The best laptops of IFA 2018

From gaming rigs to dual-screen wonders, these are the best laptops of IFA 2018

IFA is one of the larger stages for new laptops each year, and this year’s selection of proves that to be true. Though we’re still waiting for new laptops from Microsoft, Apple, and Google, other big players introduced sweeping portfolios of new Windows 10 laptops, 2-in-1s, Chromebooks — and even some experimental oddities that defy the conventional categories.

Here are the five laptops from IFA 2018 that we’re most excited to get extended hands-on time with later this year.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

There’s no lack of love for the ThinkPad brand out there, especially if we’re talking about the excellent new X1-series laptops Lenovo has launched in the past few years. This newest 15-inch ThinkPad X1 laptop takes the premium-level build and components to the next level, throwing in a capable graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q. On top of that, it comes with a powerful Intel H-series six-core processor, a 4K HDR display, and up to 15 hours of battery life.

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme has its aim set directly on laptop like the Dell XPS 15 and the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Despite its hefty $1,860 starting price, we think this laptop has the potential to reach beyond just ThinkPad devotees.

Asus ZenBook S

The original ZenBook S was launched just recently, and we reviewed it as one of our favorite premium 13-inch laptop. It has a killer design, a gorgeous 4K display, and excellent performance. Asus is already following it up by refreshing it with the newest 8th-gen Intel processors, more specifically, the Whisky Lake chips announced at IFA.

Asus says these news chips provide a 10 percent performance enhancements over the previous ZenBook S — and even more interestingly, up to twenty hours of battery life. Manufacturer battery claims always have to be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s still an impressing number to boost. So far, only the Surface Book 2 (which has extra juice in the tablet) and Qualcomm-powered PCs have come close to lasting for twenty hours.

Lenovo Yoga Book

The original Yoga Book seemed crazy when first introduced in 2016, but these days a keyboard-less, dual-screen notebook feels more like the future of laptop form factors than a silly experiment. The 2nd-generation Yoga Book was teased at Computex earlier this year, alongside a couple of other interesting keyboard-less designs, but IFA was its full, official introduction. The new version comes with two 10.8-inch displays, one in the lid and one where the keyboard would normally. In place of a keyboard is a Full HD E-Ink display that works for both typing and stylus use. We found typing significantly improved this time around.

The lack of a keyboard means the Yoga Book is incredibly thin and light. In fact, as far as we can tell, it’s the thinnest and lightest laptop ever made. It starts at $1,000 for the base model, which comes with a 7th-gen Y-Series processor. It’s unfortunate Lenovo couldn’t implement the new 8th-gen processors in time, though it seems as if the project has been in the works for a long time.

Read out Lenovo Yoga Book hands-on review

Asus ZenBook 13 / 14 / 15

Asus relaunched the ZenBook 13 at IFA, showing off its new trimmed-down bezels and smaller footprint. There’s now a 92 percent screen-to-body ratio, making for a great new look for these affordable ZenBooks. They come in 13-inch, 14-inch, and 15-inch sizes, with options of up to a 4K display. It’s not all just about looks, though — Asus has packed some impressive components under the hood too.

All models come with the latest Whiskey Lake 8th-gen processors and options for a discrete graphics card. The GeForce MX150 is available for the smaller sizes, and the GTX 1050 (Max-Q) for the 15-inch. The most interesting feature included is the touchpad, which can be turned into a Numpad when needed. We don’t have any details on specific configuration options, pricing, or release date yet.

Acer Swift 5

The Swift 5 was advertised in its announcement as the lightest 15-inch ever made. It also has tiny bezels and a thinned out chassis, for a modern look that’s a huge upgrade over last year’s model. The design is an impressive feat, but it’s actually not the most compelling feature of the laptop.

Thanks to the new Intel U-Series processors, the Swift 5 comes with Gigabit Wi-Fi — though if you want built-in LTE capabilities, you’ll have to spring for the cheaper Acer Swift 3. While the Swift 3 and 5 aren’t the only laptops to receive these important new connectivity features, the $1,100 starting price makes it a bit more accessible for the average person.

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