Today’s the official Media Day at CES 2018, which means we’re going to be in a ton of press conference rooms with a ton of keynote speeches by a ton of tech companies. Most will be unveiling new giant televisions and monitors, though we will also see some car tech from carmakers big and small. And of course, our coverage continues with a slew of gadgets, apps, and smart home gear.
Jan 10, 2018
I was standing off to the side of the showroom at CES while engineers worked in hushed voices, fussing over a $16,000 artificial intelligence-powered laundry-folding machine. The machine wasn’t giving back the T-shirt I put in, and for one brief, terrifying second, I really thought I broke it.Read Article >
I had brought my own Verge T-shirt to try out a prototype of Laundroid, and I had to coax Seven Dreamers CEO Shin Sakane into letting me drop my shirt in, instead of the demo shirts they had prepared. As he expected, it didn’t work. After about 15 minutes, the Laundroid opened up to reveal nothing but an empty drawer. An engineer had to reach into the machine to pull out the shirt.
Jan 10, 2018
Polk Audio has announced a voice-controlled sound bar with Alexa built-in. Polk envisions the Command Bar to be at the heart of the smart home theatre that provides “rich audio” for movies and music. Polk Audio’s parent company is DEI Holdings (its sound division is known as Sound United), which also owns audio brands Definitive Technology and Marantz. Polk has previously introduced sound bars that work with Google Home while supporting 5.1 surround sound.Read Article >
This new Command Bar features integrated far-field microphones on top that can control volume, mute, bass, sound modes, and source selection with voice commands through Polk’s Connect Skill. There’s an HDMI port that’s designed to fit Amazon Fire TV and other HDMI streaming devices with wide form factors. The rear panel also has a built-in USB port, which can also power Fire TV devices. With Alexa, the Command Bar can also control lights, locks and other smart home gadgets, as well as Amazon Alexa-supported services like Amazon Music and Audible. Polk says support for more music services will be announced later in the year.
Jan 9, 2018
I bought an LG OLED TV last year, thinking it was the best option for a living room TV at the time. When Nvidia unveiled what it calls Big Format Gaming Displays (BFGDs) at CES earlier this week, my heart sank. These 65-inch displays are essentially giant gaming monitors, complete with support for 4K, HDR, and even 120Hz refresh rates. Nvidia is working with Acer, Asus, and HP to create these displays, and they’re all using the same AU optronics panel.Read Article >
I got a chance to take an early look at Nvidia’s BFGDs at CES this week, and it’s clear the key addition is Nvidia’s G-Sync technology. Nvidia spent some time demonstrating the aspects of the HDR support in the displays, but it was particularly evident when the company booted up Destiny 2 on a gaming PC with an Nvidia 1080 Ti inside. Destiny 2 has HDR support, and it’s a good example of that support combined with G-Sync and high frame rates.
Jan 9, 2018
Japan’s Audio-Technica is coming to CES 2018 with a big set of new wireless headphones to show off. The highlight among them is the DSR5BT. Its codename hints at the fact it has the same Pure Digital Drive tech as last year’s over-ear DSR9BT and DSR7BT. The difference with this technology is that it skips the usual digital-to-analog converter required to turn binary data from your phone or laptop into a signal that a headphone driver can understand and play back — and Audio-Technica believes that leads to vastly reduced distortion and a purer music playback.Read Article >
The DSR5BT pair is also intriguing because of its push-pull driver system inside: it has two asymmetrically sized (one is 9.8mm, the other is 8.8mm) drivers that face each other and move together in opposite directions. This is another element that Audio-Technica says builds toward cleaner sound reproduction. As good as the DSR5BT may sound, though, one obvious compromise is in their design, with Audio-Technica adopting the dreaded neckbud design of putting a plastic collar around the listener’s neck. Neckbuds that are merely a connecting wire are much nicer, but they likely can’t accommodate the acoustic design and battery and wireless hardware that Audio-Technica wants. The DSR5BT go on sale for €399 / £349 in the spring.
