the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S and Lenovo ThinkPad Twist, along with the Y480 and Y500 for good measure.

Performance – Processor

Although the IdeaPad Flex 14 manages better battery life than the Yoga 11S, the CPU is actually quite a bit more capable under particular circumstances. For starters, the Haswell architecture alone allows for more power under similar TDP constraints, which in turn translates to more efficient general operation. In summary:

  • Intel Core i5-4200U @ 1.6 GHz (with Turbo Boost up to 2.6 GHz)
  • Dual core / Four threads
  • 15W TDP (ultra-low voltage)

We witnessed no perceived slowness during our time with the machine. Let’s see how our benchmarks corroborate those impressions. First, as always, is SiSoft Sandra:

Here, performance of the i5-4200U is most comparable to the i5-3317U in the ThinkPad Twist, which makes sense given that the 3317U is clocked at 1.7 GHz (with a Turbo Boost clock rate of 2.6 GHz). Keep in mind that the TDP of the Ivy Bridge i5-3317U is 17W, which is 2W higher than that of our i5-4200U in the review unit. The i5-3339Y in the IdeaPad Yoga 11S scores considerably lower; around 30% lower, in fact.

Next, let’s look at Cinebench R11.5:

Once again, fairly consistent results, with scores above those of the Yoga 11S0—although we don’t have Cinbench scores for the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist. OpenGL performance is only marginally above that of the Yoga, but it’s an improvement nonetheless.

Now we turn to 7-Zip for compression/decompression performance:

Results are still as expected, with all three notebooks of interest placing in the same order as before.

Our next benchmark—Peacekeeper—is much more heavily dependent on browser performance, but it’s still a relevant measure of system capability.

Again likely due to browser differences over time, we see some variation in results here that places the Flex 14 near the front of the pack along with the much more powerful Y500 from months back—but again, were we to restest the Twist and the Y480, we’d probably find some improvement for the same reasons.

Application Performance

PCMark 7 is still a relative newcomer to our testing routine, so results aren’t as prevalent as they are with some of our other benchmarks. Still, we have results for both the Yoga 11S and two of our more recent gaming PCs (the Lenovo Y500 and the powerhouse MSI GT60), so let’s see how the Flex 14’s application performance stacks up with them:

Here we see the benefits of an SSD over a standard mechanical hard drive in terms of overall system performance; the Lenovo Y500 is the only test candidate in this lineup that features a standard drive. It’s thanks to this that the Flex 14 is able to jump ahead to second place behind the MSI GT60; in terms of general performance, CPU power is rarely the bottleneck these days.

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