The Lenovo Flex 5G is the primary laptop computer able to tapping into 5G networks—Verizon’s, on this case—and unleashing mobile obtain speeds that can depart your Wi-Fi router within the mud. Even higher, the Flex 5G’s battery will final you all day, after which some.
The Flex’s loopy battery life comes at a value, although. This 14-inch, 2-in-1 laptop computer ($1,400 at Verizon) ideas the scales at almost three kilos, whereas its Snapdragon 8cx 5G CPU chugs throughout some on a regular basis computing duties. We have been lower than impressed with the Flex 5G’s shallow keyboard. Finally, you’ll want to contemplate Verizon’s still-sketchy 5G protection space (in simply 36 cities thus far), in addition to the slew of competing 5G laptops which are poised to go available on the market.
This overview is a part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for info on competing merchandise and the way we examined them.
Flex 5G Configuration
Lenovo affords all kinds of Flex-branded 2-in-1 laptops, together with 14- and 15-inch fashions with 10th-gen Intel Core i3 and i5 Comet Lake CPUs. But with its Snapdragon 8cx processor (formally generally known as the Snapdragon 8cx 5G) and built-in 5G networking functionality, the Flex 5G stands alone in Lenovo’s Flex lineup and has no 5G opponents—in the mean time.
The Lenovo Flex 5G will set you again $1,400, or you would go together with Verizon’s two-year, $58.33 installment plan. Besides the price of the laptop computer itself, you’ll want to contemplate Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband Connected Device Plan, which prices $30 monthly with an present line,or $90 monthly with out one.
The Flex 5G gained’t be the only real 5G laptop computer for for much longer. A veritable avalanche of opponents was introduced earlier this yr, together with 5G variations of the Dell Latitude 9510, the HP Elite Dragonfly G2, and Lenovo’s own ThinkPad X1 Fold, a foldable laptop computer that knocked our socks off throughout a quick hands-on this summer season. More lately, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Book Flex 5G powered by Intel’s brand-new 11th-gen CPU. Acer is prepping the 5G-capable Spin 7, a 2-in-1 laptop computer working on the next-generation version of the (already outdated!) Snapdragon 8cx 5G that sits contained in the Lenovo Flex 5G.
So whereas the Lenovo Flex 5G at the moment stands as one of the best—and solely—possibility for anybody who desires for a 5G laptop computer, customers could have many extra decisions within the months forward. That actuality alone ought to give these contemplating the Flex 5G a second of pause, until you actually, actually need to be the primary in your block to personal one.
With that preamble out of the best way, listed here are the specs for the Lenovo Flex 5G:
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx 5G
- Memory: 8GB LPDDR4X
- Graphics: Qualcomm Adreno 680
- Storage: 256GB UFS
- Display: 14-inch 1920×1080 IPS touchscreen, rated at 400 nits’ brightness
- Webcam: 720p webcam
- Connectivity: Two SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps (previously generally known as USB 3.2 Gen 2) Type-C ports, one combo audio jack
- Networking: Verizon 5G (mmWave and sub-6GHz), Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
- Biometrics: IR facial recognition, fingerprint reader
- Battery capability: 60 watt-hour
- Dimensions: 12.65 x 8.46 x 0.58 inches
- Weight: 3 kilos (measured), 3.6 with energy brick
While 5G is the headliner so far as the Flex 5G’s specs are involved, let’s deal with another particulars first (we’ll have lots to say about 5G a little bit later), beginning with that Snapdragon chip.
Qualcomm’s Arm-based Snapdragon 8cx processor was initially touted as a viable various to extra frequent X86-based Intel chips. It packed in roughly the identical efficiency as Intel’s U-series Core i5 CPUs and delivered amazingly lengthy battery life.
The actuality is a little more complicated. Our overview of the Snapdragon 8cx-powered Samsung Galaxy Book S confirmed respectable leads to multimedia and graphics efficiency (the latter courtesy of the 8cx’s Adreno 680 CPU), however disappointing scores in photograph enhancing and (crucially) day-to-day productiveness. You’ll see the main points in our Performance part.
The 8cx’s Arm structure additionally has necessary implications for the sorts of Windows apps you’ll—and gained’t—be capable to run.
The 32-bit Windows packages encoded for X86 (because the overwhelming majority of Windows apps are) can run on an Arm laptop computer because of the magic of emulation, however 64-bit X86 apps can’t. While most of the hottest day-to-day packages—you recognize, Microsoft Office, Edge, Google Chrome, and Firefox—do have 32-bit variations obtainable, Adobe Creative Cloud is a notable exception. Most AAA video games will likely be out of the query too, not that the 8cx’s built-in Adreno 680 graphics core would have a prayer of working any of them easily.
