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CES 2019: The Laptops We Actually Want
Tech Features

CES 2019: The Laptops We Actually Want

We share our favorite laptops of CES 2019, whether its about business or hardcore gaming.

Let’s talk about computer hardware for a moment, specifically laptops that caught our eye while we navigated through the crowds and attractions of CES 2019. If you’re in the market for a notebook then there’s a lot to get excited about, whether it’s a legitimate tool for work or a light gaming machine away from home. From the usual suspects of HP and Dell (and Alienware by extension), to some quirkier choices seen from Lenovo and Acer , this is a short roundup of some laptops worth our attention.

For reference, we’re not going to go over every single laptop or accessory at CES simply because there’s only so much we’re able to cover that manages to catch our interests. We’re narrowing things down to the good stuff and won’t bore you with the usual hum-drum offerings, CES is about the awe and wonder of tech and we’re sticking to the motif. So, without further ado…

Starting with Dell, the latest XPS 13 continues to impress by being the most attractive ultraportable in features for the young professional. Everything you could ever want in a sleek 2.7 lbs, 13.3-inch computing device is here, including a bright 400 nit 4K HDR10 display, dual Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, and optional Dolby Vision support. This nearly bezel-free laptop went on sale during the show for $900, but if you’re into a larger screen the XPS 15 is expected to pack in all of these features and an OLED display in the coming months.

Ever since its 20th anniversary, Alienware has been steadily crawling back to consumer relevance. 2019 is their most ambitious foray in terms of mobile applications yet as they unveiled the m15 gaming laptop. It’s fairly lightweight while sporting a 240Hz display, with the ability to spec one out with a Intel Core i9 mobile CPU and the newest GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q mobile graphics GPU in time for March. However, the main showcase is the Area 51M which brings their desktop expertise to more versatile platform, without the expected compromises in power and the ability to actually upgrade both current the CPU and GPU—which is widely considered a rarity among laptops sold today. You may not need to utilize this for a while since you can spec an Area 51M with a Intel Core i9 and RTX 2080 GPU for the partly sum of $2550 when it drops at the end of this month.

Honorable mention also goes to Alienware and their 55-inch 4K OLED 120Hz Gaming Monitor on display. It’s big and glorious while sporting universal support for VRR and G-Sync/FreeSync, due for release sometime in the spring.

Lenovo maintains its legendary status as the brand for true business laptops with the 2019 ThinkPad X1 Carbon and Thinkpad X1 Yoga, with both choices ideal for corporate and IT workspaces. The keyboard is killer, the onboard security and encryption features will meet or exceed your company’s protocol, and that signature red trackpoint cursor is nostalgically cool as ever. However, the X1 Carbon earns it’s mantle by offering more of everything, including a 500-nit 10-bit display with 4K HDR/Dolby Vision and advanced Dolby Atmos speaker arrangement—if you ignore the lack of 2-in-1 functionality and addition hundreds of dollars that the X1 Yoga tacks on.

For gamers, Lenovo doubles down on their Legion Y740 laptop. These are more flexible in terms of options for prospective laptop gamers with RGB keyboard lighting and graphic options ranging from RTX 2060, RTX 2070 to RTX 2080 Q-Max GPUs. The choices continue to be interesting and potentially more affordable thanks to a Intel Core i5-8300H or i7-8750H, upgradable 32GB DDR4-3200 LPRAM, and optional Nvidia G-Sync FHD panel with 144Hz. Expect the Y740 to drop beginning in February.

HP had a slew of laptops on hand, from Chromebooks to their sophomore HP Omen 15 (2019) which receives typical upgrades such as newer processors and Nvidia RTX Max-Q technology. There’s even more in store this summer with 240Hz 1080p displays and next-gen 802.11ax wireless LAN, but because the update schedule appears incremental throughout the year, the Omen family felt like an afterthought against the Spectre x360 15. The x360 is a solid entry for creative power users as the 2-in-1 convertible features a 15.6-inch 4K/HDR touchscreen with an premium OLED variant coming later this year. This is good considering how well you can spec this baby already, starting with quad-core Intel Coffee Lake processors and your choice of either Nvidia MX150 or Radeon RX Vega M GPUs. The result is a beautifully-styled and robust lightweight laptop that can take on anything of above-average demand, with awesome pen-input performance. A fashionable pick for the spring buyer at $1370.

Acer went damn-near all-out when they showed off their prior $9000 Predator 21 X. No words could completely describe the impracticality and (possibly) borderline insanity behind this gaming laptop, and perhaps none of that mattered as it seemed to have had some sort of impression among the public. In that respect, the Predator Triton 900 is comparatively more restrained and reasonably innovative for traveling gamers. You get a 17.3-inch 4K G-Sync display, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, 32GB of DDR4 memory, and a Core i7 processor.

This is all status quo for the majority of this list, but its bulky 7.49lbs heavyweight frame and two large “Aero Hinges” that allow you rotate the screen 180 degrees front-to-back that truly defines this laptop. Use it as a makeshift TV if you prefer to play with an Xbox One controller (and yes, you play wirelessly with an included receiver) or stick primarily to touchscreen if the mechanical keyboard is too much of a distraction. This is an completely ridiculous laptop with an equally stupefying cost of $4799 right now. Bless Acer and their refreshing absurdity.

About the Author: Herman Exum