HotHardware's 17 Best Of CES 2022: Chips, Laptops, Displays & More
The 2022 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show has concluded. We didn't attend this year's show in Las Vegas in-person, but that's mostly because the majority of the biggest players in the market didn't show up either and we attended a handful of private briefings at other venues. The severity of the pandemic prompted Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Microsoft, and Google (among many others) to stay away from the show and simply make their announcements virtually.
Still, as they say, the show must go on; whether in-person at CES or strictly online. The tech industry proudly showed off its latest, greatest, and coming-later-est products over the last week. If you've been reading HotHardware, we've already told you about most of them. If you haven't, you can at least take a look at what's featured here, because we consider these products some of the best of CES 2022...
Dell XPS 13 PlusWe have long admired the build quality and performance of Dell's premium XPS 13 laptops, which blend gorgeous edge-to-edge displays and thin construction with capable hardware. The design has not changed too drastically over the years, which has been a good thing. Breaking cover at CES, however, is a retooled XPS 13 Plus laptop that aims to kick "collaboration and visual experiences up a notch."
Dell said it redesigned the XPS 13 Plus from the ground up, though fear not if you're a fan of the general look of past iterations—it still is very much a premium laptop, inside and out, now with a bit more modern and stylish flair.
Alienware 34 QD-OLEDMonitor manufacturers have taken their sweet time adopting OLED, but that is beginning to change. Dell laid claim to the world's first quantum dot OLED monitor through its Alienware division by announcing the Alienware 34 QD-OLED (AW3423DW), a 34-inch curved display with a stylish design and various gaming features. WQHD resolution, 175 Hz refresh rate, 99.3% DCI-P3 coverage, and DisplayHDR TrueBlack400 certification earn this monitor its G-SYNC Ultimate badge.
Lenovo ThinkBook PlusThe newest Lenovo ThinkBook Plus revealed at CES 2022 eschews the e-ink second screen of the previous models in favor of an 8" secondary touchscreen on the bottom half of the laptop. The primary display is 17.3" diagonally, but its ultra-wide 3072×1440 resolution gives it a 21:10 aspect ratio, and makes it shorter vertically than you expect a 17.3" laptop to be. It's an IPS LCD that supports touch input, can reproduce 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, and refreshes at 120Hz.
Meanwhile, the secondary screen is a scratch-resistant 800×1280 display that supports touch or pen input with an included stylus. Lenovo suggests a variety of use cases for the second screen, including as a sort of always-on start menu or app drawer, a handy calculator, a zoomed-in drawing tablet, or as a whiteboard for freehand note-taking.
Besides the secondary display, the ThinkBook Plus is a top-tier premium laptop with all the spiffs you expect: fast LPDDR5 memory, PCIe 4.0 storage, 2x2 Wi-Fi 6E, Thunderbolt 4, and a full-sized backlit keyboard, all wrapped up in a CNC-machined aluminum chassis.
Lenovo ThinkPad Z13Lenovo calls its new ThinkPad Z series a "significant design evolution" over the previous models. These AMD-powered portables come in 13" and 16" variants, and are powered by AMD's just-announced Ryzen 6000 Mobile series of CPUs (see below). Both sizes will allow for up to 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, and the Z16 can come with discrete graphics. These are the high-end AMD laptops that we've been waiting for: OLED screens, PCIe 4.0 storage, and gorgeous premium materials make the new Thinkpad Z series worth wanting.
AMD Ryzen 6000 Mobile Processors
These processors are the culmination of AMD's latest and greatest IP in both CPU and GPU design. Refined Zen 3+ CPU cores offer superior power efficiency, while new integrated graphics based on the same RDNA 2 architecture found in its Radeon RX 6000 family of GPUs give generous gains to graphics grunt. Improvements to AMD's own technologies as well as TSMC's fabrication process have allowed AMD to ramp up clock speeds and reduce power consumption all at once.
The Ryzen 6000 mobile chips come rated for TDPs from 15W to "45W+", and AMD says that these new chips can offer "truly playable gaming on the go." The company brassily compared the integrated graphics of these new processors against Intel's Iris Xe MAX as well as NVIDIA's GeForce MX450, and came away smelling like roses. Packing both central and graphics processors into one chip without sacrificing performance is the dream, after all, and it looks like AMD may have arrived.