Before making the leap to a Snapdragon-powered laptop computer just like the Lenovo Flex 5G, guarantee that your must-have packages—significantly the arcane ones, to not point out your organization’s VPN—have both 32-bit X86 variations obtainable, or 64-bit variations which are compiled for Arm.
Moving on from the CPU, the Lenovo Flex 5G’s 8GB of low-power RAM is sufficient (though 16GB would have been even higher), as is the 256GB SSD (though you’d be higher off relegating media to the cloud). The 14-inch full-HD touchscreen guarantees to be comparatively vivid, whereas the built-in Qualcomm Adreno 680 GPU ought to supply a slight increase over Intel’s competing UHD built-in graphics. While the Flex 5G’s mobile assist (together with each the ultra-fast mmWave and slower however extra widespread sub-6GHz variations of 5G) grabs all of the headlines, the laptop computer’s Wi-Fi 5 networking feels a tad behind the occasions as the brand new Wi-Fi 6 customary good points momentum.
Groundbreaking although it could be from a mobile networking standpoint, the Lenovo Flex 5G’s design is in any other case acquainted.
From its pedestrian “iron gray” aluminum magnesium shell and almost featureless flat lid to the dual 2-in-1 hinges that rotate for pill, kiosk, and tented tabletop use, the Flex 5G cuts a slim, nondescript determine. There’s one delicate innovation: a notch instantly above the webcam makes it simpler to pry the laptop computer open along with your fingertips.
The Flex 5G does really feel a little bit heavy for a 14-inch laptop computer. Of course, that further heft features a 60 watt-hour battery, which (as we’ll see in a bit) earns its maintain after which some.
The Lenovo Flex 5G’s 14-inch, full-HD (1920×1080) show is pleasingly vivid and vivid, with a specified most of 400 nits that was readable outdoors underneath an umbrella on a sunny day. The touch-enabled show does have a shiny end, nevertheless, so glare might be an issue in direct daylight.
Viewing angles on the Flex 5G’s IPS show are unsurprisingly stable, dimming solely barely when seen from off-center vertical or horizontal angles.
The Flex 5G’s contact show reacted easily to my faucets and swipes. A stylus is optionally available—you may snap up the battery-powered Active Pen for $45 from Lenovo.
Keyboard, trackpad, audio system, and webcam
I’ll simply minimize to the chase right here: I wasn’t an enormous fan of the Lenovo Flex 5G’s keyboard. The key caps themselves sit awfully low within the Flex 5G’s chassis, making the keyboard really feel prefer it’s almost flat. Travel distance didn’t really feel that nice both. On the plus aspect, I did just like the tactile, rubberized really feel of the Flex’s inside floor, together with the palmrest.
The Flex 5G’s touchpad did a pleasant job, scooting the cursor round with a minimal of jitter. The touchpad was additionally adept at rejecting false inputs: Even after I brushed my palms backwards and forwards on the trackpad’s floor, the cursor hardly ever budged.
The twin upfiring audio system on the Flex 5G sound fairly good, cranking out crisp, detailed sound, albeit with little in the best way of low-frequency response. The audio system on the Flex are optimized for Dolby Atmos, an audio format that may ship immersive 3D audio from as few as two drivers. We’re seeing—and listening to—Atmos in increasingly laptops and even smartphones (iOS has natively supported Dolby Atmos since 2016). The impact is spectacular for a laptop computer, though you’re nonetheless normally higher off utilizing exterior audio system or an honest pair of cans.
The video produced by the Lenovo Flex 5G’s 720p webcam appears about as blotchy as you’d count on, though the Flex 5G’s video pictures look a tad extra washed out and herky-jerky than the norm. The laptop computer does include an IR digital camera for facial recognition, which I used virtually solely—and fairly efficiently—throughout my testing. The Flex additionally has a fingerprint reader for those who’d reasonably register to Windows along with your fingertip.
The Lenovo Flex 5G comes with precisely two USB ports, they usually’re each SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps Type-C connectors, located on the laptop computer’s left aspect.
On the correct aspect of the Flex 5G is the facility button, a combo audio jack, an airplane mode change, and … that’s it.
So, what’s lacking? USB Type-A ports for starters, so that you’ll want a USB-C hub (we have some recommendations) if you wish to use the Flex 5G with a wired mouse or printer with legacy connectors. There’s additionally no reminiscence card reader or HDMI port, though you may at all times join a 4K monitor to one of many USB-C ports in DisplayPort Alt mode.