It’s the last day of CES, and as all the vendors prepare to break down their booths, close up their parties, and go wearily home, we here at The Verge are looking back to see what was new, surprising, or weird — and offering you our opinions on what worked and what didn’t.
We bring roundups of the best laptops, the biggest Google Assistant products, and the greatest Amazon Alexa products. We look at the long-anticipated arrival of Wi-Fi 6, and discuss why you’re not going to see it in your home for some time yet. We discuss Apple’s new embrace of the TV industry, and why it’s okay that there aren’t any revolutionary advances in the look of laptops.
And even now, there are still some cool and crazy gadgets to play with, such as a real-life beauty filter for your skin, robot dogs that deliver packages (and do a little dance when they’re done), and a smart shopping cart.
So join us for this, the final day of CES, and help us celebrate all the tech news that has come out of the Las Vegas festivities.
Jan 10, 2019
AMD introduced its latest Radeon VII graphics card yesterday, just days after Nvidia revealed it was bringing its RTX 2080 line to gaming laptops. AMD’s new chip is designed to compete with Nvidia’s RTX 2080, but outspoken Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has laughed off the competition. In a roundtable attended by Gizmodo and other media outlets, Huang described AMD’s announcement as “underwhelming” and claimed the RTX 2080 would “crush” AMD’s Radeon VII in benchmarks. “The performance is lousy,” said Huang, referring to AMD’s latest GPU.Read Article >
Nvidia is focusing on ray tracing for its latest RTX 2080 GPUs, a technology it has developed over the past decade in cooperation with Microsoft and others. Ray tracing models light in real time as it intersects objects in a virtual scene, and we’ve seen some early examples of how this could improve games like Battlefield V. AMD’s latest GPUs do not support ray tracing, but the company is claiming its second-generation Vega architecture should offer 25 percent more performance at the same power draw as previous Vega graphics cards.
Jan 10, 2019
It was love at first sight, the same way you know you’ll love a dog the first time you meet one because, well, it’s a dog. I had heard about the Lovot companion robot before I saw it in person at CES this week, so I knew that its functions were minimal, and the typical reasons to be skeptical of robots that overpromise to make your life easier didn’t apply here. Unlike traditional robots which aim to provide useful services, Lovot is the opposite. According to its maker Groove X, it “begs for attention and gets in the way of those it lives with.” Lovot is specifically designed to create emotional attachment, its only purpose to be loved, and it accomplished that goal the second I looked into its sweet eyes.Read Article >
To be fair, the eyes were engineered to be cute, with six layers of projections to create depth. It also makes adorable cooing sounds as it responds to your touch, through the 50 sensors located all around its fuzzy body. The canister on the top of its head contains a microphone and its three cameras (180-degree to map the room it’s in, depth, and thermal) can help the AI recognize up to 1,000 people. They seemed to take a liking to our video director Vjeran more than me, wheeling away from me towards the camera, which hurt.
PC gaming companies continue to make a splash at CES with experimental and sometimes outlandish devices that may never again see the light of day. But what companies and consumers learn from these experiments could turn into new, indispensable features in the products we’ll be using months and even years from now. As a result, CES has become ground zero for catching a glimpse of the future of PC gaming. And as the market continues to grow, we’re only going to see more companies trying radical ideas to stand out.Read Article >
This year, Alienware showed off its Area 51M laptop with user-replaceable processors and graphics cards for the first time in years, while Asus brought out the “Mothership,” an enormous portable desktop gaming PC with a built-in display and keyboard. From Acer, we got its $4,000 Triton laptop, which packs the best components you can buy into a convertible display that folds down into a tablet, thanks to its CNC-machined aluminum hinge.
Jan 10, 2019
In 2018, bad notches happened to good Android phones. But the design trend for 2019 is going to be much better, judging from my first experience with the notch’s successor: the hole-punch display. The Honor View 20 is one of the first flagship phones with a selfie camera cutout that’s literally just the camera. It’s almost exactly the size of the opening that a hole punch makes in sheets of paper, so I think the name is apt. And it helps to almost completely eliminate the top bezel of the phone. Coming to the View 20 from my jumbo-notch-equipped Pixel 3 XL has been a revelation and a delight.Read Article >
The View 20 is already official in China, but it’s still a couple of weeks away from its global launch in an event in Paris on January 21st. (Look out for our full review at that time.) For now, I can furnish you with a few facts about the phone and my first impressions of the hole-punch life.
