The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas sets the agenda for the year in tech, with gadgets galore from companies hailing from across the globe.
Laptops, tablets and desktop computers are a staple every year, so we’ve rounded up five of the trends you should be watching for in 2019 to help make your buying decision easier.
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Laptops with OLED screens
Organic LED (OLED) screens have been a staple of TVs for several years and produce vibrant and vivid images with inky blacks and beautiful colours. They’re rarely found on laptops, however, despite having been first introduced over three years ago.
Both Lenovo and Dell have brought them back to the fore with their latest announcements. Lenovo has introduced the Yoga C730 with the tech on board, while Dell has added an OLED screen option to its XPS 15 line along with the G7 gaming laptop and Alienware m15 gaming laptop.
OLED technology is expensive, but we’ve found it frequently outshines more conventional LCD technology. You can read more about OLED screens in our guide to the top five OLED TVs.
Several manufacturers have launched brand new thin-and-light laptops. Here are three key models to keep an eye on:
Huawei MateBook 13 – A new 13-inch laptop to take on the likes of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2, MacBook Air 2018 and Dell XPS 13. Starting at $999 in the US for a model with an Intel Core i5 processor, expect this laptop to start from about £999 in the UK if it launches here.
Asus ZenBook S13 – A 13-inch laptop designed to maximise screen space while keeping the laptop’s size as small as possible. Asus has managed this using, what’s being called in the press, a ‘reverse notch’ for the webcam, meaning most of the screen border is extremely thin with a small handle in which the webcam sits.
It will weigh less than 1.15kg and come equipped with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor along with 16GB of Ram. No pricing has been announced yet, but expect it to cost around the same as Asus’ current line of 13-inch ZenBooks. It should launch in March.
Dell XPS 13 – Not much has changed this year on this ever-popular Ultrabook, but Dell has taken the decision to move the webcam away from the bottom of the screen where webcam chat partners were treated to a view looking up your nose, back to where it belongs, at the top of the screen.
This had been one of the XPS 13’s most hated features and to see it removed will bring relief to anyone who was considering buying one this year.
The first AMD-powered Chromebooks
The HP Chromebook 14 and Acer Chromebook 315 are both new arrivals. What’s special about these new models is that they’re powered by AMD processors instead of Intel, which is a first.
This won’t mean much to most people, but it should help make the Chromebook market more competitive and, hopefully, push Chromebooks with Intel processors to be a little faster in future. In the short term, though, more cheap Chromebooks are always a good thing.
Read our guide to the best Chromebooks for models that start from just £250.
Tablets/smart hub combos
Lenovo brought its new Smart Tab to CES. It takes the form of a 10-inch Android tablet that, when slipped into a dock, turns into an Amazon Alexa-enabled smart hub. What’s more, the dock doubles up as a speaker that Lenovo says has been tuned by Dolby for ‘room-filling’ sound.
The Smart Tab joins the latest Amazon Fire HD 8 as a smart hub-tablet combo, and is likely to be a wider trend as the year goes on and tablet makers try to find a way to entice people to replace their older models.
Make sure you choose a reliable tablet brand if you’re shopping around.
Laptop gaming innovations
Gaming computers might not be for everybody, but these crazy form-factors can’t fail to impress.
Alienware Area 51m – An upgradeable gaming laptop. One of the downsides of laptops is that you can’t replace things like the CPU or graphics card. Dell’s Alienware has turned that rule on its head with its mighty Area 51m that makes both these components user-replaceable; it’s more like a tiny desktop PC with a screen and keyboard attached. Expect it to cost several thousand pounds when it appears on store shelves, however.
Asus Mothership – This has been heralded as a ‘Microsoft Surface tablet for gamers’ and, in essence, that’s what it is. It’s a tablet with gaming laptop components built in, along with a detachable keyboard. This means you can plonk it down anywhere and start gaming. There’s no pricing yet, but expect this to also cost multiple-thousand pounds.
Acer Predator Triton 900 – If you thought your laptop wasn’t flexible enough, try this $4,000 gaming laptop for size. It has a flippable, easel-style screen so you can turn it any which way you want and still take advantage of its mighty gaming power.
Fancy something more conventional? See our list of the best laptops for under £500