Sony announced a load of new products at CES this year, but it hasn’t forgotten about the older stock either. Buried in the announcements for new wireless earbuds and open-ear headphones, was the news that old speakers and headphones would get support for Google Assistant via a software update.Read Article >
Jan 9, 2018
The Fisker EMotion is the second attempt from a designer of high-end luxury cars to make an electrified performance sedan. But unlike CEO and designer Henrik Fisker’s previous attempt at making a car and car company, the EMotion is trying to leapfrog a whole host of startups.Read Article >
And, at CES, that’s sometimes a tall order. After all, there have been a lot of ambitious claims by various carmakers trying to shake up the automotive world when it comes to self-driving abilities, battery capacity, the use of touchscreens, and even audacious door designs. The EMotion is trying to do all of the above.
Jan 9, 2018
Audio company Klipsch announced today that its next generation of Heritage Wireless speakers will have Google Assistant enabled. It’s still pretty uncommon for higher-end audio companies to include Google Assistant, which is why seeing Klipsch incorporate it is notable.Read Article >
While the new Heritage Wireless speakers — called The Three and The One — feature Bluetooth and Google Assistant, because they are based off mid-century modern design, they still don’t quite look like they’re from this century. They are made from wood veneer and have copper switches and knobs. The Three is a stereo tabletop with an integrated subwoofer to provide bass. It will cost $499 in the US, and will be available this fall. Meanwhile, The One is a smaller tabletop speaker with a rechargeable battery. It will cost $349, and will be available in spring 2019.
Suitable Technologies, maker of the Beam range of telepresence robots, has unveiled the BeamPro 2, its latest high-end device. Like all telepresence bots, the BeamPro 2’s main function is Skype on wheels: it lets employees call into their workplace remotely and trundle around it with the help of an app. It’s fun, if not always practical.Read Article >
The Pro2 adds a number of improvements and refinements to the original BeamPro, including a 24-inch LCD touch display and two “super-wide” 12-megapixel HD cameras with 12x digital zoom. It also comes with 3D depth sensors (optional on the original BeamPro), ambient light sensors (to automatically adjust screen brightness), and a trio of speakers that Suitable Technologies claims can reproduce “lifelike sound.” The central display can be raised and lowered, with a 10-inch reach.
Jan 9, 2018
This Sennheiser gaming headset features high-end noise cancellation, and it won’t stick to your sweaty ears
If you’re looking for a gaming headset that’s only a little bit goofy but does the job, consider the new Sennheiser GSP 600, which comes with a new speaker system, new ear pad design with deep memory foam, and improved aluminum voice coil speakers. The GSP 600 builds on Sennheiser’s Game Zero gaming headset and comes with better performance, an improved mic, and increased comfort and durability. The company promises “an exceptional audio experience with an increased sub-bass range.”Read Article >
The newer headset looks to be a bit big and clunky, but Sennheiser says it’s ergonomically shaped and provides improved noise insulation (with high-end noise cancellation) and wearing comfort. The headband is adjustable so you can even customize contact pressure. Sennheiser says the headphones feature a “cooler feeling suede-like material used around the ear that won’t stick to the skin,” which is a bonus for all those sweaty, anxiety-ridden skirmishes you might play through. That’s a plus for me, because one thing I personally detest is when stuff sticks to me in hot weather.
Jan 9, 2018
Peloton is getting into running for the new year.Read Article >
The New York-based maker of a cultish, internet-connected indoor cycling bike has just revealed an internet-connected treadmill, one it says is “the most technologically advanced, innovative and immersive” treadmill on the market.
Panasonic has unveiled an update to its well-respected GH5 mirrorless camera that adds a handful of new features (like better low-light performance), but takes others away (like in-body stabilization). The resulting device, the mirrorless 4K GH5s, isn’t really a direct upgrade to the GH5, which handled both stills and video with aplomb. Instead, it’s set to appeal to pro and experienced videographers with a particular set of needs.Read Article >
The biggest change in the GH5s is the new “dual ISO” 10.2-megapixel sensor. This is half the resolution of the 20.2-megapixel sensor in the GH5, but in return offers better performance in low light. Panasonic says users can get up to ISO 51200 native “with minimal noise,” and up to ISO 204800 when extended ISO is used. A hands-on report from Engadget said that when comparing saturation and contrast in challenging condition, the GH5s “handily bested” Sony’s top low-light performer, the A7S II.
Every year at CES, among all the TVs and laptops and gadgets, is the ever-escalating competition of who can cram the most storage into a single flash drive. This year, SanDisk showed up with a prototype of what’s supposed to be the world’s smallest 1TB USB-C flash drive.Read Article >
It’s not the most storage we’ve ever seen in a flash drive — that title still goes to last year’s 2TB Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT — but SanDisk should be commended anyway, given that its slimmed-down prototype is far smaller than Kingston’s chunky zinc-alloy case. Plus, the SanDisk prototype fully embraces USB-C, instead of clinging to the past with USB 3.0, meaning that you’ll be able to use it to directly transfer storage to, say, an Android phone in addition to computers.
Jan 9, 2018
It’s 2018, and you know what that means: mech racing isn’t the sport of the future anymore, it’s the sport of the present. A company called Furrion brought “Prosthesis,” its first exo-bionic racing mech, to CES this year. It looks bonkers. Prosthesis is 15 feet tall and weighs over 8,000 pounds. It’s an exoskeleton, not a robot, meaning it doesn’t operate automatically, it’s completely controlled by the human trapped inside. Like how it works in Power Rangers.Read Article >
Prosthesis can run up to 20 mph, step over obstacles, and run for up to an hour on a battery charge. It also has a very tiny cockpit, and I was told repeatedly that I am too large a human to fit inside. This makes me sad. I am very sad now.
Nikon has only one announcement for CES 2018, but it's a heck of a thing: behold the snappily named AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR. It's a super-telephoto lens with a built-in 1.4x teleconverter, meaning that you can extend the focal length to 252-560mm, though you'll lose a stop of light and aperture in the process.Read Article >
The lens is designed for full-frame cameras, but if you pair it with an APS-C DSLR you'll get even more reach — 270-600mm-equivalent as standard and 378-840mm with the teleconverter activated. It is obviously gigantic, but Nikon says the use of a magnesium alloy and a fluorite lens element help keep the weight and balance under control.
Matrix Industries announced the original PowerWatch back in 2016 with an intriguing, if somewhat hard-to-believe claim: a watch that used a proprietary thermoelectric energy converter to power the timepiece exclusively from excess body heat. And while the original PowerWatch did live up to those claims, it was somewhat limited in what it could actually do, with the first generation more or less limited to basic fitness tracking.Read Article >
This year, though, Matrix is releasing the PowerWatch X, an updated version of its predecessor that adds support for smartphone notifications over Bluetooth, turning it into a true smartwatch.
Intel has long been proud of its drone-based light shows — including airing a (pre-taped) halftime show at the last Super Bowl. Today at its CES keynote, the company introduced a new version of those drones, called “Shooting Star Mini.” The innovation here? They’re tiny and totally safe to fly indoors, above the heads of the audience. They are interesting because they can locate themselves in space without the need for GPS.Read Article >
Intel capped its keynote with a light show that was impressive (at least if you were in the arena to get the full effect of the tiny drones flying in 3D space). The song they danced to was Kygo’s “Stargazing,” of course.
Jan 9, 2018
Regardless of whether you believe “flying cars” will become a legitimate way to get around, there’s no doubting that people around the world are in love with the idea. There’s always been something inherently cool about the idea of skipping across the sky in a personal vehicle.Read Article >
That’s why Intel capped its keynote address at this year’s CES by letting an 18-rotor air taxi prototype (octadecacopter?) known as the Volocopter VC200 fly across the stage, albeit briefly. This was the first time it flew in North America, in fact. No, the Volocopter is not quite a “flying car” as much as it is a “gigantic drone that you can sit in.” But even that’s still cool.
The Brilliant Control smart light switch looked impressive enough when it was announced back in early 2017, with an elegant design, a combination of physical and touchscreen controls, and integrated support for Amazon’s Alexa that would make the smart light switch a natural hub for a smart home.Read Article >
And at CES 2018, Brilliant announced that it’s integrating Amazon’s “Display Cards” — an extension of the Alexa API that lets third-party devices with screens show the same visual results that you’d get with an Echo Show — into the Brilliant Control, essentially letting users get the same sort of visual, interactive experience to queries as they would on Amazon’s own hardware.
