The stars truly aligned recently when Intel asked me to review their Lenovo FLEX 4 PC. It was only a few days before, that I suddenly found myself thoroughly researching the market for a new laptop built on their speedy 7th Gen, Core i5 processor, that would have great battery life. I needed to find a versatile machine; one that would meet every demand from someone who is highly demanding for functionality. I needed to find something for my mom, you guys. You know, no pressure.
Why was I in the market for a new PC? Why was I on the lookout for a 15" laptop with responsive technologies to make everything from YouTube, emails, and web browsing a breeze?
Just days before, I heard the words that every family tech-support "guru" dreads hearing when their mom calls, "just to say hello."
"Hi, dear! So... my computer won't turn on." Ugh. The pain that drives through my chest when those words are uttered. I foresaw a lot of hours in my future, trying to gain back the files that probably weren't backed up elsewhere, and generally try to breathe life back into her old PC.
Unfortunately nothing worked. My guess is that her 7 year old laptop's hard drive simply couldn't handle it anymore. Mom's computer was kaput, and that meant I needed to help find her a new one.
Finding the Best Computer for Mom
I don't know about you, but I've come to realize that my mom is the hardest person to get a gift for. She never wants for anything, and when she does ask for something specific, it's always a practical item that the whole family could use, like a vacuum. I'd love to get her something that simply makes her happy and I had that in mind when I began to search out laptops for her.
Jay and I have had various discussions over the years of component/peripheral necessities when it comes to computers, as we're the duo that our families come to when they need a new one. Everyone is a little different, and their tech differences are prevalent.
So here's what we figured out mom would need to make the next PC the best one that she can handle.
- Her new computer needed at least an Intel Core i5 processor. Sure, mom isn't a hardcore gamer like her kids (though she does play a mean game of Mahjong,) she still needs a processor that will keep up with her all the same. Gone are the days where mom is willing to go make a pot of coffee while waiting for the desktop computer to load, so she needs a PC and its apps to load quickly for her.
- The PC needs to be portable, aka a laptop, as she doesn't have a home office, and would be better off not having to designate an awkward table in any room, and be stuck there at all times to read her email. Likewise, mom's new PC should be as light as possible for her to carry, and not "lug" around.
- While light, the new laptop needs to have at least a 15" monitor. The last thing I want mom to have to do is squint at the screen, and put any kind of strain on her eyesight.
- The new laptop needs to be as easy to use as the operating system is willing.
- Easy file sharing and editing Microsoft Office documents is a must for the odd times that she does have to work from home. I developed my love of Excel databases from her, so I know she'll want a system that will let her create as many tables and functions as her heart desires as well.
- It would have to be a great source for entertainment, as she wants to do nothing more than relax after a hard day at work.
- It will undoubtedly become her phone's charging station, so will be best equipped with a laptop that uses "Always On USB" technology. Regardless of whether the PC itself is turned on or not, the USB ports will be set to "on" to allow for device charging.
- And I know she wants to Skype, just like everyone else can, without fuss. Her old computer couldn't handle the video processing.
We found all of that, and more, in the Lenovo Flex 4 laptop PC, and right now, it's available for such a sweet price on NewEgg.
Unboxing Made My Green Heart Swell
I have to say, unboxing the Lenovo laptop was refreshing. There wasn't any fancy boxing, material, useless CDs and whatnot that winds up all in the garbage when I can bring myself to add more to the landfill. It can be super hard living the techophile lifestyle when faced with heavy duty packaging.
This though? A dream.
The Lenovo FLEX 4 PC Does It All
This laptop computer is a brilliant little engine that could. The FLEX 4 is nicely built on a 7th Gen, Core i5 Intel processor, along with 8GB RAM and a 1 TB hard drive.
Tim Allen would be "arghhh, arghh, arhhhh"ing right about now.
It boasts a long lasting battery, but even better, it's fast charging. This means mom won't have to compromise by staying connected to a surge protector all day long, regardless of how much she uses her new laptop throughout the day.
Three "always on" USB ports, an Ethernet port for when she doesn't have access to WiFi (this happens more than you would think!) There is one HDMI port which would be particularly great if one of my siblings gifts mom a video projector. Video projectors are truly affordable these days, and can potentially work well with the ever growing assortment of online TV/Movie networks such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. Imagine projecting your favourite Netflix show in 80" glory, where your old TV used to be.
There is also a SD card port, which is fabulous when you want to simply dump your photo files from your camera onto your PC without any extra work involved.
The biggest feature for this laptop is it's four monitor settings. The "FLEX" in FLEX 4 PC is quite descriptive, as this monitor can rotate 360 degrees for easy computing, no matter where you sit.
The "normal" method is great for easy typing, research, emails, etc.
Flip the lid, so that the keyboard is now facing down, for closer access to the monitor. When you're Skyping for instance, chances are you won't need the keyboard, so why not "put it away" when it's not needed? This method works really well when you want to use a touch screen, up close, without having it sit in your lap, or have it lay flat down on a table surface.
Want to watch a movie? Turn the the laptop "upside down", and you now have a personal theatre system that doesn't take up much space while still providing incredible audio, and a beautiful 4K Ultra HD video display. Jay and I would personally love this option for ourselves. There have been countless instances where we'd like to watch a show or movie on a laptop over a meal, and find it awkward to fit even our 10" netbook in front of us with limited space and a bulky keyboard in front of us. And let's not mention how many times we gamble not spilling anything onto the keyboard itself with our drinks nearby.
Then there is the Tablet Mode for when you want to have fun...
But, Does It Play Solitaire?
I was just starting my two year stint in college for a graphics design course, where I found myself buying a massive PC that the whole family could use. My siblings were still in high school, so it was destined to get a lot of use for homework between the three of us.
Though, I will never forget what my mom asked as I was setting up the Windows 98 operating system, "So, will it have solitaire?"
Even now I giggle at this honest request for gaming from my mother. She too spent years on that clunky desktop machine, building databases, writing papers to earn certifications for work, researching everything from family history to recipes for dinner.
What was most memorable though, were our family "tournaments" to see who would get the best score in Mahjong.
A PC laptop that would allow for tabletop gaming would be perfect. It's a great way for her to play spider solitaire, Sudoku, or even put together puzzles when she wants some peace and quiet, but it's also optimally designed for multiplayer digital tabletop gaming as well. It would be amazing to play a round of monopoly without having to dig around for the Thimble.
Are you looking for a new PC for gift giving this year? Check out all that NewEgg has to offer, including a fab deal on the Lenovo Flex 4.
Upcoming Twitter Chat
When: Tuesday, November 22nd at 8PM!
Host: Chat with tech expert Marc Saltzman (@marc_saltzman)
Prizes: DELL Inspiron 15 5000, and 1 of 10 @NewEgg $50 gift cards
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Disclaimer: Intel provided me with the laptop for review and I was compensated to produce this review; all opinions are my own.