The 5 best laptops of CES 2019

Tiny bezels and HDR rule our 5 best laptops of CES 2019

If there’s a theme that best highlights the laptop announcements of CES 2019, it’s how manufacturers have put the display front and center. They’ve doubled down on thin bezels and technologies that enhance image quality, like HDR and AMOLED, are on the rise.

Asus ZenBook S13

Asus ZenBook S13 Hands-on UX392
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Asus ZenBook S13 is the latest in a line of ZenBooks with a singular goal. Make the bezels as thin as possible. This time around, Asus has outdone itself with a spectacular 97 percent screen-to-body ratio. The bezels are so small, in fact, that Asus had to use a reverse notch to place the webcam above the display where it belongs. It’s an odd look, but it works, providing an edge to grip when opening the laptop.

Performance is also excellent, with a choice of Whiskey Lake CPUs and an upcoming GeForce MX150 option that will make the ZenBook S13 one of the thinnest laptops around with discrete graphics. That thin chassis is robust, being designed to pass MIL-STD-810g military standards for durability. We also think it looks smart, with a sharp, modern aluminum chassis that feels like quality.

Look for the ZenBook S13 to arrive in March. Although pricing hasn’t been formally announced, Asus hints that the ZenBook S13 will be the same price as the ZenBook 13 UX333FA, if not a little less expensive.

Read our hands-on review of the Asus ZenBook S13

Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13 2019 review (9380)
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Dell’s XPS 13 is once again among the best laptops at CES 2019. This diminutive machine has long been our favorite 13-inch clamshell laptop. This year, Dell has fixed the XPS 13’s infamous nosecam, building a tiny new camera mechanism that let Dell place the webcam above the display.

That’s not all new with this model. The hinge has been engineered for easier one-handed operation, and Dell has introduced a new “Frost” color that adds a silver splash to the aesthetic options. Also, the XPS 13 inherits the same maglev keyboard technology as the XPS 15 2-in-1, although Dell has increased key travel to enhance key feel.

Processor options now include Intel’s Whiskey Lake version of its 8th-generation quad-core CPUs, and there’s a new touch-enabled 1080p option to go with the 4K touch display and non-touch 1080p screen.  The 2019 version of the XPS will be available later in January, starting at $900.

Read our full review of the Dell XPS 13 (2019)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga
Matt Smith/Digital Trends

Lenovo showed a lot at CES 2019, introducing a number of updates to its popular ThinkPad and Yoga lines. We loved the new ThinkPad X1 Yoga, the fourth generation of the company’s premier and business-oriented convertible 2-in-1. And this one is truly different. It ditches carbon fiber in favor of a stiffer and more luxurious aluminum chassis.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the old model’s carbon fiber build, but the new version gives a more premium feel.

That doesn’t mean it’s overcome the tendency for large 2-in-1s like this to be a little heavy and clunky in tablet mode, but it makes for a great laptop all the same. Its use of Whiskey Lake processors, and an optional 1440p touchscreen with high dynamic range (HDR) support, means its going to please its demanding business users, just like always.

You’ll have to wait a while to pick up the latest model, though. It won’t ship until June 2019, starting at a very premium $1,930 price point.

Read our hands-on review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2019)

Huawei MateBook 13

Huawei MateBook 13 review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Chinese consumer electronics company Huawei is upping its game. The company’s latest is the MateBook 13, a MacBook Air competitor positioned between the MateBook X and the MateBook X Pro.

The new notebook has a productivity-friendly 3:2 screen aspect ratio with a high-res 2,160 x 1,440 display. Bezels are thin enough to enable an 88 percent screen-to-body ratio, better than the MacBook Air’s 82 percent.

As with the majority notebooks introduced today, the MateBook 13 is built around the latest Intel Whiskey Lake Core processors, promising strong performance and enhanced efficiency. But Huawei didn’t stop there. It also has an optional discrete GPU, the Nvidia GeForce MX150, to allow entry-level gaming.

The MateBook 13 will start at $1,000 with a Core i5-8256U, making it a more affordable option as well. It will be available starting on January 29, 2018.

Read our hands-on review of the Huawei MateBook 13

Lenovo Yoga S940

Lenovo Yoga S940 review
Luke Larsen/Digital Trends

Last but not least, we get to Lenovo’s second laptop on this list, the Yoga S940. This new member of the company’s premium consumer laptops aims at squeezing a lot of display into a tiny chassis. Like the ZenBook S13, the Yoga S940 takes advantage of an inverted notch to keep the webcam in its proper place while using small bezels for a high screen-to-body ratio. Lenovo can’t match the ZenBook S13’s number, but it still comes in at a solid 90 percent.

The Yoga S940 has another trick. The edges of the glass display panel are curved, just like Samsung Galaxy smartphones, and that means the 13.9-inch display feels like it’s framed by even smaller bezels. It’s a nice display indeed, with 400 nit 1080p and 500 nit 4K options that support Dolby Vision and HDR400, respectively.

Performance should be strong for demanding productivity users thanks to Whiskey Lake processors, and audio should benefit from upward-firing speakers. Pricing starts at $1,500, a bit of an uptick over the usual Yoga price point, and the laptops will arrive in May 2019.

Read our hands-on review of the Lenovo Yoga S940.


It took three years, but OLED laptops are having another moment at CES

To our surprise, OLED laptops made a strong showing at CES 2019. With options in the works from most of the major PC manufacturers, it seems OLED is making its comeback.

OLED's return and a phalanx of Nvidia-powered notebooks defined laptops at CES

CES 2019 offered a lot of surprises and news from some of the biggest names in laptop makers. Here are the major themes in laptops from this year's show.

Every gaming laptop that was announced at CES 2019, ranked

Looking for a new gaming laptop? You're in luck, as we compiled and ranked all the gaming notebooks that were announced at CES this year. Be sure to take a look at the latest models with AMD or Nvidia chips before you buy.

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

Finding a decent laptop is easy, but finding one under $1,000 is a bit tricky. Luckily, we've taken some of the guesswork out of picking out a budget laptop. Here are some of our favorites, the best laptops under $1,000.

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…

How to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.

Chip off the auction block – Intel’s i9-9990XE may be sold to the highest bidder

Intel's alleged Core i9-9990XE may only be sold at auction to OEMs, meaning that only a few of the 14-core, 28-thread, 5GHz CPUs will ever see the light of day in specific devices and systems.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…

Google is giving its G Suite web apps new touches of visual improvements

Your G Suite applications will soon have a different look. Several of the web apps are getting updated with subtle visual improvements inspired by Google's Material Design guidelines. 

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.