I have tried a lot of wireless chargers, and I still haven’t found the perfect one. What I’m looking for shouldn’t be too difficult, and yet, after going through piles of chargers, I’m still searching. But iOttie’s new iON Wireless Fast Charging Pad, announced among a whole bunch of other chargers at CES, might have finally delivered.Read Article >
To recap, my qualifications for a charger are simple:
ViewSonic has announced three gaming monitors and two “entertainment monitors.” Are games not entertainment? Do movies benefit from 144Hz adaptive sync refresh? It’s another wild evening at CES 2018, folks.Read Article >
The $573 XG2560 is a standard 25-inch 1080p display, but has a blazing fast 240Hz refresh rate with Nvidia G-sync technology. The $629 XG3220 is one of the first 4K monitors on the market with HDR10 support, and has FreeSync for AMD GPUs (though presumably only hits 60Hz). Finally, the $739 XG3540C (above) is a 34-inch 1440p curved ultrawide monitor that hits 100Hz.
Incase’s new MacBook Pro sleeve has a battery pack, but it still can’t charge your laptop in your bag
Incase’s IconConnected Power Sleeve seems like an almost obvious product. It’s a laptop sleeve with a big 14,000mAh battery pack that can recharge your MacBook Pro on the go. The actual laptop-protecting sleeve part is basically just Incase’s existing Icon model, but with a hidden pocket for a USB-C cable and ports on the bottom to let you plug in a USB-C or regular USB Type-A cable to recharge your gadgets.Read Article >
As someone who is almost constantly looking for a place to recharge when I’m out and about, especially at shows like CES, it seems like the perfect product for me. Except for one crucial problem: it doesn’t seem that you can actually recharge your MacBook Pro while it’s in the case.
Speaking today at Intel’s big CES keynote, CEO Brian Krzanich addressed the biggest issue Intel faces today: the security and speed issues surrounding Meltdown and Spectre. “Want to thank the industry for coming together ... to address the recent security research findings reported as Meltdown and Spectre,” Krzanich said, calling the response to the issues a “collaboration among so many companies.”Read Article >
He promised that “for our processors and products introduced in the past five years, Intel expects to issue updates for more than 90 percent within a week, and the remaining by the end of January.” As for the impact that those updates will cause to performance, Krzanich stuck to Intel’s line that “we believe the performance impact of these updates is highly workload dependent,” though that “some workloads may experience a larger impact that others, so we’ll continue working with the industry to minimize the impact on those workloads over time.”
Jan 9, 2018
Netgear today announced a pair of gaming-focused connectivity products at CES that offer a dizzying array of customization and prioritization options designed for connection-dependent online play. While overkill for your average player, both products are high-end safeguards against the perils of multiplayer gaming, including everything from lag and latency woes to distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) that are now commonplace in competitive titles.Read Article >
The first device, an update to Netgear’s Nighthawk Pro line, is the company’s XR500 gaming router, which comes with a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, four gigabit Ethernet ports, and a gaming-focused software dashboard for monitoring bandwidth usage and enabling geofilters to prevent connections to laggy players connecting in faraway locales. The XR500 also comes with a built-in gaming VPN client to protect your identity online, which goes a long way in preventing DDoS attacks that force you offline by way of spamming your IP address.
Jan 9, 2018
Sony just announced both a 4K Blu-ray player that supports Dolby Vision HDR and an A/V receiver that offers Dolby Atmos audio here at CES 2018. The UBP-X700 Blu-ray player is designed for 4K Blu-ray discs with either HDR10 or Dolby Vision, and it includes built-in apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.Read Article >
The STR-DH790 receiver, according to Sony, can pass through both HDR formats without any loss in the signal. Both products will ship in the spring alongside Sony’s latest TV lineup and, at the top of the pile, a $30,000 short-throw 4K projector. Pricing isn’t yet available for the Blu-ray player and receiver.
Razer has spent the last few years building out its Chroma lighting system to a huge array of products, from keyboards to mice to controllers to headphones to mouse pads to LED strips for custom desktop builds to an honest-to-god mug holder, all of which can be synced perfectly in time to your gaming PC. But what about the rest of your house?Read Article >
At CES 2018, Razer is announcing a partnership with Philips Hue’s smart lighting that lets users sync any color-capable Hue light product with Razer Chroma devices. To get things rolling, you’ll need a few things in place: a Philips Hue V2 bridge, Philips Hue color-capable lights, the latest Philips Hue app, and a PC with Razer’s Synapse 3 software installed. And for the full effect, you’ll probably want some Razer Chroma-equipped gear, too.