A number of new laptops are announced each year in the lead up to the Christmas buying season. Between the upcoming move to Apple Silicon for Macs and the eagerly anticipated introduction of Intel's 11th generation processors, late 2020 will be a fascinating time to buy a new laptop.
Below are the best new laptops currently slated for release in late 2020, including some that have yet to be confirmed.
Asus ZenBook S.
Asus is the David of the Goliaths from companies like Dell and HP. The company continues to make new thin and light laptops with some innovative features, and the latest version of the ZenBook S is no different. Asus has already updated the ZenBook S with its new outstanding feature, in particular a display with an aspect ratio of 3: 2 at a resolution of 3300 x 2200, which promises excellent productivity thanks to the larger panel. A color gamut of 100% DCI-P3 and Pantone validation promise creative professionals great colors, and the 92% screen-to-body ratio promises a smaller chassis.
The upcoming release will be updated to Intel's 11th generation Tiger Lake platform, which means Thunderbolt 4 and Intel Xe graphics will be inherited to meet the expected significant speed increases from Tiger Lake itself. The laptop will be pretty thin and light at 0.61 inches and 2.97 pounds while still having 67 watt hours of battery life.
Connectivity is exceptional for such a small case, including a full-size HDMI port, two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, a USB-A 3.1 port, and a microSD card reader. The only connectivity that the laptop doesn't have is a 3.5mm audio jack. Instead, users rely on a USB-C dongle.
Finally, the laptop will have an edge-to-edge keyboard to ensure sufficient key spacing. The touchpad will feature the company's NumberPad technology, which embeds an LED numeric keypad into the touchpad without affecting its main function.
We don't have pricing or availability for the ZenBook S just yet, but suffice to say it will be one of the more attractive 13-inch laptops when it finally arrives.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 9i
Lenovo's new IdeaPad Slim 9i is all about materials – these are the unusual materials that make up the case. In particular, the laptop will have a black leather sleeve over the aluminum lid that uses a "special 20-step bonding process that allows the leather to retain its original appearance". This is a different approach than HP's use of an actual leather cover on the Specter Folio 2-in-1, but it adds a touch of flair to the look of the laptop.
In addition, the IdeaPad Slim 9i has an all-glass palm rest that extends under the keyboard. So instead of using a mechanical touchpad, Lenovo is following Apple's lead by using haptic feedback to mimic pressing touchpad buttons. Lenovo calls its version the "Smart Sensor Trackpad" and uses vibrations to simulate the click of a button.
Another innovation is an ultrasonic fingerprint reader, which is located under the glass under the arrow keys. Lenovo promises more accurate fingerprint scans, and the technology works even with wet fingers.
Apart from these material differences, the IdeaPad 9i will be equipped with a Tiger Lake CPU, Intel Xe graphics and Thunderbolt 4. The case will be very thin and light at just 0.54 inches and 2.64 pounds, with a screen-to-body ratio of 90% and the 14-inch display promises an overall tiny case. The display options range up to a 4K panel that outputs 500 nits.
Prices start at $ 1,600, which means this is definitely a premium laptop.
Dell XPS 13 update to Tiger Lake
What do you do when you already have the best 13-inch laptop out there? Well, you upgrade it to the latest silicon from Intel. Dell hasn't officially announced a new XPS 13 with Tiger Lake yet, but the laptop was spotted in an Intel advertisement with the new 11th generation branded stickers on the palm rests.
When Dell finally updates the XPS 13, it will have all of the Tiger Lake benefits, including Intel Xe graphics and Thunderbolt 4. As far as we can tell, the laptop stays the same design as the current model and only benefits from higher performance.
In addition, the XPS 13 is expected to be one of Dell's first Intel Evo platforms. Evo-certified laptops guarantee a number of key features, including waking up from sleep in less than a second, nine or more hours of real battery life with Full HD displays. Fast charging can take up to four hours 30 seconds and remains responsive when used on batteries.
A new 12.5-inch Surface laptop
If you believe the recent rumors, Microsoft may not be updating the Surface Laptop 4 this year. Instead, it is talking about a smaller 12.5-inch Surface laptop that is aimed directly at an inexpensive audience. If the rumors are true, the entry-level model of this new version would have a 10th generation Core i5 CPU, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. The laptop may be running in Windows 10 S mode, which will limit apps downloading to what is available in the Microsoft Store.
If so, the 12.5-inch Surface laptop would keep the same basic design as its bigger siblings, but will follow the Surface Go and be a smaller and more affordable version. We're talking about a price range of $ 500 to $ 600 that would put it in direct competition with other budget laptops.
The Surface Pro X 2 could also hit the market this fall. This is Microsoft's more noticeable ARM-based 2-in-2 range. The new model is said to include a new custom chip based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx V2, as well as a new color option.
Apple Silicon MacBooks
It's impossible to talk about expected 2020 laptops without mentioning the upcoming Apple Silicon MacBooks. Apple's transition from Intel to its own ARM-based processors is a massive change in the laptop world.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch and 12-inch MacBooks are the first two Macs that are supposed to adopt the new system architecture. Both are expected to be available before the end of 2020. Both would run a version of Apple's latest A-series processors, possibly the A14X in the 12-inch MacBook and the A14 Bionic in the MacBook Pro.
The return of the 12-inch MacBook brings with it a healthy dose of skepticism about a design that originally never caught on. Between the single USB-C port and the severely vicious butterfly keyboard, Apple would be brave to bring it back without major changes.
At the same time, a 12-inch MacBook with an Apple Silicon CPU would be a major event if it falls within the expected price range of $ 750. This would give Apple an affordable laptop that could rival the hordes of Windows 10 computers for the price or below. Running an A14X processor could result in competitive performance in this price range, making it a compelling option.