Hi everyone we are back with our live coverage of CEF29 team coming to you live from the CNET stage.
At TechWest I'm Dan Ackerman and I'm here with Josh Goldman and Justin Jaffe and we're here to talk about all the best and coolest laptops of CES 2019.
So this has been a great year for laptops I think.
It's usually a very strong category here, but this year I think we're seeing a phenomenal amount of new stuff.
A lot of it is driven by those new Nvidia RTX graphic cards, which is why we have all of these gigantic, gigantic gaming laptops.
Actually these are not that bg, they used to be much, much larger.
We used to have the 15 pounders, everyone would take the giant one on the subway and shoot photos of them, everyone did the same gag with the big 20 inch A laptop.
I'll show you the one that I think is the wildest in terms of design.
This is the Asus mothership.
And we got a description of this, I think via email at some point.
And we all read it.
And we all said to ourselves, I don't understand what that description means.
How does this actually work?
And when we saw it in person you go that's it.
So here you go looks like a regular laptop, I'm gonna put it down like this and push down on the back and a little kickstand is going to pop up.
And then I'm gonna lean it back on the kickstand, which is not something you usually do with a laptop.
Open up the lid like this and it's a little bit reversed.
There's your screen and there's your keyboard and your keyboard tray.
And you go okay, it's a big laptop that needs a kickstand.
You know there's a little secret here don't you.
[LAUGH] You pop this off now you've got a removable keyboard you can fold it under like this and just have it like a regula keyboard so it becomes basically all in one gaming PC that's battery powered or you can plug it all back together and use it like a laptop.
Is this the most outrage design you've seen at CES.
It's amazing I think I think that probably the only thing that would sort of compare that in terms of novelty of design would be this bad boy right here, which I'll push forward.
Yeah.>> This is the Acer Predator Triton 900 and you can see here.
It's got this sort of.
I'm gonna call it can't deliver design here.
I'm not an architect but I think this might be.
So you can see that it lays down flat.
Almost like a tablet here.
Like a PC tablet gaming in that mode?
Yes, and not what you can do is, you can raise up this hinge here.
And set it like that.
So, that's kind of an interesting design that I don't know that we've seen before.
We've seen a few laptops do similar things, but not really gaming ones.
But I like that you can take the screen, and put it just in back of the keyboard, and kind of move it screen forward.
Yeah, and I think one thing that we're all pleased about here is the previous edition of this model was the 700 model, and that one had the touchpad in a very odd place.
It had the touchpad above the keyboard, which ergonomically just crosses you up.
So, I think Ether has heard the feedback The touchpad now is to the right of the keyboard which I think we can all agree it belongs there, if it's not gonna be below the keyboard then to the right that works.
And when it was on the glass plate it also got very got, I took out my temperature gun I think we clocked it at 118 degrees at one point yeah that's super nice.
And now you've got a window into the heat pipes for the New.
Just for showing off.
Video card, and fans, it's a nice extra there.
And speaking of showing off, I think one of the things I'm most excited about is right next to that, and that is that big white laptop right there.
That is the Alienware Area 51M, and I know you're saying, Area 51, that's a desktop from Alienware, it's not a laptop.
That's why they use the desktop name for this new design which is probably their most complete design overall in many, many, many years.
Because it's got a desktop level GPU, and CPU in it.
And I think the big selling point is they are at least on paper upgradeable.
The CPU easy enough, the GPU if there is a future GPU that's also Removable, and the small desktop version you can stick it in there.
You could actually access the back of that and upgrade it yourself, which is the big problem so many people have with gaming laptops.
They're not upgradable.
And of course, tons of venting, they had a whole hex theme around it so on the bottom there's giant hex vents, which just kinda look cool.
And it comes in white, which is different for Alienware, so good for them.
Now, if not for these guys, I would think that this is pretty gigantic, but now it seems small in comparison.
It is definitely small.
This is Samsung's newest gaming laptop, just called the Odyssey.
They've had previous Odysseys, previous gaming laptops.
But this one is completely redesigned because the last one, eh, the design wasn't so great.
It was cool, I liked the logo on the back, but-
So this one is nice, it's all metal on the there, and you can see that it's really nice and thin, and that's what we're seeing a lot of.
I like how it puts the screen further up so you're not, like, looking down.
[CROSSTALK] With the bigger screen up top, and then.
Nice thin bezel around the side, so the whole overall thing is nice and small.
And then they did this nice little, I don't know if you can see that.
A little textured pattern on there.
Textured pattern on the.
It's like a little liquidy.
It's just a nice little accent, and yeah.
And these are all, all of these able to use the new Nvidia RTX
Graphics cards which promise a huge jump to gaming performance and will probably add a little to the price I'm not going to lie.
I love that all these big for example as gaming laptops here do something different, like no two of them are the same.
And none of them are what you think of as a traditional big bulky gaming laptop.
Even though they're all pretty big.
And I think that's a thing is that we're getting smaller, thinner, more portable gaming laptops.
And it's still cooler.
