The 10 Coolest New Laptops Of 2019 (So Far)

Major laptop releases this years so far include cool new notebooks from Lenovo, Dell, HP and Apple.

Laptops To Love

During the first half of the year, laptop makers once again proved that the PC is not dead. It's clearly not even on life support, given the fast pace of releases both in traditional clamshell laptop form factors as well as in convertible 2-in-1 models. Laptop makers with notable launches in 2019 so far have included Lenovo, HP Inc., Dell, Apple and Acer.

What follows are the 10 laptops that have most caught our attention in 2019 so far.

Acer Swift 7

Acer launched its updated Swift 7 notebook during the first half of the year, which stands out from the laptop pack with impressive portability and super-slim bezels. The new Swift 7 weighs just 2 pounds and measures 0.39 of an inch thick, and the minimal bezels around its 14-inch FHD display enable an "industry-leading" 92 percent screen-to-body ratio, according to Acer. The Swift 7 remains durable despite its lightness, however, by using magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum alloys for its exterior body. On performance, the updated Swift 7 includes low-power processors from Intel's eighth-gen Y-series, up to 16 GB of RAM and up to 10 hours of battery life.

Apple MacBook Air

In July, Apple released an updated version of the MacBook Air—which was just refreshed last fall—adding display improvements and a lower price tag. The MacBook Air now offers Apple's "True Tone" display technology, bringing more vibrant color to the notebook's 13-inch Retina display. Apple also lowered the starting price for the MacBook Air to $1,099, from $1,199 previously.

Along with adding Apple's Retina display, last fall's refresh to the MacBook Air gave it a big boost on display resolution (to 2,560 x 1,600) and processing power. The latest MacBook Air also weighs just 2.75 pounds, down from 2.98 pounds previously, and measures 0.61 of an inch thick, compared with 0.68 of an inch previously.

Apple MacBook Pro

For the 2019 model of the MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar), the form factor hasn't changed—with the MacBook Pro updates again focused on improving performance and the ever-troubled keyboard. The latest 15-inch MacBook Pro adds an option for eight-core Intel processors for the first time, making it 40 percent faster than the previous six-core MacBook Pro, Apple said. Overall, Apple has added speedier eighth-gen and ninth-gen Intel Core processor options for the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros. Apple has also changed the materials used in its butterfly keyboard mechanism in an attempt to reduce user issues with sticky and unresponsive keys on the MacBook Pro.

Meanwhile, Apple also updated the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro with faster processors and, for the first time, inclusion of the Touch Bar.

Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1

For the Latitude 7400 2-in-1, Dell ditches the usual black carbon-fiber body for brushed aluminum. The screen on the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 has narrow bezels on all four sides for a nearly "edge-to-edge" display. That slim-bezel design goes a long way toward helping to reduce the overall size of the notebook, which Dell is touting as the smallest 14-inch 2-in-1 on the market by volume. Dell's other biggest accolade for the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is its battery life, which can reach up to 24 hours on a charge (with base-level specs and a 78 WHr battery). That gives the notebook the longest battery life for a 14-inch 2-in-1 right now, according to Dell.

Meanwhile, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 offers an option for LTE connectivity, with speedy mobile broadband that leverages the Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE-A modem. The notebook also comes with a new feature called "ExpressSign-In," which detects when users are near and automatically wakes up the PC.

Dell XPS 13

With Dell's update to the XPS 13 for 2019, the webcam is finally situated above the display where it belongs (instead of underneath the display, as in the past). The latest XPS 13 sports a much smaller camera—at just 2.25mm in size—that can fit more easily above the display while still keeping the top bezel thin. The notebook offers options for FHD or UHD/4K resolution for its 13.3-inch display, along with choices between touch screen and nontouch displays. In addition, the updated XPS 13 moves up to faster new processors from Intel's eighth-gen Whiskey Lake series, and Dell has said that the notebook is the "most powerful 13-inch in its class." Dell is touting strong battery life for the new XPS 13 as well, with a promise of up to 21 hours on a charge.

Dell hasn't tinkered with the form factor this year. While the bezel is now slightly bigger above the display, the bezel below the display is a bit smaller to accommodate, enabling the same overall size for the XPS 13. That means the thickness stays at 0.46 of an inch—to remain as one of the thinnest laptops out there—while the weight stays at a very manageable 2.7 pounds.

