We’re in Las Vegas for the 2017 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). You won’t find new announcements from Apple or Google here, nor Oculus for that matter, but it’ll be a feeding frenzy for thousands of the big TV, wearable, drone, smart home and automotive companies. (Follow #CES2017 on Twitter and you’ll get the picture.) Here’s what to expect. Every day, big reveals will come, along with some bizarre ones. We’re here to filter out the best products that you need to know about.
Additional contribution by Eric Adams.
This is Part II of our coverage of CES 2017. You can view Part I here.
Toyota execs were honest at their CES 2017 press conference about the fact that completely autonomous cars are a long way off. But that didn’t stop the company from unveiling this futuristic beauty, the Concept-i. It’s a semi-autonomous prototype that’s currently being tested in Japan. The Concept-i comes with its own built-in virtual assistant, named “Yui,” that learns your driving habits over time and, in some cases, will be able to take over full command of the car’s driving. It’s still a car that’s meant to be driven, and since it looks like something straight out of Minority Report, you’re crazy if you wouldn’t want to drive it.
Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset
The affordable, comfortable and wireless gaming headset you’ve been waiting for is here: the G533. The latest from Logitech, the G533 takes the same Pro-G audio drivers and DTS Headphone:X surround sound as its predecessor, the acclaimed G933 Artemis Spectrum wireless headset ($200), and fits it within a simpler and more budget-friendly package.
Acer Predator 21X
It’s a $9,000 gaming laptop. And it’s huge. 21 inches and 17.6 pounds of huge. Acer unveiled this beautiful monstrosity to a stunned audience. Yes, it’s expensive (and did we mention huge?), but it’s also a beast of a gaming computer, featuring a 2560 x 1080 IPS curved display, two GeForce GTX 1080 X graphics cards, an Intel Core i7 processor, up to 64GB of RAM, four speakers, two subwoofers and five cooling fans.
Coming late March 2017, Panasonic’s GH5 is a big upgrade of their 2014 GH4. It’s 13 percent bigger in size, comes with an impressive 5-axis in-body image stabilization, and 50 percent brighter (3,680k pixels) electric viewfinder. The camera is designed to capture beautiful videos, and it does it well, shooting 4K video at 60 fps, in 8-bit 4:2:0 color.
Samsung Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro
Samsung and Google have a Shaq-and-Kobe partnership (in their prime) going right now. The two giants teamed up on two new Chromebooks, the Plus and Pro. The Pro has a better processor, an Intel Core M3 (versus the Plus’s ARM); but both computers have beautiful 12.3–inch, 2400 x 1600 touchscreen displays that flip 360 degrees to work in a totally flexible tablet mode. Both come with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, two USB Type-C ports and a nearly 8–hour battery life. Most noteworthy, however, is that both laptops have full support for Android apps and come with a Note 7–like stylus pen. The Plus is expected to cost $450 and arrive in February. Expect the Pro later in the year at a higher price.
Sony Bravia OLED A1E
Not to be outdone by LG’s Wallpaper OLED TV, Sony announced its own ultra-thin OLED TV, the A1E. And it’s a beauty. Sony’s first-ever OLED TV features a stand and speakers that make it look like it’s floating. The 4K HDR smart TV runs Android TV, with Chromecasting already built in — so you can ask your Google Home to play whatever you like, and it will.
ZTE Blade Pro V8
At $230, the Blade Pro V8 is an affordable Android phone with several high-end specs, including a dual camera system, 5.5–inch full HD display, fingerprint sensor and a solid 3,140mAh battery. The Chinese-manufactured smartphone doesn’t have the fastest processor (it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625) or the latest Android OS (it runs Marshmallow), but its two 13MP cameras are impressive for the price.
InspEar Custom Earbuds
Billed as the first “bionic ear,” these new earbuds allow you to fine-tune what you do and don’t hear in any environment. And they promise to revolutionize not just your hearing, but your interactions with your technology. Use subtle voice commands to control your smartphone or connected smart devices, receive real-time translations while chatting with people in other languages, and listen to high-quality music without compromising awareness of your surroundings. When they come out later this year, we’ll let you know if they (a) boost low-talkers and (b) finally bring an end to noisy-bar syndrome.
Blue Ella Headphones
Blue announced its first planar magnetic headphones, Ella. Unlike traditional over-ear headphones with dynamic drivers, planar magnetic headphones work, as The Verge‘s Chaim Gartenberg describes, by “pushing a thin diaphragm to generate sound.” Expect truer sound quality, and for the Ella headphones to be available for pre-order in late January 2017.
Lumigent Smart Desk Lamp
If you thought you needed a smart desk lamp, here you have it. Made by Japanese manufacturer Cerevo, Lumigent responds to “Hi Lumi” and can perform a number of things you’d expect, like brightness adjustment or the positioning (it has something akin to a robotic arm). It also has an 8MP camera for taking photos or recording conference calls. The Lumigent is a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree.