At Computex 2019, Lenovo teased that it was working on a 5G laptop that would feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx processor codenamed “Project Limitless.” At CES 2020, the company showed off a first look at the finished project: the Yoga 5G.
From the outside, the Yoga 5G looks fairly bland, barely distinguishable from any of Lenovo’s other midrange laptops. But the internal specs are where things get interesting: instead of an Intel processor, it’s got Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx (making it the second laptop announced to use the chip) as well as Qualcomm’s X55 5G modem. It’ll support millimeter-wave and sub-6GHz 5G networks as well as LTE.
Lenovo says that it’s the first 5G computer powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon laptop processors. Admittedly, that’s not a difficult claim, given that there still aren’t a lot of laptops that use Qualcomm’s processors. But it means that the Yoga 5G will be an interesting test case for whether Qualcomm’s chips working in concert can deliver a comparable experience with cellular internet and battery life as they do on smartphones and tablets. (For what it’s worth, Lenovo is promising 24 hours of battery life off a single charge, although it’s not clear if that number is with 5G usage or not.)
Interesting processor and modem aside, the rest of the spec sheet is fairly lackluster: a 14-inch FHD IPS display, 8GB of RAM, and either 256GB or 512GB of storage. There are also two USB-C ports, a headphone jack, and a Nano SIM slot for supporting 5G, although the Yoga 5G will also work with eSIMs.
Given the relative paucity of ARM laptops on the market, it’s still difficult to tell whether the technology is there yet. Microsoft’s Surface Pro X showed that there’s still a ways to go on the software side when it comes to developers supporting ARM on Windows. And with the delayed Samsung Galaxy Book S missing a release date, there hasn’t been a consumer device with the stock 8cx on the market.
Add in the uncertainty with 5G rollouts and competing networking standards (Lenovo hasn’t announced which carriers will support the Yoga 5G), and that’s a lot of untested next-generation technologies all crammed into a single device.
The Lenovo Yoga 5G is set to release sometime this spring, starting at $1,499. We’ll have to wait to see if the rest of the tech world has caught up to Lenovo’s ambitions when it hits stores.