Despite the Omicron variant, the world’s largest consumer electronics show is pressing ahead. Over the next two days, hundreds of new laptops are being announced, but which is the best laptop of CES 2022?
To help you decide, here is my pick of the laptops that have been announced so far. I’ll add more as and when they’re released.
Asus ZenBook 17 Fold OLED
Price & availability: no news yet
This is undoubtedly the most interesting of all the laptops announced at CES 2022. Although whether it’s really a laptop is debatable.
In essence, the ZenBook 17 Fold OLED is a 17in tablet that can be folded in half to form a quasi 12.5in laptop. You can either tap directly onto an on-screen keyboard or pop the bundled Bluetooth keyboard on top of the “bottom” screen. Or you can hold the Fold like a book. Or even use the integrated stand, which essentially turns this into a desktop PC (you’ll need to supply your own mouse).
I haven’t got my hands on a unit yet, but it looks fascinating. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn into vapourware that the company doesn’t want to send in for review, which is sadly what happened with Lenovo’s much smaller X1 Fold.
Dell XPS 13 Plus
Price & availability: spring 2022, no prices yet
I’ve been waiting for Dell to significantly update its XPS 13 range for years, but it has been reluctant to disturb a winning formula: 2022’s standard Dell XPS 13 (identified by the model number 9320) again features modest design updates.
So, in lieu of a complete refresh, I’m pleased to see Dell introduce the Dell XPS 13 Plus, complete with a 12th generation Intel Core processor designed to run at its maximum of 28W – a big jump from the 15W of previous generation Dell XPS 13 laptops.
The other big change is a row of capacitive touch buttons above a keyboard that uses every millimetre of space; Dell’s homage to Apple’s Touch Bar? More curiously, and questionably, it’s also hidden the touchpad into the area under the keys. This may be a stroke of minimalist genius or a huge mistake. I look forward to giving the XPS 13 Plus a proper test as soon as it’s released.
Acer Swift X (Intel)
Price & availability: Feb/March 2022 from £999 for 14in, from £1,099 for 16in
Think of the Swift X range as the posh brother to Acer’s more basic Swift family. At CES 2022, Acer announced two new models: the 14in SFX14-51G and 16in SFX16-52G.
The world has seen 14in Swift X laptops before, but only with AMD inside; this range will include Intel’s 12th generation Core processors along with Nvidia’s ever-impressive GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics. All stuffed in a 17mm-thin aluminium chassis that weighs 1.4kg.
Curiously, the 16in model relies on Intel’s discrete Arc graphics, the first time we’ve seen this chip. Both will include an IPS panel, with the promise of 100% coverage of the sRGB gamut – so not as vibrant as OLED-toting rivals but still, I’m confident, a pleasure to use.
Asus ZenBook 14 OLED
Price & availability: Nothing yet announced
Asus is showering its laptops in OLED screens this CES, with all its flagship laptops including this vibrant technology. The 1.4kg ZenBook 14 OLED is our pick of an attractive bunch, measuring 16.9mm thick and with a 16:10 panel that covers 100% of the DCI-P3 colour space. Games and movies should look amazing.
It’s also great to see a redesigned chassis this year, with a stylish geometric pattern replacing the dated, grainy design of current ZenBooks.
The ZenBook 14 OLED will come in both Intel and AMD flavours, each packing a 75W battery to compensate for the extra power demands that an OLED panel brings compared to conventional IPS technology.
HP Elite Dragonfly G3
Price & availability: March 2022, no prices yet
I’ve been a fan of the gorgeously slim and light Elite Dragonfly from its first flight in late 2019, and this third generation looks even more compelling.
That’s mainly due to the 12th generation Intel silicon inside, but HP also promises that it’s perfectly tuned to the world’s work-from-anywhere needs: an upgraded webcam, AI to boost voice clarity (even when wearing a mask) and four amps to make the sound from the speakers super-clear.
With a sub-1kg weight and 3:2 aspect ratio 13.5in screen, this looks like a mobile worker’s dream machine. But if we know anything from previous Dragonfly laptops, it won’t come cheap: the most basic G2 model costs over £2,300 from Insight UK.
Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3
Price & availability: May 2022 from $1,399
How strong is your back? You’ll need some hefty muscles to carry this 17.3in laptop, as it also features a secondary 8in panel built into the base. This naturally begs the question, why?
Lenovo reckons it will help digital creators, who can dedicate the expanse of the main screen to the material being edited – a video, say – and then use the integrated digital pen for fine editing control. Or it can show source code while the main screen demos the end result. Or you can be watching a video presentation on the main screen and capturing notes on the second screen. Or (and this is my worst nightmare) you can mirror your phone screen.
It’s crazy, but it might just work.
Lenovo Yoga 9i
Price & availability: Q2 2022 from $1,399
Lenovo describes the Yoga 9i as “co-engineered with Intel”, and the star of the show is Intel’s 12th generation Core i7-1260P processor. (Intel also announced this new generation of chips at CES.) I expect this to be one of the most responsive Windows 11 laptops yet.
It’s been built with entertainment in mind, with a 14in OLED with a 4K resolution, support for DisplayHDR 500 and 100% coverage of the movie-friendly DCI-P3 colour gamut. Lenovo also promises “immersive sound” via a Dolby Atmos-certified sound bar, which I look forward to putting to the test.