The biggest news at Computex 2019

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Our week in Taiwan is coming to a close, and as Team Engadget bids goodbye to the dumplings and beef noodles, it’s time to look back on all the news we saw this week. As always, ASUS was the star of the show in its home turf, and this year was especially significant as the company celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. It unveiled attractive new special editions of the ZenBook and ZenFone, as well as a dual-screen laptop.

This Computex, chip makers ruled the show with their powerful new products. Intel even wowed us by showing off intriguing concept devices with dual and integrated companion screens, as well as the first slate of laptops from its Project Athena program. Qualcomm and Lenovo were also here to announce their “Project Limitless” collaboration with the first 5G laptop. And then there’s the usual onslaught of new gaming PCs, laptops, keyboards and accessories. It’s been a particularly interesting show with exciting news for the PC industry, and we can’t wait to come back next year for more.

Catch up on all the latest news from Computex 2019 here!

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PC makers are getting better at copying smartphone innovation

For a long time, the PC industry was stagnating. Computer makers had grown comfortable with iterative annual updates to their devices, relying on yearly processor advancements to push consumers to buy new laptops. But recently, things changed. PC makers started borrowing features from smartphones to make their laptops stand out, just as phones keep trying to become more like computers. There were plenty of examples at Computex 2019, but instead of displaying purely imitated features, the PC industry showed it can actually do some of them better.

Companies at Computex this year are continuing to take features like eSIM, built-in LTE and instant unlock and advancing them for laptops. For example, Lenovo and Qualcomm announced they are collaborating on the first 5G laptop, bringing next-gen cellular connectivity to the PC world. Meanwhile, Intel showed off the first devices from its Project Athena program, whihch promises to deliver computers that wake up from sleep in under a second. Instant resume is already a feature that Microsoft offers, but Intel uses nifty new tricks to make sure your laptop is always ready for you to get to work.

Companies also want to make their PCs last at least as long as smartphones, and this year’s Computex announcements had a major focus on battery life. For instance, Lenovo and Qualcomm promise days of juice on the Project Limitless 5G laptop, while Intel is enforcing a minimum of nine hours on its Project Athena devices. That’s still not close to what you’d get on your phone, but it’s a marked improvement.

PCs are also starting to look different — we’re thankfully seeing fewer boring black rectangles here. Many of them have aesthetics that appear to be inspired by phones. The new Dell Inspiron series, for example, comes in a lilac hue that’s reminiscent of the lavender Galaxy S10. HP also unveiled Envy laptops with wood inlays, and this, along with the leather in last year’s Spectre Folio, feel similar to Samsung’s leatherette Galaxy Note 3 and S4 as well as Motorola’s wood finish on the Motos.

HP Envy x360 wood

In addition to borrowing (ahem, stealing) fundamental traits from phones, PCs are also exploring the wilder concepts that burgeoned in the mobile realm. Fascination with dual screens and foldable fever is taking hold in smartphones, and laptop makers want in on that fun, too. Ahead of Computex, Lenovo showed off a prototype of what it’s calling the “world’s first foldable PC” — a laptop with a bendable screen. Here at the show, though, we saw companies experiment more with dual displays and secondary screens.

These ideas had been tried to death in the smartphone world with little success, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work on laptops. In fact, with their bigger bodies and larger batteries, notebooks might just be the right vehicle for the dual-screen format to take off. The ZenBook Pro Duo seemed surprisingly useful, while ASUS’ refined ScreenPad 2.0 promises to be more intuitive and power efficient than its predecessor. The Intel prototypes that we saw also offered intriguing applications, with dual-screens that weren’t just eye-popping but, more importantly, had purpose.

Finally, PC and chip makers have also started to use AI to allocate a device’s resources to optimize performance and prolong battery life. That’s basically what Huawei introduced with its AI-powered Mate 10, and it’s a feature Samsung then borrowed in the Galaxy S10, which it calls Intelligent performance.

Samsung Galaxy S10 hands-on

With Intel’s Dynamic Tuning, for example, a computer can figure out what you’re doing and optimize system settings to give you the best experience. If you’re using a chat app or working on an essay, for example, it will tap low-power components. It’ll only fire up the more energy-sucking parts, like the GPU, for when you launch more intensive tasks like gaming or video editing.

As the line between laptops and smartphones continues to blur, it’s nice to see the two industries inspire each other to deliver compelling new features in their respective products. Imitation, as they say, is the sincerest form of flattery.

Catch up on all the latest news from Computex 2019 here!

