Thin, fast and flexy, see all the best laptops from CES 2018
Hello cnet fans, welcome back to a live coverage of ces2018.
I'm Dan Here with my pals Xiomara Blanco and Josh Goldman to talk about the best laptops that they've uncovered at this year's show.
We're gonna dive right in because we have a gigantic selection here of some of the cool things that we've seen.
And I'm actually gonna start of with what I think is probably one of the most impressive things here and that's something that Xiomara went to go see and write about.
And this is the Acer Swift 7. And tell me, ZMR, what is it's big claim to fame.
Well this is really popular because it's technically right now the world's thinnest computer, and that is a big trend with laptops if you didn't know.
They really like to make them really skinny, just like supermodels.
But it has a bigger screen than last year's model and with Acer we're not used to seeing things like that, they are usually very middle of the road, very affordable.
Gaming laptops, we get a lot of gaming laptops from them.
So, this is like a nice surprise and everyone's been really impressed with it.
It's been one of the things that people just keep talking about here.
Especially because look at that.
And last year's model had a 13 inch screen.
This one has a 14 inch screen.
I think it's got LTE built in as well.
You've got the fingerprint reader.
I do feel like at this point we're shaving just percentages of a millimeter off.
It's not really like an 8.9 millimeters versus 9.9 millimeters.
It's not a huge difference.
But it's nice to have Sort of those bragging rights.
I'm looking for lighter though also.
I feel like this is not the lightest laptop out there.
It actually feels, here Josh, grab that for a second.
It feels a little bit heavier than you'd think it would looking at it because it's so small.
Yeah, well, and it's also all metal so I mean, obviously that's going to add some weight to it but yeah, it definitely feels solid, right.
I don't know how How it could not feel solid this thin, so yeah.
It's nice, I haven't seen it in person yet.
[CROSSTALK] that part, it's going to be expensive, isn't it?
Yeah, I believe it starts at 899.
And it has seventh generation Intel core processers, not the latest, so that's one knock against it.
And I think the super, I think it goes way up too.
I think I saw like $16.99 for at least one of the models.
Now we had a blackout yesterday.
First time I've ever seen that.
I've seen a lot of things at CDS, we saw rain.
I saw snow one year.
But I never saw a blackout before, and when you have that you probably want really long, if you have a laptop, like a really long battery life.
You might be in a good position, because you can survive longer than anyone else.
If your laptops cop out at 5 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours, what if you had a laptop that ran at 20 hours?
That is the promise of this new generation of laptops with Qualcomm Snapdragon processors inside.
Which is basically the same chip you find in a lot of mobile phones and they say that they'll run a really long time, cuz they're super efficient.
So this is the Lenovo Miix 630.
It's one of the first two or three or four of these systems.
And it's done in the Lenovo Miix tablet, surface like tablet with a keyboard that clips on and a cool kickstand.
Style, they claim 20 hours.
Obviously it's always on LTE, cuz that's the entire point of these Snapdragon systems.
It really is taking the best stuff from phones and putting it into laptops.
One thing I did like about this especially, is you clip it out of the A little kickstand thing.
So you've got your tablet part right here.
You haven't seen these in a while.
[LAUGH] There have not been a ton of stand alone tablets here but I like the clip-on keyboard that, unlike, shall we say some other brands, it comes with it.
You don't have to buy it separately.
But the kickstand on it, look at that.
That's really solid.
It's got a big hinge right here, right in the middle.
And you just kind of slide it on.
Let's see if we can do it in one attempt.
Magnetically it snaps right on there, and then this has a magnet back here.
And like that.
So I thought that was pretty cool.
The one weird thing about the Snapdragon systems, is you know what operating system they all come with by default?
Exactly, so what is Windows 10?
It's a stripped down version that can only install apps in the official Microsoft App Store.
And that app store is kind of a mess.
It is, you can't get Chrome.
You can't get other web browsers.
You can't get like real Photoshop.
Can get Spotify.
You probably can, I don't know if Spotify is in the Micro, if it's in the Microsoft Store, then no
But, there is a workaround.
You can actually upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free, just by clicking a couple of buttons.
For some contractual reason they feel the need to put Windows 10 S on all of these.
But they go, nod, wink, you know, just go upgrade it later.
