From debuts like BMW’s color-changing IX Flow car to updates to our favorite gadgets, there was no shortage of innovation at this week’s Consumer Electronic Show. CES brings thousands to Las Vegas each year as brands show off their newest advancements in tech. While some of the biggest players were notably absent this year due to COVID concerns, this left room for the spotlight to shine on some really unique devices. Here’s the hottest tech we saw with the potential to improve everyday life in 2022 and beyond.
Next-Generation TV Features
Samsung Neo QLED 2022
While excitement swirled around OLED and Micro LED advancements, Samsung’s Neo QLED lineup brings useful and forward-thinking features to one of the best 4K TVs around. Not only does it pack a 144-hertz refresh rate for smoother motion in movies and games, a full HDMI 2.1 input array maxes out the frame rates and resolutions of the latest streaming devices and gaming consoles. Share Play is a new feature that allows you to watch shows, movies, and games together with other people in different households. This watch party feature is great for social distancing and keeping in touch with family and friends when everyone is using a webcam. Another app coming to Samsung’s 2022 TV lineup is GameHub, which lets you play the latest video game titles at 4K over the cloud from services like Google Stadia and GeForce Now. That means you no longer need a next-generation gaming system or computer to play modern titles including Cyberpunk 2077. Last but not least, the TVs come with a solar-powered remote that converts radio waves like your Wi-Fi signal into a power source in addition to sunlight. Convenient and good for the environment? We’d chalk that up to a win in our book. The next generation of Neos will hit shelves at the end of this year starting from $3,000.
A Beastly 17-Inch Gaming Laptop With Battery Life
Alienware M17 R5 Ryzen Edition
Nvidia may have revealed its powerful new 3090 Ti graphics card, but AMD caught our eye with its powerhouse of a pre-built Alienware gaming laptop. In addition to each 2022 Alienware gaming computer receiving Dolby Atmos and Vision support, the M17 takes things a step further to include the latest Ryzen 9 6980HX CPU and RX 6850M XT for ray-traced graphics and high frame rates. It’s the first to ship with AMD SmartAccess Graphics, AMD’s advantage spec that boosts performance by efficiently distributing power and resources. This bumps battery life for the 17-inch beast, something larger, more powerful models are known for lacking. Now we don’t expect to see one charge last all day, but we do anticipate longer sessions of high quality gaming. Keep an eye out for this behemoth to drop sometime this spring.
A Premium Smartphone At Mid-Range Price
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE boasts high-end features like a crisp 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a 120-Hz refresh rate, a large 4,500-mAh battery, and a triple-lens camera consisting of two 12-MP sensors and an 8-MP telephoto sensor system. And all that costs just $700. That’s over $500 less than an iPhone Pro with similar features. You give up the premium materials of its flagship Galaxy S21 in addition to expandable SD card storage but retain the same Snapdragon 888 processor. It’s one of the most powerful mobile chips on the market. Samsung takes the crown for mid-range smartphones with high-end features this CES with the new S21 FE going on sale January 11th.
A Ring-Like Security System For Your Car
Nextbase IQ Dash Cam
Nextbase’s IQ upgrades the dash cam formula with advanced safety features to make it an essential addition to any vehicle. Aside from capturing your drive, the Nextbase can use AI to warn you of potential collisions with other cars and pedestrians. It’s connected to the cloud, so it can send footage and notifications in real-time when events occur near your vehicle. And the three cameras cover the exterior with crisp 4K footage, while the single interior camera captures cabin activity day or night at 1440p for encompassing protection. If an accident happens, the IQ sends for emergency services with critical information including GPS location and details. And even when you aren’t behind the wheel, you can remotely access the camera to look around and get updates if anyone is messing around with your car. I’m interested enough that I plan to upgrade to this from my aging Garmin Speak when the IQ releases later this year depending on the price—which hasn’t been shared just yet.
