The Best Tech at CES 2023
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Over 100,000 people descended upon Las Vegas to attend the annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES). This expo gives attendees the chance to see the latest gadgets firsthand. As one of those visitors, I demoed some of the newest home, auto, and outdoor tech. While industry titans like Sony and LG didn’t disappoint, there were plenty of equally exciting developments from nimble startups spread throughout the expo’s several hotels. From fully wireless OLED televisions to color-changing vehicles, here are the electronics that push the envelope with next level features and performance bumps.
Wireless Televisions—The Next Step For Displays
Best Television: Displace OLED TV
Sure, a new 55-inch 4K OLED television by itself isn’t groundbreaking. But Displace’s TV cuts all the cords, ditches the remote for gesture-based controls, and equips a versatile suction cup mounting system to become a truly wireless display that can be moved virtually anywhere. The TV is powered by hot swappable batteries and lasts up to 30 days without a power source (based on an average use of 6 hours per day). You can lean the TV fence post in your backyard just as easily as you can stick it to a window in a meeting room. The TV’s a razor thin construction keeps the overall weight just below 20 pounds. That’s light enough for one person to easily shuffle the TV between rooms and stick it to a variety of surfaces—it clings to glass and textured drywall with confidence thanks to a vacuum sealed suction cup attachment system.
At Displace’s show booth, reps repeatedly yanked on the TV without it shifting to show off its strength. Meanwhile videos playing on the screen demonstrated how vibrant colors can be on the OLED panel. One of the coolest features exclusive to the Displace is its ability to stack multiple displays to form one large cohesive panel. For example stacking four Displace TVs into a rectangle creates a 110-inch 8K screen. While the bigger television manufacturers duke it out for minor bumps in color and clarity, the Displace’s smart design and functionality feels fresh. We’re eagerly awaiting its release this December.
Augmented Reality Glasses That Are an Actual Reality
Best Augmented Reality Hardware: Tilt Five Holographic Gaming System
This Augmented Reality (AR) headset overlays digital game worlds as 3D holograms atop your table. There’s a wide variety of titles to play, ranging from video games to tabletop classics like Settlers of Catan. Since every 3D object you see through the lenses is a projection, you need to use the included motion controller to interact with the virtual world. This not only adds new ways of playing games but eliminates the need for physical miniatures or cards. After sliding on the lightweight goggles I witnessed the blank grey game board transform into a medieval fantasy world. Buildings, trees, and platforms popped from the board while vibrant green grass laid flat, showcasing just how impressive the 3D effect is between layers.
The real fun comes from the fact that everyone wearing a pair of these goggles can see and interact with the same digital items in real time using the motion wand controllers. More than just a cool party trick the use of AR allows for exclusive mechanics. For example in a cooperative game my partner dragged and dropped virtual platforms for my character to climb. And during a puzzle demo, I had to stand up and look under a concrete bridge to find and plug a leaking pipe hidden underneath it. While games like DnD or Catan benefit from the animated 3D as actions can unfold in a more imaginative way, even the original video game experiences are more fun than gaming on a console. This system is far and away the best implantation of AR to date. It’s comfortable and makes the most of a limited field of view with more accurate scaling than any other AR system I’ve tried. And while a majority of AR devices sit in the concept phase, the TiltFive system is already shipping with a steady stream of games constantly being announced.
Switch Between a Flat and Curved 4K OLED Display
Best Monitor: LG OLED Flex
Gaming monitors have hit a point of diminishing returns as they compete for higher refresh rates and resolutions. While CES showcased world firsts like a 500 hertz refresh rate panel, these improvements are barely noticeable to the naked eye. The OLED Flex packs just enough power to meet the demands of today’s most high-end systems—a 4K resolution and smooth 120 hertz refresh rate. But where the Flex stands out is in its unique functionality—you no longer have to decide between purchasing a wide TV-like monitor for better viewing angles from a distance or a curved display for a more immersive gaming environment up close. With the press of a button, this screen switches between both orientations. Its vibrant OLED colors are lifelike when wrapped around your peripherals during a gaming session. But when you want to crawl into bed or recline in your chair, you can open up the screen to fill your field of view from afar.
An Android Phone With Warp Speed Charging
Best Smartphone: OnePlus 10T
Android phones are a dime a dozen, but OnePlus’s 10T stands out from its mid-range competitors. Between a smooth 6.7-inch 120Hz AMOLED screen and large 4,800 mAh battery capacity, this phone lends itself to watching videos and playing games for hours on end. Navigating and multitasking in its OxygenOS interface feels the snappiest of all Android builds thanks to the 16GB of onboard RAM and is nearly instantaneous when paired with the most powerful non-Apple silicon mobile processor, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. When the battery finally kicks the bucket, the 10T doesn’t stay down for long thanks to its 125 watt Warp Fast Charging. You can charge the 10T from completely dead to 100 percent full in just 20 minutes. That’s the fastest charging we’ve seen yet.
