CES, the world’s largest technology show, is over for another year and provided us with a glimpse of what to expect this year in the way of gadgets. As usual, we trekked around the expansive show floor and various hotels to find the best products.
Each year we give out Top Picks awards to noteworthy devices across any category and from any manufacture. In no particular order, here’s what caught our eye at CES 2018.
Razer Project Linda
Lapdocks are stupid and boring. Well that used to be the case but Razer has turned things around with Project Linda, an amazingly specced dummy laptop that’s powered by the firm’s new smartphone.
It slots in to become a trackpad and second screen while a cut-out means you can still use the fingerprint scanner. The laptop itself, currently a prototype, will have a Quad HD 120Hz touchscreen, 200GB of storage and a battery big enough to charge the Razer Phone three times.
We want one now.
Dell XPS 13
The last XPS 13 was our pick for the best laptop around for over a year. The new model is even better. You do the math.
With thinner bezels, a slimmer body, 8th-gen Intel processors and the option of a 4K display, the new XPS offers small improvements to almost every aspect of the original laptop. Even the webcam placement has been improved, and it comes in a gorgeous stain-resistant white and gold finish, in addition to the classic black model.
Dell hasn’t reinvented the wheel here – but it got things so right the first time around that it really doesn’t have to.
LG ThinQ Smart Speaker
Smart speakers are all the rage and we expected plenty at CES 2018. The show didn’t disappoint and we particularly liked the LG ThinQ Smart Speaker with, for starters, it’s sleek black design.
This is another device with the Google Assistant built-in so you can do all sorts of handy things with you voice. The speaker also sounds great, has touch sensitive controls on top and Bluetooth to boot.
LG’s ‘OLED Canyon’ – top of page – drew a big crowd but isn’t really a product so we couldn’t really give it an award.
Samsung Galaxy A8
MWC is the smartphone show on the calendar but Samsung decided to launch its new A series phone in Las Vegas and we’re impressed. The Galaxy A8 is effectively a Galaxy S8 mini, bringing some flagship features at a lower price.
This includes an 18:9 Infinity Display, upgraded internal and IP68 waterproofing. As well as a metal and glass build, the A8 has dual front cameras so you can make use of Live Focus to blur the background of selfies.
Acer Swift 7
One of the thinnest laptops of all time just got even thinner. Acer’s new version of the Swift 7 is just 8.98mm so it’s thinner than a lot of smartphones on the market and it’s not flimsy either, being made from an aluminium uni-body.
Not only is the Swift 7 thinner, but also comes with some upgrades including a Core i7 processor, 4G connectivity, fingerprint scanner and larger 14in touchscreen. What’s not to like?
Last year Sony won a Top Pick for its OLED range of TVs and it’s two in a row with the new AF8. For starters, the TV looks slick with an amazingly thin design available in 55- and 65in.
The AF8 features Sony’s 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme to create a better picture as well as other technologies such as Triluminous and X-Reality Pro. The range comes with Android TV, compatibility with smart speakers and Acoustic Surface that allows sound to come out of the screen.
HTC Vive Pro
With its unique room-scale setup, the HTC Vive was already the best VR headset on the market and the new Vive Pro is even better. The headline upgrade is the 78 percent upgrade to the resolution for more detailed virtual worlds, but arguably more important long-term are the built-in headphones and massive improvements to ergonomics and comfort.
Throw in the new Wireless Adapter for cable-free play (sold separately) and it’s pretty clear that for those that can afford it, Vive remains the headset to beat.
Lenovo Smart Display
It’s taken a while for Google to catch up with Amazon’s Echo Show and Spot – smart speakers with embedded displays – and in fact it decided not to even bother making one itself. Instead it partnered with other companies for the new Google Assistant smart displays and best of the bunch is this one from Lenovo.
Available in two sizes, this smart screen boasts all the Google Assistant support of a regular smart speaker, plus touchscreen controls, visualisations of travel directions and the weather. Best of all is contextual support for YouTube, like finding a video to demonstrate a cooking technique mid-recipe.
Your Echo Show can’t do that.