After a few years where many so-called experts said tablets and phones would replace the PC, 2017 is shaping up to be one of the best years for laptop innovation yet. At CES 2017, we saw some of the most powerful notebooks ever made, including the Acer Predator 21X, which packs a massive curved display. We also saw some incredibly eye-catching design elements like the carbon-fibre XPS 13 2-in-1 and the sleek silver EliteBook x360. We even saw a laptop with three 4K screens.
Below you’ll find the best laptops from CES 2017, along with the best accessory and innovation from the show. However, you won’t find any standalone tablets on our list, because no major company released any, due to waning interest in the category. So much for the “experts.”
Best Overall Laptop: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
The nearly borderless display on the regular XPS 13 is a sight to behold, but it’s even more compelling when you can flip it around and use it in tent or stand mode. The XPS 13 2-in-1 lets you do just that in an even thinner and completely fanless design.
It also offers plenty of pep, thanks to a Dynamic Power mode that boosts the speed of the Kaby Lake Y Series CPU when you need it. Add in an optional pen and you have a killer convertible.
Best Gaming Laptop: Acer Predator 21 X
At 21 inches, the Acer Predator is literally the biggest gaming laptop we’ve ever seen. But that’s not why it won this award. The 21-inch curved display — a first on any laptop — a mechanical keyboard and the Predator 21 X’s magnetic, reversible touchpad/number pad put it over the top. We also had to take into consideration the system’s overclockable Intel Core i7 CPU, pair of Nvidia GTX 1080 GPUs and 4 SSDs in RAID 0. In short, the Predator is equal parts innovation and gaming beast.
Best Business Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The best super-light business notebook just got a whole lot better. For 2017, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has slimmed down to less than 2.5 pounds while adding a slightly larger battery, a 7th Generation Core Series CPU and Thunderbolt 3 for charging and high-speed data.
The durable, MIL-SPEC-tested ultrabook now has a silver color option, but we prefer the black with its luxurious soft-touch finish.
Best Chromebook: Samsung Chromebook Plus
Chromebooks are no longer just cheap laptops for grade-school kids. The Chromebook Plus is a seriously versatile 2-in-1 that runs Chrome OS and gives you access to a ton of Android apps in the Google Play store that you can enjoy on the sharp quad HD touch screen.
Plus, this ARM-powered convertible includes a pen for taking notes and a multi-window feature for multitasking with ease. Watch out, Windows.
Best 2-in-1: HP EliteBook x360
Designed for business users who need flexibility and want style, this sleek aluminum 13-incher is just 0.59 inches thick and weighs a mere 2.8 pounds. It’s the first 2-in-1 to feature HP’s Sure View privacy mode, which keeps prying eyes from looking at your screen. The EliteBook x360 also includes up to a 4K display, an active pen, a 7th Gen Core processor and a wide array of ports.
Best Accessory: Brydge 12.3 Surface Keyboard
The Brydge 12.3 not only helps you use the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and 4; it actually turns those great 2-in-1s into even better tools. The ability to type on a keyboard with more travel than the Surface Type Cover and have more “lapability” than the built-in kickstand makes this a no-brainer for Surface Pro owners on the go.
Best Concept: Razer Project Valerie
Whoever said less is more clearly hasn’t seen the awesome abundance that is Razer Project Valerie. We were wowed by this conceptual product that’s essentially a Razer Blade Pro with a pair of 4K screens mounted on either side of the primary display.
And if that wasn’t enough of a spectacle, Razer lined the bottom of the panels with its hypnotic Chroma lighting, creating the ultimate mobile gaming battle station.
Best Value: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
At CES 2017, there were a lot of drool-worthy gaming laptops, but most of them were priced out of reach of mainstream users. For just $799, you get a 15-inch full HD screen and Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics so you can hit 60 fps on high settings in modern AAA games.
We also dig the sinister black-and-red paint scheme and big exhausts on the back, so you won’t confuse this Inspiron with its non-gaming siblings.
Best Innovation: Nvidia GeForce Now
Remember that joke about how you can’t game on a Mac? It’s dead and Nvidia killed it with its GeForce Now service. Making the leap from the Shield to PCs and even Apple’s computers, GeForce Now allows gamers to stream their favorite titles by way of the company’s massive cloud-based cadre of GTX GPUs. While other companies have offered this service, few have the resources to make it work well.
Best Design: Aorus x9
We’d forgive you if you mistook the Aorus x9 for a model car. After all, this sable beauty is heavily inspired by a Lamborghini. The matte black aluminum finish is both thrilling and intimidating. The interior delivers more of that inky black goodness, which perfectly accentuates the customizable RGB mechanical keyboard. All in all, the Aorus X9 looks like a wild ride, and one we’re more than happy to take.