Wireless Headphones That Double as Hearing Aids
Best Headphones: Jabra Enhance Plus
These Jabra headphones add medical-grade hearing enhancement to the sound and comfort of the brand’s Elite series headphones. On the surface they look like any other pair of wireless earbuds with a discrete in-ear fit. However, activating the hearing aid functionality can drastically improve quality of life for those hard of hearing. You can customize which sounds to amplify and leave the headphones in your ears throughout the day thanks to a 12-hour battery. This lets you jam out to tunes while you work or exercise but also amplify speech or ambient sounds. More manufacturers are breaking into the new over the counter hearing aid market, but there hasn’t been a package that feels as feature complete as the Enhance Plus.
Find Your Wallet and Digitize Your Business Card
Best Bluetooth Tracker: Rolling Square AirCard
AirCard is equal parts stylish and useful. Slide this metal credit card-like device into your wallet and it will constantly track its location using Apple’s Find My network. But beyond location tracking, its built-in NFC chip allows you to share content with a tap so you can easily transfer a link to a digital business card or access key. While no immediate release date has been set, you can pre-order the AirCard now for a ship date at some point later this year.
Ultra Thin Laptop With a Giant Screen for Multi-Tasking
Best Laptop: LG Gram 17
The latest addition to LG’s ultra slim Gram laptop lineup manages to squeeze a gorgeous 17-inch OLED screen, full-sized keyboard, and RTX 3050 Ti graphics card into a package weighing less than three pounds. Its performance and size give the M2 MacBook Air a run for its money, plus it has an even smoother 144 Hz screen with more space for multitasking. Between the latest 13th Gen Intel CPUs and RTX 3050 TI graphics, there’s enough power to replace most desktop tasks on the go.
High Fidelity Virtual Reality With Eye Tracking
Best VR Headset: PlayStation Virtual Reality 2
While Vive and Meta’s headsets had a presence at CES, it was Sony’s PSVR 2 that dominated the show. Its accurate eye tracking and sharp 2K resolution feels like the next generation of virtual reality headsets. Most important, the cumbersome wands from the original PSVR have been replaced by more accurate hand controllers with haptic feedback. These controllers are not only more accurate but create a distinct feeling for each action, like creating tension when pulling the trigger of a gun. This was best seen during a demo where I felt rumbling resistance as I nocked back an arrow within a bow then released it. After this target practice segment, I free climbed through a jungle environment where I noticed highly detailed textures like cracks in porous cliffs. At one point I found myself suspended over a virtual chasm hundreds of feet above a river. Even from that distance, I could see the ripples of water flowing below. The more lifelike graphics and improved controls show a major development in VR hardware that will be available as soon as next month.
Reach Out and Feel the Metaverse
Best Wearable: bHpatics Tactglove for Virtual Reality
The bHaptics Tact Glove is the best way to interact with digital objects in virtual reality. This wearable turns your hand into the controller with haptic feedback providing different sensations for each digital object. For example, during my demo I grabbed a can, tapped a keypad, and even shot some targets using just my hands with accurate finger tracking. As I grasped the can, it felt weighty and harder to close my grip. But tapping the keypad produced light taps at the tips of my fingers. This level of resistance is incredibly immersive, especially when paired with the company’s TactSuit which can recreate digital impacts like punches and shots on different parts of your chest and back.
Turn Yourself Into a Hasbro Action Figure
Best Toy: Hasbro "SelfieSeries" Figures
Using your phone’s front-facing camera to scan your face, the Hasbro Pulse app can stitch your selfies together to generate a 3D mesh of your facial geometry. This scan can then be placed on a custom 6-inch action figure in the style of popular series like Star Wars or Marvel’s superheroes. You can select from different hair, costume, and skin types which are then printed out on massive 3D printers. Once complete your figure is packaged up and dropped at your door.
Give Your Backlighting a Boost
Best Smart Lights: Twinkly Squares
While CES was rife with lights for gaming and smart home setups, none could hold a candle to Twinkly’s Squares, paired with its Entertainment Hub software. These panels go beyond cycling between colors, so you can display advanced pixel art, GIFs, and even mirror onscreen visuals to them. This variety helps create a more lively work or play space.
