A new challenger has appeared in the laptop market, and it promises to deliver something we've never seen before: an ultraportable with no ports.
It's called the Craob X, and it surfaced earlier this year as the flagship product in development at Craob, a company I've never heard of that appears to have no contact info and no history of building laptops.
With that kind of track record it's perhaps unsurprising that the Craob X sounds too good (?) to be true. According to Craob's website (opens in new tab), it will be a Windows ultraportable with a 13.3-inch 4K display that weighs 1.9 pounds and measures just 7mm thin. If true, that would make the Craob X thinner than Apple's iPad 2021, and nearly as thin as the svelte iPad Air.
Inside that ultra-thin laptop Craob aims to pack up to a 2TB SSD, up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1280P CPU. That Core i7 is one of the new Alder Lake laptop chips Intel unveiled earlier this year, all of which are built on a hybrid architecture like Apple's M1 chips, and we've seen benchmarks which show the top-of-the-line Intel Alder Lake Core i9 is faster than Apple's M1 Max — although Intel's CPUs can't match the power efficiency of Apple silicon.
Speaking of power efficiency, you might be wondering: How do I charge a port-less laptop? Craob has an answer: A wireless charger that can be plugged into an outlet and then magnetically attached to the back of the Craob X lid. It's basically like MagSafe for the iPhone.
I'm not quite sure if it's a silly or subtly genius solution, but Craob seems to think it'll appeal to customers. The charger also sports some ports along the edges that let you connect devices to the laptop via USB-C, Thunderbolt, or USB-A. There's also an SD card slot and a headphone jack on the charger, which appears to have a nice little compartment for winding and storing the power cable when not in use.
No further details are yet available about the Craob X, including any hint of a price or release date. The website appears to have gone live late last year so this may be the early stages of a public marketing campaign, in which case we may hear more details later this year. However, based on the promotional images (which show the laptop either angled so the screen isn't showing or from a distance) and lack of details or public-facing communications team, the Craob X could prove to be vaporware.
Even if it does come to market, I'm not convinced anyone wants an ultra-thin laptop with no ports. Weight is certainly a significant factor when buying a laptop, but thinness? Maybe it's just my ungainly mitts that make me deaf to the siren song of a laptop that's 0.27 inches thin, but the Craob X sounds like it wouldn't be very comfortable or sturdy to type on, especially for extended periods.
That said, lots of people use equally thin detachable keyboards to type up work on their tablets — some of them are secretly among the best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy. So perhaps it's best to reserve judgment on the Craob X until we get one in for testing.