Jan 10, 2019
5G networks are poised to be a big thing, with promises of big speed boosts that some think may even one day be able to compete with traditional broadband (just ask D-Link, which announced a 5G home router at CES 2019). And apparently, the idea of that kind of competition has traditional cable companies a bit spooked, considering that this week at CES, the NCTA and other cable groups announced their new “10G” initiative, which must be better than 5G: after all, 10 is a whole twice as much as 5!Read Article >
Now, before we begin analyzing this absurdity, a note on terminology: 5G, as a name, refers to the 5th-generation of cellular connectivity tech (to recap: 1G was analog cellular tech, 2G was digital with GPRS and EDGE data, 3G was faster data, and 4G is our current LTE networks.) 5G is supposed to be fast, promising multi-gigabit speeds without the need for the deployment of expensive cables or infrastructure. And though it’s yet to really be demonstrated at that level, it’s easy to see why a cable company might be concerned, should those sorts of wireless speeds materialize.
Like virtual reality before it, augmented reality is the newest, hyped-up technology ripped straight from science fiction that technology companies worldwide are trying to bring to life. But unlike most fledgling companies in the burgeoning AR space that are still dealing in half-finished prototypes and experimental proof-of-concepts, Chinese startup Nreal has arrived on the scene this week with a surprisingly capable pair of AR glasses scheduled to hit the market later this year.Read Article >
I got to try an early version of the company’s product and came away impressed with what I saw. There are two selling points to Nreal’s glasses. The first is that they don’t look awful and you might actually feel comfortable wearing them in public, or at the very least in front of your friends or family at home. On the technical end, it’s also quite the feat that Nreal packed all that projection gear, sensors, and cameras into a frame that’s way slimmer than, say, the Vuzix Blade glasses. Nreal says the glasses weigh just 85 grams, or less than one fifth of a pound.
Jan 10, 2019
The first flash memory products under the Lexar brand following its acquisition and revival are here, and what better way to kick things off than by setting a massive SD storage milestone? That’s right, you can now buy what appears to be the first legitimate, commercially available 1-terabyte SD card.Read Article >
SanDisk showed off a 1TB SD prototype a couple of years ago, but the final product never made it to market. Lexar’s Professional 633x line of SDHC and SDXC UHS-I cards, however, is now listed for sale in capacities from 16GB all the way up to the flagship 1TB. That card claims read speeds of up to 95MB/s and write speeds of 70MB/s, though it’s only rated as V30/U3, which guarantees sustained write performance of 30MB/s.
iOttie’s car mounts for phones are considered by many, including the ever-reliable Wirecutter, to be some of the best around. But you know what would make them even better? Mechanized robotic arms that reach out and grab your phone for you, securely holding it within their cold metal embrace while you drive. Or at least, that’s the theory behind the company’s latest Auto Sense Wireless Fast Charging Car Mount, which was announced this year at CES 2019.Read Article >
“Mechanized robotic arms” is probably overselling things just a bit: in reality, it’s basically just a servo motor that moves the arms out and then clamps them in. But iOttie has done some pretty serious engineering here for the setup: there’s a proximity sensor that automatically detects when you’re moving your phone toward the mount, which then engages the motors to open the arms and receive the device. And once the phone is placed, the arms will close without breaking your phone. They stop and lock in place when they reach the side of your phone, regardless of what size it is. To get your phone out, simply tap the button on the back of the mount and the arms will disengage, freeing your phone from its robotic prison.
Bose wants to bring its acclaimed noise-canceling technology from your headphones to your car. The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company just unveiled a new technology called QuietComfort which claims to measure your vehicle’s vibrations in order to eliminate noise from your daily drive.Read Article >
As noted by Bose, this type of noise-canceling technology is likely to gain more prominence as vehicles get lighter and more electric. Sitting inside a whisper-quiet electric car, a driver is exposed to more road noise than they would typically hear in a noisy internal combustion engine car. Bose is framing its technology as looking toward a future when there are many more EVs on the road than there are today.
Jan 9, 2019
TiVo is launching apps for the Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV streaming devices later this year, letting people watch live or recorded video on multiple TVs without investing in a separate separate TiVo Mini box. Zatz Not Funny spotted the apps at CES and reported that they’re launching in the second and third quarters of 2019 — with the Fire TV coming first, Roku second, and Apple TV last. TiVo previously launched a beta app for Fire TV, but it was retired in 2017.Read Article >
TiVo has been appealing to cord cutters recently. In fall of 2018, it announced the Bolt OTA, which offers TiVo recording capabilities, but plugs into an over-the-air TV antenna rather than a cable box. (It’s competing with Amazon’s Fire TV Recast, which offers similar capabilities and integrates with the Fire TV.) These new apps are similarly good for people who rely on streaming media boxes rather than traditional cable. The Bolt OTA requires a monthly subscription, but these apps aren’t supposed to have additional fees attached. This isn’t a massive new product launch for TiVo, but it’s one that could make life easier for users.
