CES 2022 hasn't been like any previous CES. While last year's event was entirely virtual due to the pandemic, this year's show went ahead as planned in Las Vegas, but many big companies and tech publications (including TechRadar) haven't attended in person.
However, that hasn't stopped some of the biggest names in technology from announcing new products both virtually and in person, and CES 2022 was particularly exciting when it came to laptops.
Not only did Intel, AMD and Nvidia all show off brand-new mobile components that will be powering the laptops of the future, but laptop manufacturers including Dell, Asus, and Lenovo revealed some of their upcoming devices.
So 2022 looks like it's going to be an exciting year for laptops, and below we've rounded up the best laptops of CES 2022 that caught our eye, including some innovative devices that hint at what the future holds for the form factor.
Due to Covid restrictions we've not had a chance to go hands-on with many of the laptops here (unlike previous years), so we're basing our early impressions on their specs and design.
The best laptops of CES 2022
1. Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3
We do love it when companies push the envelope when it comes to laptop design. It's not always successful, but we think the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3, could be a hit, especially for creatives.
For a start, this laptop comes with a unique 21:10 ultrawide aspect ratio screen. This makes it a long laptop, but it also gives you extra space to work with. We love ultrawide monitors on desktop PCs, especially for when you need to have multiple apps open at once, so it's cool to see an ultrawide laptop.
In addition to that wide screen there's also a secondary 8-inch screen to the side of the keyboard, which can be used to open apps, or as a drawing tablet with a stylus.
This is definitely a laptop aimed at digital creatives, and it's packed with some great hardware. While it won't be for everyone – and its $1,399 (about £1,080 / AU$1,960) starting price will be beyond many – it shows that innovation in the laptop space is alive and well.
2. Alienware X14
Many years ago buying a gaming laptop meant having to put up with a big, bulky and – let's face it – ugly laptop, but these days we're seeing more stylish and svelte devices, and the Alienware X14 is the latest example.
Alienware is a brand known for making luxury gaming devices, and the Alienware X14 continues this tradition, with Alienware's iconic design language now added to a thin and light laptop.
With an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU, this isn't the most powerful gaming laptop out there, but it'll still be able to handle modern games on its 14-inch 144Hz Full HD screen.
If you want a stylish gaming laptop for playing the latest games on the go, the Alienware X14 could be just what you're after.
3. Asus ROG Flow Z13
As usual, Asus had some of the most interesting laptops at CES 2022, including the Asus ROG Flow Z13, which comes with a fully detachable keyboard.
Removing the keyboard turns laptop into a powerful gaming tablet – sort of like a souped-up Surface Pro device. The tablet is incredibly thin at just 12mm, but it features some impressive specs, including an Intel Core i9-12900H processor and Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti graphics card.
This means it's not just easily portable, but it'll handle modern games with a bit of tweaking. The screen comes with a 1080p resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, and there's also an option for a 4K screen with 60Hz refresh rate.
If you want more power you can plug in an external GPU (Asus launched some new ones at CES ). If it lives up to our expectations the Asus ROG Flow Z13 could be one of the most exciting gaming devices to come out in 2022.
4. Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED
Asus also caught our CES eye with another innovative laptop, the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED.
As the name suggests, this is a laptop with a foldable screen. Unfolded, it's essentially a huge 17.3-inch tablet, and you can fold it into an L shape and use it in 'laptop mode' with a 12.5-inch main screen, with the lower half serving as an on-screen keyboard.
We're still not convinced by foldable screen laptops, but the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED does come with some impressive-sounding specs, with 12th-generation Intel chips and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity.
However, it's the screen tech that really impressive, with the OLED panel being Pantone-validated, as well as supporting Dolby Vision and 100% DCIP3 color gamut.
We'll likely see a few companies launch foldable screen laptops in 2022 (according to Intel, at least), but the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED already looks like it could be the one with the best chance of being successful.
5. XMG Neo 15 with XMG Oasis
Keeping powerful gaming components cool has always been a struggle for manufacturers of gaming laptops. Unlike desktop PCs, there's limited space in a laptop's body for airflow and cooling options, and this means that many gaming laptops either run very hot, and end up throttling performance, or become incredibly noisy as loads of fans kick into gear.
The XMG Neo 15 gaming laptop presents a novel solution to this problem in the form of the XMG Oasis external liquid cooler. It plugs into the laptop's existing cooling solution to help keep temperatures under control, and according to XMG, the using the Oasis drops the temperatures of the processor and GPU of the XMG Neo 15 by an impressive 68F / 20C.
The XMG Oasis will be sold separately for around €200 (around $225 / £165 / AU$310), but combined with the XMG Neo 15, which sports up to an RTX 3080 Ti, 12th-gen Intel Core i7 and 64GB of DDR5 RAM, it offers a unique way of eking out the maximum possible power from a gaming laptop.
6. Razer Blade 14 (2022)
You know what? We think 14-inch laptops are going to be the size to get in 2022. While 13-inch and 15-inch laptops may be more popular, we've seen some great 14-inch laptops at CES 2022, which represent a happy medium of offering more screen space than the smaller 13-inch models while being more portable than 15-inch devices.
The Razer Blade 14 (2022) is the perfect example of this, with the 14-inch model coming with AMD's new Ryzen 6000 series processors (the Blade 15 and Blade 17 that were also shown off are Intel-only), and can be kitted out with up to an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU. So, not only is it small and portable, but it'll be a gaming beast as well.
- Check out all of TechRadar's CES 2022 coverage. We're bringing you all the breaking tech news and launches of everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart-home gadgets.