Like clockwork the annual CES, the massive technology show formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, has taken over Las Vegas during this first full week of January.
This year’s event is expected to attract about 175,000 industry professionals to the Las Vegas Convention Center, surrounding hotels and other facilities. In total, the show covers nearly three million net square feet – all focusing on tomorrow’s tech.
For self-professed geeks like yours truly, it’s truly nerdvana. From autonomous car concepts and adorable robots to voice-controlled smart home gadgets to next-generation 8K televisions, CES provides an exciting peek into the near future.
After roaming the massive showrooms and hitting numerous events, here’s a few of the buzzworthy products on display.
A foldable laptop
Lenovo offered hands-on time with its versatile ThinkPad X1 Fold, the world’s first fully functional PC with a foldable OLED display. The Fold can be used in several modes, such as unfolded to its full 13.3 inches widescreen to stream a movie – propped up on its integrated kickstand built into a leather folio case – or with the Bluetooth Mini Fold Keyboard to toil over work documents.
In vertical orientation, you might use the Active Pen to sign legal documents. When bended, hold it like a novel to read ebooks, or engage in a video call on one half and browse the web on the other. When folded up, this 2.2-pound Windows 10 device can slip into a bag or purse. Co-engineered with Intel, this PC should be out by mid-2020.
Another computer getting attention is the Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop, billed by ASUS as the “world’s most powerful” 14-inch laptop. Plus, it will boast an ultra-slim body (17.9mm thin) and a unique feature: an AniMe Matrix display that lets you customize the laptop lid with LEDs. It should be available by the late spring.
The smarter trash can
Available now, townew ($119, out now) may look like an ordinary kitchen or bathroom trash can, but it has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. For one, when you’ve filled the bag inside with trash, press and hold a button on the outside and it will use a bit of heat to seal the bag for you.
Lift it up to take it away and townew will automatically get the next bag ready for you (it stores extra bags in the ring under the lid). Each ring holds 25 bags; refill rings are $5 apiece.
Super smart. Like many other trash cans, the battery-powered townew (available in white or teal) also has an infrared sensor that detects your presence to open the lid, handsfree.
Watch home water flow with Flo
Speaking of smart home tech, Flo by Moen Shutoff ($499, out now) might be considered a security system for your home’s water supply. It’s a smart valve that proactively identifies problems before they become a headache – if a pipe bursts or a child leaves a tap running – and then automatically turns off the water supply before notifying you on an app.
This Wi-Fi connected device detects flow rate, temperature and pressure, and also allows you to better understand your home’s water usage, such as a toilet running in a spare bathroom, to help reduce costs. There are no monthly fees, and home insurance providers may give you a discount if you have it installed.
An Eggs-xellent drone
PowerVision hatched its PowerEgg X at CES 2020, an egg-shaped gadget that took the Beijing-headquartered drone maker more than three years and 300 engineers to create. Think of the PowerEgg X ($899, available now) it as a 4K camcorder and drone hybrid.
You can hold it like a football to shoot 60-frames-per-second video for up to 3.5 hours between charges (and sync with an app for editing purposes) or have it follow you around a room, by locking onto your face, while supporting live-streaming.
But it’s also an autonomous drone that can rotate its camera on its 3-axis gimbal and follow a subject (like a child playing soccer) for up to 30 minutes. The PowerEgg X comes with a waterproof case and other accessories.
8K: A resolution revolution?
CES crowds saw no shortage of 8K TVs, but one that stood out was the LG ZX Real 8K TV. LG’s next flagship OLED TV can display four times the pixels of a 4K TV – that’s more than 33 million pixels instead of 8 million – for unbelievable clarity, even when you’re right up to the screen.
Until 8K becomes the new standard, the Alpha Nine Gen 3 processor can upscale lower resolution content to near 8K quality – and improve sound quality, too, says LG. This ridiculously thin OLED TV, to be available in 77-inch and 88-inch models, has exceptional contrast and brightness, and for gamers, it offers NVIDIA G-SYNC compatibility for fast and smooth performance. No word yet on price or availability.
Beauty and well, well … wellness
When she heard about it, my wife Kellie was curious to try out the HiMirror Slide, a versatile smart mirror that can scan your face and analyze skin issues (dark circles, red spots, fine lines, and so on) and give you personalized tips and product recommendations.
Previous versions of HiMirror products let you do this — as well as watch videos, such as makeup tutorials on YouTube, and copy techniques in the 8-inch mirror. But this aptly-named Slide ($119, available now) features slideable panels and a foldable stand that can be rotated between portrait and landscape view. There’s also a built-in face light and it’s Alexa-powered, so you can also use your voice to access weather, stream music, hear the news, and so on.
Speaking of wellness and women, sex tech products are now officially allowed at CES for the first time. Lora DiCarlo, whose eponymous company debuted the hands-free robotic feminine massager Osé, has two new pleasure devices, Baci and Onda at CES.
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Both are designed by a team of primarily female-identified engineers. Baci “simulates the feel of the human mouth and tongue through the use of biomimicry and microrobotics,” the company says, while Onda, which mimics the motion of a human finger “is the first handheld microrobotic pleasure device of its kind.” The products, priced at $160 and $180, respectively, will be available in March.
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Wi-Fi: A pair of wireless winners
5G isn’t the only wireless standard abuzz at CES. Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of Wi-Fi, offering up to four times the speed of your current Wi-Fi, plus it can handle more simultaneous devices, and with broader range, too.
And it doesn’t have to break the bank: For $119, the D-Link AX1500 Wi-Fi 6 Router (model # DIR-X1560) delivers fast speeds but is also MESH compatible, so you can add extenders throughout the home for even broader coverage – without having to buy a special system. This D-Link model has parental controls, too, so you can also turn off certain devices, or all of them, for when the kids are taking their time to get to the dinner table.
Speaking of Wi-Fi, the Winston ($249) is a privacy filter that serves as a middleman between your home’s Internet modem and Wi-fi router to mask your Internet (IP) address, block ads, filter tracking cookies, and more. One year of service is included but costs $8.25 per month after that.
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