I draw on a Wacom Bamboo tablet every day, and while digital art is quick and efficient, sometimes I miss the feeling of drawing on paper. I’ve tried out a lot of “smart writing pads” that digitize text written on paper, but the iSKN Slate was among the first I tried in 2016 that was geared toward artists. The follow-up Slate I briefly tested at CES this year is a big improvement.Read Article >
The original Slate was unique in that it let the user fit magnetic rings on their own pens and pencils, which would work with the magnets in the tablet to convert strokes onto a companion app in real time. You could then place any kind of paper on top of the tablet, clip it in place, and start drawing. Back then, I was left disappointed by the tablet’s bugginess and fickle sensitivity. The French startup’s fourth-generation product, called the Slate Repaper, fixes a lot of issues in addition to adding pressure sensitivity.
Jan 9, 2019Read Article >
Our Vergecast CES 2019 coverage continues with part two of our roundup show. Dami Lee and Dan Seifert join Nilay and Dieter to discuss a range of gadgets from a laundry-folding robot to gaming PCs. There’s also some talk on the various new products and features with Google Assistant, as well as the continuing fake 5G drama.
Jan 9, 2019
AMD has been lagging behind Nvidia for years in the high-end gaming graphics card race, to the point that it’s primarily been pushing bang-for-the-buck cards like the RX 580 instead. But at CES, the company says it has a GPU that’s competitive with Nvidia’s RTX 2080. It’s called the Radeon VII (“Seven”), and it uses the company’s first 7nm graphics chip that we’d seen teased previously.Read Article >
It’ll ship on February 7th for $699, according to the company. That’s the same price as a standard Nvidia RTX 2080.
Portable wireless chargers are one of those ideas that seems better on paper than in practice. The idea of being able to stick a charger in your pocket with your phone, and it’ll magically charge while you walk with no cable required runs into the problem of keeping the phone and charger aligned enough to actually charge. But Kickstarter-funded battery pack Yoolox may have found the solution at with an odd analog approach: use a bunch of rubber suction cups to keep your phone and charger stuck together.Read Article >
I got to demo the Yoolox pack at CES 2019, and despite my skepticism, it actually seemed to work pretty well. My phone setup is probably a best-case scenario for the Yoolox: the glass back of my case-less iPhone X is a perfect surface for suction cups to stick to, but I saw demos with leather and plastic cases that looked equally functional. The Yoolox suction cups are strong, too. They can support the full weight of an iPhone hanging upside down (although maybe don’t risk your $1,000 phone like I did).
Jan 9, 2019
Robots are a staple of the CES show floor. They’re fun to film, they grab attention, and, most importantly, they symbolize the futuristic fantasies that sustain so much of the tech industry. Without the dream of a robot butler cleaning your house, where would that next round of funding for the struggling robot startup come from?Read Article >
But as with past shows, this year’s robots are a mixed bunch. More often than not, companies are touting functionality they can’t yet deliver, though there are some real trends hidden among the puffery. Let’s take a look at what the show has had to offer so far.
Jan 9, 2019
After months of promises and a missed deadline, we finally had a chance to see (well, hear) how Google Assistant will work on Sonos speakers. In a luxe suite in Las Vegas, Sonos and Google ran us through the features (and limitations) of saying “Hey Google” to a Sonos Beam and Sonos One.Read Article >
The early version we saw is in a very limited beta (on the order of a “few thousand” people), and it had a few bugs. Those will surely get worked out in the beta, and if you’re here to find out when the beta will end and Sonos will finally ship Google on its speakers, they’re not willing to commit to a date.
CES typically attracts whacky ideas, especially from automakers that tend to use the electronics show to showcase their most outlandish and unbuildable products. Unfortunately, the 2019 show has been pretty tame by most measures, which is why it’s so refreshing that Hyundai came to Las Vegas with a truly bonkers idea: a “walking car” with real, bendable legs. At last, something to haunt my dreams!Read Article >
Like some mashup between a Boston Dynamics robot and something you might find stomping across the frozen surface of the planet Hoth, Hyundai’s Elevate vehicle is an automotive concept I can’t recall having seen before. Hyundai says it designed it for first responders who need to access difficult terrain. (Think mountains, forests, or other rock-strewn landscapes that are inaccessible to most terrestrial vehicles.) Electrically powered and modular so it can swap vehicle bodies for a variety of use cases, the South Korean automaker is calling it an “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle.”
