Best Tech of CES 2019
New year. New tech!
Like every January, Mashable’s Tech Team came to Las Vegas for CES to preview what’s coming in the world of consumer tech, and boy were there a lot of shiny new gadgets to see.
So much of what’s shown at CES is often conceptual and might never see commercial release. But that’s OK, because that’s what pushes innovations forward. We need crazy dreamers with wild, forward-looking ideas. Without them, tech would be pretty darn boring every year.
Luckily, CES 2019 was anything but dull, and we had lots to choose from to assemble our list of Mashable’s top picks of CES 2019. We’ll continue to update the list throughout the show, so be sure to check back for new additions.
TVs and Displays
Samsung 75-inch Micro LED 4K TV
Every tech company at CES seems to have an 8K TV of some sort. Samsung’s got some too, but its 75-inch Micro LED 4K TV is far more interesting because it’s modular. With a few twists, the Micro LED TV can be made larger by adding modular panels of, well, LEDs. Such a design is pricey, but it lets you create a TV of virtually any size, resolution, and aspect ratio for your space.
LG Signature OLED TV R
The R in LG Signature’s OLED TV R stands for rollable — as in this 65-inch TV furls up into its aluminum base when not in use. The bendy TV was first teased at CES 2018, but this year you can actually buy it. With gorgeous color and deep blacks, a display that’s just 3mm thick, and of course the rollable design, LG’s TV is easily one of the coolest things at CES.
Samsung Space Monitor
There’s nothing flashy about Samsung’s Space monitor. However, as anyone who works with a small working space knows, a monitor can hog up quite a bit of desk surface area. That’s why Samsung’s Space monitor is so genius. It’s designed for small work spaces and props up elegantly against a wall and extends downwards on your desk. The Space monitor’s thoughtful in a way every computer monitor isn’t.
LG ‘Massive Curve of Nature’
LG. Did. It. Again. While not something you can buy (unless you’re rich and hell-bent on recreating it), the Korean electronics giant assembled the most spectacular TV showcase at its CES booth for the third time in a row. This year, attendees were treated to the “Massive Curve of Nature” as they entered LG’s booth. The massive installation is comprised of over 250 curved LG OLED TVs and, just holy shit, you need to see a video of it in action.
AirPlay for smart TVs
Apple doesn’t have an official presence at CES, but it still knows how to make an unofficial splash at the tech event. No product announcements, but Apple surprised everyone by opening up AirPlay support for third-party smart TVs. Owners of supported smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Vizio, and Sony will soon be able to wirelessly stream over content from their iOS and Mac devices. AirPlay was once exclusive to Apple, but this year, it’s finally unbuttoning its jacket.
LG 8K 88-inch Z9 OLED TV
If you prefer your TVs traditional — flat and non-rollable or modular — and only care for a flatscreen that’s bigger and supports 8K resolution at up to 60Hz over HDMI, look no further than LG’s 8K 88-inch Z9 OLED TV. Not only does the behemoth of a TV stop you dead in your tracks with its jaw-dropping picture, but it also comes with built-in Google Assistant and Alexa support. Such a huge TV won’t come cheap, though.
Dell XPS 13 (2019)
There wasn’t much Dell needed to tweak to its popular XPS 13 laptop. The biggest change on the XPS 13 (2019) is the repositioned webcam, which is on the top bezel where it rightfully belongs. Otherwise, the XPS 13’s virtually the same with thin display bezels, a nice keyboard and trackpad, plenty of ports, though it’s also upgraded with faster Intel 8th-gen chips.
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition
Razer’s Blade 15 Advanced Edition is hands-down one of the least obnoxious (and one of the most powerful) gaming laptops announced at CES 2019. Compared to the regular Blade 15, the Advanced Edition has a few notable upgrades including NVIDIA’s ridiculously powerful RTX 2060, 2070, or 2080 discrete graphics, support for up to 64GB of storage, better speakers, and has a webcam that works with Windows Hello sign-in support. So much power in such a compact clamshell seems impossible, but Razer’s pulled it off.
Samsung Notebook 9 Pro (2019)
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2 and Huawei’s MateBook X Pro took home our picks for best laptops of 2018, but Samsung’s coming in hot in 2019. Its chiseled Notebook 9 Pro (2019) not only looks good, but has the power, ports, tactical keyboard, responsive trackpad, and thin display bezels to compete with the best coming out this year. Might 2019 be the year Samsung gets serious about laptops?
Huawei MateBook 13
Huawei surprised everyone with its superb MateBook Pro X laptop last year and doesn’t look to be slowing down in 2019. Aimed right at Apple and Microsoft’s laptops, the new MateBook 13 shows thin and light clamshells can have it all. Features like a touchscreen and discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics, stereo Dolby Almost speakers, and fingerprint reader make this computer, which starts at $999, a very attractive portable machine.
Razer HyperSense Concepts
What if you could feel your PC gaming? Like really feel every shot, jump, explosion, etc. That’s what Razer’s HyperSense is. By converting 3D sound into haptic feedback, the company can make gaming more immersive IRL. At CES, Razer showed off a gaming chair, keyboard wrist pad rest, and a gaming mouse with built-in haptic feedback synced to Overwatch and Doom and it was impressive. Though only a concept for now, there’s a good chance Razer actually builds them for consumer release.
Not many smartphones pull up to CES (they’re saving new models for Mobile World Congress), so there’s an opportunity for the less-known brand to come through. Huawei-owned sub-brand Honor has quickly become a force to be reckoned with. At CES, its View20 was easily the best phone to ogle thanks to its “hole punch” display that eschews the notch, powerful Kirin 980 chip, triple camera setup, and striking rear design that reflects and refracts light in flashy ways.