HP EliteBook x360 830 G1

After several years of offering EliteBook x360 convertible notebooks for its premium business segment, HP has expanded the x360 concept to EliteBook models used by mainstream corporate workers for the first time. In January, HP unveiled the EliteBook x360 830, the first-ever convertible model in the EliteBook 800 series. Along with the ability to use the 13.3-inch display in multiple modes, key features include an option for HP's Sure View integrated privacy screen; a built-in webcam cover (the HP Privacy Camera); and an optional high-brightness display (up to 1,000 nits, compared with a maximum of 700 nits previously). That makes it the brightest EliteBook x360 so far, HP said.

Looking at the specs, the notebook offers FHD (1,920 x 1,080) display resolution, eighth-gen Intel Core U series processors and up to 32 GB of RAM. The convertible is also highly portable at about 3 pounds and 0.66 of an inch thick, and features both USB-C and USB-A ports along with HDMI and nano-SIM. For biometric authentication, the EliteBook x360 830 offers an IR webcam for facial recognition and can be configured with a fingerprint sensor (sold separately).

HP Chromebook x360 14

In January, HP also debuted its first Chromebook x360 model aimed at business users, with the Chromebook x360 14. The Chrome OS notebook offers premium design elements and stronger performance than the typical Chromebook, and ultimately is targeting enterprise customers that rely on G Suite apps. Security and manageability capabilities for businesses are provided for the notebook via Google's Chrome Enterprise offering.

The Chromebook x360 14 features a 14-inch FHD display with up to 220 nits of brightness, and includes an aluminum cover and keyboard deck as well as a diamond-cut trackpad. Notably, the laptop is HP's first Chromebook to offer an Intel Core i7 processor, with options up to the Core i7-8650U (up to 4.2GHz). The HP Chromebook x360 14 also provides strong battery life of up 13 hours on a charge, a backlit keyboard and a thin form factor of 0.63 of an inch thick. For connectivity, the notebook offers two USB-C ports and one USB-A port.

Lenovo ThinkBook

During the first half of the year, Lenovo launched a new notebook brand, ThinkBook, with key attributes of the business-focused ThinkPad line combined with a more consumer-friendly design aesthetic. The ThinkBook swaps out the classic black carbon-fiber chassis of the ThinkPad, and instead adopts an all-aluminum chassis with a "mineral gray" color. The ThinkBook also features slim bezels around the display, and the display itself offers FHD resolution. The ThinkBook comes in two display sizes—13.3 inches for the ThinkBook 13s model, and 14 inches for the ThinkBook 14s. The ThinkBook comes with eighth-generation Intel Whiskey Lake processors—Core i5 and i7.

On portability, the ThinkBook 13s measures 0.63 of an inch thick and has a starting weight of 2.95 pounds. The ThinkBook 14s measures in at 0.65 of an inch thick and weighs 3.35 pounds to start. On durability, the notebook offers features such as a spill-resistant keyboard and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures.

Helpful features include the ability to quickly boot up and log in simultaneously—thanks to a power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader. Meanwhile, the ThinkBook offers hot keys that are enabled for answering or hanging up Skype calls; enhanced security via an integrated webcam cover; and fast-charging capabilities.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, 7th Gen

Lenovo enhanced the ThinkPad X1 Carbon for its seventh-generation update including with a new ePrivacy integrated privacy screen option. The 14-inch display also offers a new 4K/UHD resolution model with brightness of up to 500 nits, along with WQHD and FHD touch and non-touch models. For the body, the seventh-gen X1 Carbon features a new woven carbon fiber finish, and the notebook includes a built-in webcam shutter. Other new features include a Dolby Atmos four-speaker sound system, and the notebook gets a performance boost by moving up to Intel's Whiskey Lake eighth-gen Core i processors. The X1 Carbon also remains highly portable at 2.46 pounds, and measures 0.58 of an inch thick, making it a bit thinner than the previous 0.63-of-an-inch model. Battery life remains strong as well, with a promise of up to 15 hours on a charge.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, Fourth Gen

For its fourth-generation update, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga convertible has also gotten an option for UHD resolution on its 14-inch display with 500 nits of brightness. For improved privacy and security, the 2-in-1 notebook will offer the built-in webcam cover and an option for the ePrivacy integrated privacy screen. Lenovo has focused on reducing the size of the X1 Yoga with the fourth-gen update, which has a 17 percent smaller footprint overall than the previous model thanks to reduced bezels around the display and a thinner form factor. The latest X1 Yoga measures 0.59 of an inch thick, making it 11 percent thinner than the third-gen model. Like the latest X1 Carbon, the updated ThinkPad X1 Yoga gets improved performance by moving to Intel's Whiskey Lake eighth-gen Core i processors, and gets enhanced audio from a Dolby Atmos four-speaker sound system. The latest X1 Yoga offers long battery life of up to 15 hours on a charge, and will be offered in a new "iron gray" color, as well.