Intel Arc GPU Hyper-Encode TechnologyIn addition to announcing that it has shipped Arc Alchemist GPUs to OEM partners, Intel also showed off some new features and software, including specific 12th Gen Core processor optimizations for DaVinci Resolve, the popular video editor, which will also support next-gen Intel QuickSync and Deep Link technologies, including a feature called Hyper Encode – which is somewhat of a first of its kind. With Deep Link Hyper Encode, which can leverage both integrated and discrete graphics engines simultaneously to accelerate the encoding of video, huge performance increases are possible.
Intel 12th Gen Core Mobile ProcessorsIt was inevitable that Intel would release laptop processors based on its Alder Lake architecture, and that day was January 4th. As it did on the desktop, Intel kicked things off with its high-performance parts, which in this case were its its 12th Gen Core H-series lineup sporting up to 14 physical cores and 20 hardware threads.
Sporting the same hybrid design as the higher-end desktop chips, all of the 12th Gen Core H-series chips announced Tuesday combine high-performance P-cores (Golden Cove) with power efficient E-cores (Gracemont), but in a mobile package. Intel also announced additional desktop SKUs at lower wattages, several of which are comprised entirely of P-cores. We imagine Intel will do the same with its laptop lineup at some point, but that hasn't happened yet.
Intel says there are already more than 100 designs in play from its hardware partners, spanning ultraportable, thin enthusiast, and halo enthusiast laptops from the usual suspects (ASUS, Dell, MSI, Razer, and others). According to Intel, this generation will mark its fastest H-series ramp to date.
OnePlus 10 Pro SmartphoneA Hasselblad camera, Qualcomm's latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, a 120Hz AMOLED display, two-way wireless charging, and a big 5,000 mAh battery are all reasons to look forward to the OnePlus 10 Pro. We smirked at the way the Chinese smartphone vendor spread the phone's release over the whole week, but there's nothing laughable about the final product. The only questions we have left are "how much" and "when?"
Aya Neo Next Gaming HandheldThe Next swaps the Ryzen 5 4500U (Renoir) that shipped with the previous generation model fro a Ryzen 7 5800U. That's an 8-core chip based on AMD's 7nm Zen 3 architecture with a 4.4GHz max boost clock and 16MB of L3 cache. For graphics, it includes an 8 CU Vega part clocked at 2GHz.
Aya Neo isn't really pitching the Next as a second-generation handheld PC, but a revamp of the original based on what's available. "My definition of Next is that I want it to be available to gamers as soon as possible," Aya Neo founder Arthur Zhang said.
One thing Aya Neo wants to drive home is the use of Hall effect sensors on the joysticks and triggers. Hall effect sensors have fewer moving parts; by reducing the number of physical components that can wear out over time, Aya Neo is promising not only more accurate control, but added durability with no drift.
Phison PCIe Gen 5 SSD ControllerPhison finally announced the launch of its E26 SSD controller that we first reported on back in September. The E26 platform will come in a bunch of forms, but the company says that the fastest models will be able to scale NVMe SSD performance "beyond 10 GB/s." PCI Express 5.0 tops out at around 16 GB/second on an x4 link, so these new controllers are likely just the first step onto PCIe SSD performance that we can hardly imagine. Michael Wu, President of Phison US, seems to agree; he stated "This is an exciting breakout year for gaming with innovations that fully utilize PCIe bandwidth and push storage to the edge of performance." We can't wait to see what's next.
Razer Project Sophia Computer DeskAccording to Razer, Project Sophia is its "vision for the future of gaming and home computing," and also supposedly the first "true gaming desk concept." Essentially, Sophia is a desk with an integrated gaming laptop and 13 modular compartments on the surface into which users could slot things like secondary displays, external GPUs, touchscreens, hotkey panels, pen input panels, audio mixer units, or external equipment like capture devices.
The implication is that the whole system would be hot-swappable so that you could reconfigure your setup on the fly to better suit whatever task you're currently attempting. Curiously, despite that this is just a concept, Razer specifies that Sophia uses "the latest Intel processor and NVIDIA GPU." The lifestyle company also specifies that the 65" display rising from one edge of Sophia is a "next-gen OLED that features self-lit pixels."
This one's probably not ever actually coming to market, but it's so dang cool we had to highlight it anyway.
CyberPower Kinetic CaseThe Kinetic Series gaming chassis that CyberPowerPC announced at CES 2022 left us in awe and feeling as though we had just stepped into the future. The design is not only meant to be aesthetic, but also serves a functional purpose.
