The 2018 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is here and, believe it or not, this year is poised to be different. Google has a huge presence at this year’s show, which is rare given that it and Apple usually distance themselves from CES (Apple is still a no-show.) There are also rumors that a new flagship smartphone could be announced (stay tuned). Aside from that, expect to see Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integrated in just about everything. There will be troves of product releases, too, ranging from drones to 4K TVs, autonomous cars and laptops. For the latest CES coverage, follow #CES2018 on Twitter or check in with us each day. We’re here to filter out the best products that you need to know about.
This is Part I of our coverage of CES 2018. To view our other installments in this coverage in the coming days, visit our tech section or Gear Patrol’s home page.
TCL 6-Series Roku TV
Last year, TCL’s P-Series were some of the most coveted 4K smart TVs out there. They were extremely affordable, starting at well under $1,000, with a picture quality that pushed well above its price. But the TVs weren’t perfect. And they had a plastic design that wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing. Also, you couldn’t buy one that wasn’t 55-inches! Now, with the new 6-Series of Roku TVs, TCL has righted many of those wrongs. The 6-Series will come in both 55- and 65-inch models and its exterior is now made of polished metal. Like the P-Series, the TCL 6-Series will support both HDR formats, HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but the new models also boast a new iPQ engine that, according to the company, will allow the TVs to naturally produce more accurate colors — no calibration needed. Pricing info hasn’t been released, but you can expect the 6-Series to be available this spring.
Anker PowerHouse 200
Anker’s original PowerHouse is a beast. The portable generator is perfect for taking on camping trips and keeping your gadgets alive when the power is out. The only real knock against it is price ($500) and size. Now, the company has announced the PowerHouse 200, a smaller and more affordable version of original PowerHouse. It has a 200-watt capacity and weights about seven pounds, making it slightly more reasonable alternative to the 434-watt and 9.4-pound PowerHouse. The PowerHouse 200 will cost $300 and be available this summer.
Insta360 Nano S Camera
Insta360 now has a 360-degree camera accessory that is capable of 4K. The Nano S connects through a Lightning port — so it will work with any newer iPhone — and allows you to record 4K videos, as well as capture 20-megapixel photos. Once captured, you can edit and share these videos through Insta360’s app. And you use the accessory to live-stream through various social channels, be it YouTube, Periscope (Twitter) or Facebook. You can also 360 video call somebody even if they don’t have the Nano S accessory. The Nano S costs $239 and is available in two colors (black or silver) now.
Anker Zolo Liberty+ Wireless Earbuds
Anker announced the Zolo Liberty and Liberty+ wireless earbuds back in June. The lower-end Zolo Liberty earbuds have been out for a few weeks and, after testing them, we’ve determined that they’re the best affordable wireless earbuds you can buy — if you want alternatives to AirPods, these are your best choice. But Anker just officially announced its more feature packed Zolo Liberty+ wireless earbuds at CES, which will be available for $150 later in January. They boast more battery life, Bluetooth 5 support and will work with any smart assistant: Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Smart Assistant or Cortana.
JLab Audio Epic Sport
It’s been a while since JLab Audio released a new pair of running headphones, but the new Epic Sport is poised to be the company’s next great one. It improves on the well-reviewed Epic2 by having a better waterproof rating (now IPX6 compared to the Epic2’s IPX5) and you can customize its EQ settings right on the headphones — no need to use a separate companion app. Additionally, the Epic Sport wireless earbuds support Bluetooth 4.2 with AptX technology and have a great 12-hour battery life. And they only cost $100.
Correction: We originally wrote that an app was needed to adjust the EQ settings, but it’s actually done through the earbud itself. The above entry reflects this change.
Garmin Speak Plus
The Garmin Speak Plus is an upgraded model of last year’s Garmin Speak. It still offers many of the hands-free perks that drivers will love, including a OLED display, but it adds two big features. One, this year’s device puts Alexa directly in your car so you can ask it questions or tell it to play music. And two, the Garmin Speak Plus has a built-in dash cam to record driving incidents. Think of it as a security camera for your car — if you get in an accident, the Garmin Speak Plus will record everything. The Speak Plus is available for preorder now for $200, but that price will jump up to $230 when the product is released in February.
Sennheiser HD 820
The just-announced Sennheiser HD 820s are the company’s new flagship studio headphones. Unlike its predecessor, the open-backed HD 800 S, the HD 820s are closed-back headphones that have curved Gorilla Glass-covered transducers. According to Sennheiser, the curved Gorilla glass reflects the sound waves from the rear of the transducer into two absorber chambers, which results in minimal resonance — and ultimately a super realistic and accurate listening experience. For audiophiles, this innovation could be game-changing, giving access to studio-quality audio outside the dead quiet of their house. That said, these innovative headphones will go for a premium. They’ll be available this summer for $2,400.
JBL Link View
JBL have announced a new smart speaker that looks similar to Amazon’s Echo Show. The JBL Link View has an 8-inch touchscreen with a 5-megapixel camera and it adopts Google Assistant as its voice assistant of choice. Like the Echo Show, you’ll be able to make video calls and watch videos on the Link View, but it also acts as a better sounding Google Home smart speaker. It has two 10W stereo speakers (front-facing) with a rear-facing passive radiator. If you’re looking for a smart speaker with a touchscreen that looks and sounds better than an Echo Show, and works with Google Assistant rather than Alexa, this is for you. Pricing and availability have yet to be released.
Sony WF-SP700N Earphones
Sony’s first wireless earbuds, the WF-1000X, weren’t well received when they launched in late 2017. However, the company looks to be coming back — and coming back strong — with the WF-SP700N, the company’s newest wireless noise-canceling sport earbuds. The WF-SP700N earbuds are technically neckbuds, so they’re not truly wireless like the WF-1000X, but they still have a lot going for them. They have an IPX4-rating and a three hour battery life with active noise cancellation, and the charging case can add an additional nine hours of juice. The WF-SP700N will cost $180 when they ship this spring. Google Assistant support is expected to come via a software update, too.
Nest x Yale Smart Lock
Believe it or not, you’ll soon be able to have your very own Nest x Yale smart lock. The lock was first announced all the way back in 2015, but has been in limbo ever since. At CES 2018, however, the companies announced that it would finally going to be available for preorder this February, and it’ll ship later in March. As a refresher, the smart lock works with all other Nest devices and the Nest companion app. It has a touchscreen and owners can unlock the door via a passcode or through their smartphone — no key required. If you own Nest’s home security system (Nest Secure), this new lock can integrate itself seamlessly — you can program it to automatically lock or unlock as leave or enter your home. If you don’t have Nest’s home security system, this slick smart lock will still eliminate the need for you to carry a traditional key. No pricing info has been released yet.