The 2019 edition of the world’s biggest technology trade show — the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — has come and gone. As we look back, there were a few themes that stood out. Televisions were a big hit this year; specifically, both Samsung and LG revealed their visions of the future. Apple also had a huge presence at this year’s show without actually being there; it announced partnerships with Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio – smart TVs from those brands will support HomeKit and AirPlay 2 (and they even trolled Google with a huge billboard about privacy). And, as expected, Google Assistant and Alexa smart assistants were everywhere and integrated into everything.
Still, CES 2019 was all about its vast array of products in all different categories. From headphones to the home theater, smartwatches to hi-fi, cameras to gym accessories, it was all there. These are the 15 best products worthy of a Gear Patrol Award, which we awarded to the best products at the show. Some you can buy right now; some offer a glimpse into the future.
We were at CES 2019 and covered the show extensively. To see all our product coverage, not just our award winners, you can check that out: here.
Portable Power: Anker PowerCore+ 19000 PD Hybrid
The PowerCore+ 19000 PD is a high-capacity portable power bank that can charge a smartphone or laptop (or both at the same time). The neat thing, however, is that it also doubles as a USB-C hub that supports high-speed data transfer, so you can connect all your other devices — USB-C or otherwise — to your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.
Wireless Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-ANC900BT
In a trade show that seemed sparse on the headphone front, Audio-Technica noise-canceling headphones, which are designed to give Sony’s and Bose’s models a run for their money, definitely stood out. The ATH-ANC900BT’s support Bluetooth 5.0 and have an estimated 35-hour battery life with ANC turned on — which is huge. The other factor: at $300, they are also slightly cheaper than the competition.
Best In Show: LG Signature OLED TV R
There’s no denying it: LG’s beautiful new rollable OLED TV stole the show this year. Not only is it a great space saver, and not only does it deliver LG’s industry-leading picture quality in a form factor that we’ve never seen before, but it will be available to purchase this year.
Hi-Fi: Cambridge Audio Alva TT Turntable
Cambridge Audio’s newest turntable, the Alva TT, is a modern audiophile’s dream. It’s the world’s first vinyl player that can stream Bluetooth aptX HD, meaning it can stream 24-bit/48kHz audio to amps, speakers and headphones.
Home Theater: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
The Ambeo Soundbar was announced as a prototype last year, but Sennheiser has polished the look, fuction and sound of it — and named a price. It’ll be available this spring. Essentially, it’s the coolest soundbar we’ve ever seen: a all-in-one 5.1.4 sound system that’s able to create its own virtual height channels and deliver a completely immersive experience.
Smart Home: Lenovo Smart Clock
Google and Lenovo teamed up at CES to announce a smart alarm clock — the Lenovo Smart Clock — that looks and feels like the Google Home Hub, only smaller and way more affordable. It’s designed to do neat smart clock-y things, like set alarms and help you wake up – the screen gradually brightens up before your alarm goes off (the Pixel 3 and its wireless charging dock can do pretty much the same thing). It’s a simple, practical device that many people inside Google’s smart home ecosystem will use.
Camera Peripheral: Ring Door View Camera
Smart home devices were everywhere at CES 2019, but the Ring Door View Camera is unique. It’s a smart doorbell similar to others of its ilk — able to alert you when someone is, or has been, at your door — but it distinguishes itself with a smart peephole. I can’t remember ever seeing a smart doorbell that’s as apartment-, dorm- and condo-friendly as this one.
Televisions (Budget): Vizio 2019 M-Series
Vizio announced its 2019 lineup of 4K HDR smart TVs at CES and, like last year, they’re poised to be some of the best non-OLED 4K TVs you’ll be able to buy. The entire lineup will support AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, which is new. And while the company’s high-end P-Series Quantum and P-Series Quantum X were headliners, as a budget-conscious shopper I was equally if not more impressed with its new mid-range M-Series. It remians the same price as last year’s M-Series, but adopts the Quantum Color technology — meaning it will deliver much more vivid colors — that was previously only available in Vizio’s really high-end TVs.
Wearables: Withings Move ECG
The Withings Move ECG is the first smartwatch (other than the Apple Watch Series 4) we’ve seen that has an ECG sensor. It offers a bunch of health and fitness features that you’d expect in a premium smartwatch, but the ECG makes this the Series 4’s new main competition on the health front.
Home and Office: Samsung Space Monitor
The Samsung Space Monitor is designed to save you desk space and, ultimately, help you stay more organized and generally more productive. The base is more of a clamp that grabs hold of the side of the desk. It has a moveable arm that can rest the monitor flush up against the wall; this way you can even move the monitor out of the way and do non-desktop work in the same area.
Laptops: Huawei MateBook 13
In terms of lightweight laptops, the real eye-catcher was Huawei’s MateBook 13. It’s thinner than the new MacBook Air and combines many of the features from the company’s high-end MateBook X Pro, such as performance and battery life, in a more portable, cheaper package. It can also be upgraded with a Nvidia graphics card, which should grab the attention of those who also want to play video games on this machine.
Televisions (Future Technology): Samsung 75-inch MicroLED TV
MicroLED is Samsung’s TV technology that’s meant to produce colors, brightness and contrast just as well as (or even better than) OLED TVs. MicroLEDs are based on a modular design, so theoretically they can be made as big or small as you’d like, as the company showed off last year with 146-inch The Wall TV. Now they’re bringing the tech into a more consumer-friendly 75-inch TV. If anything, it offers another glimpse into what TVs of the future can and will look like.
Tablets: Lenovo Smart Tab
The Lenovo Smart Tab is basically a reimagining of Amazon’s Echo Show. It’s designed to be a tablet first, but when it’s not being used, it sits upright on the speaker stand and can be used as an Alexa-enabled smart display. If you’re watching a show or movie in tablet mode, you can put it back into the base station and it’ll continue playing without missing a beat – only with better sound, thanks to the base’s Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers.
Fitness: JAXJOX Kettlebell Connect
The Kettlebell Connect is a smart kettlebell that can do the work of six kettlebells. Within its companion app, you can select the weight of the kettlebell in a matter of seconds. The app controls internal weights, from 12 to 42 pounds, that are added and removed appropriately in a matter of seconds. The app also keeps tracks of reps and your movement. For anybody with a home gym, this is a great space saver.
Televisions (Home Entertainment): Panasonic GZ2000 OLED
There’s no denying that TVs were one of the star attractions at this year’s show – the Panasonic GZ2000 definitely stands out. Even in a crowded field, this beautiful OLED TV just feels different. That’s because GZ2000 is the world’s first TV with built-in upward-firing speakers, meaning it’s able to deliver a way more immersive experience. It’s an especially intriguing value proposition for those who don’t feel like spending another chunk of change on a soundbar.
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