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12 things you'll get in PCs with Intel's new Kaby Lake chips

Agam Shah | Jan. 4, 2017
Amazingly thin PCs with Kaby Lake will get 4K video, VR capabilities and longer battery life

Amazingly thin Windows 10 laptops and tablets will soon become available with Intel's new Kaby Lake chips, which were announced at CES. These chips, called 7th Generation Core, will extend laptop battery life to new highs, and bring new capabilities like 4K video. You'll also enjoy VR by connecting headsets to Kaby Lake laptops or tablets. There's a lot more to Kaby Lake, and here's what you can expect from PCs:

Thinner and lighter laptops

Laptops and tablets with Kaby Lake are so thin and light that their weight in a backpack is not noticeable, unless it's a fully loaded gaming PC. Samsung's new 13.3-inch Notebook 9 weighs an amazing 816 grams, but offers only seven hours of battery life. Low-power Kaby Lake chips will also be in laptops and 2-in-1 devices from Lenovo, HP, Acer and Dell that weigh 1 to 1.5 kilograms.

Better battery life

Intel says users can expect 10 hours of battery on thin-and-light laptops and tablets, but PC makers are claiming even longer battery life. Lenovo is claiming its new ThinkPad X1 Carbon will have 15 hours of battery, while the ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2-in-1 will offer 16 hours. Dell is claiming battery life up to 15 hours for its new XPS 13 2-in-1, and 10 hours when streaming Netflix video. Those numbers are based on MobileMark benchmarks, but battery life typically varies in real world usage.

The disappearing display borders

Windows devices are also getting smaller because of thinner borders around displays. The best example is the Dell XPS 13, which is a 13.3-inch laptop compressed in the frame of an 11.6-inch laptop. It has a borderless display, with the screen dominating the entire display panel. The trend is growing with the new PCs, with a notable example being the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which is a 14-inch laptop in a 13.3-inch laptop frame.

Watch 4K video

Graphics processors in Kaby Lake chips are capable of processing 4K video, so you will be able to watch movies on a laptop with a screen or external display at that resolution. Intel is also partnering with video streaming companies to push 4K movies to Kaby Lake PCs. 4K movies from Netflix are already available, and Intel said 4K movies from FandangoNow and Sony's Ultra 4K movies will come later this year. Users will need a Microsoft Edge browser to view the 4K movies.

Use VR headsets

You'll be able to hook up VR headsets to view movies, play games and roam virtual worlds. Many headsets -- which will need to be hooked up to Kaby Lake PCs -- will come later this year from Dell, Acer, HP, Asus and Lenovo, with prices starting at US$299. Kaby Lake is Intel's entry into the emerging world of VR, which is providing a new way to interact with computers. The chip's integrated GPU is able to handle basic VR, but won't be enough for  high-end headsets like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, which need discrete GPUs from Nvidia or AMD.


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