Here are my top 10 most innovative/coolest mobile computers. Note: I define mobile computers as anything that is portable or can fit in a luggage bag – and runs on a desktop OS. No iPads or mobile phones here.
10. Dell Adamo XPS (2010)
Dell came up with the thinnest laptop on the market in 2010 and one of the thinnest all time – only 10mm thin. They accomplished this by having the keyboard recess into the lid, the lid acting as a kind of ‘storage’ for the keyboard. And also a heat strip where the laptop opens with the swipe of a finger. pretty cool.
9. Dell XPS M2010 (2006)
The father of the desktop replacement, this massive 20 incher weighed 20lbs! but folded into a briefcase so technically it was ‘portable’ and thus qualifies for this list. Still the fact that Dell thought up such a beastly machine over 13 years ago, is why it belongs on this list.
8. Asus ROG Mothership (2019)
One of the coolest laptops unveiled at this year’s CES, the Asus ROG mothership is basically a battery powered all-in-one PC with high end specs. Core i9, 144hz display, RTX 2080, its all there – and the keyboard is detachable so that gamers can use their own keyboard/mouse without the built in one taking up space like in most gaming laptops.
7. Porsche Design Book One (2017)
Yes its similar to the Microsoft SurfaceBook – but it has one key difference which is a 360 degree Yoga hinge. This means the Book One combines the Lenovo Yoga’s convertible form factor with the Surface Book’s detachable hinge. It’s the only computer with this design.
6. Acer Aspire R7 (2013)
A laptop that looks like the Starship Enterprise – this laptop has a screen that can be lifted upwards and moved closer much like an easel – this is geared towards artists and creators, but the screen can also flip backwards as well – and the touchpad above the keyboard. Very unique.
5. Acer Iconia 6120 (2010)
A dual touchscreen notebook where you can use pretty much anything on the bottom screen, including a custom keyboard. This predates the Lenovo YogaBook by several years and is still an interesting design today.
4. Sony Vaio UX (2006)
The ultimate UMPC, the Vaio UX is still a marvel of design and engineering. It ran Windows XP (can be upgraded all the way to Windows 10) and can fit in your pocket! It was the first computer to have an SSD and had a fingerprint scanner over a decade before it was commonplace on notebooks. Truly an amazing piece of tech.
3. Razer Edge Pro (2013)
Razer Edge Pro was a gaming tablet that ran a Core i7 with a GTX 640LE and paired it with a console grade gaming controller. This idea was very unique and allowed users to play Windows games on the go in a form factor much smaller than gaming laptops – and way before the Nintendo Switch as well.
2. Asus Zenbook Pro Duo (2019)
Just announced at this Computex 2019, the Zenbook Pro Duo packs a 15″ 4K OLED display along with a secondary 14″ 4K display AND a third numpad/trackpad display AND a RTX 2060 graphics card. This thing is the coolest computer I’ve seen in quite a while, and I’m excited!
Onkyo DX (2010)
Technically this would belong to Razer’s Project Valerie if they ever made that laptop, but since they didn’t – this netbook gets it. It has a dual display – one display slides out from under the other – and its also a convertible display on top of that! I have no idea why this design idea was not adopted by other makers but out of all PC makers – Onkyo – an audio equipment maker was the one to come up with this. Surprising.
I would like to post a tribute to all my main computers and laptops (the ones I mostly use) throughout my life. I’ve had many secondary devices as well, but these are the ones I mainly used. Also since phones and laptops are the two main electronic devices we use in everyday life I’ll keep it to that, so no tablets or mp3 players here. Those are technically luxuries because their functions can easily be replaced by a phone or laptop.
Samsung D900 “Black Carbon” (2007-2010) – my first real cellphone and the phone i mostly used throughout my university years
iPhone 3G (2010-2011) – My first smartphone
iPhone 4S (2011-2013) – my main smartphone during my first years in California
iPhone 5S (2013-2014)
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact (2014-2016) – this was my main phone during my Korea years
Google Pixel (2016-2017)
Google Pixel 2 (2017-present)
Dell Inspiron 7500 (2003-2007) – my first laptop, used throughout all my high school years
Gateway M285 (2007-2008) – convertible, used throughout university years
Dell Latitude E4200 (2008-2011) – used throughout the remainder of my university years
HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (2011-2014) – my main laptop throughout my San Francisco years
Lenovo ThinkPad X240 (2014-2016) – main laptop throughout Korea years
This is my main laptop now and replaces my Thinkpad X240, and Thinkpad Yoga 14. A light, convertible laptop, weighs only 2.8lbs (substantially lighter than the Yoga 14 which I previously had), docks with a one link dock connector and wireless dock, has that traditional Thinkpad robust build quality and great trackpoint keyboard, and is convertible which means I can watch movies in 4 different modes, and comes with a gorgeous 1440p OLED screen to boot. It loses the dedicated graphics (Nvidia 840M) of the Yoga 14 but improves on it everywhere else including ports, display and weight. Compared to the X240, it loses the VGA, full size SD and Ethernet ports but is much lighter, has a much better display, and is convertible.
Dell Latitude 7370 (2016) – replaced my 2016 Vaio S
This is my main portable laptop (yes the X1 Yoga is portable too but it has a lot of sensitive data that I would rather not take on travels). It replaces my Vaio S, and is basically the fanless, futureproof version of the Vaio. Compared to the Vaio, it has thinner bezels on the display, loses two USB3 ports, VGA, full size SD and Ethernet (legacy ports), but gains microSD and 2 USB-C (more futureproof ports).
