We always look forward to CES. Not just because it kicks off the year, or because it brings nearly every major tech company under one roof, or because it means a flood of new products. We love it because of the surprises: every year, without fail, there is some strange and surprising new tech that captures our attention and makes us want to tell everyone, “come look at this.”
This year was no exception. AI took physical form, screens bent and disappeared, car platforms morphed. Even some of the more practical stuff — common standards and simple spec bumps — made a difference.
But there were also a bunch of products that we simply couldn’t get out of our heads. And to those, we’re giving our annual Verge Awards — our recognition that they’re doing something exciting, unique, or ambitious that might just push their categories forward. Or, at least, that makes us want to put them in our homes.
Samsung’s glare-free OLED TV
Samsung’s flagship OLED TV for 2024 adds a new glare-free screen treatment that severely reduces annoying reflections — even in sunny rooms. Many top-tier TVs already have respectable anti-reflective coatings, but Samsung’s S95D takes a bigger step toward eliminating distractions without negatively affecting picture quality. It’s a quality-of-life improvement that anyone can appreciate.
The S95D is also rumored to be using Samsung Display’s very latest QD-OLED panel, which is measuring peak brightness levels upward of 3,000 nits. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean Samsung Electronics will crank the display that hard on the S95D, but even if it doesn’t go full blast, you’re still in for a wonderful viewing experience. Sure, some of the Mini LED TVs from TCL and Hisense on the CES show floor can go even brighter, but OLEDs still get my pick for their viewing angle flexibility.
Unfortunately, like all Samsung TVs, the S95D continues to omit Dolby Vision, which makes the whole thing a nonstarter for some home theater enthusiasts. If you want Dolby Vision and a superb OLED experience, LG’s G4 is worth serious consideration. But Samsung’s S95D adds something practical — and a lot of people are going to enjoy simply seeing their TV better. — Chris Welch
Best gaming trend
Clutter-free PC builds
Our pick here isn’t an individual product, but more of a call for “more of this please.” MSI, Phanteks, Asus, and Maingear are all working on reducing or eliminating the cable clutter that you have to deal with when building a PC.
At CES, MSI launched its Project Zero motherboards that put the connectors on the rear so you don’t have to route as many cables. Meanwhile, Asus has a new RTX 4090 that ditches the power connector for a cable-free look, and Phanteks is making changes to its NV9 case for Maingear to ship in pre-built systems. Combined with the industry moving to daisy-chained fans, the result is showcase PCs that look great and are much easier to build. I just hope the PC manufacturers can work together to create some standards around this stuff. — Tom Warren
Most likely to succeed
Qi2 takes the best parts of MagSafe — the magnets and the 15W charging — and makes them part of the Qi wireless charging standard. It rules to plonk your phone down onto a magnetic stand and know it’s gonna stay put and charge fast. Qi2 chargers don’t require special Apple hardware or certification, are less expensive to produce, and work just as well as MagSafe. And they were everywhere at CES: there are already way more Qi2 chargers than there ever were official MagSafe ones.
Qi2 is already good for iPhone users, who can now get MagSafe speed without paying MagSafe money. It’s also driving down the price of MagSafe-certified chargers. Even MagSafe doesn’t quite cost MagSafe money anymore. But the real action will come when Qi2 starts showing up on Android phones (my money is on the Pixel 9). I didn’t know how useful MagSafe was until I got it, and it’s great that any company will be able to build it into their phones going forward. — Nathan Edwards
Smart rings were out in force at CES. Of them, Movano’s Evie Ring stood out the most. I first saw this device as a concept at CES 2022, and it’s so rare to see CES concepts become actual gadgets you can buy. The $269 Evie Ring starts shipping later this month, and that in and of itself is a feat.
Beyond actually shipping, there’s a lot to like about this smart ring. The design is clever, with an open gap up top that allows the ring to flex. No more struggling to get a ring off when your fingers swell! But the thing I appreciate most is how dedicated Movano’s been to ensuring the accuracy of its sensors. It doesn’t need FDA clearance for its feature set, but it’s been seeking clearance anyway. It’s been a hot second since I’ve seen a smart ring other than the Oura Ring, so I’m stoked to get my hands on one for review. — Victoria Song
Yeah, it’s a bland-looking blob that resembles the minivan you were driving when you got dumped your junior year while “Semi-Charmed Life” was playing on the radio and you still haven’t really recovered. (No, I’m not in therapy. Why do you ask?) But the boring design isn’t an accident; it’s the whole point. Kia wants the PV5 to be a blank slate so it can sell it to businesses and let them imprint their own identity onto it.