But they can't promise that the Snapdragon processor will
Support every bit of software out there, that's why they restrict it.
And that's the thing that can concerns me with this for the vendors sake.
So we've got that one and there was one from HP that came out when the [CROSSTALK]
They've talked about battery life.
Haven't mentioned really anything really about performance.
It's a basically a phone brain inside a laptop, and I think as we push towards people wanting more and more.
The one thing people complain about still is battery life.
We're spoiled now, eight hours, nine hours.
Years ago, that was not imaginable.
Now it's not enough.
12 hours is great.
20, once 20 becomes a norm, that's it.
Right, that's one of the reasons why I think we see bigger 14-inch screens, 15-inch screens in these super thin laptops.
Because they can make the bodies wider and that's more battery.
You could fill up more of the chassis with battery.
And that's one way they do it.
But I'm super interested to see what these actually do performance wise.
We would have to take them out of Windows 10 S mode to even test them, to install our testing apps.
So it's a little Schroedinger's cat.
You can't observe it without changing it by installing Windows 10 Pro instead of that.
I hope that's not the only Schroedinger's cat reference someone has made this week at CES.
But Lenovo has another cool system that Josh suggested we bring here.
Where, there it is.
And that's this guy right here.
Here you go.
Is this the X1 Carbon?
The X1, is it the Carbon or the Yoga?
See if it bends all the way back.
There we go, so that means it's the Carbon.
If it went all the way back it's the Yoga.
But you do get that 180 degrees.
So you can lay it flat to everybody can gather around and look at presentations or something.
[LAUGH] But it is very thin.
Lenovo says it is the lightest 14 inch business system.
So there's that [LAUGH].
They added three things that I thought were super interesting.
Number one, They have an HDR screen.
Which not a lot of laptops have.
So it's the first Dolby Vision HDR certified-
But there's two flavors of HDR.
Yeah, and then-
And we saw it.
We saw it.
We asked them.
They had a laptop or two with an old edge screen a couple years ago.
And those looked awesome.
We loved those.
Place but they didn't really get picked up anywhere.
I guess maybe it's hard to get the screens and we looked at that, it was like is that an OLED screen?
Cuz it was super bright.
They said no, it's the HDR that's making it look that way.
So they're getting rid of the OLED and replacing it basically with the HDR screen.
Right and they also said that OLED screen was only 300 nits.
One of the big selling points on this one and the Yoga
Is that it's 500 nits, super bright.
You sit outside even with the glossy screen and it shouldn't be a problem.
And number two, their adding everybody's favorite smart home assistant to a bunch of these systems.
Right, the put in 360 degree far field mics so you can shout out Alexa commands at it from wherever you are in the room.
So you're travelling and you want to turn on your lights at home, I guess, you could do that.
I use [UNKNOWN].
I do the weather all the time.
I do turn on my lights.
I do conversions.
When we write about something and we have to go it's this much in dollars, now what is it in pounds, I literally shout out the conversions.
And I get them back from Alexa from the [UNKNOWN] I have in my office.
My favorite thing, sorry to interrupt, is this little thing right here.
It has, they call it what, a camera shutter?
A shutter, yeah.
Think Shutter, they branded the shutter.
I's like a little slider that goes over [UNKNOWN]
So instead of putting a sticker over your webcam, you can just
Switch this over and you don't have to worry about the FBI looking at you while you browse YouTube.
And I think that's just really neat.
One less accessory you have to buy.
Now do you put a post it note on your webcam or cover it in some other way?
I have an informal survey going of a lot of people.
Now what do you use?
I use a variety of things cuz I always have to take it off, so I always have to find a new sticker to put back on it.
But I just got one of those cool little CNET ones to put on my computer.
Should grab one while they're still here.
Now do you that on all the computers you use, just your main one?
Just my main one.
What's your fret profile.
[LAUGH] The Josh do you cover your webcam?
Yeah I just have a little piece of masking tape over it.
You really do okay.
It's so interesting, I just can't be bothered.
I just don't do it, I
Talk to some security guys, we're gonna do a story in CNET Magazine in spring, about kind of security for paranoia
People and like what should actually do?
And I really conflicting views from different experts on whether you should do that.
Some people said yes, and other people said you're not a target.
Don't worry about it unless you're like a nuclear scientist or something, you're probably okay
And also has pointed out that besides this camera, you've got the microphone and camera in your phone that you carry around with you all the time.