One Cable to Rule Them All
Best Charging Cable: Rolling Square InCharge XL
InCharge X combines six different types of charging cables (USB to USB-C, USB to Lightning, USB to Micro USB, USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to Lightning, and USB-C to Micro USB) into a single 100 watt wire. This saves space and ensures you’re prepared to fast charge almost any mobile device while on the go. You simply remove a magnetic cap and pull out the charger you need while the other cables stay neatly in place.
Docking Station Without the Bulk
Best Docking Station: OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock
High wattage docking stations are often large and require a massive power brick to provide enough energy for a computer and powered accessories. The compact DockBook Go is the first of its capacity to use an internal power supply. Not only does this keep a full fledged workstation compact enough to travel but it removes the hassle of carrying a hefty adapter. Simply plug in the dock, connect it to the charging port of something like an iPad, and you have a mobile setup fit for creating content. Not only can the Go Dock charge a connected tablet or computer but also an external monitor or storage drive.
Add A Screen to Each Side of Your Laptop
Best Productivity Boost: Xebec Tri-Screen 2
The only thing better than one screen is three of them. This laptop accessory uses an adjustable bracket to slip an additional display onto each side of your main screen. While the 1920x1200 resolution is lower than those found on most mid-range laptop displays, I didn’t notice any drop in sharpness and color clarity on either 10-inch monitor. During my demo, I saw just how easy this setup makes it to multitask—the left screen displayed Slack, a middle screen was used for working on a project, and the right screen showed a research page. With external monitors like this you’ll often find limited adjustability and that the weight can cause the monitors to droop, but the Tri-Screen 2 supports a wide variety of angles while a built in kickstand keeps both screens in balance.
Create Better Content With DSLR-Like Camera Quality
Best Webcam: Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra
Higher resolutions and megapixel counts don’t mean jack when it comes to camera quality—sensor size is where it counts. The Kiyo Pro Ultra boasts a 2.9 μm pixel size large sensor which provides stellar light and color performance even in low light. It lit up my ugly mug on a dark show room floor with crisp 4K video captured at a rate of 30 frames per second. I could see everything from flyaway hairs to the holes in my mesh shirt. While it may be overkill for those who take the occasional meeting, content creators or videophiles will appreciate the more lifelike clarity.
This Backup Charger Fits on Your Keychain
Best Portable Power Bank: RollingSquare Tau
This 2,000 mAh power bank keychain has enough juice to charge even the most demanding iPhone up to 33 percent. The three most common connector types (Lightning, USB-C, and Micro USB) are built-in to reduce your carry. And when you’re home, simply dock the Tau onto a wall mounted charger that doubles as a key holder.
A Classic American Pickup Goes Electric
Best Truck Concept: RAM 1500 Revolution EV
Dodge finally answered Ford’s F150 Lightning with its RAM 1500 EV concept. This pickup retains the muscular front hood and a body-on-frame chassis for increased strength and is beaming with fresh new LED front lights and a spacious interior cabin. By opting for 800-volt DC fast charging, this 1500 can eke out around 100 miles of range on just 10 minutes of charging at 350kW. Specifics were vague, but we do know that this is poised to beat out the F150’s 10,000 pound tow capacity, and its 500 mile range nearly doubles the 300 set by Ford.
Ring Security System for Your Car
Best Dashcam: Ring Car Cam
Part dash cam, part interior security camera, the Ring Car Cam is shaping up to be the most exciting auto accessory of the past few years. The wide angle interior and exterior facing cameras offer crisp HD video recordings. When the system detects motion it starts recording from both views whether its day or night, thanks to night vision sensors. And when you’re away from the car it can sense intrusions and send an alert to your phone using cellular data.
BMW’s Color-Changing Vehicle
Best Car Concept: BMW iVision Dee
BMW’s latest iVision Dee uses electronic paper and millions of microcapsule pigments to cycle the midsize sedan’s exterior through 32 different colors. Unlike its showing last year which could only work in shades of grey, the iVision Dee switched its 240 exterior panels from white to pink to blue effortlessly. On the inside, a Heads Up display spans the entire windshield to show drivers directions, car information, and even text messages.
An Automated Security Camera That Flies Between Each Room in Your Home
Best Drone: Ring Always Home Cam
Ring’s Always Home drone cam keeps track of each room in your home by autonomously patrolling the interior while you’re away. This flying camera follows pre-determined flight paths or you can remotely access and steer it around your house. Footage is captured at a sharp 1440p resolution and can be accessed from the Ring app. When the drone runs out of battery it automatically docks into its charging station. No pricing or release details have been made public just yet, but from what I saw this looks to be in its final stages of development. We may see this launch before the end of the year.
