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CES 2015: The ultrathin laptops powered by Intel's new Broadwell processor

The Broadwell-powered ultrabooks on show at CES 2015.
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By Nick Heath on
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1 of 8 Image: Sarah Tew / CNET

This month sees the release of a bevy of slimline laptops based around Intel's new Broadwell processor.

The smaller, more compact chip allows for thinner and lighter laptops, as well as providing a slight boost to general performance and battery life.

Here are a selection of machines based around the dual-core Broadwell chips (quad-core processors will be released later in the year).

Dell XPS 13 and 15

Dell has updated its XPS line of machines, with the 13-inch Dell XPS 13, seen above, and 15-inch Dell XPS 15.

Both laptops are available with the full-range of dual-core Broadwell Core processors, from the 2.0GHz Core i3 to the 3.1 GHz Core i7.

Dell claims the combination of a more efficient Broadwell processor and a bigger battery allows the XPS 13 to last for 15 hours on a single charge.

The XPS 13, which comes with an aluminium top and carbon fibre base, is slight, with the lightest version weighing just 2.6 pounds.

The vanilla XPS 13 comes with a non-touch, full HD screen, but for those willing to pay extra, the XPS 13 is available with an optional UltraSharp Quad HD+ 3,200x1,800 display, with 5.2mm bezels and capable of showing 5.7 million pixels. The XPS 15 comes with a 15-inch 4K, touch display that can show more than eight million pixels.

Both laptops will be available with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of SSD storage and with 4GB or 8GB of memory.

The machines will ship with either Windows 8.1 or Ubuntu, reportedly 14.04.

The XPS 13 is available from $799.99 and the XPS 15 will be available from $2,349, when it is available to purchase from later in the first quarter.

CES 2015 Highlights

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2 of 8 Image: Dell

Dell Inspiron 5000 and 7000 series

Dell also updated its Inspiron 15 5000 and 7000 family of laptops with the new Intel processors.

The 7000 Series is available with a variety of Broadwell chips, starting with the 2.7GHz (Turbo) Core i5 5200U processor ranging up to a 3GHz (Turbo) Core i7-5500U and up to 512GB of SSD storage.

Graphics are served by either Intel integrated graphics or a discrete AMD Radeon GPU, and come with a display whose resolution ranges from 1366 x 768 to 4K, depending on the model. The 7000 Series is available from $1,100.

The cheaper Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series can be configured with a smaller range of options, offering up to a Core i7-5500U. Dell claims the machine has almost eight hours of battery life.

Graphics-wise the machine is available with Intel integrated graphics but can be upgraded with a discrete Nvidia Geforce GPU and up to a 17-inch, 1080p touchscreen display.

For storage it can be configured with up to a 1TB hard drive.

The Inspiron 15 5000 Series also features the Intel RealSense 3D Camera Front F200. Intel's RealSense technology uses three cameras to measure image depth and the shape of objects in photos. The tech allows the focal point to be shifted after an image is taken and other neat photo-editing tricks, as well as 3D scans of people and objects to be created. It can also be used for gesture and facial expression recognition.

The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series is available from $750.

CES 2015 Highlights

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3 of 8 Image: Lenovo

Lenovo LaVie Z

With the LaVie Z, Lenovo claims to have created the world's lightest 13-inch laptop.

The LaVie Z series will be available as a 13-inch clamshell laptop or a tablet-PC hybrid.

The machines are designed to be highly portable, with the clamshell, the LaVie Z HZ550, weighing 1.72 pounds (0.7kg) and the hybrid, the HZ750, 2.04 pounds (0.9kg). Both models uses a magnesium-lithium chassis, which Lenovo says is 50 percent lighter than aluminium and just as strong other magnesium alloy materials.

The laptops both have screens that go up to 2,560 x 1,440 resolution.

Performance-wise the laptop is fitted with an Intel Core i5 processor and the hybrid goes up to a Core i7 - with both offering 128GB of SSD storage.

Lenovo says the battery in the hybrid is rated at 44Whr, while the laptop is rated at 29.6Whr.

CES 2015 Highlights

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4 of 8 Image: Acer

Acer Chromebook 15, S7 and R13

The Broadwell-driven Acer Chromebook 15 is reportedly the largest Chromebook yet, with a 15.6-inch display. The screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 or 1366 x 768, depending on the model.

It will ship with either a Core i3 or Celeron processor based on the Broadwell architecture, 16GB or 32GB SSD for storage and 2GB or 4GB of RAM. The machine will be priced from $249.99.

The update to Acer's all-aluminium S7 series comes with a 0.51-inch thick case, weigh 2.87 pounds. The tiltable, touchscreen display is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 2 and has a resolution of up to 2560 x 1440.

Available with 8GB of memory, 128GB or 256GB of SSD storage, Acer once again claims its battery life lasts for up to 10 hours.

The Acer R13 is less than one inch thick, weighs just over three pounds and has a rotatable 13.3-inch display. Acer is claiming its battery can sustain the machine for up to 10 hours.

The series is available with a resolution of up to 2560 x 1440. The machines come with up to 1TB of SSD storage, 8GB of memory, and with a display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and a resolution of up to 2560 x 1440.

Both the R13 and S7 support the 802.11ac networking standard, which allows for wi-fi connections dozens of times faster than offered by 802.11n connections provided by most machines today.

CES 2015 Highlights

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5 of 8 Image: Lenovo

Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1

The fourth iteration of Lenovo's ultra-light, 14-inch ThinkPad Carbon X1 comes with a new three button touchpad and improved precision keyboard.

The Ultrabook will be available later in January and can be configured with a 2,560 x 1,440 display and 4G LTE.

The ThinkPad Carbon X1 will sell from $1,250 in the US.

CES 2015 Highlights

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6 of 8 Image: Lenovo

Lenovo ThinkPad T450S

This business-focused laptop replaces the T440S.

The machine has a carbon-fibre cover, longer battery life and various ports, such as mini-DisplayPort, VGA, USB, and an SD card reader.

The ThinkPad T450s will be available later this January with a starting price of $1,000.

CES 2015 Highlights

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7 of 8 Image: Lenovo

Lenovo ThinkPad T450/T550

The 14-inch ThinkPad T450 and 15-inch T550 are 15 percent lighter than last year's T440 and T540 models.

The machines are available in many configurations, with up to a 3K display, with integrated or discrete graphics and optional docking.

The computers will be available later this month from $800.

CES 2015 Highlights

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8 of 8 Image: HP

HP ZBook 14 and 15u

The 14-inch HP ZBook 14 and 15.6-inch 15u are described as workstation ultrabooks.

As well as an Intel Core Broadwell processor, both machines also feature professional AMD FirePro 3D graphics.

The ZBook 14 has an optional touch display and 10-point multi-touch full-HD screen options.

Both laptops provide up to 16GB of memory, up to 1.25TB of storage, and a HP Z Turbo Drive storage that connects via solid-storage.

The HPZBook Mobile Workstations offer availability of certified workstation applications from Adobe, Autodesk, Avid, Dassault, ESRI, SolidWorks, Siemens, and many others.

The machines ship with Microsoft Windows 8.1. The HP ZBook 14 and 15u Workstation Ultrabook are expected to be available this month with the HP ZBook 14 pricing starting at €1,289 and the HP ZBook 15u at €1,335.

CES 2015 Highlights

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