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Best 5G laptops in 2021

Included in this guide:

Best 5G laptops in 2021
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Most 5G laptops are catered towards people on the go. If you’re a business professional who needs a reliable workstation when there's no Wi-Fi in sight, or if you simply want drop-of-the-hat access to the full potential of your machine, we've found the best 5G laptops that you can find on the market today.

No, the best 5G laptops don't come with a faraday suit to protect you from the "harmful mind-control waves" conspirators think they run on. The greatest 5G laptops don't come bundled with a tinfoil hat, either, but you'll find much more useful stuff instead, like an ever-essential charger or stylus pen.

In all seriousness, 5G networks are still in their infancy, and so too is the market for 5G laptops. But don’t let that to fool you into thinking that what's currently available holds no value outside of increased connectivity. Many of the laptops on this list have so much more to offer than the latest cellular network.

What are the benefits of a 5G laptop?

In a world where Wi-Fi generally reigns supreme, you might find yourself asking why you’d ever even need to consider picking up a 5G laptop. You may even own a 4G compatible device and feel that it does the job well enough, so why bother? After all, 2020 was the year 5G was poised to really kick things off, and yet, some of the roaring hype for the service has dwindled into more of a background conspiracy-laden fizzle.

The unstable nature of 2020 is, of course, one of the reasons 5G hasn’t become more of a prominent fixture in our technological lives by now. Between delays on coverage expansion and consumers being actively discouraged from roaming at all, there’s less demand for 5G than perhaps it deserves.

However, there is more to 5G than just extended network coverage. As 5G expands and more areas are able to access the network, the potential of the service will become more apparent. The current mainstream 4G network has a ceiling of speeds up to 100 megabits per second while 5G is capable of up to 10 gigabits per second (theoretically), which is a hundredfold improvement over 4G speeds. 

To put those numbers in context, the average fixed broadband speed in the US (according to speedtest.net) hovers around 60 megabits per second for uploads, and 175 Mbps for downloads. That means 5G may actually have the potential to leapfrog ahead of conventional internet connections, delivering lightning-fast downloads, gaming, and streaming to your home wirelessly. At least in some areas.

While the majority of our favorite 5G laptops won’t allow you to install and run the latest AAA games, you could reliably stream games to your device thanks to zippy 5G speeds and the current trend of cloud-based game streaming services. And when you’re on the move, you can turn even the most business-focused laptop into a gaming notebook, all through the cloud.

A 5G laptop is, if nothing else, future-proofing yourself with an alternative option for connecting to the internet. 5G has the potential to last a decade, so this choice will afford you on-the-go and (eventually) at-home internet at speeds you won’t be able to deny.

What are the best 5G laptops?

One of the best 5G laptops right now is the Dell Latitude 9510 5G. Its 10th Gen Intel CPU and 16GB of RAM makes this business laptop a solid performer and one that never has to leave your side thanks to its superb battery life, which is just shy of 18.5 hours. It’s a true all-day always-connected device, but it will hit your pocketbook for around $2,500.

However, the best 5G laptop for you will depend on a few things. First of all, consider how much usage you require from the device while you're on-the-move; how much you want to pay; and how long you’ll be willing to wait to pick one up.

If you’re looking for a 5G laptop that's a little more affordable, but will still cover your business needs, check out the Lenovo Flex 5G 2-in-1.  It’s close to matching the Latitude 9510’s incredible operating time with nearly 17.5 hours of battery life, but it trades in a more powerful CPU for a price that will set you back only $1,499.

There are two more 5G laptops we've got our eyes on for 2021. These are the powerful all-rounder Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 5G and the business-focused HP Elite Dragonfly G2. Both laptops were expected to arrive in 2020, but met some delays along the way. From what we know about them, however, they’re positioning themselves as powerhouses of this category. So if you’re in no rush to purchase a 5G laptop, it may be worth holding out a little longer before making your final decision.

