CES is all about showing off innovation, and this year was a hit for those who've been holding out for a new, exciting laptop.
As we round the corner toward the end of CES 2022 (which is ending on Friday, Jan. 7 instead of Saturday, in case you didn't know) it's time to take a look at some of the many pieces of newly announced hardware that stood out from the crowd.
Five laptops, in this instance, stood out from the pack for reasons like innovative new features, design choices that are good for business users and new technology that acknowledges how much our day-to-day use of tech for work has changed since 2020.
If you've been waiting to buy a new laptop to see what was going to come out of CES 2022, the time has come to decide if anything was exciting enough to merit the wait. I think you'll agree that it was.
Dell XPS 13 Plus
Dell's XPS line has been the leading edge of its consumer-facing hardware for several years, and in 2022 its iconic XPS laptop got a total redesign. Sure, it's a consumer brand, but the Dell XPS 13 Plus looks sharp and will still help, especially with a battery that can charge to 80% in less than half an hour.
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The XPS 13 Plus also has a feature that Apple users will recognize: A touch-sensitive bar at the top that can change layout. Don't worry if you're concerned the ill-conceived Touch Bar is migrating to PCs: This only switches between function keys and media control keys, and that's it.
The trackpad is also invisible and responds with haptic feedback, and an HD webcam paired with IR sensors promises to improve video call quality in low light, too. If you're interested, the XPS 13 Plus will be available worldwide this Spring, and will ship with either Windows 11 or Ubuntu 20.04. No word on pricing yet.
Lenovo ThinkPad Z series
Lenovo made more than one great laptop announcement at CES, this one being the less exciting of the two (read on for the bigger one). Still, the newly refreshed Lenovo Z series of ThinkPads is worth a look for any professional looking for a sharp new business-capable machine.
The ThinkPad Z comes in two sizes, 13 inches and 16 inches, both of which are described by Lenovo as being built for business users and their needs. An optional vegan leather lid cover gives the Z series for a polished, professional look, a recycled aluminum body adds to its appearance of quality, and it has a glass touchpad, too.
The biggest business feature that, again, acknowledges the new centrality of video conferencing in the modern business world, is the Communications Bar that sits atop the monitor. The Communication Bar contains an FHD webcam, dual microphones, infrared, facial recognition, a built-in webcam kill switch and more.
Both Z series ThinkPads will be available in Spring 2022, with no word on pricing.
Asus Zenbook 14 OLED
Asus' latest entry into its Zenbook series is the Zenbook 14 OLED, which is only a little more than half an inch thick, weighs barely over three pounds, has (up to) a 12th Gen Intel Core processor, 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and an OLED touchscreen.
For business users who don't like the idea of trading a portable laptop for the ever-convenient number pad, The Zenbook 14 OLED has a trackpad that doubles as a touch-sensitive one, so you won't have to go with a huge bulky machine in order to get an essential feature.
No word yet on pricing or availability, so you might be waiting a bit to get your hands on one of these.
Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3
Here's something you don't see every day: A 17-inch laptop with an 8-inch secondary display placed to the right of the keyboard. The secondary screen, which supports a stylus, can be used to fit a variety of productivity apps, as well as phone syncing and mirroring. It also acts as an extended or duplicated portion of the main screen, too.
That's the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 in a nutshell. All those cool display features combine with impressive hardware, like up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM and a 2TB SSD, but let's be realistic: You're not looking at this laptop because it has a beefy processor or Windows 11. You're looking at it because it's something totally new that could actually be pretty useful for professionals working in a variety of fields.
Pricing and availability are yet to be announced.
Asus ZenBook 17 Fold
Lenovo's ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 would be the CES showstopper laptop if not for the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold, which is what Asus calls the "world's first 17-inch foldable OLED laptop."
Think of the Zenbook 17 Fold as a 17-inch monitor that can double as a tablet, a laptop, a book or anything else you can imagine doing with a folding screen. The Zenbook 17 supports a Bluetooth keyboard called the ASUS ErgoSense that fits onto the lower half of the screen and converts it to a full-fledged laptop, or you can use an on-screen keyboard if desired.
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Folding devices have come a long way since the first Samsung Fold, and if the ZenBook 17 Fold is as premium as it appears to be, we're entering an age where folding devices are more than just a status symbol: They're also practical work devices.
No word on release for the Zenbook 17 Fold yet—hopefully we won't have to wait too long.
Do any of these pique your interest? Let us know in the comments below, or let us know what you saw at CES 2022 that got you excited, and why.
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- CES 2022: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)