CES 2021 preview: 5 things to expect at the event

CES 2021 Preview: 5 Things to look forward to
(Image credit: CES)

CES 2021 is almost here and when it starts, there will be more than a hundred different sessions to tune into, presented by dozens upon dozens of exhibitors looking to gauge interest in their new products and ideas. And for the first time in a little over 50 years, the event is all-digital. 

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, attendees are now going to experience the event from the comfort of their own home. But what exactly is there to look forward to? Well, we can expect to hear about more 5G laptops, new Samsung phones, better displays, business laptops to make working from home easier, and new graphics chips from Nvidia and AMD.

More 5G laptops 

Ever since its introduction in 2016, 5G has been slowly evolving into a more commonly utilized network for mobile phones and laptops. Service providers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are working to turn an idea into something that’s expected to become the household broadband network within a few years. Companies like Samsung even plan to begin rolling out 6G by 2028, (we'll leave that for another time).

For now, let's focus on laptops. CES will be a great place for manufacturers to introduce a new slew of 5G laptops throughout 2021. With 5G implemented into laptops, we can expect theoretical network speeds that are, at the highest, 80 times faster than when compared to 4G LTE network speeds.

Although we’re unsure which 5G laptops might get announced at CES 2021 next week, we can take a look at one that has already been revealed. After launching the first 5G laptop ever in the Flex 5G, Lenovo is bringing the 14-inch IdeaPad 5G to the table, boasting the Snapdragon 8cx 5G CPU, Adreno 680 GPU, and Snapdragon X55 modem. It also has 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. This is only the beginning, so be sure to keep an eye on the announcements during the show so as to not miss anything.

New Samsung phones 

Samsung’s CES 2021 press conference is set to begin on January 11 at 9:00 AM EST. While there may be some surprises, we expect to see three new Galaxy S21 models: Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Jon Prosser on Twitter claimed back in November that these three phones would be announced on January 14 and launched on January 29. He also claims they would come in black, white, grey, silver, violet and pink. Besides this, we don’t know much else about these products, but tons of leaks and predictions give us a general idea of what it might look like.

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Max Weinbach on Twitter revealed videos showing the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. In this video, we see the new phones up close, and although they’re pretty similar to last year's model, the smoother frame surrounding the camera seems sleek. The new color options also look nice, with the video showing off what seems to be the violet model, with its shiny bronze camera frame contrasting nicely to the rest of the exterior.

These phones will also be 5G ready, and we predict each will come with a Snapdragon 888 CPU. Samsung’s new slew of Galaxy S21 phones won’t be game-changing, but they seem to offer the necessary upgrades for an improved experience.

Better displays 

CES 2021 will be packed full of news involving the displays we can expect to launch throughout the first few months of the year. We know manufacturers like LG, Sony and Samsung are already expected to appear with announcements.

MicroLED is something that will likely receive a bit of attention over the course of the event. This display technology is made up of microscopic LEDs acting as individual pixels. This allows for the screen to be incredibly bright and colorful.

Samsung is boasting a 110-inch microLED TV that can consume an entire wall (assuming that wall is big enough) and although it looks awesome, it’ll probably be expensive and inaccessible to the average consumer. However, with time, we should see these larger, brighter and more colorful screens becoming commonplace in the average home. Samsung might also show off its QD-OLED display, which is meant to give the manufacturer a strong presence in the OLED market.

CES 2021 Preview: 5 things to look forward to

(Image credit: Samsung)

We could also get a look at how smart TVs are further evolving. These TVs have the potential to boost new accessibility options, enhanced ease of use, and novel gimmicks to mess around with. Things like improved voice integration and new smart home compatibility options are only a couple of examples of what we might see.

Sony also could reveal more TVs optimized specifically for the PS5. Back in 2020, the company revealed two PS5-ready TVs with 120Hz refresh rates, quick response times and HDR compatibility, so it’s entirely possible the company will announce more options. 

New graphics chips 

CES 2021 should yield exciting news in regards to mobile graphics chips, with Nvidia holding a “GeForce RTX: Game On” event on January 12 at 12:00 PM EST. While there’s no confirmation as to what will be revealed at this showcase, it’s not difficult to predict that we'll see mobile versions of the RTX 3000-Series. If this is true, they should be revealed alongside the laptops that will boast these discrete cars. As far as the specifics go, Nvidia could announce a mobile RTX 3060 Ti, 3070 and 3080 variant, finally infusing the power of Ampere into laptops. 

CES 2021 Preview: 5 things to look forward to

(Image credit: Nvidia)

It’s also possible that the RTX 3080 Ti gets announced at CES 2021. Considering that Nvidia’s 10 and 20-Series GPUs all boasted a powerful Ti variant, it’d make sense for the trend to continue. Why are we so sure? Well, these cards have reportedly been leaked, along with the existence of a Quadra RTX 3000 GPU.

AMD will also be holding an event on January 12 at 11:00 AM EST, one hour before Nvidia’s presentation. Rumors suggest that this event will yield announcements of the Ryzen 5000 mobile CPUs, which seems plausible since the 4000-series was announced at last year's CES. There are also rumors that the weaker but more affordable Radeon RX 6700 GPU will be shown here. Besides these components, AMD could have a few surprises up its sleeve.

Business laptops 

With millions of people around the world working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the desire for a quality business laptop is larger than ever. Laptop manufacturers understand this quite well, so expect to see a slew of new business laptops announced at CES 2021 alongside Intel 11th Gen chips with vPro

Dell has already begun announcing its new laptops early, with the company revealing additions to the Latitude series, including the 5320, 5340, and 5520. The Intel-Core i3 models of the 5320 and 5340 come with Intel UHD graphics, while the i5 and i7 versions boast the Intel Xe graphics chip. These laptops have the potential for extreme customization, allowing you to build them with up to 1TB of SSD storage and 32GB of RAM.

CES 2021 Preview: 5 things to look forward to

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell also revealed new entries to the Latitude 7000 series, including the 7320, 7420, and 7520. And the company revealed the Latitude 9420, which boasts 11th-gen Intel processors, the potential for a QHD display, and Intel Iris X graphics. Finally, Dell announced the Precision 3560, and it’s an absolute beast, as it’s launching with Intel’s 11th-gen processors and can be customized with up to 2TB of SSD storage and 64GB of RAM.

These five things are only the tip of the iceberg as far as what could be announced at CES 2021. We can expect tons more to be revealed over the course of the event, so be sure to keep an eye on Laptop Mag to see what important new tech-related announcements come out this week.

Momo Tabari
Contributing Writer

Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.