Sorry, nerds – gaming laptops now seem made for ordinary people
I’ve always loved the idea of playing modern PC games on the go, but for years gaming laptops were a bit of a joke. They were heavy, expensive, overloaded with battery power, and delivered performance that was miles behind a desktop gaming PC despite a much higher cost.
That changed with the introduction of Nvidia’s Pascal GPU architecture, which allowed laptop-grade GeForce GTX 10-series graphics cards to deliver reasonably close performance to their full desktop brethren. Pascal also made it possible to pack powerful gaming gear into machines that wouldn’t break your back by carrying them more than a few blocks. And the likes of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced and the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 show that some of the best gaming laptops could be reasonably compact and light.
This is all great, but one thing that has taken way too long to change is the general aesthetics of gaming laptops.
Almost until about a year or so, gaming laptops were adorned with a “gamer” aesthetic. The angular frames were covered in red accents and logos that unequivocally screamed “this is a gaming laptop.”
ROG your laptop now … but in private
I have a 17 inch Asus ROG Strix 2017 gaming laptop with a convoluted set of numbers and letters after that I can’t remember. It’s a fantastic machine that allows me to have a PC gaming experience away from my office in my apartment; Its decent screen and touchscreen keyboard also mean it’s a solid working machine. But it is not subtle.
The black aluminum cover has a bright red-orange Asus Republic of Gamers ‘angry eye’ logo with two slashes of the same color on either side … for reasons unknown.
Open the lid and your eyes are left with another eye logo, red-orange slashes for the speaker grilles, red-orange accents on the trackpad, red-orange keyboard symbols, and red-WASD keys. bright orange.
These shout “gamer” quite loudly. But the laptop also has “Republic of Gamers” written in a thick font at the bottom of the reasonably thick display frames and at the bottom of the cover on the other side.
While far from the most ostentatious of gaming laptops yesterday and today, it’s not exactly a machine that I would happily take out and use at a hip eastern cafe or bar. from London. Even at home, it tends to sit under a coffee table when not in use, or have a Surface Pro and iPad mini on it to cover the dazzling ROG logo.
So I’m pretty happy to see that newer gaming laptops have started to cut down on heavy, red-accented design language. While Dell’s Alienware laptops are unmistakably gaming machines, Dell’s G-series laptops are a lot less garish about their gaming pedigree. And Razer has locked the gaming laptop look into a MacBook Pro. for some time now, but at an exorbitant price.
Low-profile design can hide graphics growl
However, the advent of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series mobile graphics cards and a slew of new gaming laptops they’ve brought with them have ushered in a suite of machines that seem positively quiet compared to their predecessors. In fact, they probably look a bit drab and corporate; more Lenovo professional machines than howling slabs allowing fragmentation
This is a very good thing in my opinion. As much as I love over-the-top machines – from silly gaming phones and swaddled RBG desktop PCs to Lamborghinis – I’m now at the tender age of 34; my dodgy design and fashion days are probably over.
But I still find powerful laptops very desirable; I want to be able to bring you all the hot 9 to 5 tech news, but then relax and fail miserably at Apex Legends. However, I don’t want to wear a machine that makes this last bleeding obvious.
And it doesn’t seem like I’m alone. Acer’s new Predator Triton 500 SE, which packs powerful specs into a reasonably compact gray frame that has plenty of rear ports and vents, but doesn’t cover them in neon colors. Of course, there is per-key RGB lighting on the keyboard. But there’s also a 16:10 screen, which is one of the best productivity ratios.
Acer told me they are taking this approach to deliver a gaming laptop that will appeal to creative types as well as people with online grips like Killbo Fragins.
Acer is not alone, with rival Asus recently unveiling the Zephyrus M16. This laptop also comes with a 16: 9 screen and a whopping 94% screen-to-body ratio, providing plenty of screen space for productivity.
And it’s all put in a design that has more than a MacBook Pro whiff on it, while still offering the latest Intel Tiger Lake H processors and Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics.
A similar story can be seen with the Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey, which has less powerful specs but is rather slim and seems heavily focused on the gamer and creator profile.
Even though the HP Omen 16 gaming laptop stays true to the classic 16: 9 aspect ratio, it still fits into a 16 inch display with thin bezels in a 15 inch chassis and avoids many OTT design flyers.
Its wedge design actually reminds me of a MacBook Air that was in the computer equivalent of a gym. In a way, it’s a bit boring to watch and I rather like it for it.
In short, there are now a lot more gaming laptops that could reasonably double as work machines without the social embarrassment of carrying around a laptop that tells your coworkers you care more about death ratios than you do. quarterly performance.
That’s not to say there isn’t room for loud and proud gaming laptops, as there are still plenty of them with the latest processors and graphics. But this move towards more compact and convenient portable games not only appeals to me, but is also a good move for the design of performance laptops.
As Asus and Acer strive to create laptops that deliver powerful specs in a slim chassis with ventilation systems that don’t look like a jet engine, cooling innovations can filter into other laptops. . This could result in ultraportable or hybrid laptops that deliver impressive power in stupidly thin designs.
So, as gaming laptops get duller, the engineering intelligence they hide is interesting and shows that there is still a lot more innovation in the world of computing.