The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 brought a new wave of notebooks that will redefine PC connectivity as we know it. We saw HP’s updated Elite Dragonfly model, Lenovo’s first true foldable laptop -the ThinkPad X1 Fold – and the all-new Yoga 5G;

Dell also showcased an exemplar of ‘laptops of the future’ with built-in A.I and 5G tech (Dell Latitude 9510).

The list of new arrivals goes on and on. However, this article focuses on laptops that can connect to the 5th generation of wireless cellular networks (aka 5G).

5G has been much of a buzzword since 2019. It is said to be the skeleton of the Internet of Things (IoT) and a key driver of the fourth industrial revolution. In the coming age, every manner of device will be connected to 5G in order to be useful.

Consider the latest advances in edge computing and game streaming. They require access to a reliable internet connection and a fast one at that. Unfortunately, congestion is holding back speeds of the current 4G networks. Mobile users have two choices at this point in time – adapt to the highs and lows of 4G, or give up mobility and remain confined to neighborhoods with high-speed networks.

This is where 5G laptops come in.

With 5G-capable laptops, mobile users don’t have to sacrifice their freedom of movement. 5G networks promise a throughput of up to 10GBps, which is overkill by today’s standards, but sufficient enough to set off the next era of computing.

As you ruminate on that, let’s explore some 5G notebooks that debuted in January 2020.

HP Elite Dragonfly G2 2020

HP is marketing the Elite Dragonfly G2 as the first business convertible with 5G connectivity. The laptop connects to both 4G and 5G networks, thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 modem. This modem features a multi-mode function that allows the G2 to switch between 4G and 5G depending on network availability.

The X55 operates at theoretical peak speeds of 7Gbps for downloads and 3Gbps for uploads. However, don’t expect to achieve these speeds with your laptop unless the network conditions and provider capabilities are in perfect alignment.

In addition to the next generation of wireless standards, the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 supports up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, up to 2TB PCIe Gen3 NVMe SSD storage, 13-inch HD and 4k display options, and 16GB of RAM.

This 5G laptop also comes with a lightweight design (barely 1kg) and a battery life of up to 24 hours.

An added bonus is an in-built location tracking feature powered by Tile, which you can use to track your device if it ever gets in the wrong hands.

Dell Latitude 9510

Dell announced the Latitude 9510 ahead of the CES 2020, hyping it as the lightest and most intelligent 15-inch enterprise 2-in-1 in the market. It weighs 1.45 Kgs (3.2 pounds), which is passable for business travelers. Dell has also slotted in a built-in AI feature that adjusts the laptop to the way you think. The company calls it Dell Optimizer. One of its remarkable aspects is it adjusts the rate of charging according to your charging habits.

Like the G2, it comes with a Qualcomm X55 modem onboard, albeit it only exploits the sub-6 GHz spectrum. Real 5G combines sub 6 and millimeter wave (mmWave) frequency bands. The sub-6 band operates at 6Ghz while the mmWave operates at much higher frequencies.

In terms of speeds, the sub-6 is slower, but it offers more coverage than mmWave. So don’t anticipate Grade A 5G speeds once you own the Latitude 9510. Note that speeds will also be conditional on your provider’s services.

Dell says the Latitude 9510 will manage 30 hours of battery life when it hits the shelves in March 2020.

Lenovo Yoga 5G

The Yoga 5G was released under the moniker Project Limitless in 2019. So it’s safe to give it the title of the first 5G laptop.

It bears the looks of an ordinary Lenovo laptop, but once you dig under the hood, that’s where the special sauce lies. Lenovo chose to go all Qualcomm by combining the power of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8CX processor and the X55 5G modem. This combination of tech is untested in the market, meaning it’s not wise to speculate on the performance at this moment. All the same, this ARM laptop will take advantage of both millimeter-wave and sub-6GHz bands.

Apart from that, the Yoga 5G will ship with 8GB of RAM, a 14-inch FHD IPS display, 256GB or 512GB of storage, a Nano-SIM slot, two USB-C ports, and a headphone jack.

There’s also an optional keyboard that magnetically attaches to the device in laptop mode and a stand that supports it in desktop mode. Expect a 24-hour battery life if Lenovo is not telling stories.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold is one of the most revolutionary laptops ever to hit the market. It sports a 13.3-inch 2048×1536 4:3 display which can fold into two 9.6-inch displays. You can use it as a laptop, tablet, or desktop PC depending on the situation.

Lenovo claims the Fold feature is meant to help you dodge the difficulty of switching between a phone, tablet, and PC.

To add the flexibility of use, the ThinkPad X1 Fold comes with 5G connectivity through the x55 modem.

It’s unclear whether 5G capabilities are guaranteed in all models. What you can be sure is this Foldable device won’t come cheap. The base price is $2400.

Closing Comments

Cellular-connected laptops have existed for quite some time, but they’ve never gained the level of popularity they have today. Perhaps that’s because laptops have never been portable and powerful at the same time.

The launch of 5G laptops marks the beginning of a new era – the age of ACPCs (Always Connected PCs). Power and portability will rule the markets, and users will remain connected even when they’re on-the-go.

Author: Victor Wachanga

A technophile who appreciates the value of technology.

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