Yeah they do look cooler.
Nobody wants the dorm rooms special.
You need that spousal, I call it the SAF, spousal approval factor.
And if your gonna bring a big gigantic Gaming laptop with vents and fans and dragons on the back and everything home that may not fly if you're over a certain age.
So one of these that's a little slicker looking has a better chance of getting through the front door.
So this might be a good moment to mention now that we're seeing sort of desktop components in laptop form factors One of the more interesting things I've seen here at the show is this bad boy right here.
This is the Zotac Mac Mini.
And in this sort of bizarro world where we're seeing desktop components and laptops, we now have a desktop gaming rig.
That is arguably smaller than a laptop.
Of course you don't have the display or the keyboard or the mouse.
But just in terms of the components this thing starts at about $1,500.
You have an RTX 2080 in there.
You can see that it's covered in venting.
So there's about 270 degrees of a ventilation in this thing so that it can stay cool, cuz there are some really heavy-duty components in there.
There are some antennas that **** on here.
And cool lights.
All over this thing.
Very cool programmable lights, on the front of this.
So, kind of a nice counterpoint to some of the gaming laptops that we've seen.
Cuase that's why people started to move to these big laptops, cause the desktops were just so giagantic and gotten away all the time.
So those are the big guys.
Now let's talk about some of the small guys.
Obviously I think any discussion of this has to start with this little guy right here, the Dell XPS 13, it's a brand that's been around for a while, they had a big refresh last year.
Really squeezed down the bezels and one of the first major laptops that did that.
And it's been a great laptop, everyone has liked it but there's always been one fatal flaw the webcam was always right here under the screen because they couldn't fit it above the screen, and that lead to what everyone called the up the nose shot if you were using the webcam to go on Skype or anything like that, and I didn't think it was a deal breaker because I don't do a lot of webcasting or web video chats But I could see how it would bother people.
So for this new version, which is roughly the same dimensions as the previous one, it's got upgraded components.
They found a way to put the webcam right up here, on top.
It's so tiny.
It's a 2.3mm-high webcam.
I'm shocked that they were able to fit it in there.
But that solves that problem, and that, and that means you can't complain about the nose cam anymore.
And that was the only thing holding this back from being my absolute, absolute favorite laptops the last several years.
Well, you can't complain about the nose cam on that one.
But you can on that one.
I will, and I will.
So, so if you're, if you do a lot of web casting or Meetings, video meetings, and you're not the kind of person who puts the little Post-It over your webcam all the time.
There you go.
The new XPS 13, which I think continues making nice improvements for that every year.
Now I'm impressed by this, but there was one thing that I was waiting to see here, that I didn't actually see in-person until today, and it knocked me out.
This is a laptop I really loved the original version of last year.
It's the Acer Swift 7. Super light under 2 pounds.
Very thin bevel and they shaved them down even more here.
And they have this really wide touch pad.
And look at that it's a little bit shorter than most laptops.
Just feel how light that is.
I know, it's ridiculous
It doesn't even feel real at this point It's got a touch screen, which on these super thin ones they sometimes cut to get the weight down and get the battery life better.
And the fact that they managed to work in the Thunderbolt, and a touchscreen, and that big touchpad, and a keyboard that's okay.
It's not gonna be your favorite keyboard, and a reasonable number of ports.
and made it smaller.
I think this wins my most improved year over year contest.
ALthough, as you point out, there is one thing that will drive you nuts, that's the webcam that is right down here, because they didn't apparently shop at the webcam store to get that super thin one.
It pops up here, so if you're doing a lot of webcamming, XPS 13, if you want it under two pounds, Swift 7, which I think is just fantastic.
We have a couple more small ones to show you.
What is this guy, [UNKNOWN]?
I don't know.
Well, I'm going to turn it on so you can see it.
It's your pal, the HP Spectre x360 with Now, can we tell how this laptop is different from all the others?
It's got an OLED screen?
I love laptops with OLED screens.
We don't see them that often.
Now can you see the difference between this and a regular LCD screen?
I think so.
I think so.
I mean, it's very vibrant.
The colors are popping.
And it's a crisp display.
I think it actually does make a difference.
It really does.
Especially on a big 15" screen like this.
And of course, being a 360.
You can flip it over and you got like a mini-OLED TV right here which I think really looks great and I'm always surprise that more companies don't have OLED laptops.
A couple of them have them but not in the US.
When they have them, then they discontinue them.
So here's my vote Everybody's listening, more OLED laptop screens and more different screen sizes.
And I think that Dell and [UNKNOWN] did announce that they are starting to bring that technology into more 15 inch models this year.
I would love that.
That would be fantastic.
They have the 13 inch OLED from a couple years back that everybody loved.
And I saw a prototype from Razer of their new Blade 15 with an OLED screen.
It's not something that's ready now, but they put it in there just to show us
It could be done, and that would be fantastic.
And even Lenovo, which you were about to talk about, they announced a C730 with a no LED display.
Unfortunately not coming to the United States right now, but maybe in the future.
