This year's CES was always going to be a showcase for Intel's 2010 line up of processors. It was either the Atoms, the ULVs or the Core i series depending on which size of laptop was on offer.
Samsung told Pocket-lint some time ago that the peak of the netbook boom would have passed by now and with the number of little laptops on offer in Vegas, it seems as if the Korean company was right. The few that were around were certainly worth looking at though.
The Toshiba mini NB305 and MSI Wind U160 were good examples of pretty much what most people might be looking for, but it was the adoption of a touchscreen or alternative chipsets and OS that really intrigued people.
One step bigger and there was a smattering of attractive ultra-slim notebooks on show with, again, Toshiba providing some good examples with the AMD-powered Satellite T135D and Satellite T115D at 13- and 11-inch screen sizes.
Strangely, though, it was probably the multimedia machines that there were most of, boasting dual and quad core high-end chips. Sony tested the waters with a quick blast of typically well-specced, matte, grey, expensive Vaio computers; Samsung launched the R-Series heavy set creatures and Toshiba just threw everything at us with launch of eight full size machines ranging from an 11-incher to an 18.6.
For the gamers out there, there was even the launch of an Alienware laptop that you can actually pick up off the desk.
But, the computers that most caught our eye were...
Star of the Show: Lenovo Skylight
- Snapdragon 1GHz
- Lenovo ME
It wasn't the only machine run by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform and it wasn't even the only one with a non-Windows 7 OS but it was the only laptop on show with round corners. Combined with the looks, it was the ethos of the Lenovo Skylight that captured our imagination. It's billed as a new class of machines known as Smartbooks which will sit somewhere in between netbooks and mobile phones when it arrives on AT&T later this year.
It has the kind of usual features you'd expect but with a custom interface courtesy of Lenovo with widget-based access to the world and certainly room for Google's Chrome OS when it's unleashed to the world. With netbooks fading and ultra-slims today's choice, is the Smartbook the future of laptops?
Future Flier: OLED Dell Studio 16
HP's Android concept netbook was good but seen before and the Asus Waveface collection was just to opaque to judge, so the OLED screen Dell Studio 16 has to be the one for the future. Chances are that another company will start mass producing 180-degree viewing angle, impossibly thin laptop screens before Dell. It's not new technology but it certainly make sour machines look a lot prettier, be much lighter and more power efficient, and probably a lot more expensive too.
Top of the Flops: Sony Vaio W Series Eco Edition
It feels a bit mean to kick green gadget but it's very hard to be impressed by being presented with a netbook we've already seen, only with a green finish, and then be told that 10% less CO2 was used in its production. Glad to hear we're killing the environment a little more slowly with our microchip addition but it doesn't really need to be front and centre at a tech show.
The Best of the Rest
A lot of people will tell you that a 18, 18:9 ratio screen laptop with two track pads - one on each side - is nuts. And they'd be right. But there's still something totally intriguing about the Asus NX 90. It looks interesting if not great and the B&O audio technology is also a serious turn on. Whether anyone will actually buy one is another thing though.
Easily the pick of the super slims and a close runner for the star of the show was this 970g, 11.6" laptop with an Intel Menlow 2GHz CPU. It runs an SSD with 2GB of memory and it's bezel-less design is a real stunner. It'll be expensive when it comes but a really classy choice - hopefully a little less pink too.
If we're going to get excited about a netbook, it might was well be one with a multi-touch LED screen with full gesture control and 2GB of RAM. It's still orchestrated by an Intel Atom chip but with an anodised metal finish, isolated keyboard and optional carry handle all for just $399, the HP Mini 5102 is definitely one for the shopping list.
So which was your favourite and what will you be holding out for from CES 2010? Let us know in the comments.