The coolest laptops, virtual reality headsets and tiny PCs from CES



From virtual reality headsets to tiny PCs on a stick and the obligatory super-slim laptops - we've rounded up our computing favourites from the CES tech show...

Virtual reality stepped from the shadows and towards our living rooms at CES 2016 with a range of VR headsets for gaming and beyond. But it wasn’t all about VR – there were stacks of new 2 in 1 laptops, slick gaming computers and PCs the size of a USB stick.

Computing companies big and small from across the globe showed off their latest gadgets in Las Vegas – with each hoping it’d be theirs that caught the headline writer’s eye.

Read on for our computing highlights from Las Vegas…

 

Virtual reality headsets for gaming and beyond

(credit: Associated Press) 

Virtual reality took a step closer to the mainstream at CES 2016 with VR headsets shown off by HTC and Oculus and launch dates announced.

VR is set to be a major tech trend in 2016, with these headsets hooking up to powerful PCs for a new 3D gaming experience. But it’ll go beyond gaming too… into our cars, our shopping experiences, and how we listen to music. How do virtual reality headsets work? 

HTC launched an updated version of its Vive headset called the Vive Pre. The headline feature is its ability to merge real objects into a virtual world.

What does this mean? When gaming, you’ll be able to hit a button and see the chairs and other furniture in your actual room blended into your gaming environment. Why? So you don’t bump into them.

‘The ability to physically move around your virtual environment while wearing it changes everything,’ says Marc McLaren, Editor at Stuff.tv

You can buy the HTC Vive from April. Find out more at the Gaming Bunker 

 

A new generation of 2 in 1 laptops and tablets  

(credit: Associated Press)

The 2 in 1, the idea of providing both a laptop and a tablet in a single device, was everywhere at CES. Such devices switch between laptop and tablet mode with screens that either hinge back on themselves or detach completely.

Windows 10 is designed to get the best from 2 in 1 devices by focusing on both keyboard and touchscreen controls. The operating system automatically adjusts to suit a touchscreen whenever you disconnect your keyboard, for example.

Samsung, Toshiba, Lenovo and HP all launched new 2 in 1s.  We really liked:

  • Samsung Galaxy TabPro S: This super-thin and lightweight tablet comes with a detachable keyboard to turn into a laptop. It’s thin and light, boasts a screen with amazing brightness and deep blacks and has powerful but portable Intel Core M processor. What’s Intel Core M?

  • HP Spectre x360: Already a sleek laptop, the Spectre x360 now gets an OLED screen (like the TVs). This makes for an incredible movie-watching experience - deep, inky blacks and brilliant whites. Add to that a powerful Intel Core processor and a clever hinge design for converting to tablet mode and you have a great 2 in 1. 
  • Lenovo Yoga 900S: A traditional laptop with a hinge that folds back on itself, the Yoga is one of the most enduring 2 in 1 designs. This latest version is even thinner – the ‘world’s thinnest convertible laptop’, says Lenovo. It’s hugely powerful though, with an Intel Core i7 processor.

 

Razer Blade Stealth – seriously slim gaming laptop

(credit: Associated Press)

There were lots of high-powered gaming PCs on show at CES, but none caught the eye quite like the Razer Blade Stealth. It’s a Razer gaming laptop, but not as you know it. For Razer has packed serious gaming power into an unbelievably svelte package.

This 12.5-inch laptop is actually slim enough to be called an Ultrabook – the super-slim, lightweight and sophisticated class of Windows laptops. The Stealth is:

  • Portable – measuring around 13mm thick, and weighing 1kg
  • Powerful – Intel’s most powerful processor the Core i7, and plenty of memory keeps everything running smoothly
  • Sharp – you can choose between a 4K UHD screen (4 times sharper than Full HD) or a quad HD (another really sharp display)
  • Customisable – if you need more graphics power you can connect to an external graphics card using the Thunderbolt port 

 

Tiny PCs on a USB-sized stick

Laptops and PCs are getting smaller, but this is something else. The thumb-sized Intel Compute Stick can turn any TV or monitor into a PC.

You simply plug it into your TV’s HDMI port and away you go. And at CES, Intel launched a new, improved version of it. We’re quite excited about it, because it:

  • has 2 USB ports for plugging in a keyboard and a mouse
  • is around two times faster than the original Compute stick and…
  • more powerful – if you choose a model with Intel’s Core M processor inside
  • there’s a much cheaper version with the less powerful Intel Atom processor, too

 Follow our CES 2016 coverage at TechTalk