Power A Massive Capacity Generator Using Solar Energy
Best Portable Generator: Jackery Explorer 3000 Pro
Whether you need to keep the lights on during an outage or need enough juice to power a kitchen appliance off the grid, the new Jackery Pro’s 3000 watt capacity will ensure you’re covered. In addition to AC wall outlets, you’ll find USB ports and even a 12V car cigarette outlet for powering a wide variety of devices. This generator is compatible with Jackery’s solar panel chargers which makes it an environmentally friendly option that is completely self-reliant. In a pinch you can use a wall charger to fill its battery in about 2.5 hours from completely dead. Its compact, 62-pound body is reminiscent of a rolling bag thanks to the built-in telescoping handle used to easily wheel it around.
Keep Your Food Cold and Make Ice on the Go
Best Portable Appliance: EcoFlow Glacier
You can think of the Glacier as a next generation cooler. It can store your food off the grid and even make ice. Since its battery powered, it lasts longer than a traditional cooler, but it also acts as an emergency power station for smaller devices like smartphones and tablets. If you camp or hit the beach often, the Glacier can bring the luxuries of home with you if you’re willing to wheel a fridge around.
Provide Shade and Power to Your Outdoor Spaces
Best Backyard Tech: Geneverse Solar Pergola Concept
Many backyards use a pergola to create a shaded retreat from the sun. Geneverse’s concept keeps you cool while using solar panels on its roof to generate electricity. This energy can be distributed to any of the company’s power stations which you can use to charge up devices or keep on standby in case of a power outage. While its an efficient use of space the real draw is that it easily snaps together so that you can pack it up for travel.
A Portable Projector That Packs a Punch
Best Projector: Hisense Smart Mini Projector
Don’t let the picture fool you, this mini projector creates a crisply colored image without any screen thanks to a 1,600 lumen brightness. Its not quite pocket-sized, but the compact cube projects a massive image up to 150-inches. There’s plenty of connectivity built-in, with support for wireless streaming protocols like Apple’s AirPlay 2 in addition to a physical HDMI input. While no pricing or release info has been shared just yet, you can keep an eye out for it on the Hisense website below.
Automate Your Lawn Mowing With the Press of a Button
Best Robot Lawnmower: Worx Landroid Vision
The newest addition to the Landroid series of lawn cutting robots works right out of the box without any mapping requirements on your end. A built-in HDR camera and AI neural network work together to guide the Landroid around your property without any pre-set path information or boundary wire. When objects in the grass cross the bot’s path it knows to avoid running them over while adjusting cutting heights between 1.5 to 3.5-inches on the fly. During rain showers and storms, it returns to its weatherproof housing automatically. While no pricing information has been shared, there will be three different tiers for cutting a quarter acre, half acre, and full acre when the series launches later this spring.
Cook Smarter, Not Harder
Best Appliance: Brava Glass Smart Oven
This smart oven offers over 10 ways to cook meals ranging from broil to air fry for an all-in-one appliance. It not only saves counter space but guides you through each recipe so that each dish comes out at the level of doneness you expect. While your food cooks, you can view the progress of each component through heat proof cameras that show a video feed on the display atop the oven or remotely through the smartphone app. There’s a probe for meats, in addition to sensors laid throughout the oven, so there’s no guessing on internal temperatures.
Control Your Caffeine Fix
Best Kitchen Gadget: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio
The FlexBrew Trio gives you three different ways to brew your morning java: grounds to brew a 12-cup carafe or a single serving, or using a K-Cup to make one cup at a time. Its Alexa-connected smarts enable voice controls and automation into daily routines. With some tweaking you can wake up to a hot cup of Joe every morning or add a bit more boldness to your serving just by asking the system for it.
See Insights From Your Pee
Best Health Innovation Tech: Withings U-Scan
Urine contains biomarkers that can reveal a lot of information about your nutrition, menstural cycle, and overall health. This little sensor puck slides right under your toilet seat to catch a sample of your pee every time you go to the bathroom. Measurements are analyzed and then sent directly to your phone for deeper medical insights. You can use this information to monitor your health in real-time, track abnormalities, and make changes to improve future results.
Hands-Free Sneakers With Unmatched Support
Best Accessibility Tech: Kizik Roamer Sneaker
These sneakers slide onto your feet without the need to tie the laces, which is life-changing for those unable to put on shoes by themselves. The tech behind Kizik’s sneakers isn’t sensor or internet-based, but clever analog engineering. A titanium spring in the heel is crushed down as the foot slides in. Once your toes and ankle are lined up for maximum support the backing raises in place. Roamers are the newest addition to the lineup with a slick design that looks like a crossover between an Adidas and a Nike. This inclusive tech means anyone can get shoes that look and feel good onto their feet with strong support for all kinds of activities.
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