A Powerful Electric Pickup Truck
Chevy 2024 Silverado EV
Chevy’s 2024 Silverado EV promises more power than the upcoming F-150 Lighting electric pickup from Ford. The Ultium battery platform offers an estimated 400-mile range, 350-kW DC fast-charging speeds capable of adding 100 miles to the range in around 10 minutes, and 10.2 kW of off-board power. That 10,000 watts of electricity can run corded power tools or a smaller generator for running things like lights and a fridge during an emergency. The $100,000 RST model will be able to tow up to 10,000 pounds, with a maximum payload of 1,300 pounds and an impressive 664 horsepower with over 780 lb-ft torque. The more affordable WT line dials it down with 510 hp and 615 lb-ft with a 20 percent decrease in tow power to just 8,000 pounds. It’s nice to see Chevy retain the MultiPro feature which extends the 5 foot 11 inch bed into 10 foot 10 inches of usable space through a vertical wall stop on the tailgate. This extra space lets you load up on materials or outdoor gear for a versatile truck that switches between work and play.
4K Virtual Reality Gaming
PlayStation VR 2
While the Quest 2 has taken VR mainstream with a wireless standalone headset, the mobile chip that powers it greatly limits graphical capabilities. Premium PC VR headsets like the Valve Index are clunky and cost over $1,000 for the entire setup but offer improved tracking and graphics. The PlayStation VR 2 looks to be an affordable 4K virtual reality middle ground headset that offers the best of both worlds. It uses inside-out tracking built directly into the headset like the Quest so it doesn’t flood your room with physical sensors. By tapping into the power of the PlayStation 5 the headset is able to display immersive and rich graphics in 4K. It’s wired and powered by the PlayStation 5, which is a huge deal in itself as there is a large install base for wide compatibility. But the exciting part about all of this is the eye tracking with foveated rendering, which basically provides a realistic blur around your peripheral vision. This ends up reducing graphical demands for more details front and center. While we have no idea what the system even looks like, we’re excited by the prospect of deeper levels of immersion amplified by haptic feedback built into the device and the big push in the depth and quality of VR titles. Sony hasn’t shared a price or release date just yet but we doubt it would cost more than the console which retails for $499.
Impressive Workout Headphones For Less
Jabra Elite 4 Active Wireless Headphones
While testing for the best wireless headphones, testers vouched for Jabra’s 75T as a great sounding and fitting ear bud. The Elite 4 are more compact and add in a better microphone array, active noise cancellation, and secure fit not too far off from the things we love about our pick for the best wireless earbuds, the BeatsFit Pro. Unlike those, the Elite 4 are $120, $80 less and allow you to tweak the sound in a companion app. They have an IP57 rating, meaning they’re waterproof. The up to 7 hours of playtime (28 hours with charging case) isn’t bad either.
A Professional-Level Drone Footage For A Hair Over $1,000
Skydio 2 Plus Drone
The Skydio 2 Plus offers 27 minutes of flight time, up to 3.7 miles of range, and autonomous subject tracking. Footage records at a smooth 4K60 with HDR support. While the drone is an impressive piece of hardware, Skydio’s KeyFrame app has made a huge advancement in the space. This software allows you to set a plotted flight path for your drone to capture footage autonomously. From surrounding aerial shots to craning pans, the unique shot possibilities strongly contrast the limited movements on drones already available. Starting at $1,100, this one-bot camera crew frees up your time on the ground and can quite literally elevate your content creation to new heights.
A Projector, Speaker, And Streaming Device In One
Samsung Freestyle Portable Projector
Samsung’s Freestyle all-in-one projector features 360 degree sound output and a built-in operating system complete with ChromeCast support. With a nimble shape, it’s easy to move around and place in hard-to-reach spots, like on a ceiling above a bed. If you’ve ever set up a projector, you know the hassle of connecting that, a streaming device like a Chromecast, and a speaker to an outlet. The Freestyle makes it easy to take your setup anywhere with a single USB-C cord for operation. This simplifies outdoor movie night and projects up to a 100-inch screen at 1080p quality with HDR support. Onboard gyroscopes automatically level and focus the picture for you. You can even power the device using a USB-C battery for a nearly wireless media center setup.
