It's been an eventful week in tech. Roku acquired Quibi and all its original content; Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, is turning a North Carolina mall into its new headquarters; Discovery's new streaming service, Discovery+, launched on Roku and Fire TVs; and Elon Musk was crowned as the richest man in the world. All that and that's not even counting all the new products — there were a lot — that were announced ahead of CES, which kicks off next week.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
The second-generation Galaxy Chromebook is a lot different from its predecessor that Samsung announced last year. In fact, it cuts back on a lot of things. The new Chromebook doesn't have a 4K display, it's thicker and heavier, and it's slower with less storage and less RAM. On the plus side, it's way cheaper. Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 starts at $549 — last year's Galaxy Chromebook was almost $1,000 — and still comes a 360° hinge, two USB-C ports and support for Wi-Fi 6. It'll be available in Q1 of this year.
JBL SA750 Integrated Amplifier
We love with new audio products look vintage — and that's exactly what JBL did with its new JBL SA750 integrated amplifier. It's inspired by the company's amplifiers from the '60s and '70s, yet packs all the wireless connectivities, such as Bluetooth, Chromecast and AirPLay 2, to make it work in 2021. It's also capable of powering 120 watts per channel, which should be enough to drive most loudspeakers. The JBL SA750 will be available to purchase this May.
Samsung 2021 Neo QLED 8K and 4K TVs
Samsung has announced its 2021 line of QLED 8K and 4K TVs ahead of CES this year, and the big thing is that they now feature "Neo QLED" technology, which is a type of Mini LED technology that promises even better contrast and improved overall picture quality. There will be three 4K TVs and two 8K TVs with Neo QLED technology at launch, and they'll be available for purchase later this year.
Acer Nitro XV28 Gaming Monitor
You're going to see a lot more gaming monitors this year that are optimized for pairing with the new generation consoles. And Acer's latest entry is exactly that. It's a 28-inch 4K monitor that uses HDMI 2.1 ports — a first for Acer — meaning it supports 4K gaming at 120 fps, which is exactly what the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X demand. The Verge has the full story.
Lenovo Yoga 7 AiO
The Lenovo Yoga 7 AiO is an innovative new external monitor that works in either horizontal and portrait (vertical) modes, and you can flip the display depending on which orientation you want. It's kind of reminiscent of The Serif TV that Samsung announced last year, and is clearly targeted at millennials (aka people always on their smartphones). The 27-inch 4K monitor will be available in China in February, with no US release date as of yet.
JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam
The JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam is the company's newest soundbar and it's big feature is that it supports Virtual Dolby Atmos. This means it's supposedly able to deliver an effect that is almost Dolby Atmos while also being really affordable. We're not exactly sure how exactly this compares to true Dolby Atmos, so we'll have to wait to find out. The JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam will support a number of wireless streaming options, including Bluetooth, Chromecast, Alexa and AirPlay 2. It will be available this Spring.
Anker Magnetic Wireless Charger
Anker announced an alternative to Apple's MagSafe Charger that Apple sells. It's significantly cheaper than Apple's version, which costs $39, but it's also not a true MagSafe charger, meaning it can't reach those 15-watt charging speeds for the iPhone 12; instead, it maxes out at 7.5-watts like all other wireless chargers for the iPhone. So if you're OK with something that looks like Apple's MagSafe Charger (but doesn't exactly perform like it), get this.
Bose Sport Open Earbuds
The Bose Sport Open Earbuds are unlike the company's other true wireless earbuds, the Bose Sport Earbuds and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, because they have a completely new design. Like the Powerbeats Pro, the Bose Sport Open Earbuds have an earhook that wraps around your ear. This is ideal for runners and cyclists who might need a more secure fit and also need to better hear their surroundings. They're available for preorder now with shipping expected to start beginning mid-January.