Withings Move ECG
Apple made everyone start caring more about their health with the Apple Watch Series 4 and its ECG app. But what if you want an ECG but don’t want an Apple Watch? Withing’s ECG Move has you covered. The analog smartwatch give you an ECG readout at a fraction of the price ($130) of an Apple Watch to help you keep better tabs on your heart health. Sure, it doesn’t have a touchscreen or any way to send you notifications, but less is sometimes more.
Facebook-owned Oculus’s third VR headset, the Quest, launches in the spring and boy is it unreal. Promising to offer a “near Oculus Rift-like” experience without the clunkiness of a gaming PC or wires, the Quest and its sleek all-in-one design and hand-tracking controller technology could be the easy-to-use VR headset we’ve all been waiting for. Plus, at $399, it’s not unreasonably priced.
HTC Vive Pro Eye
A year after releasing the Vive Pro, HTC’s gearing up to launch the Vive Pro Eye. The improved VR headset is its first to come with built-in eye-tracking for “gaze-oriented menu navigation.” In other words: You can navigate menus just by looking at them instead of using motion-based hand wand controllers. For now, HTC’s targeting more business use-cases, but here’s hoping more consumer-oriented content creators show interest.
What if there was a way to essentially ride in a car as if you’re a passenger in the backseat without actually being in the vehicle? Valeo’s Voyage concept is a VR experience that lets the driver talk and “see” a passenger who’s actually remote and has connected through a VR headset. With a headset on, the remote passenger’s basically teleported into the car. It’s a little goofy, but it’s another way companies are using modern technology to connect people even when they can’t physically be together.
Disney and Audi in-car VR
Remember how you used to have to play “I spy” or read a book during a road trip? Kids these days don’t know that kinda torture because they have iPads and smartphones. But in the future, they might have VR. Disney and Audi want to turn boring ol’ riding into an interactive experience. With VR headsets on, passengers would be able to shoot lasers at asteroids and drones or fly through space with all of the in-VR movement synced to the car’s real-world movement. Try not to throw up!
B-Secur HeartKey Steering Wheel
-Secur’s HeartKey steering wheel takes measurements from your heart to know who’s driving. Grab the wheel and your unique heart beat unlocks your personal settings in the car. While driving it measures your stress levels and can alert you when you’re getting drowsy. It’s still in development but hopes to be in car steering systems in the next few years.
Lime and Lyft e-scooters
There’s no stopping e-scooters from invading major cities. At CES 2019, Segway unveiled its new Ninebot Shared Scooter Model Max e-scooter with a more durable design for withstanding weather and longer battery life with Lyft already signed up to roll them out in the future. Similarly, Lime also showed off its Generation 3 e-scooter with larger wheels and better suspension system and braking, and a color screen. With their growing popularity, these upgraded e-scooters will have the potential to impact an entire generation of travelers.
Lenovo Smart Alarm Clock
CES was filled with a seemingly infinite number of Google Assistant-enabled smart devices, but there was one that stood out: Lenovo’s Smart Alarm Clock. At $80, the little guy and its 4-inch touchscreen display is cheap — like really cheap. The built-in speaker’s not gonna compare to a Google Home or any beefier smart speaker, but it’ll do the trick like a Home Mini. The ambient light sensor that dims the display is also pretty neat. Lenovo’s known for its computers, but Smart Alarm Clock is its Trojan horse into the bedroom.
Yes,Heatworks’ Tetra tabletop dishwasher was shown off at CES 2018, but now it failed to ship. The microwave-sized internet-connected dishwasher is perfect for small-sized apartments, can be controlled via an app, and still looks dope with its transparent design. The Tetra returned to CES 2019 and Heatworks says it’s taking pre-orders sometime during the first quarter of 2019. Here’s hoping it’ll actually launch this year.
Impossible Burger 2.0
Everyone knows Impossible’s totally delicious not-meat-but-tastes-like-real-meat burgers are a marvel in food engineering. At CES, Impossible Foods unveiled the Impossible Burger 2.0. What’s new? First, the vegan plant-based beef patty is made of soy protein instead of wheat protein, resulting in no hormones, less fat, and zero cholesterol. It also makes it gluten-free. Second, It’s delicious. The end.
Ledger Nano X
This one’s for all the cryptocurrency geeks. From the makers of the popular Ledger Nano S crypto currency wallet comes an upgraded version: the Nano X. Compared to the Nano S, the flash drive-sized Nano X has Bluetooth connectivity allowing for users to connect it to their computers and phones wirelessly to send and receive cryptocurrency. If you haven’t already dumped all your Bitcoin, this little guy might be just the right toy for you crypto junkies.
Lexar 1TB 633x SDXC UHS-I card
Guys, guys…1TB…terabyte of storage in a stamp-sized SD card. Do we even need to say more? While an SD card isn’t quite as tiny as a microSD card with a whopping amount of storage, it’s still a stupid amount of storage to hold all your digital files. Priced at $500, Lexar’s 1TB SD card isn’t cheap. But if you shoot a lot of 4K video or maybe plan to shoot even higher 8K resolution video in the future, this little card is a worthwhile investment.
Google Assistant Ride
And the award for thirstiest company at CES goes to… Google! The tech giant showed up in full force for the second year in a row and its installation was absolutely nuts. It built a friggin’ mini theme park ride, complete with animatronic characters, just to show off the Google Assistant’s many capabilities. Attendees were awarded a free Home Hub smart display, but like dayummm. Chill, Google, way to make CES more like Disney World. A+ for having the $$$ to splash on such a grand spectacle.