A Smart Hub With AI Control Your Home With A Touch
Samsung Home Hub
Smart dashboards are nothing new, but Samsung’s Home Hub lends an advanced level of control to the tech. The elegant design encapsulates a sleek 8-inch touchscreen that lays out household chores, relays the status of smart home appliances, and effectively anticipates adjustments in things like lighting and temperature. SmartThings AI runs deep with compatible products and can be controlled from the hub so you can plan dinners and order ingredients, customize laundry cycles, and optimize your environmental air quality. This is a step beyond your average smart display since the system analyzes patterns and makes informed decisions. Samsung hasn’t shared information on a price or global release date just yet.
A Hands-free Smart Lock For Your iPhone or Apple Watch
Schlage Encode Plus
Schalge’s Encode Plus is a welcome update to our favorite smart lock. A built-in NFC chip allows iOS users to tap their devices on the lock to control it. A digital key stored in Apple Wallet for iPhones and Apple Watches means you can access your door lock easily and hands-free. Proximity-based auto-unlock protocols with other smart locks like those from August and Wyze can be finicky—something extremely frustrating when you arrive at your door with your hands full of groceries or in the cold, as I’ve experienced first-hand. No date beyond spring 2022 has been shared for the new lock’s release but it will run you $300 whenever it’s available for purchase.
A Doorbell With Clear Views Of Both Visitors and Packages
Eufy Security Dual Doorbell
Eufy Security slapped a second floor-facing camera to one of our top video doorbells to create the Dual. This battery-powered camera not only offers the sharpness of a 2K resolution, but a clear 1080p view of package deliveries and shorter guests. In the process, this has actually rectified complaints we had about the height of the view while also lowering the level of distortion in a wide- angle lens. Everything we liked about the device’s predecessor is still in tact from the defining clarity to the free 16 GB of local storage for up to 90 days of video recordings—the Dual just makes the package even more comprehensive. You can grab this doorbell next month for $260 when it launches on February 8th.
A Keurig-Style Robot Bartender
Black + Decker Bev Cocktail Machine
I’m no bartender—my gatherings often feature poorly made rum and cokes or whiskey gingers for ease. Black + Decker’s Keurig-style cocktail machine could change that, serving perfectly measured drinks every time with customization of single, doubles, and shots. LED lights glow beneath five of your preferred bottles of alcohol, and the system places tubes inside each one to suck up the liquor. Like with a Keurig flavor pod, you slip your cocktail cartridge of choice into this machine so you can make complex drinks like a Long Island Iced Tea in under 30 seconds without a mess. As a Long Island-native myself, I’ll hold my reservations until I’ve had a chance to test. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t eagerly awaiting the arrival of this $300 appliance later this spring.
Truly Automated Cleaning
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra Robot Vacuum and Mop
Roborock’s S7 Max V Ultra automatically vacuums and mops, sure. But with the new Empty Wash Fill Dock the bot cleans its mop, fills up its water reservoirs, and even empties the dust bin for up to seven weeks without requiring any maintenance from your end. Like its predecessor, it will use LiDAR navigation but is enhanced by 3D scanning and an RGB camera array to avoid obstacles. However, now the suction power is doubled to 5,100 pascals, up from 2,500 Pa of the previous flagship model. When the Roborock is done cleaning, it automatically returns to the dock. This advanced level of cleaning automation doesn’t come cheap at $1,399, but it could be worth it for those looking for an automated all-in-one solution for effortlessly keeping their floors clean. You can buy the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra starting from the second quarter of 2022.
Wi-Fi Signals That Locks Onto Your Devices
TP-Link Archer AXE200 Omni
Mesh Wi-Fi offers the most complete coverage, but the Archer AXE200 Omni tri-band Wi-Fi 6E router with mechanical robot antennas ensures blazing speeds. It adjusts its antennas on the fly to offer a tailored and powerful signal directly to devices that need it most. You can even directly control orientation from the app to optimize coverage in a single- or multiple-story building. Joining the traditional 5- and 2.4-Ghz bands is a new 6-GHz arm theoretically capable of reaching up to 11 Gbps. And if you prefer to wire your network devices, the Archer also offers 10- and 2.5-Gbps ports for a multi-gigabit wired experience. Pricing has yet to be determined but the unit is scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2022.
