So, Asus finally took the wraps off the prices on the FX505DY and FX705DY laptops. For those who haven't been following these two laptops are the very first Ryzen 3xxx series laptops to hit the market, and the very first Ryzen laptops of any kind to my knowledge that contain a discrete 1080p capable GPU. The mobile RX 560.
The price point is attractive, converting from Euro's the US prices should be somewhere between ~$599(US) to ~$799(US). The build quality, promoted as Asus reaching Military Specifications, probably means these laptops will do very well in the Esports market.
But... they aren't laptops that I personally would want to buy. One deal breaker is the appearance of an HDMI port. Really? An HDMI port? Why?
Let's be honest here for a second. Even Nintendo is using USB Type C DisplayPort output to provide HDMI. When Nintendo, whose legacy of hardware choices includes shipping a 12 year old ARM V7 processor in a mobile device instead of using the available ARM V8 for much better battery life for the same performance, not to mention still using PowerPC from IBM long after PowerPC had died, does something technologically modern? There is no excuse for anybody else not using the same tech. If somebody needs HDCP support that badly they can just use a DisplayPort->HDMI adapter and call it a day. An HDMI port on a modern laptop is just BAD DESIGN pure and simple.
Just dump it, and dump the USB A slots at the same time. Save space, save complexity, and save manufacturing costs.
The second deal breaker for me is the quality of the screen. While there are fair points to be made about the price points of the FX505DY and FX705DY offsetting the 45% of NTSC color gamut, I'd rather pay more money for a better quality screen.
While the FX505DY and FX705DY aren't laptops that I, personally, would spend my own money on, I started to look around to see what I would spend my own money on.
And the answer became a rather depressing: I don't see anything that resembles what I actually want.
After scouring CES 2019 press releases I started to put together a list of what I would want to see in a Mobile Device with my my own money on the line. Not something that just sounds good on paper, but something that would be worth an investment.
What I want to start with is a 2:1 design, either fold-capable or detachable, with either a Ryzen 7 3750H or Ryzen 7 3700U processor. The 3700U plays better to the detachable 2:1 concept with it's lower thermal envelope; but the 3750H might cost less in a fold-capable design.
I'd want to couple that processor with either with at least a Mobile RX 570 GPU or a Nvidia Mobile RTX 2060. The RX 570 mobile is a perfectly capable 1080p driver; even though in terms of performance per watt it'd pale in comparison to the RTX 2060. Looking at the spec sheets I could see a RTX 2060 fitting into a detachable 2:1 design; but since Nvidia GPU's aren't readily available with any pre-existing Ryzen 2xxx designs there may be a fair question on whether or not Nvidia packages their GPU in a way that it could be used with a Ryzen 3xxx CPU.
To touch on the subject of Vega, Vega is about as power efficient as a solar panel. For those of you who don't get it; Solar Panels are excessively inefficient power generation methods. Basically, Vega runs hot and doesn't actually perform all that well.
I'm also pretty sure that the mobile RTX 2070 or mobile RTX 2080 would skyrocket the end-price of a laptop somewhere over the ~$1500(US) mark.
.. and unless the display itself was bumped up to a QHD minimum, there wouldn't be that much practical difference in the 1080 Freesync displayspace.
Going back to the FX505DY for a moment, there is a version with a Freesync 120hz compatible panel. Again, that's probably going to be pretty popular with the Esports crowd where color-accuracy and detail are unimportant factors, it did make me note that very few laptops coupled Freesync displays with 10bit panels.
So, in looking for a new modern laptop to buy that offers good gaming quality with good image quality a FreeSync™ 2 HDR compatible panel seems to be a requirement.
So; to recap; I'd want a 2:1 with a Ryzen 3xxx CPU, a 1080-Freesync capable GPU, a Freesync 2 HDR capable display, just USB Type-C expansion ports, and a price tag under $1500.
I can't imagine that I'm the only person who has been down this road about what kind of laptop they would want to have... and been disappointed by what actually winds up on store shelves. Be it the fault of focus groups, industry lobbyists, or ingrained production culture, sometimes the market needs a good shakeup.
I guess the question to be posed to Massdrop is kind of simple. Could Massdrop production facilities actually make such a product? Massdrop's other tech products, like the Vast Monitor, were well received, well reviewed, and apparently profitable... maybe it's time to do something else like that?