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Best laptops at CES 2021: Top notebooks, 2-in-1s, and ultraportables

The very best laptop announcements from CES 2021.
Written by Elyse Betters Picaro, Managing Editor on

This year's CES is completely virtual, with no in-person events scheduled, show floors to peruse, or after-hour parties in Las Vegas. Despite that stark contrast from previous years, one thing hasn't changed: The deluge of new laptop announcements. 

To help you wade through it all, ZDNet is rounding up the best new notebooks, 2-in-1s, and ultraportables from the annual consumer electronics show. We're gathering premium rigs designed to get work done. We might include some gaming laptops, too, as they're still high-powered PCs perfect for business or intensive daily tasks such as video editing.

Also: The best laptops: Does Apple take the crown?

Acer's Predator line of gaming laptops is getting an update, with the new Predator Triton 300 SE.

The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE features a 14-inch FHD screen with a 144Hz refresh rate. It lasts for 10 hours on a charge, has a backlit RGB keyboard with three zones, and supports connectivity options like Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2, and HDMI. It's powered by the H-series of Intel's 11th-generation processors and is configurable up to Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060, helping it to offer 10% better performance over its predecessor. 

Also: Top gaming computers released at CES 2021 TechRepublic

The Predator Triton 300 SE also has fan wingtips and a wind guide to increase air intake and redirect airflow It's 0.7 inches thin overall and weighs 3.75 pounds.

Asus' latest ROG machine is a multi-screened laptop, much like its Zenbook dual-screened rigs.

Called the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE, it has a secondary screen between the keyboard and the main screen. The second display is meant for multi-tasking or even gamers who want to stream or record gameplay. The company is working with developers to create interactive content for the secondary display, too.

Also: 7 unique laptops from CES 2021 TechRepublic

Asus' dual-screened laptop features an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics, a 15.6-inch screen with a 14-inch secondary display, two-way AI noise cancellation, and upgraded speakers.

This 13.3-inch business laptop is for those working from home and constantly in video calls. 

It offers four wide-range microphones that use AI to optimize audio, plus it has a 5-megapixel camera rather than a 720p camera. It also has EyeSafe technology to reduce eye strain after continued use. 

Also: HP Elite Dragonfly (2020) review

It's powered by 11th-generation Intel processors and will be available in 4G or 5G.

The HP Elite Folio uses a 2-in-1 design that lets you shift between a laptop and tablet depending on the task. When in tablet mode, you can use HP's Elite Slim Active Pen for marking up documents. The pen fits into a built-in storage slot above the keyboard, where it can also charge when it's not in use.

This hybrid machine is powered by Qualcomm's 8cx Gen 2 Arm processor, which HP claims helps the Elite Folio provide 24.5 hours of local media playback before its battery runs out of juice. 

Also: CES 2021: HP updates home office line-up

The 13.5-inch laptop supports Wi-Fi 6. It also has a 5G option.

Business notebooks were a big theme at CES, and the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is no exception. 

Lenovo's latest 2-in-1 has a 13.5-inch screen and is less than half an inch thick at 0.45 inches. It comes in a solid-looking titanium finish, runs on Intel's 11th-generation processors, and features four far-field microphones for video calls. It also has human presence detection to automatically lock your device when you walk away.

Also: Lenovo's X1 Titanium Yoga is the thinnest ever ThinkPad

There are also 4G LTE and 5G connectivity options.

The LG Gram 17 squeezes a 17-inch screen into the size of a 15-inch laptop, though other LG Gram models were also announced at CES 2021, including the LG Gram 16, the LG Gram 14, and convertible 2-in-1 designs for the 16-inch and 14-inch models. LG outfitted the entire lineup with a 16:10 aspect ratio.

Also: CES 2021: LG refreshes Gram laptop line

The LG Gram 17 is powered by Intel's new 11th-generation processors and weighs 2.98 pounds.

Razer is bringing a ton of spec improvements to its 2021 lineup of Blade 15 and Pro 17 gaming laptops, including QHD screens. You can even get a 1440p QHD display with a fast refresh rate.

Plus, they have Nvidia's G-Sync variable refresh rate tech built in. The higher-end Blade laptops also come with Nvidia's new RTX 3000-series graphics chips. The Blade 15 Advanced -- Razer's name for the more powerful model -- features RTX 3070 and a QHD screen with G-Sync. It will start at $2,499. 

Also: CES 2021: Razer shows off 'smart' prototype mask

You'll be able to customize this model with up to a special variant of the RTX 3080 that has 16GB of VRAM. There's also a bigger Blade Pro 17 that will start at $2,299 and features the RTX 3060.

Samsung's original Galaxy Chromebook has received an update and a cheaper price. Called Galaxy Chromebook 2, it starts at $549.99 compared to the previous model's $999.99 price tag.

Note that the latest model comes with a QLED touch screen compared to the 2020 version's 4K AMOLED display. The new Galaxy Chromebook also no longer comes with Samsung's S Pen. Elsewhere, it features a 13.3-inch screen and a convertible design and is available in the same red color as the original. 

Also: Samsung's new Galaxy Chromebook 2 is more affordable

It comes with an Intel Celeron or i3 processor with 4GB/8GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB of storage.

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