Inspired by kinetic architecture—a design philosophy where buildings allow parts of their structure move intentionally—the Kinetic PC case has 18 individually-controlled articulating vents that open and close, adjusting to the system's current internal ambient temperatures.
So as your PC internals get warmer, those vents will open up to allow more air to flow into the case, and as the temperatures begin to cool down, those same vents will begin to close. You really have to see it to appreciate it, so click through to the original article to view the video.
MSI MEG 271Q 300Hz Mini-LED Gaming MonitorMSI touts the MEG 271Q as the world's first 27-inch mini LED gaming monitor with a 300Hz refresh rate. That's a notable achievement. Being the first to deliver such a product isn't what's truly notable, though -- we're intrigued with the delightful combination of technologies at play.
For one, this is an IPS screen. For the most part, we have pretty much abandoned cheaper TN panels, as IPS and VA screens have become better adept at gaming over the years. We're also starting to see OLED displays enter the monitor market at a faster clip. Second and third are the mini LEDs and speedy 300Hz refresh rate.
ASUS Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition LaptopThis is one of the coolest looking laptops we've ever seen. The themed design would look right at home at NASA, Blue Origin, or SpaceX, but it's really an ode to the Mir space station, with special graphics printed on the inside deck.
As the name implies, the Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition is built around a 14-inch OLED screen, but there's also a 3.5-inch OLED companion ZenVision display on the lid to show personalized notifications, animations, or text. That killer OLED display is powered by the Xe graphics built into the machine's Core i9-12900H CPU, which is itself fed by 32GB of LPDDR5 memory. A PCIe 4.0 SSD, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and Wi-Fi 6E round out the premium features.
It's a high-end laptop for sure, and according to ASUS, it's also compliant with US Space Systems Command Standard (SMC-S-016A) durability requirements to handle the kind of vibrations one might encounter when blasting off into space.
ASUS Rapture GT-AXE 16000 WIFI RouterASUS announced its ROG Rapture GT-AXE 16000 at CES 2022, with four bands of wireless connectivity and full Wi-Fi 6E support. This beastly router provides 2.4GHz, two 5GHz, and a 6GHz Wi-Fi band for ultimate connectivity across an array of old and newer devices. The Rapture GT-AXE 16000 features a flagship, next-gen Broadcom Wi-Fi chipset and CPU, improving its maximum network throughput by 18 percent.
The router includes dual 10Gbps ports, a 2.5Gbps WAN port, and four 1Gbps LAN ports. With quad-band capabilities, this router also allows users to dedicate one of the 5GHz bands to use as a backhaul connection in mesh setup, leaving the other three bands for device connections. You can also use the 6GHz band as a backhaul, if you have another Wi-Fi 6E router.
Samsung The Freestyle Smart ProjectorSamsung is promising a "crystal clear image on any surface, at any angle" with The Freestyle, with the ability to beam content up to 100 inches in size at 1080, with auto-focus and auto-leveling functionality. Not too shabby from a slick looking accessory that weighs just 830 grams.
According to Samsung, The Freestyle’s cylindrical form factor holds certain advantages over a traditional boxy projector design, such as being able to rotate from 30-180 degrees. That means users can fling content on tables and ceilings if the desire arises, and of course walls and projection screens. Shooting images onto the ceiling could come up hand if you like to watch TV while laying in bed, for example.
The Freestyle works with external batteries that support USB-PD and 50W/20V output or above. It can also connect to a standard E26 light socket without additional wiring (if you spring for the wall plug accessory), so there’s lots of installation flexibility as well.
HP OMEN 45L Desktop ATX CaseHP's top gaming desktop from its latest line is the Omen 45L desktop. That's not just some cryptic model number; it literally stands for "45 liters," as that's the displacement of this full-sized tower PC. This is pretty much your standard full-size ATX gaming PC, with few surprises, but that's a good thing here given that it appears to be built using more-or-less off-the-shelf components.
Well, if you love the case but don't trust HP to pick and place your parts together for you, you can do it yourself: HP will sell the Omen 45L ATX case separately. It's a massive chassis (in case the 45L displacement didn't tell you) that has room for seven 140-mm fans and a specialized external chamber for a liquid-cooling radiator. HP didn't say how much it be, but we'll let you know when it comes around.
It's almost impossible to cover every single new release during CES week, but we did our darndest; we've put out nearly 70 articles covering the show in the last couple of weeks. The products in this post are our picks for the most promising items revealed during CES 2022. Did we miss something you're excited about? Let us know in the comments below...