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Acer ConceptD 7 laptop hands-on: Quadro RTX power in a stylish package

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Acer’s pro-grade family of laptops, ConceptD, is getting an upgrade already, less than two months since it broke cover. Following up on the company’s promise of making a strong bid for the PC-buying dollars of high-end laptop users, the ConceptD 7 the first laptop we’ve actually handled that packs NVIDIA’s new, powerful Quadro RTX 5000 GPU.

Gallery: Acer ConceptD 7 with NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 hands-on | 10 Photos

That said, the company didn’t offer any games to really push the limits of this newly christened graphics card. Cherlynn Low dabbled with some Autodesk Maya, with skills one could politely call rudimentary, while I slung an awful lot of video, online and offline, onto the 15.4-inch UHD-resolution matte display — it wasn’t a test-it-to-the-limit situation whatsoever. It did, however, reaffirm what we thought the first time around: it’s an impressive machine that will surely benefit from keeping up on the cutting edge of mobile GPUs. (I’m looking forward to seeing how the new GPUs performs when review samples start to appear.)

Acer ConceptD 7

One of the core selling points remains the high-resolution screen. The matte finish batted away some heavy-duty spotlights (this was during Acer’s not-at-Computex-but-still-here media event), with a “Pantone validated” 100 percent Adobe RGB color gamut specification ensuring that visual creatives have a portable device that better represents their projects. No need for that separate high-end monitor, perhaps.

The ConceptD 7, with its matte white body, also looks perfectly pitched as a device suitable for gamers, designers and graphics artists who regularly use resource-intensive apps. Acer’s Product Marketing VP Peter Chang affirmed that’s exactly what the company is chasing with the ConceptD family. (The more substantial ConceptD 9 will also be getting a Quadro RTX 5000 option, alongside other GeForce RTX configurations, according to NVIDIA.)

Acer is shipping the ConceptD 7 in its existing config already in the US, and we’re waiting to confirm exactly when the RTX Studio edition will go on sale.

Catch up on all the latest news from Computex 2019 here!

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Acer brings NVIDIA’s Quadro RTX 5000 to its ConceptD 7 laptop

Earlier this year, Acer announced its ConceptD range of high-end notebooks designed to woo away folks who had gone sour on the MacBook Pro. The company touted the range’s sharp looks and sharp specs paired with a commitment to color accuracy on the display. Now, with the advent of NVIDIA’s new Quadro RTX graphics for laptops, Acer will now offer the RTX 5000 inside its ConceptD 7.

Gallery: Acer ConceptD 7 | 6 Photos

Acer hasn’t felt the need to mess around with the existing system, which makes sense since the ConceptD line was only announced in April. That means it’s still offering a ninth-generation Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB NVME storage and that 15.6-inch, Pantone-validated 4K display. The one thing that Acer neglected to mention — yet — was how much it expects you to pay for the tweaked ConceptD 7, and when you can expect to own one.

Catch up on all the latest news from Computex 2019 here!

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

After training to be an intellectual property lawyer, Dan abandoned a promising career in financial services to sit at home and play with gadgets. He lives in Norwich, U.K., with his wife, his books and far too many opinions on British TV comedy. One day, if he’s very, very lucky, he’ll live out his dream to become the executive producer of Doctor Who before retiring to Radio 4.

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Acer's Nitro 5 and Swift 3 laptops pack the latest AMD Ryzen processors

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Acer

Acer isn’t just sticking to Intel for chips in its latest laptops. The company has rolled out versions of its Nitro 5 gaming laptop and Swift 3 thin-and-light that pack second-generation Ryzen Mobile processors. The 15.6-inch Nitro 5 (above) carries a 2.3GHz quad-core Ryzen 7 3750H and dedicated Radeon RX 560X graphics to handle a moderate amount of gaming. The 14-inch Swift 3 uses the more modest (but still quad-core) 2.3GHz Ryzen 7 3700U and defaults to integrated Vega graphics, but you can get Radeon RX 540X video if you’d like to squeak in some Overwatch when you’re not writing reports.

The PCs aren’t radically different beyond the CPU changes, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Nitro 5 still boasts a 1080p display, CoolBoost to prevent overheating in gaming sessions and a reasonably slim (if slightly flashy) body. The Swift 3, meanwhile, has a 180-degree folding display and shouldn’t burden you between its 0.71-inch thickness and 3.2-pound weight.

Acer hasn’t outlined the configurations, ship dates or pricing for the AMD-powered versions of either system. It often provides that info shortly before release in a given region, though, so you’ll have a better sense of the laptops’ worth before too long.

Acer Swift 3 laptop

Catch up on all the latest news from Computex 2019 here!

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