CES has always been the place for dreaming about the future of tech and this year, despite the annual convention being held virtually instead of in Las Vegas like usual, is no different.
We saw plenty of exciting innovations ranging from stuff that we can purchase soon, something for the new normal, and an effin flying car. Yes. If that doesn’t get your gears running we don’t know what will.
So here are our favorites from the tech show.
Best Gaming Laptop: ROG Flow X13
Gaming laptops have been getting slimmer and slimmer over the years but this one — it’s a gaming laptop the size of an Ultrabook. ASUS managed to pack gaming power — AMD Ryzen 9/Cezanne-HS mobile processor, RTX 3080 — in a 15mm thin and 1.35kg body.
To heighten the gaming experience further, you can pair it with the ROG XG Mobile GPU that gives the Flow X13 the power of a full-sized gaming rig. That’s bonkers.
Best Auto Concept: GM flying Cadillac Taxi
The idea of flying cars has long intrigued the human race. You need not look far than the prevalence of such a vehicle in sci-fi pop culture to see how much we long for it.
General Motors’ flying Cadillac taxi concept is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle, eliminating the need for any runway. It’ll run on a 90kWh battery with 56mph top speed. New flying regulations will have to come but we can’t wait for this to take to the skies.
Best New Smartphone Form Factor: LG Rollable
Smartphones are going through a period of change. What once was just a rectangular piece of slab has seen itself fold, flip, and now… roll.
We’ve seen LG showcase a rollable concept before but the LG Rollable could be the closest thing that might actually… roll out to the market. Details are scarce for now but expect plenty of news and rumors to build up as it gets closer to launch.
Best Laptop: ASUS ZenBook Duo
The ZenBook Duo, first showcased at Computex 2019, sort of took a gap year in 2020. What we saw instead was a gaming version with the Zephyrus Duo. It makes a comeback now more refined and with internals fit for the new year.
The new ASUS ZenBook Duo is a refinement of this new laptop form factor in every way imaginable — one that, theoretically, should be much more useful than its predecessor.
Best Chromebook: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 has all the bells and whistles of the first generation but it now comes with a QLED panel. Yep, Samsung’s TV display tech has made its way to a notebook. This could just be the beginning.
Buds, Plus, Live, and now Pro — not exactly the progression that makes the most sense name-wise but Samsung may now finally have the TWS that can go toe-to-toe against the AirPods Pro and Freebuds Pro.
The Galaxy Buds Pro promises intelligent ANC that adjusts according to your environment and a playtime that’s par for the course for the other buds it’s going up against.
Best Wearable: MaskFone
Ever since the pandemic hit, face masks have come in all shapes, sizes and features — the MaskFone is no exception.
The MaskFone has a mic in the facepiece and two earbuds hanging on wires by the earloops. The mask is made of a water-resistant, breathable, and washable material and includes a pocket for PM2.5 filters. As far as tech goes, this one’s pretty in your face.
Best Kitchen Appliance: ColdSnap
What’s better than getting sweet, icy treats on a dreary day? It’s making those sweet, icy treats at your own home with ColdSnap.
It works like coffee pod machines but instead of coffee, it serves ice cream and other frozen treats from recyclable aluminium pods. Now, you can Ice Cream and chill at your leisure.
Best Smart TV: Samsung NEO QLED
Samsung’s QLED was already pretty good but turning things up to eleven is their Neo QLED. With this new display tech, Samsung promises improved picture quality — dark areas are darker, bright areas brighter, and so on. Of course, we’ll have to see it for ourselves but it already sounds promising.
Best Wellness Device: Lora DiCarlo Drift, Tilt, Sway
If you can get past snickering like a tween, you’ll realize this offers many… benefits. Inspired by human warmth, the new model mimics the heat we experience from our partners’ bodies. Lora DiCarlo used a nylon-based thermally conductive polymer and its WarmSense Technology, simulating body temperature.
I’m sure we can all use some warmth in these cold nights.
