At CES 2021, Gaming Laptops Have Changed And That’s OK

Published on January 18, 2021
gaming laptops
Image Credit: [Pexels/Pexels]

With parts that are much faster, and run much cooler, the PC Gaming and telepresence sectors are seeing tremendous growth. This is leading to lighter, thinner, and higher performance laptop computers.

There is a portion of the ‘hardcore PC gamer community’ that bears historical contempt for gaming laptops. Many ‘true gamers’ buy (lmao) or build desktops. This is because that’s how you get more performance for your money. An added benefit is that a custom-built PC can obviously be easily upgraded. Gaming laptops, on the contrary, are known to represent a far lower value per frame per second. These systems, in general, are not very upgradable. Also, they’re generally larger than ‘non-gaming laptops’ and have poorer battery life.

Until Now

At CES this year, all the big chip companies, AMD, Intel, and Nvidia, have all announced chips that are going to let PC manufacturers create gaming laptops that are just as thin and light as the average mainstream productivity laptop. Also, and possibly most importantly, battery life will grow into the double-digit hours range. Also, new gaming laptops promise to have an amazing price to performance ratio.

These new laptops seem to be the perfect blend of power and efficiency. They are great for those seeking a compact and lightweight notebook for school or work. But these notebooks, however, also have the kind of performance that’s needed for content creation and gaming.

Don’t get me wrong, here: Thin and light gaming laptops aren’t anything new. For example, Razer’s line of ‘Blade’ gaming laptops have been selling great for almost 10 years. But there are thinner, streamlined gaming laptops on the horizon. Gaming laptops with clean designs that also provide powerful, long-lasting internals. Nvidia’s Max Q GPUs have made it a lot easier and a whole lot less expensive to manufacture a slim gaming laptop with great graphics performance. That’s what you get with laptops like Razer’s Blade. But this year, things are going a step (or two) further.

And with all these shiny new chips that were announced at CES, gaming performance is all uphill from here. So, even if you’re in the market for a laptop with esports levels of performance, even those are going to thinner and lighter.

Lenovo Legion Slim 7

The Legion Slim 7 looks to be heavily based on a thin-and-light Lenovo IdeaPad. It is one of the company’s lightest and thinnest laptops to date. The laptop features a 15.6-inch 2160p display that has 60Hz refresh rate. The display also covers 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut. There will be one that you can get, though, that has a 1080p resolution but a 165Hz refresh rate. The laptop is equipped with an Nvidia RTX 30-series mobile GPU and next-generation AMD Ryzen CPUs.

Lenovo’s Legion Slim 7 should be available for purchase sometime in May, but pricing is unknown at this point.

The Asus ROG Flow X13

Then there is the Flow X13. It’s a 13 inch, 2.9-pound 2-in-1 convertible that has a GTX 1650 GPU and an 8, 54-Watt max TDP AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS. That’s more than enough for entry-level gaming, but Asus is also going to also release an eGPU (external GPU) enclosure that doubles as a USB hub.

You can get the bundle on preorder now on Asus’ website for $3,000.

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE

I wouldn’t say that the Predator Triton 300 SE is just a productivity machine, but it’s surely much more bland-looking than Triton gaming laptops released previously. It’s got an all-metal chassis that is just 17.9mm thick and 3.8 lbs (1.7 kg). Also, rather than the large Predator logo that’s usually found on the lid, there’s only a stamp-size logo in the top-left corner. The laptop has a 14-inch 1080p display with a 144Hz refresh rate.

The laptop will be powered by the new 11th-generation Intel Core i7 H35-series processors. It will also feature Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 graphics processors and up to 24GB of 3,200MHz DDR4 RAM. For storage, you can configure the machine with up to 1TB of PCIe SSD storage, and you can expect around 10 hours of battery life when doing productivity tasks. Acer’s new laptop will be available for $1,400 in February.

The Razer Blade 15 and Blade Pro 17

This year, Razer is refreshing its 15- and 17-inch gaming laptops, equipping them with the latest RTX 30-series GPUs. As for the CPU, though, Razer is keeping the 10th-gen Intel processors. This makes sense, as there has not been much of a performance increase between 10th and 11th generation Intel parts. The displays in these laptops, however, are totally updated. The Blade 15 Advanced is going to let buyers choose between a 1080P (1920 x 1080) FHD panel that has a 360Hz refresh rate and a 1440P (2560 x 1440) QHD with a 240Hz refresh rate with G-Sync support. Also, there is a third display option, a 2160P (3840 x 2160) UHD OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode)display that has a 60Hz refresh rate. The Blade Pro 17 is going to have three display choices as well. Users will be able to choose between an FHD display at 360Hz, a QHD panel at 165Hz, and a UHD display at 120Hz. All display options for the 17″ model are LCD.

Similar to the Predator Triton 300 SE, the new Dash F15 is more like a typical gaming laptop. It’s design features highlighted WASD keys and stylized fan vents. The Dash F15 is relatively light and compact, coming in at around 4 and a half pounds. It’s a gaming laptop, but it has a less showy design, so it won’t look out of place in an office or at a coffee shop. The laptop can be charged via USB C, and can run for almost 17 hours on a single charge while playing video.

Razer’s new Razer Blade 15 costs $1,700 and up, and the cheapest you can buy a Razer Blade Pro 17 is $2,300.

The Asus’ TUF Dash F15

This laptop’s top-end configuration includes an 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11375H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, and 32 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM. Storage for the top-end configuration is a 1TB SSD. Asus is going to have two display configurations for this laptop. Both will have a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and both will have a size of 15.6 inches, but one of them is going to have a 240Hz refresh rate and a 3ms response time. The other panel will have ‘only’ a 144Hz refresh rate.

Pricing has not been announced yet for the Asus TUF Dash F15. As far as a release date, the laptop is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2021.

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