01-29-2020 07:02 PM
Another year, another CES. Many would argue that recent iterations of CES have been, well, bland. TVs tend to be the dominating products on the showroom floor, and much of the other tech you see there tends to be nothing more than one-off examples that usually don’t see the public light of day. But this year felt…. different.
Sure, TVs still dominated the floor. After all, TVs continue to be one of the hottest tech items on the market, and while we’ve seen TV tech come and go (anyone remember in-home 3D TVs?) it looks like the tone of this year was bigger, clearer and sharper.
But enough about the TVs, I’m here to tell you about the computers, tablets and everything in-between that CES brought this year. While years prior may have been a bit of a snooze fest in this category, I’d argue that the new decade was started off with a bang. Let’s dive in to a couple of standouts that I feel you need to know about, and that may be gracing a Best Buy sales floor sooner than later.
You’re probably thinking “Doesn’t Intel make processors and other chips and that’s it?” and you’d be sadly mistaken. In recent years, Intel has begun to expand to a plethora of different categories. One of the more interesting ones is with the NUC 9 Extreme. It’s a mini-PC that packs quite a punch. As someone who used to build gaming PCs, it’s exciting to see such powerful computers getting a smaller and smaller footprint year-over-year. You needed traps of steel to lift high-end gaming PCs back in my heyday of gaming, but now even one of your kids could do it.
While the skull design on the side certainly adds some flair, the NUC 9 Extreme -- also known as the Ghost Canyon -- is the predecessor to the Hades Canyon and Skull Canyon NUCs. Those units already packed a lot of performance in a small form factor, but Intel shows that the NUC 9 Extreme is the first NUC that can accept desktop-sized graphics cards, thanks to a PCIe x16 slot, and comes equipped with a Core i9 processor, which can also be an unlocked variant. That is some serious specs!
Okay, okay, I know. It’s priced pretty high into the stratosphere. The price tag almost makes a Mac seem affordable. But let’s be honest, a foldable PC is quite a cool idea. And before you say “Well, isn’t a laptop essentially a foldable PC?” this is MUCH cooler.
For starters, it packs a really nice OLED display with a screen size of 13.3” and a resolution of 2048 x 1536. It’ll come with Windows 10 Pro out of the box and up to 11 hours of battery life. And while the spec sheet still has some uncertainties (unspecified Hybrid Intel processor, a planned 8GB of RAM, 1TB NVMe storage) it looks like it’s going to be quite the laptop. At only 2.2lbs of weight and thin for what you’re getting, it makes for a great traveling unit. It allows you to unfold the display, pop out the wireless keyboard, and get to work in seconds. Then, you just fold it all up, pun intended, and stash it away in a small pocket on your bag. It really pushes the limits of computing tech to a whole new level, and makes you forget that just 10 years ago laptops were still heavy, bulky atrocities that most people carried around out of pure necessity.
It has a dot-matrix display on the lid that lets you show off the all the baby Yoda GIFs (is it pronounced GIF or JIF?) you’d ever want. That’s it. That’s all you need to know.
Jokes aside, while the neat, retro-styled display on the lid does make for an eye-catching experience, ASUS is known for making some solid laptops. I expect nothing different here. It comes with a top of the line RTX 2060 GPU, more RAM than you’d know what to do with, processing power for days and more. All of this together makes for a laptop that wouldn’t break a sweat playing some of the latest gaming titles. The 14” display makes for a great balance between size and usability while the form factor is fantastic for carrying around on a long vacation, or to game at your buddie’s house. The best part? It packs up to 10 hours of battery life, which is generally unheard of in a gaming laptop.
The above three are just scratching the surface of what CES had to offer. From the more practical to the more extreme there was a lot to be seen this year. It sets the stage for a new decade in tech, and one that is sure to bring a lot of awesome products that we never even imagined could exist.