Best Cleaning Device: Samsung JetBot 90 AI+
Keeping your place squeaky clean doesn’t get any smarter than this. The JetBot 90 AI+ is a vacuum cleaner that uses object recognition technology to identify and classify objects to decide the best cleaning path. LiDAR and 3D sensors allow JetBot 90 AI+ to avoid cables and small objects, while still cleaning hard-to-reach corners in your home.
Best Camera/Drone: Airpeak
Professional videographers who’s weapon of choice are Sony Alphas are probably dying to have their hands on Airpeak. It’s a drone that can be equipped with Sony’s professional grade, mirrorless cameras. This opens up new possibilities in terms of aerial footage.
Best Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 40 Curved WUHD
It appears we’re facing a future that’ll have us sitting in front of monitors for longer than we realize. That’s why having one that’s easy on the eyes could be extra beneficial. The ComfortView Plus on the Dell UltraSharp 40 Curved WUHD monitor can help with that. Not to mention, it is color accurate and should aid you nicely in your work-from-home setup.
Acer launches the AMD-powered Chromebook Spin 514
An enterprise-focused model is also coming soon
Chromebooks are increasingly becoming a major player in the laptop segment. Unlike in the past, Chromebooks of today are much more capable with manufacturers opting for more powerful processors and graphic cards. One of those Chromebooks that have capable internals inside is the AMD-powered Acer Chromebook Spin 514, which saw its debut at CES 2021.
AMD Ryzen inside
The headlining feature of Acer’s new Chromebook is the processor that powers it. Inside is a full-fledged AMD Ryzen processor which is rare for a Chromebook. The choice of processors includes the Ryzen 7 3700C for the top-end variant, a Ryzen 5 3500C variant, and an unspecified Ryzen 3 processor for the base variant. Both the Ryzen 7 and 5 variants get a graphics boost thanks to the inclusion of Radeon Vega. All variants max out at 16GB of DDR4 RAM memory and 256GB of SSD.
Acer claims that the Chromebook Spin 514 delivers up to 10 hours of battery life. The new AMD processor inside allows for a thinner and lighter profile than before, making it a good choice for students and professionals alike.
Design and display that is up to date
Speaking of design, the Chromebook comes in a sleek chassis made of anodized, sandblasted aluminum. Apparently, Acer went out of the way to make it more durable. That is, military-grade durability with Acer claiming MIL-STD 810H1 compliance. The design also incorporates a reinforced metal chassis resistant to dents and corrosion.
Those who are into the convertible form factor has a lot to love with the Chromebook Spin 514. It opens at a full 360 degrees and comes with a touchscreen display too. The display is a 14-inch full HD IPS display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Acer states that it reinforced the display with a Corning Gorilla Glass and slimmed the bezels for a 78% screen-to-body ratio.
Plentiful ports to power peripherals and devices
Thankfully, a plethora of ports exists on the Chromebook for connecting multiple devices. It comes with two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C for transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps. That USB port also comes with support for DisplayPort and Power Delivery for charging and hooking into supported monitors. Traditional ports include two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A and a MicroSD card reader.
Select models of the new Chromebook come with an HDMI port so select that if you’re dependent on monitors that use this port.
Other connectivity features include a dual-band WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5. For staying in touch, the Chromebook has dual integrated stereo speakers and dual microphones for clearer audio and video calls. These dual microphones and stereo speakers also allow for a better experience when using Google Assistant.
Chromebooks for the enterprise
Acer is also launching an enterprise-focused model of the new Chromebook — the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 514. This model shares the same design, configuration, and ports as the regular one. The main difference lies in the software inside. It still touts Google’s ChromeOS but has added features geared solely for the enterprise sector.
Among those features are comprehensive security features integrated right into the OS. IT administrators can also take advantage of Google’s web-based management interface to control updates, configure apps, utilize extensions, and update policies. Finally, it has a zero-touch enrollment that lets employees connect to the enterprise network simply by connecting to the Internet.
Like its regular counterpart, businesses can configure this enterprise-focused Chromebook at 16GB of DDR4 memory and 256GB of NVMe SSD storage.
