The best laptops of CES 2019: the top notebooks we've seen at Vegas

Laptops had yet another brilliant showing at CES 2019, with manufacturers eager to show that there’s still plenty of life left in these portable PCs.

Nvidia’s announcement on Sunday of its latest RTX mobile graphics prompted a deluge of laptop makers to announce that their latest gaming laptops will feature these powerful graphics cards, and CES this year was awash with some seriously impressive gaming laptops that struck a good balance between power and portability.

Non-gaming laptops also had a good showing in Las Vegas, with big brands showing off their latest flagship laptops that packed a lot of attractive features.

Perhaps best of all, we also saw a number of new laptops that try something radically different with the form factor, including a number of gaming devices that prompted us to declare that CES 2019 has made gaming laptops exciting again.

So, with a huge selection of new laptops, we’ve picked the very best laptops we saw at CES 2019.

Huawei MateBook 13

Huawei is a relative newcomer to the laptop market, but its been seriously impressing us with the laptops it has already released. The Huawei MateBook X Pro, for example, currently sits atop our best laptops list.

So, when we got a chance to have a play with the Huawei MateBook 13 at CES 2019, we had high hopes that Huawei would continue its hot streak.

The good news is that it seems like it has, as we were left impressed from the time we spent with it, and it looks like Huawei could have a hit on its hands that could rival the MacBook Air.

Samsung Notebook Flash

While premium laptops were out in force at CES 2019, all vying to take a (large) chunk out of your wallet, Samsung impressed us with its budget Samsung Notebook Flash

For an impressively low price of $349 (about £270, AU$500), Samsung is offering a laptop that comes with features and spec that put other budget laptops to shame.

It comes with an Intel Celeron N4000 processor – found in many Chromebooks and budget Windows laptops – backed by 4GB of memory and a 64GB eMMC flash drive.

 If you want a little more power, you can cough up $399 (about £300, AU$550) for a punchier Intel Pentium Silver N5000 CPU, which is in a similar class to the Pentium Gold within the Microsoft Surface Go.

It’s not as flashy as other laptops at CES 2019, but its design, spec and low price will impress a lot of people this year, which makes it one of our picks for the best laptop at CES.

Lenovo Yoga S940

Lenovo showed off a swathe of great new Yoga laptops at CES 2019, and our favorite is the well-built Yoga S940. It’s a wonderfully slim and light laptop with a Contour Glass display that comes in up to 4K resolution with HDR and Dolby Vision support.

Built out of aluminum, it weighs 2.64 pounds and is just 0.48 inches (12.2mm) thick, and comes with an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB RAM and 1TB of SSD storage.

The Lenovo Yoga S940 goes on sale May 2019, starting at $1,499 (around £1,200, AU$2,100).

Acer Swift 7

Acer impressed us at CES 2019 by somehow making its teeny Swift 7 laptop somehow even smaller and lighter.

In its aim to make the 'world's thinnest laptop', Acer's flagship Ultrabook for 2019 is just 9.95mm (0.39 inches) thin and weighs in at just 890 grams (1.96 pounds). 

Meanwhile, a smaller chassis allows the Acer Swift 7 to shrink the bezels even more this year around, achieving a screen-to-body ratio of 92%.

It’s still a sturdy laptop, though, with a chassis made of magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum alloys. Acer claims that these materials are two to four times tougher than regular aluminum, while also being up to 35% lighter.

Thin, light and powerful – there’s a lot to be impressed with on the new Acer Swift 7, and it’s one of the best laptops we’ve seen at this year’s CES.

LG gram 17

Speaking of thin and light laptops, LG wowed us with the LG gram 17, an incredibly light 17-inch laptop that weighs just 1.3kg – which is lighter than many other smaller laptops. You’re not going to see another 17-inch laptop that’s this light in 2019.

Its 16:10 display has a “2K” resolution of 2,560 x 1,600, and packs a Whisky Lake Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, Thunderbolt 3, SSD storage and even ports such as a microSD reader that thicker laptops don’t include.

It will go on sale for $1,700 (around £1,300, AU$2,400) later this year.

Asus Mothership GZ700

The Asus Mothership GZ700 has to make it onto this list thanks to its complete reinvention of what a gaming laptop should look – and behave – like.

Unlike traditional laptops (gaming or otherwise), the components are placed behind the screen, not underneath the keyboard. Speaking of the keyboard, it can be completely detached, turning the Mothership into a kind of crazy-powerful giant Surface laptop for gaming.

The design has let Asus pack the Mothership with some impressive tech, including an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card and an overclocked Intel Core i9-8950HK processor. It also has a series of super-fast NVMe SSDs set up in RAID 0 array, for even better performance, and gigabit networking as well.

Its innovative design means it’s easily one of the best laptops on show at CES 2019.

Alienware Area-51m

The Alienware Area-51m is another innovative gaming laptop at CES 2019 which does something new. Unlike other gaming laptops, the Area-51m allows its processor and graphics card to be upgraded, making it a future-proof laptop that will be playing games for years.

It answers one of our biggest complaints with gaming laptops – the lack of upgradability – and it does so with Dell’s customary high built quality and attractive design.

  • Check out all of TechRadar's CES 2019 coverage. We're live in Las Vegas to bring you all the breaking tech news and launches, plus hands-on reviews of everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets.
Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.