The Best 5G Laptops

  1. Dell Latitude 9510 5G
  2. Lenovo Flex 5G 2-in-1
  3. Lenovo X1 Fold
  4. HP Elite Dragonfly G2
  5. Samsung Galaxy Flex 5G

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

1. Dell Latitude 9510 5G

A fantastically functional 5G machine that comes at a cost

Specifications
Display: 15-inch (1080p w/ Non-Touch Option)
CPU: Intel Core i7-10810 vPro
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
Weight: 3.7 lbs
Size: 13.4 x 8.5 x 0.3~0.6 inch
Battery Life: ~18.25 hours
Reasons to buy
+Record-setting battery life+Slim design+Solid Performance
Reasons to avoid
-No 4K or discrete graphics-Pricey

Remember that old phrase “Time is money”? Well, Dell does too, and if you want to be the owner of a laptop that’ll give you around 18 hours of battery life, the company expects you to pay top dollar for it. The Dell Latitude 9510 sits at the top our list of laptops with the best battery life, and it also sits pretty as the best 5G laptop you can currently pick up.

The Latitude’s slim, sleek design and bright, near bezel-less 15-inch, 1080p display gives the 9510 enough personality to not fade into the background of the average 2-in-1 laptop design. It also feels sturdy when placed in tent or tablet mode without the hinges stiffening up.

The Latitude 9510’s price tag makes it a little give-and-take at times, a perpetual balancing of good and bad. It sports a powerful 10th Gen Intel CPU that delivers above-average performance, but it lacks discrete graphics or a 4K resolution. Its speakers caught us off guard (in a good way) with how well they performed, but its webcam failed to impress. 

The lack of discrete graphics can limit the laptop’s usefulness for gaming, but the 5G speeds that the 9510 harnesses make cloud gaming services such as PlayStation Now, Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now much more reliable.

See our full Dell Latitude 9510 review.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

2. Lenovo Flex 5G 2-in-1

A flexible 5G laptop that needs time to grow

Specifications
Display: 14-inch (1080p)
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 680
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB SSD
Weight: 2.9 lbs
Size: 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
Battery Life: ~17.5 hours
Reasons to buy
+Great battery life+Lightweight, premium design+Bright and vivid display
Reasons to avoid
-App compatibility issues-Pricey

Lenovo’s Flex 5G is the first laptop to truly enter the 5G market, and it seems to have set all of its focus on delivering a fantastic out-and-about experience. The Flex 5G is lightweight, its screen is bright and it boasts an impressive 17.5 hours of battery life that’ll leave you feeling confident about leaving the house without dragging a charger along.

It seems like all the right decisions were made while making the Flex as portable as possible, but we couldn’t help but feel a little let down by the decision to not include an AMD or Intel processor. Instead, Lenovo opted for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx CPU that faltered at times when attempting to run certain apps, and left the Flex feeling a little sluggish.

While its price-to-performance ratio is a little concerning, but at $1,499, the Flex 5G is still the cheapest in our selection of 5G-ready laptops. It won’t compete very well alongside similarly priced AMD or Intel-powered contemporaries, but Lenovo’s goal seems to be to be a sleek, minimalist and reliable 2-in-1 laptop. You’ll be able to take the Flex 5G with you anywhere and not feel constrained.

See our full Lenovo Flex 5G review.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold

A foldable PC with a hefty price tag

Specifications
Display: 13.3-inch OLED (2048 x 1536)
CPU: Intel Core i5-L16G7
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
Weight: 2.2 lbs
Size: 11.8 x 9.3 x 0.45-inch (unfolded); 6.2 x 9.3 x 1.1-inch (folded)
Battery Life: ~6 hours
Reasons to buy
+Innovative design+Superb build quality+Flexible OLED display
Reasons to avoid
-Poor battery life-Pricey even before extras

It’s another landmark for Lenovo, delivering the world's first foldable laptop in the ThinkPad X1 Fold. Designed to take a bit of a battering, the X1 Fold is built with durability in mind. Its foldable display is protected by chunky bevels, and its multi-link torque hinge keeps the vivid 13.3-inch OLED display safe.

