10 unmissable computing highlights from CES 2016

Maingear Apha 34
(Image credit: Future)


CES 2016

(Image credit: Future)

Forget fitness trackers, smart fridges and connected cars: the most interesting tech (so far) to emerge from CES 2016 has been found in the computing section.

As every hour passes it seems that Las Vegas is being lit up by a brighter monitor, a lighter laptop or a gaming machine with more grunt than a Marine Corp.

From computing mainstays Dell, HP and Lenovo to gaming greats Corsair, Maingear and Origin, this year's big names are coming up with the goods. Don't believe us? Check out these choice cuts from the show floor.

1. Maingear Alpha 34

Maingear Alpha 34

(Image credit: Future)

Maingear has us seriously excited about all-in-one gaming machines in 2016 if the Alpha 34 is anything to go by. Its massive 34-inch display has a roomy 3K pixel-resolution of 3,440 x 1,440, which places it squarely in wideboy territory. Hollywood blockbusters are filmed in the same "cinematic" 21:9 aspect ratio, so movies should look stunning on it.

Of course, the Alpha 34's main occupation is gaming, which should prove smooth as butter thanks to a choice of up to Nvidia's Titan X graphics card (with 12GB vRAM) or AMD's Radeon R9 390X. Whichever camp you're in, the Apha 34's eye-watering price tag means you should probably start saving up now...

2. Lenovo Modular ThinkVision Monitor

Lenovo Modular ThinkVision Monitor

(Image credit: Future)

Lenovo has introduced not one, but two modular monitors at CES 2016, making that two more modular monitors than we saw last year. The ThinkVision X24 is a 23.8-inch Full HD IPS monitor that you can tailor to your needs, making it more future-proof than most.

It can be configured with a WiGig Bar for hooking up peripherals wirelessly, a wireless charging stand for your smartphone, and an Intel RealSense camera for logging into Windows 10 with your face. Lenovo also debuted the ThinkCentre TIO II, which also takes the X24's modular approach while offering a more complete desktop machine.

3. Corsair Carbide Spec-Alpha Mid-Tower ATX

Corsair Carbide Spec-Alpha Mid-Tower ATX

(Image credit: Future)

Here's a PC case that would look good sat on top of your desk, never mind under it. Corsair's Carbide Spec-Alpha mid-tower gaming case features 120mm fans for Direct Airflow Path cooling, which is controlled by a three-speed switch on the front of the case.

There's enough room for up to four SSDs inside, and it also features native support for USB 3.0. Tool-free drive installation and a removable side panel means you should be able to get to components without wrestling it to the ground. We're particularly attracted to the Star Wars-esque red-and-white version.

4. Acer Aspire Switch 12 S

Acer Aspire Switch 12 S

(Image credit: Future)

Convertible laptops got a whole lot more exciting once 4K became a thing - and the Acer Aspire Switch 12 S is a great example of why that is. Essentially a portable laptop with a detachable 4K tablet, you can prop up the display anywhere after removing it from its snappy hinge.

From watching sports games in the hot tub to Skyping in the privacy of your bedroom, Ultra HD-toting 2-in-1s make your Netflix binges the stuff of dreams. Its specs aren't too shabby either: Intel's Skylake Core M processor under the hood should be kind on battery life, while USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 mean it's well-connected too.

5. Origin Omni

Origin Omni

(Image credit: Future)

Could 2016 be the year of the gaming all-in-one? After laying eyes on the Maingear Alpha 34 and now this, the Origin Omni, we're beginning to think it might be.

Like the Alpha 34, Origin's all-in-one features a 34-inch QHD display toting a 3,440 x 1,440 pixel resolution, which traditionally provides a stunning field of view for racing games and first-person shooters. This one can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 5960X processor and Nvidia's meaty GeForce Titan X graphics card.

6. Dell UP3017Q

Dell UP3017Q

(Image credit: Future)

When we see the acronym "OLED", our eyes tend to light up like, well, OLED. As Juan Martinez notes in his hands-on review of the UP3017Q, Organic Light Emitting Diode displays provide superior contrast ratios, wider viewing angles and deeper blacks compared to conventional LED displays, and Dell's new OLED monitor doesn't disappoint. This large 4K panel is a 30-inch feast for the eyes, not least due to its InfinityEdge bezel that Dell carried over from its XPS family of ultraportables.

7. Razer Blade Stealth

Razer Blade Stealth

(Image credit: Future)

Creeping into CES 2016 like a crouching, gaming tiger, the Razer Blade Stealth is Razer's thinnest Ultrabook yet. The 12.5-inch ultraportable is a beautiful machine on its own, one that becomes a different beast when you connect it to an external GPU dock called the Razer Core. With the ability to house a full-sized graphics card like Nviida's GTX Titan X, the Core means you can sit down, hook the Thunderbolt 3.0-supported USB cable to the laptop and enjoy desktop-quality gaming in seconds.

8. Dell Latitude 13 7000

Dell Latitude 13 7000

(Image credit: Future)

The InfinityEdge display on Dell's XPS 13 is beginning to appear on other Dell products including the UP3017Q, and now this, the Latitude 13 7000. But hey: we're not complaining - Dell's business-ready laptop is shaping up to be a stunning blend of consumer chic and business savvy.

Thin and light, the Latitude 13 7000 swaps the XPS 13's shallow keyboard with a business-class one packing keys toting a satisfying 1.9mm of travel. The laptop also gets two physical clickpad buttons for an extra tactile feel. If you loved the XPS 13 but would be happy to sacrifice a bit of chunk for a superior typing experience, keep the Latitude 13 7000 on your radar.

9. Asus MB169C

Asus MB169C

(Image credit: Future)

Laggy, slow and poorly-made, portable monitors have been too rubbish to date to warrant much attention. Asus is looking to change that with the MB169C+, the first 15.6-inch portable monitor that's powered by a speedy Thunderbolt 3.0-powered USB-C port. Slip one of these wafer-thin displays in your bag and you've got a second 1080p display to take on your travels, allowing you to be productive or watch movies on the go. Compared to olders portable monitors powered by USB 2.0 or even USB 3.0, this model should fly.

10. Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim

Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim

(Image credit: Future)

Portable hard drives are getting smaller, and Seagate's Backup Plus Ultra Slim is the most portable 2TB model yet. Measuring 9.6mm thick, Seagate reckons the 2.5-inch drive is 50% thinner than competing external hard disk drives on the shelves today. It comes with enough capacity to store more than 500,000 songs, 320,000 photos or 240 hours of HD video, and if that's not enough for you, Seagate is bundling it with 200GB of Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage.

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.