Flagship laptop announcements from CES 2022

THE Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for 2022 is wrapping up in Las Vegas, in a hybrid online/physical event format. Sadly, I’m not actually in Las Vegas this year (thanks, COVID restrictions!) but I’ve been watching keynote presentations and scouring press releases all the same.

The major laptop manufacturers all made a range of announcements regarding new product line-ups, and in the interests of keeping the article to a manageable length I’ll only be focussing on the flagship systems for the major brands – and with that in mind, here are some of the highlights!

ALIENWARE

Alienware’s X- and M-series gaming laptops also have gotten a refresh for 2022, mostly involving upgrades to the CPUs, which are now running Intel 12th Gen H-series or AMD Ryzen chipsets.

Regarding the X-series, Alienware’s official announcement said their collaboration with Intel helped them achieve “one of the thinnest form factors ever seen in a PC of this calibre”.

“When developing the X-Series, we wanted to provide our community with more than just your everyday thin gaming laptop. We wanted to challenge the status quo and create something that redefines the ultimate mobile gaming experience. This was easier said than done due to the physical limitations and mechanical challenges that come with a thin laptop, but our team was able to overcome the challenge with tenacity, extra espresso shots and several engineering breakthroughs.

The result is not only our thinnest gaming laptops to date. Our new x15 is the world’s most powerful sub-16mm 15” gaming laptop.”

Regarding the M-series updates, Alienware describe them thusly:

“The Alienware M17 is a machine to satisfy your senses: from outstanding graphics across a range of impressive display options supporting lag-free action, to the satisfying “deep-click” feel of its highly tactile, optional CherryMX mechanical keyboard.

We’re also offering the mid-size Alienware M15 R7, a 15-inch model available with either AMD Ryzen processors or 12th Gen Intel Core H-series processors now supporting latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-Series GPUs.”

On the A/V front, all Alienware laptops now come with  Dolby Vision “for full-spectrum visuals” and spatial audio with Dolby Atmos.

“Distinguished by incredible brightness, more vibrant colors, sharper contrast and richer details, along with sounds that move all around you with three-dimensional precision, you’ll always feel like you’re truly inside the game,” as Alienware say.

ASUS

Asus’s gaming brand, ROG, have also updated their flagship gaming products, the ROG Strix Scar and the Zephyrus Pro, notably with the latest CPUs and Windows 11, as well as an enlarged trackpad.

The Strix SCAR is available in 15-inch and 17-inch models, with the 15-inch offering three IPS-level display choices: QHD 240 Hz, Full HD 300 Hz, and QHD 165 Hz. The 17-inch SCAR offers QHD 240 Hz or Full HD 360 Hz; both systems are now equipped with Intel 12th Gen H-series processors, Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs and and DDR5 RAM.

The 2022 ROG Strix G15 and G17 models are running AMD Ryzen 9 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU at 150 W with Dynamic Boost for similarly high-end horsepower. The G15 offers Full HD 300 Hz and QHD 165 Hz display options, while the G17 offers Full HD 360 Hz and QHD 240 Hz for competitive gaming. All of the Strix G models support Dolby Vision.

The Zephyrus Duo – still the only successful dual-screen laptop on the market, as far as I’m aware – has a few interesting changes too, notably being redesigned slightly to get a 16in screen into a 15in chassis.

As with most of the other flagship laptops this year, it’s now running Windows 11, albeit with an AMD Ryzen 9 6980HX CPU and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU.

Asus have also done some work on the air intake, noting “the AAS Plus 2.0 air intake created by the raised secondary screen creates 30% more airflow above the fans, allowing these top-tier components to stay cool for better sustained performance in games and creative apps.”

The Zephyrus Duo now has two panel choices for the main display, with Dolby Vision in both options. The first one, newly announced this year, is ROG Nebula HDR, which “has all the specs of ROG’s standard Nebula Display but with 512 mini LED dimming zones, able to reach 1100 nits of peak brightness for stunning levels of contrast and colour”.

Asus go on to say “This QHD, 16:10 panel boasts a refresh rate of 165 Hz and is VESA DisplayHDR™ 1000 certified with a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. For the ultimate HDR gaming and movie-watching experience, Nebula HDR is the display to beat”.

The second display is being labelled a “Dual Spec panel”, able to switch between 4K 120Hz and Full HD 240 Hz, providing gamers with a framerate or resolution focus on a game-by-game/ app-by-app basis.  Auss say that the included Pixel Acceleration Technology “ensures lightning-fast upscaling in the Full HD mode for crystal clear images at competitive framerates”.

LENOVO LEGION

The Lenovo Legion 5 range for this year has been announced as choice of latest up to 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-12700H processor or next-gen AMD Ryzen processors, along with Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs and 4800Mhz DDR5 RAM.

According to Lenovo: “The new gaming laptops come available with Windows 11 gaming performance, did. Inspired by gamer research, these new devices celebrate ‘magical minimalism’ design and denote a leap towards a contemporary aesthetic with purposeful detailing like an uncluttered wordmark, expressive venting, and immersive lighting. A top-placed camera bump with eShutter kill switch and rear port protection convey a sleek look of power and performance that helps to create a more inclusive experience focused on player enjoyment and winning, not labels.”

“Soon, gamers will be able to dynamically switch variable refresh rates adapting to up to 240Hz refresh rate2 in the next wave of delivered Lenovo Legion 5i/5 Pro laptops. Immersive experiences start on a 16-inch WQHD+ (2960 x 1600) IPS display in 16:10 format with 100 percent sRGB color gamut and up to 3ms response time”.

The Legion 5 Pro series has been made thinner than the previous generation, and is built from a an aluminium/magnesium blend which Lenovo say provides “extreme lightness”.

ACER

The Predator and Nitro range from Acer have also received the 12th gen Intel CPU/Nvidia RTX 30-series GPU treatment, with the Acer Nitro 5 also having the option for an AMD Ryzen 6000 series CPU.

As a bonus, the systems also come with one month of Xbox Game Pass (which remains an insanely good service which every gamer really should get in on)

Realising most people spending all that money on a gaming laptop are going to want to do some work on it too, Acer have also announced the Predator Triton 500SE, which they are describing as a “Special Edition” intended for gaming and work.

Per the announcement: “On the inside, up to a 12thGen Intel Core i9 processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Laptop GPU and 32GB of 5200MHz LPDDR5 memory dish out the extreme performance necessary for the latest games.”

“On the outside, its all-metal spartan-styled aesthetics let it blend perfectly into the workplace or lecture hall. Just 19.9 mm (0.75 in) at its thinnest point, the laptop can go wherever users do, while up to 2TBof high-speed PCIe Gen4 storage offers plenty of space for games and files.”

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