I was a little bummed out by that.
But who knows?
But this is their other big laptop.
This is the other big announcement, the Yoga S930 it again super thin, very light, but it is a very CES laptop.
So what you get is a nice 13.9 inch screen squeeze in the body.
It is the first I don't think you can see it from here.
It's a little subtle but I like it.
The way they were able to get the body down and remove here.
They have a curved glass, almost like the original Samsung with the phones.
Yeah, it curves into the frame there it's a really nice look buy you can't really see it unless you're right up on top of it.
This camera is up top.
It's an IR camera for signing in with your face there so-
That could be Windows Hello cuz I think the Dell one can, but it has a finger print reader.
So, but this is going to have glance software so that you can If you look away from your screen or you walk away from your screen it will automatically lock you out of the computer so you don't have to worry about somebody coming up behind you and getting access.
But it will also
If they are working in the same office with you, I am always very worried about that when I walk away form my computer.
Yes, I understand.
[LAUGH] It will also tell you if somebody is shoulder surfing
It'll pop up a little notification, let you know that somebody's right behind you looking at your screen.
So that's nice.
And then also later, when it comes out in May, they unfortunately couldn't demo this to us because, you know, CES.
Yeah, why bring it here?
You'll be able to, if you connect an external monitor, You'll be able to, if you're working on something on this display and you look over to your external display, the external display will come alive with your windows and stuff.
So it's a really nice addition-
So your computer's watching you, everyone is gonna be very comfortable with that concept.
One point about this.
I'm wondering what you guys think about this.
This laptop solves sort of the camera issue by having this little notch in all those.
Yeah, I noticed it.
It sort of looks like the iPhone X notch.
My preference is, I'm with that over the nose cam any day.
And so I'm noticing a lot of manufacturers are really consumed with super thin bezels.
And that forces them to put the camera in unconventional places that sometimes don't work.
I think this is totally fine.
And I think that the message to laptop makers is we're okay with this notch.
We're okay with the camera above the display.
I think that's where it belongs.
People are pushing for those thinner bevels, and yes, something's gotta give.
Speaking of Lenovo, I have a little Lenovo bonus for you.
You guys thought I was crazy for just playing with this thing for like an hour.
And I was fascinated by it.
It is this Lenovo Yoga Mouse.
And it starts out flat like this.
Then you twist it and it becomes a little mouse.
Maybe not the most ergonomic mouse ever.
But it's portable.
You can slip it in your jacket pocket like that.
And I was just going like this for a while.
And then, I discovered It's also a presenter mouse.
Which means you press this little button here, and it becomes a laser pointer.
I call it the cat antagonizer, so it's a convertible mouse/presenter/cat antagonizer, and it's called the Yoga Mouse.
For some bizarre reason I fixated on this.
I made little gifs of doing this and chasing the little red dot around the wall.
So that's one of my two little accessory extra picks and the other one.
I'll tell you about very quickly before we get to our very last device right here.
A lot of these have USBC only so you have to carry a bunch of dongles around with you or a little power cables or anything like that our buddies over at pad and quill which is a small company that makes laptop bags and phone cases and things like that.
I first noticed him when they made.
Book style iPad cases that were really cool.
They actually just dropped by with some new products, and these are these techfolio products.
And if you open them up, it's got room for all of your wires and little plugs and even the small plugs that power some of these really small laptops that are almost phone size now, so they could even conceivably fit in And here's the bigger version in case you have a few more cables.
And, you know, I think these are handy.
You can throw it in your bag.
If you have a lap top and you don't want all those little wires and dongles dangling around in your bag.
There you go.
Now Josh, you have the final word here.
You have the final word here.
This is super cheap.
It's the Samsung Flash and you think the textured design is.
I go back and forth.
I think it's either a, I don't know if you could see, it's either like a burlap or twill
What it is is plastic.
that Samsung's been know to experiments with plastics on a lot of things, on laptops.
And this is an example of that.
So they just wanted to give it a little bit more of a premium finish.
It's a $350 laptop, not a Chromebook.
But it's got Chromebook components in it.
And they did throw in some extras, you get fingerprint reader in there.
And the rounded keys and stuff.
Rounded keys for a little extra.
Cool, cool, we are almost out of time, so let me just ask Justin real fast, What would you go with, a plain looking Chromebook or a slightly fancy looking Windows laptop, both around 300 bucks, same components?
I wanna go with, you know what?
I don't object to this texture.
I love Chromebooks, a lot of Chromebook news this year.
Now AMD processors in there, new models from Acer, HP, and Asus.
So, I think with the Chromebook, however it appeals to you, that's the one that you go with.
I think as I continue to be very popular, Josh votes no on the texture, you vote yes, I vote interesting, I wanna play around with it some more, I think that is all the time we have there Yelling at us to wrap it up, so these are our favorite laptops of CES 2019.
Thank you, Justin, thank you, Josh, I'm Dan Ackerman.
Always keep it on CNET, the world's best tech news and reviews site.
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