Gaming laptops at CES 2017 earn points for novelty
Acer Predator 21 X
This $9,000, 20-pound/8.8kg laptop with a 21-inch curved display was one of the biggest (no pun intended) hits of the show. Novelty features include a touchpad that you can flip over and use as a numeric keypad and Tobii Eye Tracking. Inside, it's got dual GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs with Nvidia G-Sync support, four speakers with two subwoofers and room for five storage devices, and two power supplies to run it all -- and five fans plus nine heat pipes to keep this juggernaut cool. It's ready for VR whenever you are.
Acer's inexpensive 15.6-inch gaming system is one of the first to incorporate Nvidia's new budget graphics cards; you can configure it with either the 1050 or 1050 Ti. And it sports just enough red to identify it as a gamer's laptop.
Starts at $799 (directly converted, £650 or AU$1,110)
This 17-inch Predator occupies a lower rung on the food chain than its expensive, hulking brother. It's an update over the initial model which launched in spring 2016, getting a seventh-gen processor refresh and an update to the GeForce GTX 1080.
Starts at $2,599 and €2,999 (directly converted, about £2,555 or AU$4,360).
This triple-screen gaming machine is still conceptual -- there's no pricing, specs or availability -- but was one of the most talked-about systems at the show. The unit that Razer brought to CES incorporated three 17-inch screens incorporating G-Sync that fold into the relatively thick lid, driven by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 card.
Razer's other concept showing is Project Ariana, a projector with a 155-degree fisheye lens and a pair of 3D-sensing cameras that connects to a laptop and projects your game action throughout the room; it's designed to show make you feel more immersed in the action as well as show off the capabilities of Razer's Chroma lighting-effects platform. It can also project ordinary HD video when you're not knee-deep in bodies. Though it's not technically a gaming laptop, it's intended to be an extension of one.
The Odyssey 15 and 17 are Samsung's first foray into gaming laptops, and they eschew the company's usual minimalist design in favor of gaming-typical colorful backlit keys, illuminated red highlights and angular accents. The specs don't look like they'll set the world on fire, though, and the screens are only 1,920x1,080 resolution, but we don't know pricing or availability yet; price makes all the difference for a given set of specs.
The other notable laptop for gamers on a budget incorporating the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti GPUs, the 15-inch Inspiron 15 7000 looks a lot more like a gaming system than its predecessor, runs on seventh-generation Core i5 or i7 processors and can be configured with a 4K screen.
Starts at $799 (directly converted, £645 or AU$1,100).
Lenovo split its gaming-capable laptops into a line of their own, complete with a new design that looks more like a typical game system -- glowy colored keys, angular accents and red illumination for highlights -- plus more targeted "Legion" branding. The two intitial models incoporate seventh-generation Core i7 processors and Nvidia graphics, up to the current GeForce GTX 1060 (in the 17-inch model). Notably, the Y720 is also the first laptop to incorporate Dolby Atmos sound and integrates an Xbox One wireless receiver. Unlike the Y720, the Y520 tops out with a GeForce GTX 1050 and lacks the specs for VR-readiness.
Legion Y720 starts at $1,399 or AU$2,699 (around £1,145), available April 2017. Legion Y520 starts at $899 or AU$1,999 (around £735), available February 2017.
Acer gave its V Nitro 15- and 17-inch laptops a business-as-usual refresh, updating its processor and graphics options to this year's models: seventh-generation Core processors and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or 1050 GPUs. They also got a tiny makeover, dropping the silver hinge for a black-all-over look.
The 15-inch model starts at $1,199 (£975 or AU$1,655, converted); the 17-inch starts at $1,399 (£1,135 or AU$1,935).