Any Stranger Things fan reading this exciting piece! If yes, consider 2021 to be the year where the laptop market assumes a humongous shape, similar to The Mind Flayer in Season 3.
However, even if you aren’t into Stranger Things, expect the current year to be a path-breaking one in regards to laptop innovation, with certain trends expected to develop into fully-grown entities, with the future in mind.
While most of these trends were announced way back in the online-only CES 2021, we treaded a few additional miles to bring forth and enlist some unsaid innovations that might just make it big by the end of 2021 or beyond.
So let’s not waste any time and jump right into the innovations that we are certain of:
1. The revival of ARM Chipsets
The entry-level laptop market might expect a revival for the better in 2021. Presiding over this renaissance will be ARM processors, which initially showed compatibility issues with the Windows 10 ecosystem. With Microsoft guaranteeing fixes in the Windows 10X hierarchy, this trend might just come bearing good news for the laptop manufacturers.
If you are still apprehensive about the ARM architecture, fret not as the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 has already announced a prospective launch in 2021, helmed by the ARM-powered, Snapdragon 7c mobile SoC.
2. No 16:9 Restrictions
Despite several manufacturers teasing this omission for long, this trend might just get the required recognition in 2021. However, we were expecting the same the moment Dell announced the new XPS 13 back in 2020. This means we might just be looking at taller aspect ratios, preferably 3:2 and 16:10, depending on the prices that you are willing to shell out.
While the change might not look significant on paper, it certainly would amplify the user experience by offering additional screen real-estate to rely on. Provided you are looking for examples and how the concept has been taken ahead by the OEMs, consider checking out the ThinkPad X1 Yoga in its entirety.
3. Higher Refresh Rates on 2K and 4K Panels
Despite modern-day gaming laptops being way too powerful, gamers were still dissatisfied with the experiences offered by the 4K gaming laptops. While the 1080p panels were able to assume the highest possible refresh rates reaching up to 300Hz, 4K screens were restricted to 60Hz, thereby paving the way for screen tearing, ghosting, and trailing.
However, 2021 is expected to bring some good news for the 4K gamers, with NVIDIA prepping up for accommodating newer NVIDIA RTX GPUs into high-end laptops. With laptop graphics cards amassing additional power, manufacturers will be forced to push higher refresh rates. If you are doubtful regarding this innovation, check out the new Asus ROG gaming behemoth, featuring a 120Hz 4K screen for achieving the sharpest possible gaming performances.
4. The Advent of Dual-Screen Laptops
The change in aspect ratio isn’t the only display-centric innovation that you can expect in laptops, going further into 2021 and beyond. This year we might finally see laptops with dual-screens, riding on the supposed innovation presented by the Windows 10X.
Despite being teased for long, dual-screen notebooks have seen the light of the day. While something relevant was supposed to be launched by Microsoft, going into 2019, the progress was stalled citing compatibility issues. However, we might just see the first dual-screen notebook i.e. the Surface Neo to be launched in 2021, along with the compatible Windows 10X operating platform.
This purported device, expected to show up with two 9-inch panels, is expected to the first of many in a similar segment. Moreover, the advent of Windows 10X is something that will speed up the manufacturing and global adoption of these dual-screen notebooks as the touch-screen support on offer will be impeccable and precise, to say the least.
5. Powerful Chromebooks
There is no denying the fact that Chromebooks have always been looked down upon, owing to their restrictive set of features. Not anymore as in 2021, we might just experience an entire consortium of Chromebooks with power comparable to any mid-range laptop.
Leading the Chromebook renaissance will be Intel Tiger Lake Chipsets, based on the 10nm architecture. Moreover, there might be a handful of Ryzen-powered notebooks on our way, expected to keep the Chromebooks snappy and light.
That’s not it as the graphics-centric performances and visual projection relevant to Chromebooks is also expected to improve in 2021, owing to the better breed of integrated graphics. For other improvements, we might have to be a bit more patient.
As we feel generous towards our readers, we have decided to talk about one additional trend that might be as important as the ones already mentioned.
In 2021, we might see the best gaming laptop launches, owing to the reliance on the new breed of NVIDIA RTX 30-series graphics cards. While desktop-centric models are already selling like hotcakes, we might see the inclusion of NVIDIA RTX 3060 processors in laptops, real soon.
However, the bulked-up graphics processor might be done away with, courtesy of the mobile version of RTX 3060 and the 35W AMD and Intel processors.
These attributes are expected to make room for lighter and more powerful gaming notebooks. Needless to say, heft has always been a major gaming gripe, especially for the laptop fanatics.
However, in 2021, we might even see several high-end 14-inch gaming notebooks that might simply follow the suite, much like the Predator Triton 300 SE.
That’s not it as laptop performances will go up several notches with the availability of already popular Thunderbolt 4 ports. Therefore, even if the notebook has a high-end discrete graphics card in play, the availability of portable GPU enclosures with RTX 3080 at the helm is expected to take laptop gaming to a whole new level.
While these are some of the more celebrated laptop-centric trends for the current year, we are also expectant of better webcams, zero-bezel screens, 5G-powered notebooks for browsing on-the-go, and better displays courtesy of the Mini-LED technology, to feature on newer laptops.