With 12th generation Intel® mobile processors releasing this year, brands such as Dell, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, and many others have revealed ambitious new laptop designs that could have a significant impact on the way we work, play, and create content. These include everything from powerful thin, light systems to devices that blur the line between tablets and laptops, and Chromebooks that rival the functionality of Windows and Mac systems.
Dell XPS 13 Plus
There’s different, then there’s Dell XPS 13 Plus different. Although Dell’s premium XPS brand tends to have standout designs, the company is preparing to release a Windows laptop that’s almost completely unlike anything preceding it. From the outside, it still looks like the Dell XPS 13 from late 2020, complete with a minimalistic aluminum build and curved edges. But opening it reveals a new, bold design.
For starters, the traditional top row of F-keys is replaced by a capacitive touch function row, which is made up of digital touch pads with haptic feedback instead of physical keys. You use them to control the system’s volume, screen brightness, and other typical functions. Also, the glass trackpad is completely hidden in the palm rest and it uses haptics for digital clicks instead of having the physical buttons of a traditional touchpad, which will likely deliver near-silent operation. This design also allows for larger keycaps for a smooth typing experience. Meanwhile, the upward-firing stereo speakers underneath the keyboard combine with two downward-firing speakers to provide deeply immersive audio experiences. Driven by a 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processor, this will be the most powerful thin-and-light laptop Dell has ever produced.
With its minimalist design, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is made to eliminate distractions to help keep you focused on productivity, content creation, and entertainment. The edge-to-edge display will support up to 4K+ resolution and an optional OLED screen will be available for deeper contrast. Also, Express Charge 2.0 gets your laptop to about 80% battery life in less than an hour. You won’t have to wait long to get your hands on one of these laptops. The Dell XPS 13 Plus will be shipped in the spring.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED
Combining the full functionality of a laptop and the portability of a tablet, the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED opens new ways to view and interact with content with its foldable thin-bezel NanoEdge OLED screen. With this design, you can unfold the device to view content side-by-side with two PANTONE-validated Dolby Vision 1920 x 1080 resolution 12.5" screens, or as a single 2560 x 1920 resolution 17.3" display. Either way, you’ll enjoy rich colors with lifelike photos and videos. The built-in color sensor automatically optimizes the screen’s color temperature and brightness to your environment. Other modes include the traditional laptop mode, but there’s no built-in keyboard or touchpad here. It’s all touchscreen from edge to edge, powered by integrated Intel® Iris™ Xe graphics. However, a separate ASUS ErgoSense Bluetooth keyboard and touchpad will be available at launch.
Although the folding screen might be this device’s standout feature, the Zenbook 17 Fold is no slouch when it comes to its other specifications. Equipped with a 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 U-Series processor, this device is designed to deliver high power while maintaining a thin, light design. Its graphics are also complemented by a Harman Kardon-certified quad-speaker Dolby Atmos audio system. Additionally, its 5MP infrared camera supports Windows Hello and Intel® visuals sensing controller technology. Expect crystal-clear video calls with AI-drive noise cancellation and support for Wi-Fi 6E connectivity. Not to mention the 75 Wh battery, which can be quickly charged through 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt™ 4 ports.
ASUS ROG Flow Z13
A folding screen isn’t the only way ASUS is making an impression this year. Inspired by the Microsoft Surface design, the ROG Flow Z13 is a high-performance PC gaming tablet with the heart of a full-featured laptop. It may be deceptively small, thin, and light, but this gaming system can be outfitted with up to a 2.5 GHz 12th Gen Core™ i9 H-Series 14-core processor, 16GB of 5200 MHz LPDDR5 memory, a 1TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics with vapor chamber cooling. The dedicated MUX switch allows you to switch manually between the CPU’s integrated graphics or the discrete GPU to ensure you’re getting the graphical might when you need it.
