Most people automatically think of their smartphone when they think of 5G. However, the emerging network protocol has the potential to greatly revolutionize the way that work is done on all devices—not just phones. Proving that point is Lenovo’s new Flex 5G laptop, the first to support the faster network.
The new computer was first announced back in January at CES 2020 under the name Yoga 5G. It will arrive on June 18 as a Verizon exclusive (in the United States) for a price of $1,399.99.
Ushering in a New Era
With the arrival of the Flex 5G, a new era is beginning. It wins the title of being the world’s first 5G laptop. Although that’s a lot of pressure, the Flex 5G is up to the task.
It ships with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx processor. Along with its support for 5G, it is one of the world’s first laptops with Qualcomm’s latest chipset. Lenovo claims that the innovative 8cx chip will give the Flex 5G huge battery life gains.
It promises up to 24 hours of use on a single charge. Obviously, that metric will need to be tested in the real world. Regardless, though, it should be powerful enough to get through a full day of work without even thinking of bringing a charger along.
Aside from its processor, the Flex 5G fits in with most other computers in its class without featuring any noteworthy hardware. It has a portable 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS display that supports multitouch. Inside, the laptop runs with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Users that love peripherals will be happy to know that it also has two USB-C ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a fingerprint reader.
In terms of 5G support, the Flex features Qualcomm’s x55 5G modem. The chip is best known for enabling the feature on flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Motorola Edge Plus. This is its laptop debut. The x55 modem brings support for 4G LTE coverage as well as both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G networks.
Interestingly, the fact that the laptop is a Verizon exclusive will hinder it somewhat. For now, it will only be able to take advantage of the mmWave side of the 5G spectrum. That portion has difficulty passing through buildings and walls. Meanwhile, Verizon’s 5G network remains extremely scarce with availability limited to parts of just 35 cities.
With that being said, the Flex 5G isn’t quite ready to reach its full potential.
Fortunately, it won’t be limited to Verizon forever. Lenovo is also partnering with several international firms to launch the laptop in other markets later this year. It is currently working with EE in the U.K., Sunrise in Switzerland, and China’s CMCC.
Those who are interested in the Flex 5G can preorder it from Verizon starting Tuesday. It can be purchased outright or through Verizon’s Device Payment plan over the course of 24 months. As a nice touch, those who buy a new Flex 5G will also get a year of Microsoft 365 for free.
Still, consumers who just want a good computer can probably get more bang for their buck elsewhere. The addition of 5G is the start of a new era, but it doesn’t mean that current networks are ready to support that era enough to justify the cost.