The Best Of CES 2017

Best Of CES 2017: Laptops

The annual Consumer Electronics Show – CES – is typically chock full of bleeding-edge technology. Numerous companies take advantage of CES as the backdrop to launch or announce new products, and this year's CES 2017 was no exception. But for every killer piece of technology shown off at CES, there are a dozens of chintzy unmentionables that fill the millions of square feet that comprise the show's multiple venues. The Las Vegas Convention center and virtually all of the surrounding upscale hotels and resorts are packed to gills with CES-related tech products every year.

It can be tough to discern what’s HOT and what’s NOT coming out of CES, so we’ve decided to save you the trouble and point out some the best products we saw in our travels. Whether you’re most interested in notebooks, desktops, components, or entertainment accessories, we’ve got you covered. Take a look...

Laptops - Ultralights and Gaming

Prior to this year's CES show, a number of manufacturer's pre-announced new laptops, some based on Intel's Kaby Lake refresh, while a few gaming machines were empowered by NVIDIA's Mobile GeForce 10 launch. As a result, at that show, there weren't as many machines that were completely new to us, except a couple of holdouts from the likes of Dell, Lenovo and surprise entrant Samsung. The top two machines come from well established lineage however, Lenovo's venerable business class ThinkPad line and Dell's recently on-fire XPS premium consumer line-up. 

thinkpad x1 carbon 2

Earlier this year we took a look at Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga, a svelte 14-inch machine with 360-degree hinges and a delicious OLED display option. That machine's keyboard was retooled a bit for cleaner retraction in "yoga mode." However, for CES 2017, Lenovo also redesigned the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, now with the same 14-inches of QHD display love but a quarter pound lighter overall, at 2.5 pounds total. The machine is significantly smaller as well, with very thin side bezels around the display but a thicker bezel up top, to support its webcam at the proper position height, along with two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, two standard USB 3 ports, full-sized HDMI output and mini-RJ45 Ethernet. It's dialed in tight and looking swank in both traditional flat black and the silver color you see above. Bravo!  Check the B-roll of Lenovo's entire suite at CES here, with the ThinkPads strutting in at the 9 minute mark... 

For the past three years, Dell has rolled out a new version of its XPS 13 or 15 inch machines for CES and this year the company once again did not disappoint. Though we thought we saw it all with Dell's recent Kaby Lake and Rose Gold refresh of the machine early in the month of December, it turns out the team from Round Rock, TX had one more trick up its sleeve, a new, thinner and dramatically more flexible XPS 13 2-in-1 that we got some quality hands-on time with at the show. 

dell xps 13 2 in 1 left edge

The XPS 13 2-in-1 measures 0.32-0.54 inches high, 11.98 inches wide, and 7.8 inches deep. It weighs just 2.7 pounds, making it one of the lightest premium laptops around. The machine is essentially a 13-inch laptop in an 11-inch footprint, and with that gorgeous InfinityEdge display, it literally just pops with premium brilliance. In fact, in tablet mode, you might be surprised at how manageable a 13-inch notebook-turned tablet can be, with that super light weight and smaller, closer to 11-inch wingspan. Powering the machine are a choice of Intel Kaby Lake Y-series Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs and it will be interesting to see how they perform, especially with respect to battery life. Stay tuned here. We're told a machine is inbound, stat. Come to papa. 

Then there's this wild-eyed beast - the all new Samsung Odyssey, which is fitting for a laptop adorned in bright, flat white with red accents (it also comes if flat black, if that's not your flavor). As a gaming machine, it's definitely a head-turner but it has some unique design elements that could potentially add up to solid performance as well.

Samsung Odyssey White

Samsung Odessy Bottom

This spacey, gaming-capable mobile computing experience comes in a 15 and 17-inch variant, the former with a mobile GeForce GTX 1050, the latter of which may get outfitted with something even more potent, though Samsung apparently hasn't declared just what yet. As you can see, the bottom of this machine is uniquely designed with a mesh grill area underneath that reportedly both exhausts warm air and draws in cool air. We'll have to see how it works in practice but for now, Samsung made a splash at the very least.

Side note: an honorable mention goes to Dell's Inspiron 15 Gaming notebook, which also has some subtly racy design elements and a price point that mainstream gamers can warm up to as well. It also comes with a GeForce 1050 or 1050 Ti graphics power plant on board. 

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