That's probably easier to hack into than a webcam on a laptop.
But also maybe someday we'll see those shutters on phones.
That's a good idea.
But I do like, cuz business laptops for a long time, you could buy models without webcams.
On them cuz for security they wanted that.
So it's cool to have this.
I haven't seen the physical thing built into a laptop before, but years ago some company sent me a little clip-on version, like a little elongated shutter that you could stick on, and it had a little slider thing.
So there you go.
It's got Alexa, it's got the shutter And it's got that HDR screen that fooled me into think it was OLED for a second.
Now one of our favorite laptops going back a couple years is the Dell XPS13.
It really kicked off that minimal bezel look where they kinda shaved down the border surrounding the screen.
But it's been a little while.
And that design has maybe gotten a little fake, a little punky.
So they actually redesigned it for this year.
This is, I think, when I saw it in person I'm like, this is one of the cooler looking laptops here.
It's the new XPS 13.
And you can get it in white and rose gold on the back and a few other color options.
I think it's a log overdue redesign of something that was super awesome.
What, three years ago when it first came out, but then it kind of got eclipsed by other standard designs.
So I'm pleased to see there's not a ton of internal upgrades other than new processors, but I'm super pleased to see new colors and a thinner design on that.>>Right, so, and that Lenovo being 14 inches it's, what did I say, lightest?
This is supposed to be 13.3 inch screen.
This is the smallest in the world, according to Dell, so-
Did they squeeze, that's right, cuz [UNKNOWN] squeezed it down this way a bunch.
Now, how do you feel Viamara, about the infamous nose cam?
I'm not a big fan, I don't know anybody who likes to take selfies from below, or who looks good, besides like, Rhianna.
It's a weird decision.
I don't know, I'm not a big fan.
Cuz you can't put it up here, there's no room for the webcam.
So a bunch of these super thin laptops, we call them the nose cam, and they're right down there.
And for Skype calls or whatever you're using your webcam for, it's not always a flattering look, unless you want that Vincent Price sort of underlip Halloween look right there.
Right, also when you're typing.
If you're typing while you're doing it, your hands are just gigantic in the camera.>> You know gigantic hands.
But every laptop that has this super thin besells around it has the same problem.
I don't know what the other solution is unless you have like a clip on the top, or something where you make this top part thicker.
But televisions have super thin besels all around now.
It took a while for laptops to catch up.
I feel like you can't really go backwards on that.
Maybe we need a notch, just like the-
Yes, that's right, right in the middle of the screen.
Imagine the outcry over that if you notched your Windows 10 system.
I think it's super cool, and I like white laptops.
I just think everything is grey and silver and dark grey.
Whenever somebody has a different color It's a glass fiber.
They used a layered glass fiber for that and they've treated it.
[INAUDIBLE] look yeah.
Yeah they've treated it so it doesn't yellow.
I know that was a big concern in past.
They'd have like white surfaces and And the H-board, so this ones treated so it doesn't do that-
The HP Spectre, the new one that came out late last year also, is available in white, with a really nice white-
I think they're competing, rose gold, white laptops, so.
The other new thing from Dell, is this guy right here.
Which is the XPS 15 two in one.
And they've had XPS 15's before, super thin bezel here.
But this is now one of those guys that flips all the way around.
It becomes a tablet like that.
But it's a big tablet.
As somebody who uses a lot of tablets, would you use one this gigantic?
I would not.
I guess it's useful when you're watching tv
And I do the kiosk sometimes.
I go look at this and I put it down.
That's what I call the kiosk mode.
I don't know what everyone else calls it.
That's what I call it.
Once again you have the nose camera here, but this is notable for one super big reason it's One of the first two things that we've seen with new combo chip inside.
A new intel chip.
I think they called it Kaby Lake G. And it's an Intel processor with an Andy GPU together on same chip.
It's like a team arrivals thing.
These two companies working together.
Usually bitter rivals.
Now, they've got a combination thing that supposed to be very efficient Doesn't hurt your battery life but gives you really good discreet graphics power without having to have a separate GPU that would, I guess, presumably come from Invidia.
So this is the first one that I ever saw with this new chip.
There's one other we have here that has that.
We'll talk about that in a second.