Price and availability
Acer hasn’t announced any dates for the availability of the new Chromebooks. However, a Google store listing is already active for pre-orders. Exact pricing for the regular and enterprise-focused model is not available at the moment, though the base variant is pegged at US$ 599.
Oblio is a 2-in-1 UV-C sanitizer and wireless charging station
Keeping it clean stylishly
Admit it or not, UV-C sterilizers and sanitizers are now revolutionizing our home and office spaces. At CES 2021, Lexon Design took cleaning accessories up a notch.
Introducing Oblio, this vase-like UV-C sanitizer helps prevent the spread of harmful bacteria found on our smartphones. It has a built-in UV-C LED, which extinguishes the DNA of microorganisms found in viruses, mold, and germs.
Oblio is capable of extensive disinfection, sanitizing your device for a 20-minute cycle. Through lab testing, it has been proven effective to kill 99.9 percent of viruses, including H1N1.
Just like Samsung’s personal sanitizer, Oblio also lets you charge your devices wirelessly. With a 10W wireless charging capability, you can fully charge a smartphone in three hours. Additionally, it comes with an LED indicator. This is so you’ll know the charging status of your device inside.
But what sets it apart from other sanitizers? Apparently, Oblio’s meaning and design. The name Oblio means “forgot” in the native language of Italian designers Manuela Simonelli and Andrea Quaglio.
Its meaning echoes the accessory’s vase shape, ingeniously designed to help people disconnect — literally forgetting their smartphones so they can be more present.
Price and availability
Oblio sanitizes and charges all Qi-enabled smartphones, regardless if it’s iPhone or Android. The 2-in-1 accessory is already available at prominent retailers worldwide such as Best Buy, Nordstrom, MoMA Design Store in the US, Fnac Darty in Europe, and more.
It retails for US$ 79.90 and is available in four colors: White, Gold, Dark Blue, and Matt Black. You can get it through its official online store at Lexon Design.
Hedgehog protects your smart home from cyber attacks
This homeware keeps people, data, and devices safe
Protecting your home is more than just smart locks, CCTVs, and firewalls for your digital premises. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) or those appliances and devices that are becoming smarter, life has been easier. However, the price of convenience comes with the risk of a new threat: cyber attacks.
These days, both enterprises and homeowners must increase security at all levels. As such, we need an extra guardian. Meet Hedgehog, the “world’s first whole home” cybersecurity device.
Launched at CES 2021, Hedgehog was described as a home’s digital guardian, protecting the household from possible attacks that firewalls and anti-virus software can’t.
The digital guardian we need?
Unsure how you can possibly be attacked? Imagine if your smart fridge got hacked, or if your smart vacuum malfunctioned. How about if your smart locks break and make it possible for actual thieves to enter your home.
These situations aren’t far from happening in our reality. After all, cyber criminals are actively and increasingly targeting everyday people. Home networks are easy to target to access personal and corporate data, especially at an age where people are remotely working from home.
Hedgehog aims to protect the entire home and all IoT devices inside a network. From phones, fridges, PCs, speakers, webcams, tablets, and Smart TVs — basically anything that’s smart enough to use the Internet and make your life easier.
A smart, functional homeware
Despite being a digital guardian, Hedgehog doesn’t dismiss your existing firewalls and anti-virus software. Rather, it works alongside those security measures and other home security products, offering holistic protection. It simply shields all the people, devices, and networks within a home.
Even though it’s a smart piece of technology, designed to look like homeware. Its unassuming look helps it blends easily. It’s also smart enough to install itself and connect to an existing Wi-Fi connection.
And when it does, it watches the entire household, identifying anything suspicious, and alerts the home-owner via an app. It also neutralizes threats quickly and effectively, protecting both data and people.
Price and availability
The Hedgehog device and its annual subscription are available to pre-order at a discounted price of EUR 99 with no subscription fees. It’s available in two colors: Orange Belly and Midnight Blue. Get more information about the device and its offers through this link.
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