Dual-screen laptops with AI. A touchpad that doubles as a display. And a powerful gaming notebook that you can actually afford. These are just some of the highlights from this year's Computex Taipei, a global showcase for what's next in mobile computing. After meeting with dozens of vendors over several days and going hands on with lots of promising innovations, we've picked the top products from the show.
Best Laptop: Asus ZenBook Pro
Available in 14- and 15-inch configurations, the ZenBook Pro is a bona fide stunner. We could spend hours staring at that aluminum, deep-blue chassis, with its elegant ErgoLift hinge. But the ZenBook Pro's beauty is more than skin deep. Somehow, Asus managed to squeeze an 8th Gen Intel Core i9-8950HK processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU into that 0.5-inch-thick chassis; it's perfect for creative and mobile professionals.But the star of the show is ScreenPad, the interactive second screen that's located where you'd normally find the touchpad. Ultimately, the Asus ZenBook Pro is a mix of great design, performance and the thoughtful use of technology, and that's why it's our choice for best laptop at Computex.Credit: AsusMORE: Asus’ New ZenBook Pros Have a Screen in the Touchpad
Best Gaming Laptop: MSI GF63
MSI is putting the budget gaming laptop competition on notice. For just $999, the MSI GF63 offers an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU in a slim, 0.89-inch chassis. The design borrows heavily from this machine's premium cousin, the GS65 Stealth Thin, including the brushed-aluminum chassis. The laptop even comes with a SteelSeries keyboard and Nahimic's audio software. The only real sacrifice is the lack of RGB backlight customization.Credit: MSIMORE: Budget Price, Few Compromises: Meet the $999 MSI GF63
Best Innovation: Asus Project Precog
The idea of a dual-screen laptop isn't new, but the direction Asus is taking this technology is truly innovative. Project Precog gives users access to two full-size displays in a 2-in-1, bend-back design. That's all well and good, but Precog's secret sauce is its Intel Movidius chip, which uses artificial intelligence and deep software integration in tandem with an integrated camera to predict where your hands are going. It will pull up a virtual keyboard in response. The system also anticipates how you work, as evidenced by an Excel demo in which the second screen offered chart suggestions. Clad in a glossy material that changed from light blue to purple depending on how the light hit it, Asus Project Precog is the near future in tech right now.Credit: AsusMORE: Asus Unveils Project Precog, a Dual-Screen Laptop With Built-in A.I.
Best Productivity: MSI PS42 Prestige
When you think of MSI laptops, you probably picture the company's powerful gaming rigs. However, the manufacturer that makes heavy-hitting notebooks with names like the Titan and the Dominator is out to show that's it not an all-play, no-work brand. The aluminum-clad MSI PS42 has up to a Core i7 Intel U series CPU and optional Nvidia MX150 graphics. It sports a 1920 x 1080 IPS display that promises to reproduce 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut housed in extremely thin bezels. The MSI Prestige PS42 is a superlight, 14-inch business notebook designed to turn you into a productivity champion.Credit: MSIMORE: MSI Targets Business Users With Prestige PS42 Ultrabook
Best Value: Gigabyte Sabre 15/17
Gigabyte laptops typically run on the higher end of the cost spectrum. But the company is looking to become more accessible with the new Sabre 15 and Sabre 17. Starting at $1,299, the notebooks sport the fetching good looks normally associated with Aorus, Gigabyte's gaming-enthusiast sister brand. These machines also offer a ton of ports (capable of supporting several monitors) and keyboards with an impressive key travel of 2 millimeters. The Sabres are pretty stacked under the hood as well, with 8th-Gen Intel Core i7-8750H processors, up to 32GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPUs with 4GB of VRAM and dual storage systems capable of supporting up to 3TB's worth of PCIe SSDs. With machines like these, the sub-$1,500 gaming laptop arena is about to get a lot more interesting.Credit: GigabyteMORE: Gigabyte Goes Affordable with $1,299 Sabre 15 and 17 Gaming Laptops
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.