Yale and Emtek, two smart lock companies under the umbrella of the lock conglomerate Assa Abloy, are debuting new smart door locks sporting August’s software. Assa Abloy acquired August back in 2017, but these are the first third-party smart locks that can directly use August’s software without needing external hardware. Back in 2018, August added support for Yale locks, but that required you to purchase a module from Yale that you had to install yourself.Read Article >
Starting with Emtek’s offerings, the thoughtfully named EMPowered Smart Lock Keypad Deadbolt and the Smart Lock for Deadbolt / Entryset are available for $440 and $390, respectively. With August’s software on board, you’ll be able to control the EMPowered smart door locks with your smartphone or through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Jan 9, 2019
It’s barely the second week of the year, and we’ve already been treated to an arrangement of weird and wonderful monitors that hint at how homes and offices could change in the future.Read Article >
The annual Consumer Electronics Show is always full of displays. Whether it’s new 75-inch MicroLED TVs or a blurring of monitors and TVs, displays are the superstars of the show. CES in 2019 is no different, and this year, we’ve seen giant monitors the size of TVs, super-wide displays, portable monitors, ones that save space on your desk, and even some new attempts at regular laptop screens.
Mobvoi announced its TicWatch E2 and S2 smartwatches at CES today, the first of its Wear OS watches to receive a range of features called TicMotion. The company says its watches will be able to detect motions and gestures to automatically trigger different functions. For example, if you start cycling, it’ll start tracking your ride stats automatically without making you set the watch to Cycling mode beforehand.Read Article >
The E2 and S2, which stand for Express and Sport respectively, are the sequel to Mobvoi’s TicWatch E and S fitness wearables which originally launched through Kickstarter in 2015. Both watches are rugged enough for intense physical activities, equipped with 5ATM water-resistance so you can track your swimming activities. They share nearly the same specs, running on the ubiquitous yet outdated Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip with a 1.39-inch AMOLED display and a battery capacity of 415mAh. The biggest difference between the two might be that the TicWatch S2 is built to withstand more, as it’s currently pending approval for military-grade standards.
Jan 9, 2019
When popular Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins took a four-day break in June to attend the annual E3 video game conference in Los Angeles, he lost more than 100,000 subscribers — all because he wasn’t streaming every single day that week. The channels of streamers like Ninja, and plenty of other online entertainers in the Twitch and YouTube space, basically live or die on consistency.Read Article >
So with that kind of pressure to pump out daily content, GAEMS, a supplier of portable gaming set ups, decided it would make the most high-end, premium version of its product to try and alleviate some of that stress. The result is the Guardian, a massive suitcase with a built-in monitor for both gaming consoles and PCs that can be lugged around and plugged in anywhere.
Jan 9, 2019
One smart lock company has attempted to outdo them all by making a smart lock that has five ways of unlocking it. Lockly’s new Secure Pro smart lock is available for pre-order today for $299.99 and should ship within the next two months.Read Article >
The Secure Pro has a keypad that generates numbers in random order every time you need to enter your passcode. Each input on the keypad is actually three numbers, so even if someone watches along as you tap the code in, they likely wouldn’t be able to guess what you’ve entered.
Misty Robotics, a spinoff of Sphero and the creators of the Misty programmable robot have announced that the Misty II will start shipping to its backers in April, according to TechCrunch. It will mark a four month shipping delay, as Misty originally planned to ship its robotics platform in December of last year.Read Article >
The Misty II robotics platform will cost $2,399, which might sound like a costly entry fee, but that’s actually an $801 price drop — the robot’s original price was $3,200. At that price it’s not competitive with robotics platforms like the Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit (which costs $349) as it’s not intended for the average consumer just yet.
One of the big promises of USB-C has always been the potential for great accessories, and at CES 2019, those products are finally starting to materialize with things like the Lapscreen: a paper-thin 12.5-inch USB-C monitor that can run entirely off a single cable plugged into your phone or laptop.Read Article >
Measuring 11.1-inches by 8.3-inches (including a rather large chin that also houses the USB-C and HDMI ports), the whole thing is roughly the size of a sheet of paper, and at 4mm thick for the display portion, it’s nearly as thin as a few sheets stacked together, too. Even the chin at the bottom that houses the ports and components is incredibly slim at 8mm thick, to the point where what I assumed was one screen actually turned out to be a stack of them.
Jan 9, 2019
Nissan has promised a long-range version of the new Leaf ever since it updated its famous electric car back in 2017, and this week at the Consumer Electronics Show the Japanese automaker finally broke its silence. The new version of the Leaf — dubbed “Leaf e+” — will be able to travel 226 miles on a full charge, Nissan says, which is about a 40 percent improvement in range.Read Article >
The new Leaf e+ will also be more powerful than its predecessors. It will be available this month in Japan for ¥4,162,320 (about $38,300), and will arrive in Europe in “mid-2019,” Nissan says, where it will cost 45,500 euro (about $51,900). The Leaf e+ will come to the US in the spring, but no pricing has been announced. It will also be sold in three trim levels, two of which will undoubtedly increase the starting price.