What I like about this is I like the larger ones, even though it's awkward to use as a tablet
I like it so that you can put it down like this on a desk, and then set up a keyboard and mouse in front of it.
You've got the keyboard out of your way.
Yeah, so you just bluetooth, you drop it on your desk, and-
It's like a little monitor.
Yeah, basically [CROSSTALK], it's just like changing into a desktop, getting the keyboard out of the way so it's not.
Really far away from you if you wanna use the touch screen.
I'm really interested to test one of these for gaming and see what kind of game scores they give out with that AMD GP unit.
We haven't had a chance to do that yet, but if you can get decent gaming performance in something super thin like this without having to pay extra for a regular, full-size GPU-
That's potentially really cool.
But Dell is not the only guys doing this, did you know that?
Because right next to it, kissing cousins if you will, right here is the HP Spectre X-360 15 inch.
Frankly very similar, but it actually has a cool difference.
Well number one they put the touch pad, look at this, off on the side while the Dell one is centered.
I don't know which one I like better.
So you see this touchpad is off center because it's lined up with the-
Yeah, with the spacebar.
And on this 15 inch, it's exactly in the middle.
That's a good question.
I never think about that until I see it.
And then I go I think I might like the middle better.
I don't know, but I like having the number pad, so.
Yeah, that's odd.
Do you use a number pad a lot?
I feel like I don't, but I like having it.
I feel uncomfortable if I don't have it.
Anyway, this has also got the A&D Intell combo, but you can also get it, if you don't want that, just with a regular Videa MX 150, which is a pretty decent, you know, mainstream graphics chip.
So you have a bunch of options with this, which I also like.
Instead of just having that one Intel AMD chip, you can go Nvidia and frankly, for casual gaming, that's perfectly fine.
And I love the gold accents.
I think they've just done a spectacular job.
The chrome hinge looks really cool, very modern.
This Spectre x360, the 13 inch one that I know Lori loves a lot, and the regular Spectre Clamshell, it's not a 2 in 1 that I love a lot and I actually use all the time.
I think they've just done a spectacular job with design, end of 2017, beginning of 2018.
I think it's tough to find sharper looking laptops than what HP is doing right now.
I mean, they said that they were going after Macbook Pro users.
I don't know if there's any Macbook Pro users out there who would be willing to switch to Windows, but I mean it's a really nice system, yeah.
I mean, yeah, we always say that.
This guy and frankly, before we had the two in one, the regular Dell XPS15 was the other kind of Macbook Pro-alike that people liked a lot and, frankly, the designs were very similar.
We always pointed people in that direction.
How much does it cost?
I'm gonna say probably a lot but maybe not too much.
[LAUGH] And these gadget are probably pretty similar if you get the Nvidia I think it's probably more expensive than these rather than the intel and D combo.
But these things are gigantic, we got a much smaller one right next to it.
That is the Samsung Notebook 9 Pan.
Fingerprints on there.
And that is another high product.
Samsung makes really nice laptops too.
They've had the notebook.
We've tested the Notebook 9 Pro, and a couple of different ones last year.
This guy combined elements from a few of them and they added some new stuff.
I don't think they've had something called the Notebook 9 Pen before.
Why do you think it's called that?
Cuz it doesn't come with a [UNKNOWN]
Look at that, right up there in the front, the pop out stylus.
And that is actually the regular s-pen that you get with Samsung phones.
They're cross compatable, so it's basically the same stylus you get with a Note phone.
And they had that.
Didn't they have a tablet that was like that at Windows tablet that you review last year.
Yeah, but the stylus was different.
It was bigger and didn't have a little place to hide inside of the.
That's what like most of having a place to actually put the stylus on the surface products of mircrosoft that you can usually, magnetically attach into the side.
But it's pretty great you get the little holster for it right there.
And of course it's a hybrid, flips around.
I think it's super light actually, too.
Looks like it's got the IR cameras for Windows Hello sign ins.
Yeah, now do you do that at all?
Just when I'm testing to make sure it works, but I don't have it on my personal, so.
I have one laptop at home that does the Windows Hello facial recognition log in.
And I just turn it on by default.
And I never turn it off.
And frankly it's fantastic.
You just sit there.
If I'm like not paying attention, I click on it too, like turn it on and I turn away and talk to somebody.
