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Need to work from the road? Here are the 5 best laptops with LTE

ThinkPad X1 Nano
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
Small but powerful
Jump to details
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Ideal for professionals
Jump to details
HP Elite Dragonfly G2
HP Elite Dragonfly G2
2-in-1 beast
Jump to details
Dell Latitude 9510
Dell Latitude 9510
Go big or go home
Jump to details
Galaxy Book Flex2 Alpha
Galaxy Book Flex2
5G design powerhouse
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lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon 2018 review 16
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Ever wish your laptop acted — well, more like your phone, especially when it comes to data connections? The answer is LTE, the widely used wireless data transmission standard/broad term for mobile data connections starting with 4G. Laptops that have LTE tech can connect with cellular data signals just like your phone, allowing them to use your carrier plan for more reliable internet, especially in areas where Wi-Fi may not be an option or smart security choice.

The key is that LTE is always evolving (the name literally means Long-Term Evolution). The latest laptops to hit the market are carrying what's now simply called 5G, the latest high-speed, high-security connection, if your carrier currently offers it. Since the 5G rollout has begun, you will probably want to look for a laptop with technology that will support the 5G standard, which uses a different radio spectrum and requires new components. Here are your best options, plus some choices for saving money with an older version of LTE.

lenovo thinkpad x1 nano review
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

Small but powerful

Pros
  • Solid productivity performance
  • Extremely light
  • Good keyboard and touchpad
  • Excellent battery life
  • Very nice 16:10 display
Cons
  • Bezels are a bit large

Why you should buy this: It's among the best 13-inch laptops money can buy.

Who's it for: Professionals who need a small, but powerful laptop.

Why we chose the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano:

The 13-inch Nano is one of the smallest ThinkPads Lenovo has made yet, and although under 2 pounds, it still includes potent tech, like the 11th-gen Intel Core i5-1120G7 processor (base model), 16GB of memory, and a 512GB PCIe SSD for storage. Some features, like storage or extra screen protection/touchscreen options, can be upgraded if you are willing to bump up the price.

While the screen may be small, it offers a "2K" 2160 x 1350 resolution for a crisp Windows experience and higher-resolution gaming options. You won't be able to raise the settings much with the onboard Intel Xe graphics, but they're far more capable than integrated GPUs of generations past. Both a privacy-enabled webcam and a fingerprint reader are packed into this compact model, which also supports both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1. You also get the latest Thunderbolt 4/USB4 connections for high-speed data transfers.

All this combined makes the ThinkPad X1 Nano the best LTE laptop upgrade we've found, and the perfect way to replace an older laptop with all the latest specs in an extremely portable package.

ThinkPad X1 Nano
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
Small but powerful
A person using the Surface Pro X.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Microsoft Surface Pro X

Ideal for professionals

Pros
  • Beautiful thin-bezel display
  • Absurdly thin and light
  • New stylus is easy to charge
  • LTE comes standard
Cons
  • Pen and Type Cover not included
  • Microsoft's SQ1 chip must prove itself

Why you should buy this: It's one of Microsoft's best Surface models.

Who's it for: Ideal for students who can the most out of its large screen.

Why we chose the Microsoft Surface Pro X:

If you have no interest in paying for 5G in the near future and don't mind switching to a new laptop when you're ready to, then traditional 4G LTE is probably all you need, and a way to save some money on your purchase. We suggest the Surface Pro X as a reasonable compromise.

The laptop is created with the SQ1 ARM processor, a joint effort between Microsoft and Qualcomm designed for highly mobile devices. The base model begins with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, although you can upgrade to 16GB and 512GB of storage if necessary.

The display is a slightly larger 13-inch model at a high 2880 x 1920 resolution, and it enjoys smaller bezels than the standard Surface Pro 7. You'll get two USB-C ports, a Surface Connect port, and a nano-SIM slot for the LTE connectivity — although keep in mind that while LTE connectivity is native to the laptop, you will still need the right SIM card, which isn't always included.

Since the Surface Pro X is meant for professionals, there's also a TPM chip for managing enterprise security, Windows Hello sign-in support, and BitLocker support to help improve and manage your security. Unfortunately, the Surface Pro X hasn't been updated for Wi-Fi 6 quite yet. You'll also want to save some money for the Surface Type Cover ($140) and Surface Slim Pen ($145), neither of which are included in the base price.

Microsoft Surface Pro X
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Ideal for professionals
A person using the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 to video conference.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

HP Elite Dragonfly G2

2-in-1 beast

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Plenty of customization options to choose from
  • Standard HD screens feature touchscreen capabilities
  • Ample connectivity options
Cons
  • Quite pricey

Why you should buy this: It's quite powerful for a 2-in-1 machine. Its sleek design is also a plus.