Smart Light Bulbs That Track Sleep
Sengled Smart Health Monitoring Light
In 2022, smart lights don’t just automate bed time, they track your sleep as well. At least that’s the plan for these bulbs from Sengled. The Smart Health Monitoring Light uses both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for smart control through the Sengled App and voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home. Radar technology in these new bulbs allows them to monitor your vitals like body temperature and heart rate and patterns of your sleep. It can even determine if someone has fallen. Due to launch at the end of 2022, these bulbs can be great for keeping an eye on individuals that live alone, like grandparents. I use Sengled lights in my own smart home setup and look forward to testing these out whenever they release in the fourth quarter of 2022. Unfortunately pricing information is scarce, but Sengled has a track record for affordable products.
An Accessory Hub To Play Console Games Using A Mouse And Keyboard
IOGear Keymander Nexus Gaming KVM
IOGear produces useful peripherals such as the excellent Dock Pro 60 I wrote about in our USB-C hub guide. The KeyMander Nexus Gaming KVM allows you to link gaming consoles to your PC for shared accessory usage. That means you can use the same monitor, headset, keyboard, and mouse across the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch. It supports video at 4K 60-Hz at the HDMI 2.1 spec. While you can shift accessories between consoles without the Keymander, compatible games are far and few between. This device streamlines your setup so that you can use your mouse and keyboard on any title without needing to swap inputs or controllers. You can grab the hub when it drops for $200 this June.
A Full-Size At-Home Arcade
Arcade1Up Pro Series Killer Instinct
Arcade1Up has dominated the at-home arcade seen with its 3⁄4-size cabinets of popular titles like Outrun and Golden Tee. They work relatively well but leave a bit to be desired in size and button performance, which isn’t surprising given their $599 price tag. The Pro series, which will kick off with Killer Instinct cab, features an upgraded 19-inch screen, Suzohapp buttons and joysticks (found on old-school arcade games), and upgraded speakers. Aesthetically, there’s a notable bump in size with true-to-scale arcade design, authentic artwork, and embellishments in the grills and T-molding. To round out the package, it supports Wi-Fi-enabled online multiplayer. While a price hasn’t been announced it wouldn’t be surprising if it hits the $1,000 mark especially since comparable cabinets range between $3,000-$5,000. Arcade1Up plans to release a new Pro series cabinet each quarter so that means we should see this in stock by the end of March the latest.
Virtual Reality Gloves To Interact With Objects In The Metaverse
While there’s plenty of ways to access the Metaverse, virtual reality is one of the best ways to experience it. bHaptics TactGlove is a pair of $299 haptic gloves for reaching out and feeling virtual surfaces in hand-tracked VR experiences. It uses ten Linear Resonant Actuators on the fingertips to create a feedback sensation from virtual objects within headsets like the Meta Quest or HoloLens 2 . That means you can reach out and grip the handle of objects like a virtual firearm or feel the tap of your finger against a rendered window pane. This little company is likely to beat Meta (formerly Facebook) to market, which teased its work on glove controllers late last year. A full release is planned for later this year.
A Fully Autonomous Tractor
John Deere Fully Autonomous 8R Tractor
John Deere’s fully automated tractor technology allows the brand’s most popular row crop 8R 410 tractors from the past three years to operate autonomously. Using six pairs of stereo cameras for 360-degree obstacle detection, positional GPS, and an Nvidia GPU, the tractor is able to till fields on its own while avoiding obstacles. This equipment is placed in pods at the front and back end of a tractor and can be installed retroactively within one day. While it is surprising that the devices aren’t reliant on LiDAR, which is commonly used for sensing depth in devices from the robot vacuum above to Teslas, this addition couldn’t have come at a better time as farmers face a labor shortage. A limited number of farmers who have a steady internet connection throughout their property will use the system this year. Over time the pod add-0n will be sold separately for a price that has yet to be disclosed.
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