Then I turn back around.
It's still looking for me, but as soon as I look at it, it's actually really fast.
Face IDs are really fast too.
But the thing is, it's pretty much the same for Windows and you've had it long before you had Face ID on a On an iPhone.
So I actually vote for a facial login for Windows, I think it works great.
See someone's looking at your camera.
That's right my gosh it's Microsoft.
Or we can get the fingerprint, you know I use the fingerprint reader on the MacBook pro also.
I think that works really well too.
And, you know, it's super fast.
Cuz nobody should have their computer, even at home, without a password on it these days, I think we've all learned that.
Just like your phone needs to be locked down, your laptop needs to be locked down too.
So we've got one more over here on the list to look at, this is-
And another computer.
This is the Asus Zen book 14 and Asus always has a ton of stuff here at CES
And you thought this was the coolest thing that they had.
Yeah, I really like the Zenbook 14 flip.
It has a 360 degree hinge just like some of the rest of these but I just really like Asus's design.
They have this circular brush.
They also have it in a gold which looks really nice.
But it's just a solid convertible.
It comes with the Asus stylus, and it's a touchscreen, full-size keyboard, fingerprint reader.
There's no where to put the stylus.
There's no where to put the stylus, so.
But we'll knock it for that but I'll give it credit for something else.
You see that little sticker right here, there's an Nvidia GEForce sticker on it because you can get this with a Nvidia MX150, which again seems to be the go to mainstream graphics card for people.
And again, I used to play games and stuff, I think it works great.
If you wanna go crazy, you'll get a laptop with and Nvidia 1060 or 1070.
You can even get the 1080 in super thin laptops now but those get very, very expensive.
For mainstream, I think that's great.
Yeah, and it also has the latest generation Intel Core processor.
[INAUDIBLE] I've seen people move into the eighth gen, which actually gives you a pretty big performance bump in a couple of systems that we've tested with it.
Yeah, I mean these are all 8th gens, right?
They all switched to 8th gen [UNKNOWN]?
I think they're almost all 8th gens.
One thing we haven't seen here, since we have all these here, I didn't see a ton of big new gaming laptops here.
I saw some gaming desktops that were cool.
No, all very stylish stuff.
Well, there was one gaming laptop we saw.
But I guess we could talk about it even though we don't have it here.
We did see the one prototype, it wasn't even a gaming laptop, Razer had their prototype this year.
Last year they had the three screen laptop, this year they had what they called Project Linda.
Which is basically the Razer Blade Stealth, but there's a big hole where the touchpad is and you take your Razer phone, if you're one of the people who bought the Razer phone, which is actually supposed to be a really good phone.
And you drop it in there and that becomes your touchpad and the second screen.
The laptop is basically just a dock for it.
It's a prototype.
It'll probably never actually come out, but I thought it was kind of cool.
And, of course, it's got all the multimillion color Razor lights inside.
People always like seeing their prototypes.
I'm a little disappointed we didn't see more specific gaming stuff here.
But i did see one gaming thing that was cool.
Invidia does a lot of game streaming.
They have a game streaming service.
I think it's called Geforce now.
And we saw them demo that you can get, I think, a beta client on Windows and on Mac now, also.
Where basically the games are being played in a cloud somewhere on a powerful system.
And you're just streaming it to your, whether they had the HP, the little Stream I think it was called.
The super cheap, like $200, HP laptop that we actually like a lot for being a cheap laptop.
And people were playing full PC games on it, and it actually looked really good.
I know there was another thing, Lori wrote about it.
I think it's called Shadow or something like that?
Was it all the different filters and stuff?
No, it was another cloud computing thing where you could, you basically rent a gaming system in the cloud.
That's definitely the future.
We tried streaming.
There were a couple of companies that did that and they all went out of business.
But that was years ago.
Now you might not have to buy a gaming laptop.
You could just get one of these Super cool things like the world's thinnest Acer Swift 7.
And just get a subscription to a cloud gaming service and play games on it that way.
I guess that's our collection of cool laptops here for CES 2018.
We survived the blackout.
We survived the rain.
And we managed to get all these cool systems here to show everybody and talk about.
So thank you, ZMR.
Thank you Josh.
And I bet we'll be back here in 365 days doin it again next year.
There you have it.
Best laptop of 2018.
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