It’s been an odd start to the year, tied to the weird and wonderful world of CES 2022 announcements.When manufacturers scramble to grab our attention and show off the many innovations they’ve brewed, you’ll usually find us shaking our heads in exclamation, “They sure don’t Actually Think this will take off. “
Don’t get me wrong, CES 2022 brought a lot of practical innovations, even some impressive ones, and were actually related to PC gaming. At times, even a technological gem emerges, allowing us to spiral into a vision of a more powerful, interconnected, leisure-filled future. Most of the time though – maybe we’re just being cynical like this – it’s a bunch of nonsense: “Look at us, we make something that’s already been invented, but we’ve slapped ours on it brand name.”
Well, that’s a bit harsh. Companies are just trying to get a piece of the pie, and it’s this competitive environment that helps drive actual innovation. So we made a palpable effort to close out the first week of 2022 with some positive thoughts, surrounded, of course, by our signature ironic stance and ominous existential skepticism.
Here are some of the CES 2022 goodies that got us excited, some we didn’t believe would make it to the market, and some that frankly surprised us.
Dave James, Head of Hardware
CES 2022 highlights: Samsung usually doesn’t do bad screens. What it does do is make very expensive screens, but beyond that, I’d still say that one of the highlights of this year’s CES 2022 was our brief glimpse at gaming monitor nirvana: Samsung’s OLEDs with colorful quantum dot screening.
The Samsung Odyssey G8QNB (which may get some kind of Odyssey Quantum G8 moniker in the future) is a 34-inch ultra-wide display that uses the company’s first Quantum Dot OLED screen, blending the best of both panel worlds.
Back in the year, when Samsung withdrew from competing with South Korean rival LG’s OLED TVs, it continued to develop quantum dot filters to enhance the color gamut of conventional displays. It makes Samsung’s QLED panels /almost/as effective as OLEDs and makes them cheaper to produce.
QD filters enhance color and help contrast. Stick it on top of an OLED panel and it has its own natural blacks that may fade over time and you get an exciting mix that will be an awesome gaming screen.
This first Odyssey monitor also features a 175Hz refresh rate and a 0.1ms response time, and through a partnership between the two companies, will also make its way to the Alienware monitor AW3223DW. So at least two amazing QD-OLED gaming monitors will appear this year.
I wish there were a few grand pops.
CES 2022 low light: Now, I’m in no rush to get back to Vegas again, and even I don’t particularly value CES as a PC gaming extravaganza, but my biggest low point at this year’s show is the depressing realization that this is the big thing in 2022, at least in the near future. This will be the case for the next 12 months. We will still suffer in the faint hope that normal and in-person meetings, hands-on briefings and presentations will resume, only to be broken by another variant and a more closed airport later in the day.
There will still be some intrepid journalists who risk ‘rona’ for the chance to get a demo model of a new laptop. But rushing to a big trade show, such as Computex in Taiwan, going from a conference to a briefing, then writing a story in the back seat of a taxi to a press conference across town, will be replaced by the constant fear of infection, before you sweat it out acne breakouts under the mask, and pain in hands that are really very dry from all the washing and antibacterials. And may no longer be allowed to go home after that.
So yes, CES 2022 reminds us that we’re in for yet another virtual year of sitting behind our monitors and waiting for this thing to end.
Jacob Ridley, Senior Hardware Editor
CES 2022 highlights: When it comes to laptops, I idealize fashion rather than power. I don’t want to be lugging around a powerful dual-brick device with the latest desktop GPU in it. This is not how I use my laptop. I prefer thinner devices with smaller screens and simple connections that don’t let me down. Like any PC gamer, I want a GPU that’s fast and big enough to play games, but I’m not averse to giving up some performance for a slim chassis if I have to.
With AMD’s Ryzen 6000 H-series, I probably don’t have to sacrifice as much gaming performance. Powered by the RDNA 2 architecture, the same architecture I run in my home PC, AMD offers a huge improvement in integrated graphics performance – 2x the previous Ryzen 5000 mobile processors. Granted, it’s “only” 12 compute units (CUs), which is different from the 80 CUs I have at home, but next to my Intel Ice Lake-powered Dell XPS, I’ll take it.
