For the most part, the biggest changes laptop manufacturers make each year to their models are attempts to pack more power into smaller, thinner, lighter designs. So, have those attempts been more successful lately? What other new features, design twists, or technology are being added? Are any of these upgrades worthy of an investment in a new device? We’ll let you be the judge of that, but here is a roundup of some of the most interesting advancements in laptops.
Asus: A Tilt Makes All the Difference
As more laptops integrate a second screen into their designs, Asus learned from the flaws of its previous model when it updated the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED ($1,999.99). The ScreenPad Plus secondary touchscreen has been tilted up by 12° for better viewer angles. The screen is intended to give creators more space for multitasking as well as additional tools. For instance, it offers a Control Panel feature compatible with several Abode products that provides a Dial, Button, Slider, and Scroll to help you change brush size, change saturation, adjust layer opacity, and more.
Dell: A Minimalist Beauty
Dell said it wanted to “strip away the unnecessary and streamline features” in the new addition to its popular XPS line, the XPS 13 Plus ($1,299), in order to deliver a more seamless experience. The result has been a bit polarizing. The laptop boasts a minimalist and modern design that includes a sleek keyboard stretching edge-to-edge with larger keycaps and a haptic touchpad that is invisible, hidden underneath the palm rest. However, while many appreciate the machine’s beauty, others have noted that some changes may have prioritized form over function resulting in usability issues.
Apple: Even Closer to Feeling Like Air
Speaking of smaller, thinner, lighter and more powerful, Apple achieved all of that in its redesigned MacBook Air with M2 ($1,199 and up). It measures 11.3 millimeters thin and weighs 2.7 pounds, which is a 20% reduction in volume from its previous model. The 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display has also been expanded further to the edges and the brightness was kicked up 25%. The M2 processor improves on the M1’s performance and power efficiency, with tasks like editing in Final Cut Pro nearly 40% faster or applying effects in Photoshop up to 20% faster.
Microsoft: Budget Friendly Ultraportable
For anyone looking to spend a little less on something that is still ultra-portable and capable, Microsoft made some slight tweaks to its Surface Laptop Go sequel. The Surface Laptop Go 2 ($599 and up) is the tech company’s lightest Surface laptop at 2.48 pounds with a 12.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen in the company’s signature 3:2 ratio, which offers a little more vertical screen real estate. The new version has a more powerful 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, and can also include add-on features such as a Fingerprint Power Button for One Touch sign-in.
HP: Makes You Look Good
One of the biggest claims to fame for the newest HP Spectre x360 16-inch 2-in-1 ($1,649.99) is a 5MP camera that helps you look and sound your best. Features include Auto Frame, which keeps you in frame even if you get up and move around; Lighting Correction, which auto-adjusts in low light environments; Beauty Mode, which lets you touch up your skin, teeth, and eyes; and AI noise cancellation that automatically blocks background noise. The 2-in-1 also adds privacy features such as locking whenever you walk away and shoulder surfing protection that blurs your screen from others.