IFA 2020 marks one of the strangest trade shows in its history, coming to the world as a bit of a hybrid between an in-person and virtual event. While there is at least a limited on-ground presence from some companies and media, many of the biggest announcements have occurred virtually.
This might be a very different show than we’re used to, but that’s not stopping tech companies from announcing their latest tech. This is especially true for laptops, where we’ve seen well over a dozen new devices debut. Not all announcements stand out equally, and so we’ve rounded up up the best new laptops from IFA 2020,
MSI Summit series
The Summit family comprises four models: Summit E15, Summit E14, Summit B15, and Summit B14. The E series is the more premium tier, with the MSI Summit E15 standing at the top of the pack. While we officially recognize the E15 as the very best model, all four look promising with features like a TPM security chip, an IR webcam for facial recognition, fingerprint readers, Thunderbolt 4 support, Intel 11th gen processors, and more. Another unique feature is the new AI noise cancellation function, designed to eliminate background noise during video conferencing.
The exact specs depend on the model you get, but the E series tops out with features including 4K UHD displays, PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Ti graphics. The B series isn’t as impressive with FHD and Intel Iris Xe graphics, but if you’re a professional that isn’t doing more intensive tasks (like 3D editing, photo editing, etc) this is more than good enough to get the job done.
Business users will appreciate the Summit series design. The minimalist aesthetic is attractive and yet not distracting, exactly what you want from a machine meant for productivity.
Acer Spin 7
ARM-based Windows machines are far from a dominant force in the PC market but Qualcomm continues to further push what an ARM-based Windows laptop can do and the new Acer Spin 7 packs the latest fruits of this effort, the 2nd gen Snapdragon 8cx.
The latest Spin appears similar to its predecessor, but the improved ARM processor brings benefits like 5G (sub-6 GHz and mmWave) and multi-day battery life. Other specs include a 14-inch 1080p IPS touch display, a Wacom pen, and a 360-degree hinge that lets you use it as a tablet, or to use it for a better movie-watching experience in kickstand mode.
While many x86 based laptops can easily offer a full work day’s battery life, the ability to last beyond a day could be beneficial to business professionals that regularly travel. It’s also nice to see Qualcomm continue to raise the performance bar with its ARM chips, and the same goes for the latest Snapdragon onboard here.
Unfortunately, we know nothing about the exact pricing or release date just yet.
Asus Zenbook Flip S
The Asus Zenbook Flip S hasn’t seen an updated model since 2017. Until now, that is. The new Asus Zenbook Flip S UX371 is back with a new Intel 11th gen processor and is officially certified to conform with the Intel EVO standard.
The other biggest standout on the spec sheet is the lovely 13-inch 4K UHD OLED display with HDR 500 certification. Other specs include support or SSDs up to 1TB and configurations with 16GB RAM, two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, 1 USB Type-A port, and an HDMI port. The 360-degree hinge design makes this a great laptop for productivity with the ability to work as a standard laptop, a tablet, or even a kickstand more for watch movies and other media.
The Asus Zenbook Flip S isn’t a massive upgrade in terms of aesthetics, but it has a lot going for it under the hood. The original Flip S was a brilliant device, so it’s nice to see Asus hasn’t abandoned the product line. The new Asus Flip S will arrive in October, though exact pricing details have yet to be revealed.
Lenovo Yoga 9i
Looking for something super slim and with a minimalist aesthetic designed with productivity in mind? That’s what you get with the new Yoga 9i series, which consists of the Yoga 9i 14 and 15 convertible laptops, alongside a clamshell model called the Lenovo Slim 9i.
The Yoga Slim 9i is the thinnest and lightest of the pack at .54-inches thick and weighing 2.77 pounds. The other two weigh a bit more and add a little bulk, but are still very thin. Despite compact designs and weight, the Yoga 9i should be very durable thanks to their aluminum-chassis. The design is also further elevated by a leather cover over the lid in several configurations. The leather models will also include an edge-to-edge glass palm rest.