Paired with a low-power GPU from AMD or Nvidia, I’d be happy. While it’s actually a compact laptop that flies alone, it’s better to just rely on the Zen 3+ and RDNA 2 smarts. A 13-inch laptop that can use the Steam deck alone? If I could only ask one thing, 2022…
If AMD or its partners don’t deliver, I don’t think I’d be too hard on the shiny 12th Gen Dell XPS either.
CES 2022 low light: After a long wait and a disappointing 2022 delay, I hope we’ll hear some interesting details about Intel’s Arc Alchemist graphics cards at this year’s show. We did hear some news that Intel is now shipping Arc GPUs to partners, though that’s not the glimpse of the final first-gen lineup I’d hoped for. Maybe a spec or two, you know? Construction debris. Even if it’s just a little bit of promotional material.
Confirmed shipments are good news for a final release on the day of the summer solstice, but I’ve been thinking about the Intel Arc for so long, I just want to know its secrets. Like, now.
Alan Dexter, Senior Hardware Editor
CES 2022 highlights: Ah, Jacob has beaten me. Although, I want more power than him. So, we are all fine. I want a laptop that can replace my desktop computer. The kind of machine where you’re constantly plugged into the screen and use a proper gaming keyboard and gaming mouse – you can keep your pokey touchpad and give me the proper input device every time.
The fact that CES 2022 not only introduced new laptop processors but also some more powerful GPUs is music to my ears. A plethora of gaming laptops can be found in the virtual showroom.
I’m excited to see what Alder Lake will do in the name of laptops, and with every laptop maker seemingly updating their lineup to squeeze in Intel’s 12th gen mobile CPUs, I should be spoiled soon broken. Pair it with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, which is a little more reasonable than its new big brother, the RTX 3080 Ti, and you end up with a machine that can play games without completely destroying my bank balance.
There are plenty of gaming laptops out there that tick those boxes, and as always, it’ll be down to the final fare to determine which one really wins. I’m a bit overpriced, so something like the Acer Nitro 5 (2022) with a mid-range Alder Lake chip and an RTX 3070 Ti sounds perfect. It would be even better if Acer could deliver all of that while fulfilling Nvidia’s dream of a 3070 Ti gaming laptop for $1,499.
CES 2022 low light: It must be good news that Nvidia and AMD have finally announced their budget GPUs at CES 2022, isn’t it? No, not when they both look miserable on paper. The AMD Radeon 6500 XT seems like an insult, especially compared to the RX 480 from six years ago. AMD can spin it as much as they want, but for the games many of us want to play, 4GB of VRAM isn’t enough right now.
I’m also intimidated when it comes to the RTX 3050 because I don’t think it has enough raw grunt to justify its $250 price tag. Yes, it has more reasonable VRAM at 8GB, which would help, and support for DLSS would definitely help it achieve reasonable frame rates, but the RTX 3060 is $330 (at least in theory, I know , I know), this is definitely the card you want. Not that you can get them. This could be the real low point, now that I think about it – there is still no sign that the silicon shortage is coming to an end. sigh.
Katie Wickens, Hardware Writer
CES 2022 highlights: It’s been a while since I got really excited about technology, especially monitors. But this year Samsung brought us the world’s first QD-OLED gaming monitor, and I was finally able to imagine the ultrawide setup I’ve always wanted.
The 34-inch curved Alienware-branded QD-OLED technology, with 0.1ms GtG response, actually started making my screen upgrade sound like a blast. Not just because I’m a huge nerd digging into the science behind it, just for fun.
With things like these sci-fi sounding panels, we’re looking ahead to a future of thinner, faster, more dynamic gaming monitors, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a review model. That thing can’t be in the office toolbox all the time. That will join me in my WFH office, and the rest of the hardware team will have to fight for it.
CES 2022 low light: In general, I’m tired of the overuse of the term “metaverse” that seems to be stuck on every poster, wall, and booth at CES 2022.While participating in the physical part of the event, Twitter users Nima Zeighami managed to capture a lot of mentions, and some even claim that its products are part of a “true metaverse”.
“The Real Metaverse” is packed for everyone, we found it! A true metaverse! pic.twitter.com/v1kQOLbuOMJanuary 6, 2022
I mean, of course, jump on the bandwagon and make millions. Just don’t use some fancy marketing term designed to make punters feel “Oh, this sounds too space age. Are we the future now?” That thing you all call the metaverse basically makes up anything in 3D, VR, or blurry online. Please accept the fact that the “metaverse” is moot and move on, people.