Alienware 15 R3 (2016) – replaced my 2011 HP Envy Beats, 2015 Asus ROG G751
This is my main gaming and VR computer now, replacing my aging HP Envy Beats 14 and hefty Asus G751. I decided I wanted a 15 inch because of its lightness and portability, yet its still powerful enough to have a GTX 1070, power my Oculus Rift (VR ready), hooks up to my external monitor, plays all the latest games, and looks great at home on a laptop stand.
Macbook Pro 13 (2016) – replaced my 2012 Mac Mini
My replacement for my Mac Mini as a programming/entertainment computer. It’s light (3lbs) and runs macOS making it great for development and the lack of ports is made up by my Dell USB-C Dock at home.
Tablets/Phones iPad Air (2013)
The iPad Air is my go to tablet for surfing, gaming, music or reading. Has been since 2013.
iPhone SE (2016) – replaced my 2013 iPhone 5S
The iPhone SE is my main video recorder, which I use on occasion to record videos, mainly because my model is a 64GB one that can store more videos. Plus love the small size which is what cameraphones should be! light and small. It replaces my aging iPhone 5S.
Google Pixel (2016) – replaced my 2014 Sony Xperia Z3C
The Google Pixel is my main phone now. It has a great camera as well, and is generally just a fast and capable phone all around. It replaces my Kyocera Duraforce Pro and Sony Xperia Z3C as my main Android device.
BlackBerry KeyOne (2017) – replaced my 2015 Blackberry Priv
The BlackBerry KeyOne replaces my Blackberry Priv as my secondary phone and video call device, has a way better keyboard and gets wayyyy better battery life to boot.
Sony Walkman A17 (2017) – replaced my 2015 Pioneer XDP
The Sony Walkman has replaced my Pioneer XDP, since its much lighter and more portable. It doesn’t sound *quite* as good as the Pioneer, but it’s 80% as good and still much better sounding than most smartphones (with the exception of a few like the HTC 10). The Pioneer is more like the old HDD players like the iPod Classic and Creative Zen Vision – stores more music and plays videos, but big and bulky. The Sony Walkman is a small flash based player like the iPod Nano and Zune HD. They both have their uses.
Huawei Watch (2016) – replaced my 2012 Seiko Kinetic, 2016 Orient Sun&Moon
Now with the Android Wear 2 update, Huawei watch is awesome and is definitely my main watch now. It replaces my Seiko Kinetic (quartz) and Orient Sun & Moon (mechanical) which I used before.
Generally I prefer using speakers at home and headphones on the go. I rarely use headphones at home. The advantages of speakers – everyone can hear it, higher fidelity and larger drivers, but usually also more expensive and not as portable.
Razer Hammerhead BT (2017)
These are very convenient bluetooth earphones for mostly working out where the wires getting in the way would be troublesome.
The Fender FXA3s are my main earphones for traveling and studying.
Denon Music Master MM400 (2016) – replaces 2014 Sennheiser Momentum
This is my main headphone that I use at work to listen to music and for conference calls.
Absolutely the best over ear headphones I’ve ever had, these now have replaced my Sennheiser Momentums which were falling apart as well. I use it with my Creative SoundBlaster E5s at work for the extra oomph!
Now used as my computer speakers for my Alienware. It’s the first soundbar designed specifically for computer use. RGB lighting, bluetooth, 7.1 virtual surround and a bunch of other options – what’s not to love?
Absolutely fantastic computer speakers. Now using it for my TV and gaming systems since I found it has better bass than my Klipsch R-4B. The bass and overall sound quality is fantastic. Replaces my non-functioning Creative T4Ws which shorted out :(, and the Samsung and Klipsch soundbars that I used before.
Klipsch the Three (2017)
This speaker is really cool and retro looking especially with the Ebony wood finish, and pairs well with my Google Home (using Chromecast audio) and my Fluance record player to play some nice vintage tunes!
This speaker replaces my Creative Soundblaster Roar 2 as a portable outdoor (splash proof!) speaker, also pairs very well with my Macbook.
Yamaha TSX-B72 (2017)
This is my alarm clock radio that I use by my bedside to wake me up each morning 🙂 and yes it has bluetooth and can charge my phone too. It replaces my Sony BSP60 bluetooth alarm speakers those ones are a little complicated to operate and I just wanted a simple vintage looking alarm clock radio.
Nikon D5100 (2013)
My DSLR camera for serious video making. I usually pair it with my Samyang T1.5 24mm cinema prime lens.
Sony Action Camera AS300 (2016) – replaces 2014 GoPro Hero3+
Replaces my Sony Music Video recorder and GoPro Hero 3 as both my action camera and my wide angle camera that I can use for blogging, travel videos, action videos, etc and has optical image stabilization which no other action camera has! Also waterproof/dustproof as well and quite small, making it great for situations where my Osmo+ would be too heavy.
DJI OSMO+ (2016) – replaces 2015 DJI Osmo
My go to camera for taking cinematic walking shots, travel video, and completely replaces any camcorder. The Plus model now has optical zoom capabilities with it too.
Other laptops: Asus G751 (secondary gaming laptop and workstation), HP Revolve 810 G2 (secondary Win7 laptop and secondary convertible), Thinkpad X240 (still only laptop I have with hot swappable battery and mobile broadband), GPD Pocket (mini netbook)
Video game systems: New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PSTV, Nvidia Shield Pro, GPD Win
Displays: Mobile Monitor 2 Go, Dell 24″ Gsync 1ms 144hz infinityedge monitor, Royole Moon, Avegant Glyph, DJI Goggles
Storage: 1 Synology DS412+, 2 Synology DS416j, 1 Synology 416slim (20TB all in RAID 1)