The Flex 5G delivers blazingly quick 5G speeds and wonderful battery life, however its Snapdragon 8cx processor will maintain you again.

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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 may 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. Lastly, you’ll want to think about Verizon’s still-sketchy 5G protection space (in simply 36 cities up to now), in addition to the slew of competing 5G laptops which are poised to go available on the market.

This evaluation is a part of our ongoing roundup of the most effective laptops. Go there for data 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. However with its Snapdragon 8cx processor (formally often 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 rivals—for the time being.

The Lenovo Flex 5G will set you again $1,400, or you possibly can go together with Verizon’s two-year, $58.33 installment plan. In addition to the price of the laptop computer itself, you’ll want to think about Verizon’s 5G Extremely Wideband Related Gadget Plan, which prices $30 monthly with an current line,or $90 monthly with out one.

The Flex 5G received’t be the only real 5G laptop computer for for much longer. A veritable avalanche of rivals was introduced earlier this 12 months, together with 5G variations of the Dell Latitude 9510, the HP Elite Dragonfly G2, and Lenovo’s personal ThinkPad X1 Fold, a foldable laptop computer that knocked our socks off throughout a short hands-on this summer season. Extra not too long ago, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy E-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 Acer is prepping the 5G-capable Spin 7, a 2-in-1 laptop computer working on the next-generation model of the (already outdated!) Snapdragon 8cx 5G that sits contained in the Lenovo Flex 5G.

So whereas the Lenovo Flex 5G at present stands as the most effective—and solely—possibility for anybody who desires for a 5G laptop computer, consumers 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 wish 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
  • Reminiscence: 8GB LPDDR4X
  • Graphics: Qualcomm Adreno 680
  • Storage: 256GB UFS
  • Show: 14-inch 1920×1080 IPS touchscreen, rated at 400 nits’ brightness
  • Webcam: 720p webcam
  • Connectivity: Two SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps (previously often known as USB 3.2 Gen 2) Kind-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: Three kilos (measured), 3.6 with energy brick

Whereas 5G is the headliner so far as the Flex 5G’s specs are involved, let’s sort out another particulars first (we’ll have loads to say about 5G a 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 truth is a little more advanced. Our evaluation of the Snapdragon 8cx-powered Samsung Galaxy E-book S confirmed respectable ends in multimedia and graphics efficiency (the latter courtesy of the 8cx’s Adreno 680 CPU), however disappointing scores in picture modifying and (crucially) day-to-day productiveness. You’ll see the main points in our Efficiency part.

The 8cx’s Arm structure additionally has essential implications for the sorts of Home windows apps you’ll—and received’t—have the ability to run.

The 32-bit Home windows applications encoded for X86 (because the overwhelming majority of Home windows apps are) can run on an Arm laptop computer because of the magic of emulation, however 64-bit X86 apps can’t. Whereas lots of the hottest day-to-day applications—you realize, Microsoft Workplace, Edge, Google Chrome, and Firefox—do have 32-bit variations obtainable, Adobe Inventive Cloud is a notable exception. Most AAA video games will probably 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.

Earlier than making the bounce to a Snapdragon-powered laptop computer just like the Lenovo Flex 5G, be sure that your must-have applications—notably 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.

Transferring on from the CPU, the Lenovo Flex 5G’s 8GB of low-power RAM is ample (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 vibrant, whereas the built-in Qualcomm Adreno 680 GPU ought to provide a slight increase over Intel’s competing UHD built-in graphics. Whereas the Flex 5G’s mobile help (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 commonplace features momentum.

Design

Groundbreaking although it might be from a mobile networking standpoint, the Lenovo Flex 5G’s design is in any other case acquainted.

Ben Patterson/IDG

The Lenovo Flex 5G, seen from the rear. Look acquainted?

From its pedestrian “iron grey” 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 refined innovation: a notch straight above the webcam makes it simpler to pry the laptop computer open together with your fingertips.

The Flex 5G does really feel a bit heavy for a 14-inch laptop computer. In fact, that additional heft features a 60 watt-hour battery, which (as we’ll see in a bit) earns its preserve after which some.

Show

The Lenovo Flex 5G’s 14-inch, full-HD (1920×1080) show is pleasingly vivid and vibrant, with a specified most of 400 nits that was readable exterior below an umbrella on a sunny day. The touch-enabled show does have a shiny end, nonetheless, so glare may very well be an issue in direct daylight.

Ben Patterson/IDG

The two-in-1 Lenovo Flex 5G might be tented on a desktop, or you may swivel its show all the best way round for pill use.

Viewing angles on the Flex 5G’s IPS show are unsurprisingly stable, dimming solely barely when considered from off-center vertical or horizontal angles.

The Flex 5G’s contact show reacted easily to my faucets and swipes. A stylus is non-obligatory—you may snap up the battery-powered Energetic Pen for $45 from Lenovo.

Keyboard, trackpad, audio system, and webcam

I’ll simply lower to the chase right here: I wasn’t an enormous fan of the Lenovo Flex 5G’s keyboard. The important thing caps themselves sit awfully low within the Flex 5G’s chassis, making the keyboard really feel prefer it’s almost flat. Journey 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 forwards and backwards on the trackpad’s floor, the cursor not often budged.

Ben Patterson/IDG

The Lenovo Flex 5G’s keycaps sit uncomfortably low within the laptop computer’s keyboard.

The dual 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 an increasing number of laptops and even smartphones (iOS has natively supported Dolby Atmos since 2016). The impact is spectacular for a laptop computer, though you’re nonetheless often higher off utilizing exterior audio system or a good pair of cans.

The video produced by the Lenovo Flex 5G’s 720p webcam seems to be about as blotchy as you’d count on, though the Flex 5G’s video photos 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 completely—and fairly efficiently—throughout my testing. The Flex additionally has a fingerprint reader should you’d slightly check in to Home windows together with your fingertip.

Ports

The Lenovo Flex 5G comes with precisely two USB ports, they usually’re each SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps Kind-C connectors, located on the laptop computer’s left aspect.

Ben Patterson/IDG

The left aspect of the Lenovo Flex 5G boasts a pair of SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps Kind-C ports.

On the best aspect of the Flex 5G is the ability button, a combo audio jack, an airplane mode swap, and … that’s it.

Ben Patterson/IDG

No USB Kind-A for you! (We just like the airplane mode slider, although.)

So, what’s lacking? USB Kind-A ports for starters, so that you’ll want a USB-C hub (we have now some suggestions) 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.

Proceed studying for the Flex 5G’s benchmark outcomes

  • The Lenovo Flex 5G’s cutting-edge bandwidth is sweet when you will get it, given the present limits of 5G networks.. Its battery life is superior. However its Snapdragon 8cx processor will maintain you again.

    Professionals

    • Blisteringly quick 5G information speeds
    • Shiny FHD show
    • Extremely lengthy battery life
    • IR facial recognition and fingerprint reader

    Cons

    • Middling productiveness efficiency
    • Restricted Verizon 5G protection
    • No USB Kind-A ports
    • Shallow keyboard