There’s no contesting that the greatest innovation in recent years has come from laptop manufacturers. With CES (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show and one of the biggest trade shows of the year) currently ongoing in Las Vegas, this point was further driven home by LG, Asus, Acer and many others. With each new generation of CPU and GPU design, more power is being demanded. With an increase in laptop core counts, manufacturers of laptops have had no choice but to build larger laptops that can handle the increased power. Consumers are all-in for this change as well.
Here’s a look at the hottest hardware showcased on the convention floor in Las Vegas:
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i
Lenovo is making the most of screen real estate. A while back I reviewed the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED. It was a laptop with a single screen that could fold (with the help of a hinge) and be thrown into a backpack. Well, that was 2022, and we’re now in 2023. The Yoga Book 9i from Lenovo is an interesting take on the same concept. Instead of a single foldable screen, there are now two 13.3-inch 2.8K OLED screens that are connected by a 360-degree soundbar hinge (like in the Yoga 9i). It may not be a singular screen but thanks to some wizardry from Lenovo it may just be the one to look forward to.
The screens can be used in a multitude of ways — either vertically or horizontally. Windows can seamlessly move between the two screens and there’s an origami-style folding stand to support the Yoga Book 9i in either position. There’s a touchscreen keyboard but if you can’t get used to that then a Bluetooth keyboard is included in the package. There’s no visible touchpad but you can navigate the laptop in three main ways. First, is by using the touchscreen itself. Second, with the included stylus. Third, there’s a virtual touchpad that can be pulled up onto the screen and it comes with haptic buttons and physical feedback!
Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Twist
But wait, Lenovo isn’t done with just one dual-screen laptop. The ThinkBook Plus series is getting a “twist”. The Gen 3 model is doing the “twist and shout” as it makes big strides in 2023. The laptop has a 13.3-inch 2.8K OLED display as well as a 12-inch E Ink touch display. Just rotate the E Ink screen and the OLED turns off, making the E Ink screen the main display without losing access to the keyboard and touchpad. The only downside is that the two screens cannot mirror each other.
Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 4
A modular laptop in 2023? Bring it on. The ThinkBook 16p Gen 4 has an ace up its sleeve: Magic Bay. The Magic Bay is a magnetic pogo pin connector that sits at the top of the display. With Magic Bay, one can swap out different accessories or modules. Some examples are Magic Bay 4K webcam, Magic Bay Light, and Magic Bay LTE. Lenovo says more will be announced at a later date.
LG Gram Style
It’s not a new feature but LG thinks it's the future. The Gram Style, one of the two new Gram laptops, is taking a page out of Dell’s booklet. There’s a single pane of glass across the palm rest featuring a haptic feedback touchpad. Essentially, an invisible, but very useable touchpad. The touchpad lights up under your fingers.
The Gram Ultraslim, on the other hand, is the thinnest Gram ever, measuring 11 millimetres thick and weighing just 2.2 pounds (998 grams).
Asus ProArt Studiobook
For 2023, Asus took the wraps off the world’s first glasses-free 3D OLED display. This will come with the ProArt Studiobook 16 and the ZenBook Pro 16X.
The world’s first glasses-free 3D OLED display has debuted on Asus’ ProArt Studiobook 16 and the Zenbook Pro 16X. Typically, to experience 3D, one requires glasses or a VR/AR headset. With the new “Spatial Vision” display technology, this might be a thing of the past. It’s easier than ever to view 3D images as there’s no need to don a pair of glasses. People who wear glasses daily will be breathing a sigh of relief.
Are Chromebooks making a comeback?: Yes, you’ve heard that right. In 2023, Chromebooks are no more being overlooked. The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook stands tall at the top of the list. The Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is among the first non-cloud gaming Chromebook devices. It also features an RGB keyboard, 8MP webcam, four Thunderbolt 4 ports and a 1,200-nit screen! All these features outdo its Windows counterpart.
2023 also marks the comeback for the Chromebox. There’s the Acer Chromebox CXI5 (with all the latest hardware) and an optional Add-in-One 24. With this, the Chromebox can slide into the back of a specially designed 24-inch FHD monitor. There’s also the Asus Chromebox 5 and the ThinkCentre M60q Chromebox.
Giant gaming laptops
At CES, gaming laptops are getting more and more powerful as well as becoming larger. A new batch of 18-inch gaming laptops has cropped up and is being showcased on the convention floor. Alienware, Acer, Asus and Razer are leading the charge here. First up is the Acer Predator Helios 18. The screen is the showstopper here. There are three 2,560x1,600-pixel display options (with 165Hz or 240Hz refresh rates). There’s a Mini LED panel (with 250Hz refresh rate). Finally, there’s the entry-level 1,920x1,200-pixel display that has a 165Hz refresh rate.
Second is the Razer Blade 18, which is being pitched as the ultimate desktop replacement. It may be thin but it is loaded. The Blade 18 comes with the 13th-gen Intel Core i9 HX processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card alongside a 1440p (240Hz refresh rate) display. The Alienware m18 comes with a choice of AMD or Intel processors and Nvidia or Radeon graphics. The icing on the cake is that the m18’s full-size keyboard comes with optional Cherry MX mechanical keys. The Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 is an 18-inch laptop that is roughly the same size as older 17.3-inch laptops.
One thing to keep in mind is that none of the gaming laptops mentioned above is light and portable.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
It may not be an 18-inch gaming laptop, but the Zephyrus G14 deserves a mention here. The compact 14-inch laptop has a Mini-LED screen that can deliver over 600 nits of brightness and has a 165Hz refresh rate.
The laptops listed above were amongst the most innovative and showstopping of the dozens of laptops launched/showcased at CES. Of course, there were plenty of other laptops showcased like the Acer Swift Go, an ultraportable Windows 11 laptop and Lenovo’s Yoga AIO 9i, an all-in-one Windows desktop computer.