5G is the new technology on everyone’s lips right now, with an influx of new devices supporting the latest cellular connectivity.
Even Apple, notorious late adopters of emerging technologies, are highly likely to include 5G on the new iPhone.
While 5G promises improved reliability and significantly faster speeds, it will be a number of years before it is established in the UK. The portability of smartphones makes them a prime candidate for such experimental technology, but 5G is already moving into another form factor.
The Lenovo Yoga 5G, launched at CES 2020, claims to be the very first laptop with 5G connectivity, supporting both mmWave and sub-6 standards. A number of other manufacturers look set to follow, with the likes of Dell and HP already announcing devices to compete with Lenovo in the 5G space.
— Lenovo (@Lenovo)
January 6, 2020
While an ambitious uptake of new technology is hardly surprising, it doesn’t feel like 5G makes sense on a laptop just yet. A major reason for this is the delays to Intel’s 5G modem devlopment, which might push its release back until the middle of 2021.
As a result, the first 5G laptops come with a processor from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line, which is celebrated among smartphone manufacturers but relatively untested in the laptop space.
The other big barrier is price. We have already seen the inflated cost of 5G-enabled smartphones, and that trend looks set to continue with laptops. Considering you can already easily pay four figures for a powerful device, this may push many 5G laptops out of people’s price range.
It’s also worth pointing out laptops with any type of cellular connectivity are still relatively rare. The obvious of potential use cases while travelling are in areas where Wi-Fi is already available. A link with your existing phone contract might make this more useful, but it’s still a long way from being considered mainstream.
It will take a number of years before 5G achieves mass adoption, particularly considering 4G is still not available in many rural areas. The infrastructure demands make it currently only possible in large towns and cities, and that’s unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
All this means 5G laptops should be reserved for tech enthusiasts in 2020. It could be a number of years before we recommend them to the average consumer.
Check out our dedicated guide to 5G for more information.