As a laptop reviewer, I'm often bombarded with a swarm of ho-hum, black or silver, utilitarian laptops that bore me to tears. However, every once in a while, I'm jolted awake with an avant-garde concept that blows me away.
Most laptop OEMs prefer to play it safe. Although innovation begets more seductive headlines and volcanic media attention, it can be risky, too. With envelope-pushing laptops, you just don't know how the masses will react — and whether they'll buy into a wacky new design.
This is why we applaud companies such as Asus, Acer, and Lenovo. They could have trod lightly and shied away from taking innovative leaps, but au contraire, they dove in head first into the novelty pool.
Here are the top 3 laptops I've seen this year that made me wonder if it's 2094.
1. Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3
Can we talk about how the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 has a whole tablet sitting inside the deck? Do you know how useful that is when it comes to cross-referencing? With this dual-display laptop, I've zipped through writing reviews on the main 17.3-inch display while perusing through benchmark data on the tablet-esque, 8-inch display. It's all very seamless.
I can see students thriving with this laptop, too. One can watch lectures or read digital textbooks on the small display while diving into a dissertation on the big screen.
Of course, Lenovo is far from the first OEM to deliver a dual-display laptop. For example, Asus has a reputation for rolling out dual-display masterpieces for content creators and gamers, including the Asus ZenBook Pro 14 Duo OLED and the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16.
However, with the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3's 8-inch second display bringing more vertical real estate with its portrait-esque display (as opposed to Asus' narrow secondary displays with more horizontal real estate), I find the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 to be more useful for my day-to-day tasks.
- CPU: Intel Core i5-12500H
- GPU: Intel Iris Xe graphics
- Memory: 16GB of RAM
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- Displays: A 17.3-inch, 3K, 120Hz display (main) and an 8-inch, 1,280 x 800-pixel touchscreen (deck panel)
Where to buy? Lenovo's official website
3. The ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM
Who could've predicted that people would actually start wearing their gaming laptops? Well, here we are! Thanks to a collaboration with the co-founder of Acronym, a high-end streetwear brand with futuristic, avant-garde vibes, Asus rolled out a fashionable gaming laptop called the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM.
At first glance, the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM looks a little silly — as if it's wearing suspenders or getting ready to go rock climbing. However, the strappy system is pretty damn cool, allowing you to transform the gaming laptop, equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU, into several modes, including briefcase mode, straphanger mode, and an odd posture called "producer mode" that lets you type on the laptop while it sits on your abdomen.
You can even wear it across your chest like it's a cool crossbody bag.
- CPU: Intel i9-13900H
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070
- Memory: 32GB of DDR5 RAM
- Storage: 1TB SSD
- Display: A 13.4-inch, 165Hz, 500-nit QHD display with a 3ms response rate.
Where to buy? On Amazon.
3. The ProArt Studiobook 16 3D OLED
Meet the world's first glasses-free, 16-inch 3D 3.2K display (packed with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 16:10 aspect ratio): the Asus ProArt Studiobook 16 3D OLED.
Unfortunately, it's quite difficult to really show you the mind-blowing 3D capabilities of the ProArt Studiobook 16. Why? To give you some background, this laptop uses eye tracking, facilitated with dual cameras, that follows the movement of the users' peepers.
As such, when our cameras attempted to record its 3D wizardry in all of its glory (e.g., content jumping out of the screen), it was difficult to "ensare" it because — well — cameras don't have eyes.
Look at @MrJasonEngland messing around with a SICK 3D display on a laptop at Asus' booth! #CES2023 pic.twitter.com/bR41KR8uLjJanuary 7, 2023
However, in the video above, you can somewhat see the 3D effects working its magic as my colleague Jason England experimented with it during CES 2023. You can take my word for it when I say that the Asus ProArt Studiobook 16 3D OLED had me pinching myself wondering whether it's 2094.
Asus also allowed us to watch a YouTube movie trailer on the Asus ProArt Studiobook 16 3D OLED, and I couldn't believe my own eyes. During a scene that featured a body of water ebbing and floating, it jutted out of the 3D screen to a point where it felt like it reached my throat. It felt so real, I'm almost certain my brain thought I was drowning in water that I wasn't even swimming in!
What can you do with this spectacular 3D display? You can play 3D games, watch stunning 3D films, hop into multidimensional virtual meetings, develop product designs in 3D, and more. The possibilities are endless.
It's also worth noting that Acer also has a spectacular 3D laptop (i.e., Acer SpatialLabs Stereoscopic 3D laptops) but its imagery offers more 3D depth — as if you can stick your arm through the screen — as opposed to Asus' jump-out-of-the-screen perspective.
- CPU: Intel Core i9-12980HX
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM
- Memory: 32GB of DDR5 RAM (upgradeable to 64GB)
- Storage: Up to a 8TB SSD
- Display: 3D, 16-inch, 120Hz, 16:10 touchscreen display with 3200×2000 resolution
Where to buy? Not yet available.