Edge of Innovation

What does the laptop of the future look like?

Dean Evans Technology Writer Twitter

What does the laptop of the future look like? Is a tablet with a laser keyboard that you can project onto any surface? Is it voice-controlled? Maybe it’s augmented or virtual, allowing you to work in an all-digital (or mixed reality) space with a display the size of a cinema screen?

Actually, no. As fun as the HoloLens-enabled work space above looks, we think the laptop of the future will look much like the laptop of today.

The enduring appeal of the clamshell

The form and function of today’s newest 2 in 1 computers is the result of a long design journey that started with subnotebooks and has stopped at netbooks, ultrabooks, chromebooks and convertibles along the way.

As you’ll see in the examples below, the traditional ‘clamshell’ approach has evolved into thin and light 2 in 1 PCs that can transform to suit your needs. There’s no need for a separate tablet when a machines like the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 (pictured below) can shift easily between a traditional laptop and a keyboard-less, stylus-friendly slate.

That’s not to say things won’t change. Manufacturers like Dell, Acer and HP are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to reinvent the laptop, while new technologies are improving performance, battery life, screen resolution and usability.

Always connected, always on

For example, future laptops could be ‘always connected’ thanks to a built-in e-SIM that gives you 4G/5G connectivity. They might feature gesture control, like a Samsung Smart TV; or include Tobii eye-tracking like the beefy Acer Predator 21X.

And if you want to imagine something a little more ‘out there’, future laptops might not just feature one 4K screen, but three — witness Razer’s ambitious Project Valerie.

But why wait? There are already a number of laptops and 2 in 1 PCs available today that push the boundaries of portable computing. Here are just a few of them:

Acer Switch 5

The Switch 5 (pictured above) is Acer’s first 2-in-1 to come equipped with a 7th generation Intel Core processor — either a Core i7 or a Core i5. It also uses Acer’s proprietary LiquidLoop fanless cooling technology to give you silent running without compromising power or performance.

Read more about the Acer Switch 5

Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

The Dell XPS 13 easily stood out as one of the best laptops of 2016. A year on and Dell has given its award-winning portable another much-needed upgrade. It’s now a fully-fledged 2 in 1 PC, thinner and lighter than before, giving users the ability to fold the display back on itself to switch between laptop, tent, stand and tablet modes.

Read more about the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

HP Spectre

HP Spectre x360

HP’s acrobatic portable [pictured above] features Windows Ink, Microsoft’s enhanced pen computing support. Its 360-degree hinge allows the 13.3-inch screen to fold back on itself, turning the Spectre into a Windows 10 tablet. In this mode, the display transforms into a digital writing pad, perfect for note-taking, sketching and making onscreen annotations or edits.

Read more about the HP Spectre x360 with Windows Ink

Microsoft Surface Laptop

This new Surface slots in between the Surface Pro and the Surface Book. Like the Surface Book, it looks like a traditional clamshell notebook but, while its 13.5-inch edge-to-edge display is touch-sensitive, it doesn’t detach. So while the Surface Laptop impresses with its elegant engineering, performance and security, you can’t wield it like a tablet.

Read more about the Microsoft Surface Laptop

These machines are what the laptop of the future looks like — a compelling combination of high performance, long-lasting battery life and unrivalled flexibility. Find out more about the latest laptops and 2 in 1s here.

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