The costly $2,500 ThinkPad X1 Fold doesn’t come 5G ready, so you’ll have to secure that feature at an additional cost when ordering. This pushes the price up another $299, which is a sting on top of other non-bundled accessories, like the X1 Fold’s Mini Keyboard and Mod Pen stylus.

It's a lot of coin to spend on a foldable laptop. (Though the design is admittedly very, very cool.) And that price tag seems even steeper when you consider the paltry 6-hour battery life, especially after looking into the previous two entries in this list. The X1 Fold is a fantastic concept, no doubt. But as a replacement to your old laptop? You might want to wait a generation or two upgraded specs and a lower starting price.

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

4. HP Elite Dragonfly G2

The HP Elite Dragonfly line spreads its wings

Specifications
Display: 13.3-inch (1080p/4K)
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i3/i7
GPU: Intel UHD 620
RAM: 8/16GB
Storage: 128GB/512GB/1TB/2TB SSD
Weight: 2.2 lbs
Size: 12 x 7.8 x 0.6-inch
Reasons to buy
+Good battery life+Lightweight, premium design+Bright and vivid display+A host of security features
Reasons to avoid
-Weak audio

The original HP Elite Dragonfly was a 4G LTE-focused laptop that received a 4.5-star rating in our 2019 review, and it was held back mostly for its reliance on an 8th Gen Intel processor. However, when the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 was unveiled at CES 2020 sporting a 10th Gen Intel CPU, a 4K display, a built-in 5G modem, and Tile tracker — it left some people’s heads thrown back so far you’d be amazed Pez candy didn’t fire out of their necks.

Retaining the beautifully elegant design of its predecessor, the Dragonfly G2 is a clash of eye-catching blue and chrome that’s impossible not to admire from any angle. A number of security features also follow from the previous iteration, including a fingerprint scanner and IR camera for facial recognition. And for the first time, the Dragonfly G2 will come with the aforementioned Tile tracker, which allows you to track your device even while powered off.

Unfortunately, due to delays caused by the coronavirus, HP had to push back the release of the Dragonfly G2 to 2021. But if you can hold off for just a short while longer, you’ll be rewarded with a much improved, 5G-ready laptop that wants to position itself as one of the most versatile business notebooks on the market. In our recent HP Elite Dragonfly G2 hands-on, we were optimistic to see what the latest Core i3, i5, and i7 processors could do under the hood. Stay tuned.

See our full HP Elite Dragonfly (2020): hands-on review.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

5. Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 5G

A promising entry in the world of 5G

Specifications
Display: 13.3-inch (1080p)
CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7 / Intel Core i5-1135G7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: Up to 16GB
Storage: Up to 512GB SSD
Weight: 2.7 lbs
Size: 12 x 7.9 x 0.6-inch
Reasons to buy
+Built-in S Pen+Lightweight, premium design+Bright and vivid display+Host of baked-in security features
Reasons to avoid
-Weak audio

Announced in September 2020, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 5G is the 5G-focused follow-up to the already impressive Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15. Only this time, along with having up to 16GB of RAM, it makes use of both Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors and Iris Xe Graphics. The Flex 5G is potentially pitting itself as not only the best 5G laptop, but also as one of the best overall laptops, since it sports hardware that is comparable to the Dell XPS 13.

If you’re a fan of clean and minimalistic designs, you’ll find the Flex 5G absolutely stunning. The Royal Silver finish is so razor-sharp, in fact, that it may require a disclaimer for descendants of French nobility.

Currently, Samsung has yet to reveal details around pricing or availability for the Galaxy Book Flex 5G, so this will be something to keep your eyes open for in 2021.

See our full Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 review.