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5 insane gaming laptops from CES 2017

This year, CES 2017 is home to not only off-the-wall, wonky AI-powered robots and levitating Bluetooth speakers, but it’s also the perfect place to showcase some of the latest home computing innovations as well. After all, it’s not a Consumer Electronics Show without a little something that appeals and entertains on a practical level.

Here we’ll take a look at the most promising gaming laptop selections found at CES. Whether we’re talking about the budget-friendly Dell Inspiron 15 7000 or the absurdly priced (and sized) Acer Predator 21 X, there’s something at CES for every PC gamer to appreciate. Even if your interests in video games stop at VR, sit tight because Lenovo introduced an unexpected addition this year.

So grab your popcorn and low-latency, RGB-backlit gaming mouse because you’re in for a ride, replete with mechanical keyboards and battery-draining graphics cards, that’ll make you drool with envy notwithstanding.

Entering the New Year, Gigabyte has decided to also make the move to Intel’s 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors, namely with the Sabre 15. This laptop won’t push much beyond 1080p, but it’s not trying to either. Featuring a choice between Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 or a 1050 Ti, this is a notebook that aims to master full HD graphics rather than make a failed attempt to exceed them.

That said, there is a UHD display in place, not for gaming, but to utilize the unique inclusion of a UHD Blu-Ray drive. Not only does the Gigabyte Sabre 15 don an “Island style” per-key backlit RGB keyboard bolstering 16.8 million color options, but it also packs in the latest Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port standard and a 91-Wh battery that claims extensive game time over its competitors.

Let’s just hope that GPU is enough to keep your Steam catalogs running for years on end.

Dell is distancing itself from its historically gaming-focused Alienware branding in favor of a new effort.

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming, which we previously reported on as the leaked Dell XPS 15, boasts Pascal-series graphics for only $799 (about £650, AU$1,100). Sure, you aren’t getting the glamorous 4K-resolution display or Blu-Ray drive you could otherwise nab with Gigabyte’s aforementioned Sabre 15, but with these specs, you really don’t need to.

The GTX 1050 can only really handle the latest Inspiron 15’s 1,920 x 1,080 LED display anyway. Anything more and it would just barely chug along at inconsistent frame rates. With that in mind, Dell does offer the option of a 4K IPS screen for those interested, but it’s going to cost a premium. It’s a surefire hit among don’t need the best graphics, but still want to play games both old and new.

If you’re one of those who takes the extremities of gaming culture in jest, you’ll get a kick out of this. The Acer Predator 21 X is not only gaudy, lumbering and unnecessarily equipped with a full-size mechanical keyboard, but it’ll also set you back a good chunk of change. If you have $8,999 (£7,350, AU$12,500) to spare and literally nothing better to spend it on, well, the Acer Predator 21 X is certainly an option.

Outrageously armed with not one, but two GTX 1080s, a curved 21:9 display and Cherry MX Brown keyswitches, you may be thinking that’s not quite enough to justify a price tag nearing 9-grand. That is, until you find out that Acer also squeezed in a 7th-generation Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7820HK processor, 64GB of RAM and up to four 512GB SSDs configured in RAID 0.

At 8kg (about 17.6 pounds) in weight, the Acer Predator 21 X offers few advantages over desktops of a similar spec, but for whatever reason if you prefer a laptop – especially at this size – with the graphical capabilities of a small horse, it’s here, and it’s making our wallets tremble.

Then there’s the Legion Y720 from Lenovo, brandishing VR optimizations front and center. Lavished with the company’s own proprietary Entertainment Hub software, which melds all of your games and movies in one place, the Legion Y720 goes a step further than being simply “VR Ready.”

Instead, this tall, dark and handsome notebook manages the upscaling of non-virtual reality content to the new and improved format in various ways. The first is with movies, where you can optionally simulate the experience of sitting in a theater and watching the film of your choice on a massive, digitally constructed display. The second is by fully replacing the functions of the right stick or mouse movements in first-person games with 360-degree head tracking.

In terms of hardware, the Lenovo Legion Y720 ships with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ, an Nvidia GTX 1060 and 6GB of RAM for $1,399 (about £1,140, AU$1,950), though if you feel up to the task, you can fork over a little more for a 4K screen, 32GB of RAM and either a 2TB HDD or a 1TB PCIe SSD.

The last entry on our list of standout gaming laptops from CES 2017 is one from Aorus’ new collection. Like its counterparts, the Aorus X5 v7 is outfitted with a 7th-generation Core i7-7820HK CPU, theoretically capable of a 3.9GHz clock boost, which is pretty damn impressive if we do say so ourselves.

What’s more, Aorus went as far as to include a fun-size GTX 1070 and the option of either a 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) display or a still-acceptable WQHD+ (2,880 x 1,620) panel. Either route uses G-Sync, so screen-tearing won’t be a concern. In spite of all this, the Aorus X5 V7 still maintains a sleek chassis measuring in at only 25mm deep. Per-key customizable lighting and Sabre high-fidelity audio are mere bonuses.

The only thing that would make this PC sound even more enticing is the option of a 120Hz refresh rate and – oh wait – it has that. We don’t know the pricing yet, but we can only hope it’s as tantalizing as the rest of the machine.

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