This past weekend, AMD announced new mobile processors for their Ryzen 3000 series lineup, including a new Athlon chip and two throwbacks to their Bulldozer architecture. AMD’s mobile strategy has been underwhelming in the past few years, but they pulled up their socks and started a revamp of their offerings to partners in 2017. AMD is kicking off 2019 with new chips for the mobile market, and the designs coming from their partners are looking sweet.
ASUS TUF FX505DY and FX507DY
ASUS’ brand new TUF lineup is designed to give customers a more robust design and a different look compared to their regular FX series, which is a budget laptop family designed to go against the likes of the Dell G3 and MSI GP series. The TUF family conforms to the MIL-SPEC 810G standard testing for vibration, extreme temperature, high humidity levels, and shock resilience, and has been designed to address common points of failure like the display hinges. The TUF FX family ships in two trims: Gold Steel and Red Matter. Gold Steel sees the ASUS logo embossed in gold lettering, while Red Matter will sport a red ASUS logo and two thin stripes running along the edges of the display. Red-backlit and fully RGB keyboards will be available.
The FX505DY is the 15-inch version that ships with a Ryzen 5 3550H processor, a Radeon RX560X graphics card with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, M.2 and SATA storage options, a slew of connectivity, FreeSync support on the optional 120Hz IPS panel, and a 48Wh battery for a few hours of run time. The FX507DY has the same internals, but the larger chassis allows for a bigger 64Wh battery for a longer runtime, and the only display option is the 120Hz FreeSync panel. The two laptops weigh 2.2kg and 2.6kg respectively, so they’re both thinner and lighter than most gaming laptops you’ve seen in the past. ASUs hasn’t committed to a launch window, but the new range could launch in the first quarter of 2019.
HP Chromebook 14
HP’s Chromebook 14 lineup with AMD’s processors is a slight redesign of the older Intel series, and it’s going to be easy to distinguish which is which on the showroom floor. The new series comes in three colour schemes: Slate Grey, White, and Ink Blue. HP’s Chromebook 14 ships with an AMD A4-9210 APU, which isn’t one of the chips that was announced last Sunday by AMD. It is instead an older chip from AMD’s previous A-series processors announced in 2016, and HP probably gets them really cheap now. The A4-9210 has a 15W TDP by default, but can be configured by the OEM down to around 6W for power savings.
Combine that with the 4GB of DDR4-1866 memory, 32GB eMMC storage, the 14-inch VA panel, and a 47Wh battery, and you end up with a portable netbook with potent battery life of around nine hours. HP seems to have made the right choices when it comes to using their budget for this device, because it ships with two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C ports for data and charging, two USB 2.0 ports, a MicroSD card slot, and speakers by Bang & Olufsen. Two spec models will be available: the default configuration at $269 with a 768p resolution display, and a slightly more expensive $299 model with a full HD touch screen. Both will be available starting February 2019.
Acer Chromebook 315
If HP’s Ink Blue design wasn’t enough to win you over, Acer’s Chromebook 315 goes much farther with its redesign for AMD’s new processors. Acer’s design is a 15-inch form factor with a IPS 1080p display with a matte coating. The keyboard lacks a numberpad and is centered in the chassis, along with the enormous trackpad. Flanking the keyboard are two front-facing speakers, which is unusual for notebooks these days. There’s only one colour – space grey – and battery life is quoted by Acer at ten hours of continuous use.
The Chromebook 315 ships with your choice of AMD’s A4-9120C or A6-9220C APUs, which barely differ in terms of performance because they both have 6W thermal limits. There’s 4GB of DDR4 1866 memory with up to 8GB as an option, 32GB of eMMC storage, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C ports, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi 5 support, and your choice of a touch or non-touch 1-1080p IPS panel. The touch-enabled variant also gets the backlit keyboard thrown in, and tips the scales at 1.7kg. Pricing starts at $279.99, and availability for the EMEA region is expected in April 2019.