Pairing a flexible chassis with a fixed cabin and interchangeable cargo area is legitimately an exciting idea that I can’t believe hasn’t really been tried before. Also, it’s a van, and despite past traumas, vans are lawful good. They have short overhangs, shorter hoods, and are exponentially safer to operate than giant trucks and SUVs. Yeah, it doesn’t look as sleek or cool as some of the other concepts released at this show, but in terms of the idea it represents, I think the Kia PV5 could be a real game-changer. — Andrew J. Hawkins
Most irrationally loved product
Oh, Ballie. This little bot has been rolling around our brains since Samsung announced the thing in 2020. It got a big upgrade this year, though, and Ballie now doubles as a moving projector — you know, in case you want it to display a workout video onto your wall or project a little greeting message on your floor when you come home. It can also do more practical things like control your air conditioner, turn your lights on and off, manage home appliances, and check in on your pets.
As bad as we may want to come home to our own little BB-8, we unfortunately have to face the reality that there is little chance life with Ballie will ever be as simple, charming, and functional as Samsung makes it sound. And that’s assuming the little robot even comes out. It’s already been four years, and there’s no sign of pricing or availability. But I’m going to stay positive and hope that maybe, just maybe, 2024 is the year for Ballie. Please don’t make me break Ballie out of its glass case, Samsung. — Emma Roth
Best health tech
Every year at CES, I see a ton of blood glucose monitoring tech. Most of it is in the very early stages and unlikely to show up in our lives in the near term. That’s why it was so refreshing to meet up with Dexcom and talk about its Stelo continuous glucose monitor (CGM). What makes this different is that it’s for Type 2 diabetics who don’t need to take insulin, and it’s designed to be affordable.
Type 2 diabetes is tricky because it accounts for 90-95 percent of all diagnosed diabetes cases, and yet many people don’t have a clear understanding of what foods spike their blood sugar or what strategies can mitigate it. Unlike a typical CGM, the Stelo doesn’t revolve around when you should take insulin. Instead, it emphasizes educating people on how best to use blood glucose data in managing their condition day to day. Price will depend on insurance, but the whole idea is to make it affordable enough for people who don’t have good coverage. (And frequently, CGMs are not covered by insurance for people who aren’t dependent on insulin.) Stelo is currently going through the FDA clearance process and is expected to launch later this year. When it does, it could positively impact the millions of people with both Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. That’s pretty neat. — Victoria Song
This year’s CES is full of incredible OLED monitors. Samsung Display and LG Display outdid themselves this year, securing spots for gorgeous high-res screens in monitors from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, MSI... you name ‘em. Some can change their stripes at the push of a button, some can fold in half.
But the best is the utterly practical yet completely fantastic Alienware AW3325QF, with its 31.5-inch, 240Hz, 4K-resolution QD-OLED curved screen from Samsung. It might finally be the best of all worlds: the color and inky blacks of OLED, the brightness of quantum dots, the speed for competitive gaming, the resolution to make out fine detail. All in a single monitor big and curved enough to immerse without being so head-spinningly gigantic you need to rearrange your life around it.
Yes, other companies may get this same screen — I saw 32-inch 4K 240Hz OLEDs at Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI, for example. But the $1,200 Alienware is the only one shipping now, during CES itself. There’s one on my desk at home, and the first few days I spent with it were wonderful, without any auto-dimming headaches. Also: Alienware is the only brand offering a three-year burn-in warranty on OLED with next-business-day replacements. Take note, rivals! — Sean Hollister
The Kohler Numi 2.0 Smart Toilet: E-Ink edition
The Kohler E Ink smart toilet caused a bit of a stir in The Verge’s Slack when I spotted it and sent out the alert. Every member of the team here in Las Vegas made the pilgrimage to Kohler’s booth to check out the somewhat polarizing product.
While the smart toilet actually launched at CES last year (with voice control, a bidet, speakers, and a motion-activated seat), in 2024 it came sporting a new look. Instead of LED light panels, it’s wrapped in E Ink panels with ten different shifting designs. It certainly could add some je ne sais quoi to your daily ablutions.
Sadly, for those of us who fell in love with the toilet’s unique look, it’s probably vaporware; Kohler tells me it’s “very much a concept at this point.” But should it make it, you’ll be able to choose the E ink look at checkout when ordering the $10,000 smart toilet. — Jennifer Pattison Tuohy
Best laptop idea
ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid
Processors have gotten a lot more efficient in recent years. That means laptops can get even thinner and still be powerful enough to get most of your work done — it also means companies can do really fun stuff like effectively put two actual computers into one laptop.
