The 5 biggest laptop trends to look out for at CES 2019
It is once again the most joyful time of year to be a fan of technology. Bringing a preview of the trends expected across all tech industries throughout the year, CES 2019 will also offer a lot of surprises and news from some of the biggest names in laptop makers.
But before officially getting into CES, there are plenty of rumors you need to keep an eye on. Here's a look at the top five laptop trends, and what you can expect out of the annual trade show.
MacBook Air alternatives galore
The wraps came off a new Apple MacBook Air in 2018, upping it to a Retina Display and a new Intel processor, so you can expect another major laptop makers to follow suit in 2019.
Like the Dell XPS 13 and Huawei MateBook X Pro from 2018, MacBook alternatives could again remain a theme in the new year with Windows 10 laptops. This year, it might be worth keeping an eye open to see if leading laptop makers will introduce more entry-level options with Intel's lower-powered Y-series processors, instead of the U-series chipsets. We've seen quite a bit of these in the past, including on the ultra-portable Pixelbook, the new MacBook Air, and even the HP Spectre Folio.
Next-generation mobile graphics cards
2018 was packed with rumors about graphics cards and chipsets. As a result, it will be interesting to see where Nvidia, Intel, and AMD take mobile gaming in 2019.
Intel teased a new dedicated graphics card codenamed Arctic Sound at Siggraph 2018, but when exactly will it be released? Considering Intel just took the wraps off an 8-core desktop processor, CES 2019 would be the prime time for an official GPU reveal, even if it doesn't ship until 2020. Also, keep a watch for Intel's 9th-generation CPUs both with and without integrated graphics.
Speaking of laptops, following the release of the desktop-focused Nvidia RTX 2080, 2080 Ti, and RTX 2070 graphics chips, we've wondered when mobile versions of these GPUs will launch. There has been tons of talk about both the replacements to the current GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti offerings on gaming laptops, but also for more powerful graphics. Leaks have also pointed to the release of the RTX 2070 and 2070 Max-Q variant, along with 2060, 2050 Ti, and 2050. All signs point to CES. Whether these cards will actually support advanced features like ray tracing is still up in the air.
Keep an eye on AMD
Though most attention at CES is usually on Nvidia and Intel, AMD looks to take the spotlight this time around. With a first-time CES keynote presentation from the company's CEO, Dr. Lisa Su, AMD just might have some very big announcements to make.
What exactly should we expect? Well, a lot of products built on the Zen 2 architecture. In particular, AMD is widely expected to announce the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs, Ryzen 3000 series APUs with Vega Graphics, and a new Radeon “Vega II” graphics cards. You also can expect to hear more about how AMD is building on the 7nm platform, putting itself ahead of Intel which is still building chipsets on 14nm technology. At CES, look out to see if see these processors could end up powering some of the cheaper gaming laptops from HP, Dell, and Lenovo.
Longer battery life in laptops
With Qualcomm announcing the Snapdragon 850 processor in 2018, and promising up to 21 hours of battery life on Always-Connected PCs, precedence was set high. Considering that most of the best laptops with Intel processors only see about 12-15 hours of battery life, it will be interesting to see how Intel can respond to Qualcomm's threat.
Laptops like the Dell Inspiron 7000, released towards the end of 2018, have featured Intel's latest Whiskey Lake CPUs but have still struggled with battery life. Will Intel talk up battery life improvements on new laptops running its latest mobile processors?
Experimental form factors on gaming laptops
When it comes to experimental concept products, CES never disappoints. In the last few years, we've seen a healthy dose of weirdness in the gaming laptop form factor. We wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing this time around.
Back at CES in 2017, Acer revealed the Predator 21 X, a gaming laptop with a 21-inch curved display. It looked insane at the time, but the laptop experimented with some of the things gamers with big pockets like most: curved displays and full-size mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX switches. Though it has been two years since then, look out for more of these experimental form factors in 2019. With the 2-in-1 being a popular form factor at CES in 2018, watch to see if gaming laptop makers follow suit — or perhaps do something entirely unique.