Back at CES 2020, Lenovo promised it was going to make the world’s first 5G laptop. And now, just six months later, it appears Lenovo is ready to deliver on that promise with the new Flex 5G, which goes on sale later this week.
In addition, to supporting both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G, the Flex 5G (which will be known as the Yoga 5G outside the U.S.) also boasts things like faster wake times than your average Windows notebook and up to a claimed 24 hours of battery life. However, while all that sounds good, this isn’t just your typical 14-inch Windows 2-in-1.
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor (which is same chip Microsoft used to create the SQ1 CPU featured in the Surface Pro X), the Flex 5G leans more towards power efficiency and fast always-on internet access than all-out performance. On top of that, because the Snapdragon 8cx is an ARM-based CPU instead of a traditional x86-based chip, the Flex 5G will run into some app compatibility issues, particularly if you’re trying to play games, edit videos, or run older 32-bit software.
The Flex 5G also isn’t quite as customizable as a regular laptop either, as it comes with 8GB of RAM (which is soldered onto the motherboard), and 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage, with no options for any kind of expandability. Other specs include a 14-inch 1920 x 1080 touchscreen with 400 nits of brightness, three USB-C ports, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Another potential wrinkle is that while the Flex 5G supports all the main 5G bands currently used in the U.S., alongside Lenovo, the only carrier that will actually sell the Flex 5G is Verizon. Currently, it’s unclear if the Flex 5G is locked strictly to Verizon, or if buyers will be able to bring the Flex 5G to other networks. Gizmodo has reached out to Lenovo for clarification, and will update the story if we hear back.
On the bright side, at 12.65 x 8.46 x 0.57-inches and weighing 2.97 pounds, the Flex 5G is relatively portable—especially when compared to a lot of other 14-inch systems. That’s important because this thing is really made for the type of person who needs access to a super fast wireless internet connection while traveling, and with a price tag of $1,400, most folks would probably be better off sticking with a standard Intel or AMD x86-based laptop instead.
But the most intriguing thing about the Flex 5G is its claimed 24 hours of battery life, a figure Lenovo says is based on playing a continuously looping video, but without connecting the system to the internet (either wifi or 5G). That means in the real word, you’re likely to get a much shorter runtime—particularity if you’re connected to 5G—but until we have a chance to run some more tests, it’s hard to say by how much.
With a number of 5G-ready phones having already been released earlier this year, it was only a matter of time until the first laptop with 5G followed suit. And while systems like Flex 5G may be somewhat niche devices for now, we’re sure to see a much larger wave hit the market as carriers continue to expand and improve 5G coverage.
The Flex 5G will be available starting at $1,400 on June 18 direct from Lenovo or online from Verizon.