Its 13.4" Dolby Vision touchscreen supports Adaptive-Sync to help reduce screen tearing and stuttering, while the built-in 170° kickstand allows for optimal positioning no matter where you are. The ROG Flow Z13’s PANTONE-validated display features a 16:10 aspect ratio and will be available in either 4K, 60 Hz, or Full-HD, 120 Hz configurations. You can also pick up a stylus to switch seamlessly between playing games and creating content. The detachable keyboard and touchpad cover includes N-key rollover, a 1.7mm travel distance, and single-zone Aura Sync RGB lighting that pairs nicely with your wireless mouse of choice. Up to four gamepad controllers may be paired with the system for couch multiplayer. External displays and peripherals can be connected to its 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt™ 4 USB Type-C port. You can also boost the system’s graphical might by using an ROG XG Mobile eGPU with the system’s compatible interface, which supports up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics.
Completing the gaming experience is a Dolby Atmos stereo sound system with smart amp for immersive audio. At the same time, your livestreams and video calls will be enhanced by a three-mic array with AI-based noise cancellation in addition to the integrated Wi-Fi 6E support. Whether you regard the ROG Flow Z13 as a tablet or a laptop, you can expect it to provide premium PC gaming experiences when it launches later this year.
Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3
Having a dual-screen setup can significantly boost productivity, but it’s not always possible to tether your laptop to an external display. That’s where the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 laptop comes in, with an 8" 800 x 1280 resolution touchscreen secondary display, which complements the main 17.3" Dolby Vision 3072 x 1440, 120 Hz 3K screen with a 21:10 aspect ratio. Designed for pro-level multitasking, the secondary screen supports productivity apps in addition to phone syncing and mirroring so you never have to look away from your laptop while you’re working. It can also be configured to duplicate or extend the main display, allowing you to use a stylus to make detailed edits to photos, take handwritten notes, and draw with supported applications. Shortcuts may also be added to the second screen to quickly launch frequently used applications and accelerate your workflow.
Inside is a 12th generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor with up to 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, which can run a multitude of demanding applications. Connectivity includes a Thunderbolt™ 4 port alongside a 10 Gb/s USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, a 5 Gb/s 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, and an HDMI port to add even more displays.
HP Elite Dragonfly G3 & Chromebook Enterprise
In the time of hybrid work environments that include working from home or hotels and sharing desks in addition to traditional offices, business-oriented Chromebooks have truly grown into serious alternatives to Windows and Mac laptops, especially since Chrome OS can run Android apps downloaded from Google Play. Perhaps nothing demonstrates this shift more than the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook Enterprise, which was announced at CES 2022 alongside the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook and Windows 11-based Elite Dragonfly G3 laptops.
Designed specifically for collaborative workstyles that may involve a significant amount of travel, all three thin, light Elite Dragonfly systems feature a 3:2, 13.5" display and a 12th Gen Intel® processor. For high-quality video conferencing, they also include a 5MP webcam with a quad speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system. The Elite Dragonfly G3 also has HP Dynamic Voice Leveling and AI-based noise reduction 2.0, which helps to ensure that people can be heard clearly even when they’re wearing masks. It also includes two Thunderbolt™ 4 USB Type-C ports, support for Wi-Fi 6E, and can also be outfitted with up to 32GB of LPDDR5 memory and a 2TB PCIe 3x4 NVMe solid-state drive.
As expected, the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook has much in common with its Windows-driven counterpart, except that it takes advantage of Chrome OS’s cloud-centric design. Other differences include being a 2-in-1 system with support for an optional magnetic pen that attaches to its side for easy storage and wireless charging. The Elite Dragonfly also boasts being the first Chromebook with a haptic trackpad, providing users with a new level of control and responsiveness, in addition to supporting HP Sure View Reflect privacy screens and Sure Shutter electronic webcam blockers with select configurations. The premium Elite Dragonfly Chromebook Enterprise takes security to new heights by being the first Chromebook to support Intel® vPro technology. The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is scheduled to launch in March and the Elite Dragonfly Chromebook models are expected to launch in April.
A Bold New Year
Separately, Google announced features that will unify the Android, Chrome OS, and Windows experiences so that laptops, tablets, phones, and wearables will work more closely together―similar to the Apple ecosystem. So, 2022 is already shaping up to be a year of major innovation in the PC laptop space, helping you stay productive, connected, and entertained.
The main question is, which computer or tablet do you think is the most exciting? One with a folding OLED screen, haptic controls, a high-performance PC gaming tablet, a built-in second screen, or a next-level Chromebook experience? Share your thoughts in the Comments section, below.