Who's it for: Professionals who need something portable that they can heavily customize to suit their needs.

Why we chose the HP Elite Dragonfly G2:

This 13-inch professional 2-in-1 laptop is perfect for remote work around the house or professionals who know they'll be frequently on the move — plus we appreciate the plethora of customization options and available docking accessories that can make it even more tailored to a specific business environment. It also allows you to include an AT&T or Verizon SIM card, in addition to the pre-installed Gemalto eSIM card.

Inside, you can equip this Dragonfly with up to an 11th-gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor, between 8 GB and 32 GB of RAM, and several integrated Iris XE graphics options. Storage can range from a relatively slim 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD to a full 2TB of SSD storage. The display offers potential upgrades to ultra HD, but even at HD levels still has touchscreen capabilities.

Like the Nano, the Dragonfly G2 also offers Wi-Fi 6 and two Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports, plus an HDMI 2.0b connection and SuperSpeed USB-A port. When choosing your mobile broadband technology, make sure you choose the Qualcomm Snapdragon option, which is the LTE that supports 5G.

HP Elite Dragonfly G2
HP Elite Dragonfly G2
2-in-1 beast
A normal view of the Dell Latitude 9510 laptop, joined by  the same product being shown as it appears when folded.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Dell Latitude 9510

Go big or go home

Pros
  • Relatively lightweight for its size
  • Comes with an option to upgrade to a 2-in-1 system
  • Base model offers plenty of RAM (16GB)
Cons
  • Lack of 4K screen

Why you should buy this: It features all the bells and whistles of a laptop with a large screen.

Who's it for: Students or professionals looking for a fairly large laptop capable of handling the more processor-demanding programs.

Why we chose the Dell Latitude 9510:

If portability is lower down on your list and you are more interested in a larger screen to help manage more complex tasks, you'll probably prefer this 15-inch Latitude model. In addition to the larger HD display (upgradeable to a touchscreen if you prefer), the base model begins with a quad-core 10th-gen Intel Core i5-10310U processor with integrated Intel UHD Graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 128GB PCIe NVME SSD.

The laptop includes useful Dell software addition like automatic battery monitoring and improvement, and the sleek design keeps the laptop down around 3 pounds so you can still tote it around easily. Connection options include Wi-Fi 6, USB-A 3.2, Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, and HDMI 2.0.

Note that the Dell Latitude 9510 comes with an alternative design that gives it 2-in-1 capabilities if you prefer to have a tablet option as well. We like the somewhat sturdy clamshell option, especially with the midsized screen, but it's up to what you prefer for work or travel.

Dell Latitude 9510
Dell Latitude 9510
Go big or go home
A Samsung Galaxy Book Flex2 with its stylus pen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Galaxy Book Flex2

5G design powerhouse

Pros
  • 13-megapixel camera
  • Light enough to be carried
  • Useful S pen
  • USB-C and USB-A 3.0 ports
Cons
  • At its price, 4K capability should be included, especially for a design-focused system

Samsung’s first 5G laptop is a 2-in-1 that brings its focus to its design and to art. Originally, it was known as the Flex 5G, but it’s now simply called the Flex2. This machine is a 13-inch, full HD laptop that also includes an outward-facing 13-megapixel camera perfect for capturing more detailed photos. Plus, it comes with the S Pen for drawing or similar artistic endeavors. Like other Samsung devices, the laptop includes its little nook for safely storing the stylus when not in use.

The internal parts are also completely updated and ready for 2021. The Flex2 comes with an 11th-gen Intel Core processor (available in i7 or i5), integrated Intel Iris XE graphics, 8GB of RAM, and up to a 512GB SSD for storage. Its ports include Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, and USB-A 3.0, with additional support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1. With all these components, the Flex weighs just a bit under three pounds, which is still light enough to conveniently carry around.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for the Galaxy Book Flex2 to roll out to North America. Right now, orders are currently only available in Great Britain and Europe. Since stock is as limited as it is, when it’s finally ready for North American release, you’ll likely see inventory go very quickly. With that in mind, get ready to act fast.

Check for order information and stock alerts at Samsung's site.

Galaxy Book Flex2 Alpha
Galaxy Book Flex2
5G design powerhouse
Tyler Lacoma
Former Digital Trends Contributor

If it can be streamed, voice-activated, made better with an app, or beaten by mashing buttons, Tyler's into it. When he's not making the Internet a better place with the latest tech news, Tyler is working in the eco and investment world, writing fiction, or waiting for hiking weather.

Zak Islam
Former Digital Trends Contributor

Zak Islam was a freelance writer at Digital Trends covering the latest news in the technology world, particularly the computing field. A fan of anything pertaining to tech from the latest gadgets to the newest graphics cards and CPUs, Zak has also written for Tom's Hardware.

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