The CES 2021 dust is beginning to settle, and while this year’s case was an almost exclusively digital affair due to the continuing pandemic, it didn’t mean we skipped the buzz when getting digitally blasted with all the exciting laptop launches.
Nvidia’s latest line of laptop Graphics Processing Units and AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 5000 mobile processors were the biggest announcements in the world of computing, while Intel still came out swinging with its 11th generation Tiger Lake-H35 processors that featured in some of the smallest gaming laptops seen at the case.
Over the last few years, a growing trend has been sleek, streamlined gaming laptops that, like the older generation of portable gaming hardware, do not give away their hard-working interior. A lot of this is probably due to technology evolution over time, allowing for more effective cooling and ventilation without having to build a laptop that looks like it’s an Autobot waiting to transform into an F15.
I might say that this isn’t just about the choice of theme, however. Yes, it’s nice to have a gaming laptop that doesn’t feel like it’s heavy enough to use as a dumbbell when I’ve lost mine, but you’d think the RGB-encrusted patterns from current desktop PCs will bleed further into these modern laptop designs with all that space being saved.
In models such as the latest MSI GE76 Raider Dragon Edition Tiamat, or the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, you can still see examples of the noisy, gamer aesthetics, but almost every name in the gaming laptop industry that attended CES this year also announced a stealthy, professional-looking computer in its gaming lineups, stripped of any needless RGBs or accents that would give away the true intent of the system.
Of course, with these minimalist gaming laptops, this does not mean that anyone can turn their Chromebooks or MacBooks, but gamers who work in stuffier business environments will be able to size their work computer and personal gaming machine into one gaming laptop.
On your lunch break, you could be playing a round of League of Legends, pillaging English towns on the train home as a Viking assassin, and then logging into World of Warcraft to raid friends when you get back.
Laptops like the Lenovo Legion Slim 7 are almost indistinguishable from a modern non-gaming laptop, also without any visible accents that can be used in devices such as the HP Dragonfly Max, a laptop specifically built for conference calling and business function.
While the Legion Slim 7’s outer chassis is nothing to shout about, you’re getting a monitor of 4k 60Hz and the new RTX 3000 GPUs and Ryzen 5000 CPUs.
The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE, meanwhile, has a sleek, brushed-metal chassis that wouldn’t look out of place on a MacBook or Surface Pro computer, and with a few simple clicks, the lighting can be flipped to a single color or fully shut off. The keyboard has an integrated shortcut to the Predator Sense app that controls the power input of the laptop, giving you complete customization to set it to a turbo boosted, illuminated beast by night as a study or job-safe laptop by day.
The MSI Stealth 15M is also another gaming laptop that suits the bill as a great piece of incognito gaming gear that could accompany you on business trips and commutes, without the need to carry two computers to balance your work and hobby with you.
When it releases, it claims to be the slimmest gaming laptop on the market, and while I can’t verify that’s going to be the case, it sure looks more like a modern Ultrabook than a mad power gaming laptop.
As these laptops are not currently on the market, we don’t know anything about the efficiency you should expect yet, but the sheer power hidden in the guts of these machines means they should be able to handle just about any work-related job you throw at them.
You can also opt for one of the gaming laptops with a 16:10 ratio monitor released this year, such as the Lenovo Legion 7. Yeah, RGB lighting is smothered, but in the system settings this can be easily turned off, and you can find that an extra 11 percent boost in the available screen size will increase efficiency at work, ideal for someone who misses larger displays to work on.
For many of us right now, the opportunity to work again in an office (or just outside our homes) feels like an unforeseeable occurrence, but an inevitable outcome is likely to be that the regular 9-5 commute as we knew it is over. Many organizations propose permanent remote working solutions for staff or shortened in-office hours, resulting in a hybrid working climate.
Also students will benefit from these stealthy designs because college and university portability and budgeting are an essential requirement of software hardware. Although the models listed would definitely not be inexpensive, buying a single expensive computer is more cost-effective than investing in two different testing and gaming devices.
For all the reasons listed above, I have thoughts on upgrading my dedicated work laptop to a lightweight gaming laptop for someone who used to snub gaming laptops in favor of more powerful desktops. It took me a while to realize the advantages of being able to enjoy my hobby while sitting on a train or at lunch, but I’m particularly keen now that it won’t look like I’m sneaking a Decepticon into the office.