That’s what Lenovo did with the ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid. It’s all Windows machine on the bottom, and there’s a whole Android tablet built into the display. So when you’re done doing work that requires a proper laptop, you can just yank the display off the device and start playing with your tablet. It’s by no means perfect: there’s no neat software solution for linking the two devices together and quickly moving files around, but maybe that will change by the time the device launches in Q2. — Alex Cranz
Best smart home product
EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra
As I type this from the CES show floor, I’m getting weather alerts that another superstorm is bearing down on my house in South Carolina. That’s the second this week, and the power will probably go out, again. I need a battery backup solution, and I am not alone.
That’s one reason the EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra — a whole-home battery generator — caught my eye. The other is its relatively easy installation process, portability (you can unhook the battery and take it to do things like power your RV for the weekend), and modular approach to building a smart home energy management system.
You can start out with just one battery and inverter ($5,799) that can power your home’s essential devices for a couple of days and then build up to a bigger system with up to three inverters and 15 batteries that could power the entire home for over a month.
But beyond being a disaster backup and portable power solution, EcoFlow’s system can save you money over time as you scale it for energy independence. Smart home energy management is a crucial part of the smart home; connecting all the appliances in our home makes a lot of sense when it can automatically reduce energy consumption. The EcoFlow’s new system lets you do exactly that. Pair the DPU with home solar panels, EcoFlow’s new connected subpanel, the Smart Home Panel 2 ($1,899), and the EcoFlow app, and let it intelligently manage your power use. — Jennifer Pattison Tuohy
Most in Show
If you were at CES this year, you could not escape AI. Dozens of product categories had ChatGPT capabilities slapped onto them, while others shrewdly snuck AI into the marketing. Cars got AI. Fitness trackers and exercise equipment got AI coaches. Laptops touted new processors that are better at handling AI workflows. Beauty tech gadgets used AI to customize the perfect skincare or foundation for you. The smart home also got a flurry of AI-powered appliances and robots. (Did you know Ballie has AI now, too?) The Rabbit R1 was one of the buzziest gadgets at the show, and we’re not even really sure what it’s for. Hell, even the official CES art looked like it was generated by AI.
If AI could be shoved into a product, it was — whether it made sense or not. — Victoria Song
Honda Zero Saloon
Now this is what a concept car is supposed to look like: sleek, seductive, maybe even a little villainous, but in a good way. Sure, the front end looks like it’s about to get jammed after sucking up one of my G.I. Joes, but the sloping hood and roof is genuinely boss looking. It left me wondering what the Tesla Cybertruck could have looked like had it been designed by someone who actually likes cars and wasn’t so obsessed with preparing for the end times.
Obviously, the production version won’t look anything like this. But even if the final result retains 20 percent of the design, it will still be a worthy addition to Honda’s lineup. The Saloon concept harkens back to the 1980s and ’90s when Honda was driving innovation in the auto industry with wraparound dashboards and four-wheel steering. Honda’s EV output has been pretty disappointing to date, so let’s hope this car signals a fresh start. — Andrew J. Hawkins
Best audio product
Samsung Music Frame
The success of Samsung’s The Frame TV makes it clear that there’s a growing contingent of consumers who are tired of their TVs looking like gadgets. This year, the company is expanding its focus on so-called invisible tech to include audio with the new Music Frame. It’s a smaller, squarer take on the Ikea / Sonos Symfonisk picture frame speaker, but the general idea is the same. You can choose between different art pieces or photographs that go on the front cover of the Music Frame to camouflage its drivers and audio components from view. If you’ve got a Samsung TV, the Music Frame can be integrated with its sound system. Or you can just use it like any other speaker — albeit with a touch of style that most wireless speakers lack. — Chris Welch
Best in show
LG Signature OLED T
My jaw was on the floor when I saw our video of LG’s transparent television, the LG Signature OLED T. It’s a stunning piece of technology — you can watch movies on it and make it into a convincing, virtual fish tank! But best of all, it’s no concept: it’s going to be a real product that LG actually ships sometime this year.
Sure, the TV is probably going to have a price tag that I’ll never be able to afford. But my favorite CES products are the ones that look like science fiction come to life and are things that actually come to market, which is why it was easy to award LG’s Signature OLED T The Verge’s Best in Show for 2024. — Jay Peters