5 big PC revolutions await in the wings: 5G connectivity and ARM-based processors. The new Lenovo Flex 5G is a device that wants to embrace both technologies and take us further into the future.
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8CX chip is key, bringing it with a built-in 5G connectivity and adequate performance. This translates Flex 5G into a facade of Windows as opposed to switching to Apple’s ARM-based Mac.
But don’t get too excited. The release of 5G is as slow as Windows support of ARM processors. Throw in a high starting price of 1,500, the Lenovo Flex 5G is forced to fight a tough battle. Is the world ready for Lenovo’s vision in the future?
So, what’s the big deal with 5G? Simply put, it is the next generation of mobile broadband, and replaces today’s fast-paced 4G LTE. It promises to provide Internet speed that can counter or beat the connections that most people have at home and workplace. But its release across the country has been slow.
You will not find it outside the big cities. I had to go to Venice Beach to check the Flex 5G connection (never a bad thing) because there are only a few areas in Los Angeles that have Verizon coverage, and nothing too close to my home. Coverage is the ultra-white band, however, which in theory should perform best.
I say in principle, because on the coast of Venice, the ultra-white band 5G cannot reach anywhere near the speed of two gigabits (Gbps) per second. The best download speed I’ve seen (via Speedest.net) is 465 megabytes per second (Mbps) and the fastest upload speed I’ve seen is 51 Mbps – expect to see close to 2 Gbps download speed, so watch quarterly Was disappointing. Verizon’s coverage is negligible – Los Angeles, for example, is just a few locations with very little coverage, and the number of cities covered by Verizon’s 5G network is very small.
I walked 10 feet in one direction or another and saw LTE. This is not the only problem with Verizon. For example, D-Mobile reaches more areas with its 5G coverage, but it uses the sub-6GHz band, which provides speed compared to 4G.
To see how this translates into real life, I downloaded a 1.7GB file from OnDrive and hit a download speed of 44 megabytes per second (Mbps). This is far better than what I see on 4G LTE, but again, 5G doesn’t promise anywhere.
Needless to say that in Venice, at least (I was looking for the best places), the Verizon 5Gs were not up to par. Maybe it is faster or the Flex 5G modem drivers need tweaking. In any case, the Flex 5G will work for you in a quick clip where there is a 5G connection, but it may not be as fast as one day provides.
If this is not the case, then 5G is probably the game changer for PC, as soon as it hits the mark. Today, if you want a fast Internet connection – that is, measured in gigabits per second, not just megabits – then you get stuck using a WiFi or wired Ethernet connection. It connects you to specific locations and looks for secure connections when you are out and about. With a fast 5G connection, you have come fast wherever you have coverage – imagine driving on the road and working with a fast internet connection – it’s like 4G LTE today. This will happen everywhere, meaning that you will eventually be unlocked with the WiFi tether.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8CX is apparently built for PCs based on the company’s latest ARM processor and smartphone design. Not only does it have to compete with Intel and AMD, but it also faces the challenge of running Windows on Snapdragon 8CX ARM.
In the past, it was not a very impressive site when it came at a clean pace. This is because most traditional Windows applications are not self-generated to run on ARM, but should instead run as a prototype. Therefore, performance is the most important factor behind the connection in determining whether Flex 5G is a viable platform for mobile workers.
Instead of slowing down, many applications will not run on Windows in ARM. This includes the standardization applications I usually use to test performance, which is not applicable.
I was limited to Geekbench 4 and 5 in my performance definitions of how fast the Snapdragon 8 CX really is. With these two tests, the new Snapdragon chip is definitely advanced from the previous Snapdragon 850. However, it will not be turned into a faster laptop by any means.
On Geekbench 4, the Flex 5G was successful with 3,322 in single-core tests and 11,348 in multi-core tests. It is a larger pump than the Lenovo Yoga C630 (using Snapdragon 850), which has scored 2,292 on single-core tests and 6,710 on multi-core tests. Obviously, the Snapdragon 8CX is faster. In fact, it beat the dual-core Intel 10-Gen Core i3-1011U on the Lenovo Yoga C640 in multi-core tests, scoring 4,670 and 8,750 respectively.
On Geekbench 5, the Flex 5G scored 700 in the single-core test and 2,802 in the multi-core test. It beat the Yoga C640’s 486 and 2,155 and the 2020 MacBook Air Core by 5-1030 NG7 with 1,140 and 2,770 points respectively.
Will it turn Flex 5G into a faster laptop? Not at all It is compatible with these synthetic benchmark numbers and works well on comparable laptops. This was great for productivity tasks, web browsing, watching videos, and other applications that don’t ask for much from the processor. If you use your laptop, you will be satisfied with the performance. But if you need to increase it as needed, you will be disappointed.
Especially for the performance of ARM processors the longevity Flex 5G should be strong enough and especially the Snapdragon 8 CX. I was expecting good things, and I was not disappointed.