See also: The best laptops for students
Looking good and staying light are two important aspects of the Yoga 9i series, but there is also a ton of power under the hood. Both the Lenovo Yoga 9i and Slim 9i support Intel Tiger Lake processors and the new Thunderbolt 4 USB-C connection. The Yoga 9i 15 sticks to a 10th gen processor, up to the Core i9 HK series, has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and has a dedicated GPU up to the Nvidia GTX 1650Ti.
If you’re looking for slick productivity machines that could also be perfect for creatives and those looking to play more casual gaming, the Yoga 9i is shaping up to be a series worthy of consideration. The Yoga models will arrive in October starting at $1,399 for the 14-inch model, and starting at $1,799 for the Yoga 9i 15. The Slim will arrive in November starting at $1,599.
Legion Slim 7i
Gigantic bulky gaming laptops are no longer the only option for PC gamers. In 2020 we’ve seen several relatively thin and light gaming machines that still pack plenty of power (I own one, the ROG Zephyrus G14). Lenovo is now getting into this emerging gaming PC category with its own slim and light machine, the Legion Slim 7i.
As the Slim moniker would suggest, the Legion Slim 7i is pretty thin at 18mm and with a weight of just 3.9 pounds. While this isn’t exactly ultrabook tiny, it’s extremely impressive for a gaming machine with its own dedicated GPU — with Lenovo offering up to a GTX 2060 Max-Q. The display is a 15.6-inch FHD 60Hz display at the base level, with upgradeable configurations that bump the refresh rate to 144Hz or even a 4K option with a 60Hz refresh rate. Other specs include up to an Intel Core i9-10980HK, up to 32GB RAM, up to a 4K mand 2TB of NVMe M2. storage. The base model isn’t as impressive the topped out configuration, but you still will get an Intel Core i5-10300H and NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti.
If you’re a gamer that also is looking for a productivity machine or just something easy to take with you on your travels, the Legion Slim 7i could be a suitable match. We’re also happy to see more gaming machines offering up slightly more muted designs and less bulky packages, as not everyone is looking for a 10-pound monster laptop.
MSI Stealth 15M
Lenovo isn’t the only new thin-and-light gaming laptop on show for IFA. The MSI Stealth 15M packs a ton of performance into a device with a thickness of just 16mm and a weight of 3.92 pounds.
The Stealth 15M is practically an ultrabook and yet still offers groundbreaking specs like 11th-gen Intel Core processors, Thunderbolt 4 support, and a GPU up to the GTX 2060 (or a GTX 1660 Ti on the base model). The display is a 15.6.inch FHD IPS with a 144Hz refresh rate. There’s no mention of QHD or 4K models. Many portable gamers are perfectly okay with 1080p, but it’s something worth considering if you are looking for a more impressive display resolution.
Further reading: The best MSI laptops you can buy right now
We actually dubbed this the best gaming laptop of IFA 2020 in our official awards, thanks to a combination of great specs, thin and light design, and because it’s truly hard to go wrong buying an MSI gaming computer.
Learn more about MSI’s other announcements from IFA in our announcement post from earlier this week.
Honor Magicbook Pro
Honor isn’t exactly a household name for laptops, but don’t let that fool you — Huawei and Honor make great looking machines that are essentially Windows versions of MacBooks if we’re being honest. The new Magicbook Pro continues the legacy of offering a beautiful design that takes some obvious inspiration from Apple, while adding some of its own standout features including a full view 16.1-inch display with a screen to body ratio of 90-percent.
The Magicbook has tons of screen real estate in a tiny package that wieghts just 1.7 grams, but there’s plenty of power here too. The Magicbook Pro offers the latest gen AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor and integrated Radeo graphics. Other key specs include a 512GB PCIe NVMe SDD, 16GB DDR dual-channel RAM, an HDMI 2.0 port, 3 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A ports, a single USB Type-C port, and an audio jack.
The Honor Magicbook Pro stands out if you’re looking for something that’s beautiful, thin, light, and packs plenty of punch for productivity. It’s available on September 7th for Germany and September 8th for the rest of Europe for a base price of €900 ($1063~).
So that’s it for our look at some of the most compelling laptop announcements from the past few weeks. The majority of the devices here announced at IFA, though some simply took place around the same rough window. Regardless, there are a lot of solid looking choices. Which is your favorite?