CES 2021 preview: Laptops, Chromebooks and gaming PCs

CES 2021 might be nothing like CES 2020.

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This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

Many people radically changed the way we work in 2020, leaving the workplace behind and working primarily from home. The concept of getting a piece pc on the workplace and a private pc at residence additionally went out the window, and now we’re searching for our units to do extra and serve in a number of roles, additional blurring the road between shopper and enterprise computer systems.

However due to the lengthy growth cycle of latest laptops, desktops and tablets, no PC maker might realistically take these colossal shifts and engineer them into new merchandise in time for CES 2021. What they will do is shift the narrative and emphasize new or up to date merchandise which can be extra applicable for the present actuality. 

Put one other means, count on to see a whole lot of enterprise laptops at CES 2021. 


One among 2020’s greatest, the Dell Latitude 9510. 

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All work, no play

One year ago, at CES 2020, we noticed a whole lot of prototypes, experimental designs and new gaming PCs — many merchandise with a enjoyable shopper focus. This 12 months, it’s going to be a bit extra dour. 

As an alternative of first-gen folding screens and colorful gaming rigs, a lot of the eye might be on laptops with higher webcams, higher microphones, higher security measures. Mainly the issues your organization IT division could be searching for in a brand new work laptop computer. That might not be as flashy, nevertheless it’s what lots of people want proper now. 

For instance, if we discovered something in 2020, it was that the majority laptops have really bad webcams. Spend sufficient hours a day in Zoom conferences and that begins to turn into essential. Fashions with both improved {hardware}, or no less than improved software program to digitally polish the digicam picture, might be given an enormous advertising and marketing push. Bodily webcam shutters will proceed to develop in reputation. 

Not a lot for 5G, which was simply beginning to filter into laptop computer bulletins this time final 12 months. With at-home Wi-Fi changing many employees’ want for dependable journey connections, I doubt we’ll see 5G antennas shoehorned into each laptop computer; as an alternative it’s going to simply be an choice on a handful of higher-end enterprise programs. 

A really Chromebook 12 months

The opposite massive factor we discovered in 2020 was that Chromebooks can solve most of our laptop problems. Want a low-cost, high-reliability laptop computer for a child doing distant studying? Chromebook! Want a pc for fogeys or grandparents that you simply will not must troubleshoot? Chromebook! 

Particularly with so many households needing a separate gadget for every family member, particularly one per pupil, Chromebooks saved the day in 2020. 

Chromebooks have been a part of the combo at each latest CES, however this 12 months, I believe we’ll see them pushed to the forefront, particularly given the uncertainty about COVID vaccine rollouts and the shifting goal for any type of return to “regular.” 

Each PC maker desires to get out of the cut price basement $250 Chromebook enterprise, so search for barely upgraded fashions. Frankly, a $500 Chromebook can provide a way more premium-feeling expertise in design, supplies and efficiency, than a $500 Home windows laptop computer, in order that’s my ChromeOS candy spot proper now. 


No updates are anticipated on final 12 months’s Alienware handheld gaming PC idea. 

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For PC gaming, a rebuilding 12 months

We’re in the course of an enormous, new period in video games. Sadly for PC gaming {hardware} followers, all that pleasure is wrapped across the next-gen consoles, the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X

This new cycle, which comes round each seven years or so, places sealed lounge containers on the high of the gaming heap, for now. In spite of everything, $500 (or $300 for the smaller Xbox Series S) will get you ray tracing, HDR lighting and different high-end GPU tips, beforehand out there solely in rather more costly gaming PCs. 

However the clock is already ticking on the PS5 and XBX. The {hardware} inside is frozen in amber, slowly growing older, and doomed to fall additional behind PC gaming {hardware} yearly. That mentioned, I would not count on an excessive amount of extra, and the official CES topic page for gaming seems fairly unhappy proper now. 

There may be no less than one massive leap anticipated. A minimum of in response to knowledgeable hypothesis, we’ll see laptop-ready variations of Nvidia’s 3000-series graphics playing cards. That is going to make for extra highly effective gaming laptops — possibly even some that may make Cyberpunk 2077 look good… 

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