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Author Topic: CES 2021: The Best and the Weirdest Gadgets  (Read 51 times)
javajolt
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« on: January 17, 2021, 11:22:26 PM »
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The weirdest CES ever staged is now over. But no one will be striking booths in Las Vegas or hustling out of $1,000 a night hotel rooms today with all the cool gadgets theyíve shown off all week. Thatís because there wasnít that much new tech shown off. Much of CES was a rehash of the preceding weeksóand even monthsóof announcements. It made the all-digital affair even weirder! But there was still some cool stuff that left us pumped for 2021 and some absolutely wild stuff that had us by turns laughing, cringing, and just scratching our heads at the audacity.

Weíre only going to see more stuff as the year goes by too. Countless companies have hinted at big news in the coming weeks, and with major competing shows like IFA and Computex likely still happening later in 2021, plenty of companies could be holding their niftiest gadgets for consumer electronics shows people can actually attend in person.

The Best Gadgets of CES 2021

Lenovo X1 Titanium Yoga



While Lenovo didnít try to reinvent the 2-in-1, by combining an even sleeker design with a new titanium-clad body to create its thinnest ThinkPad ever, the new ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga just feels a bit more special. And as someone who appreciates a good multi-tasker, not only does the X1 Titanium Yoga feature a convertible 360-degree chassis, it also comes with full stylus support for drawing and notetaking, and updated specs including 11th-gen Intel chips, Thunderbolt 4, and a tall 3:2 display perfect for all sort of productivity. The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is simply a premium laptop made beautiful. ó Sam Rutherford

All the Wi-Fi 6E Routers



Last year the Wi-Fi 6 standard promised to improve wifi speeds and performance on a crowded network by using clever engineering tricks to increase the bandwidth of each wireless channel so that more devices could operate simultaneously with less cross-channel interference. But it was more of a band-aid solution to an ever-growing problem. Wi-Fi 6E promises to future-proof wifi for a while by introducing a new 6 GHz band to wifiís existing 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The 6 GHz band offers 59 separate non-overlapping channels so that multiple devices can operate at higher bandwidths at the same time. (Think 8K smart TVs streaming 8K content.) The best part is that older legacy devices wonít be able to access the 6GHz band, only newer devices (which should be arriving later this year) which should ensure the new band doesnít immediately fill up with traffic. ó Andrew Liszewski

Mudra Apple Watch Band



The Mudra Band[/color] is a strap for the Apple Watch that gives you the ability to control it one-handed. There are sensors that read electrochemical signals to interpret your various hand gestures. For instance, you can tap your index finger and thumb to dismiss a call, or close your thumb to skip a music track. Thereís a ton of potential for this type of device, in terms of both accessibility, but also hands-free convenience. And, itís not vaporware. The band is $180 and is expected to ship in March. ó Victoria Song

Asus ROG Flex X13



Itís a 2-in-1 gaming laptop. Yes, a true 2-in-1 with 360-degree hinges. The included GPU could pack a better punch (itís just a GTX 1650), but the rest of the specs are pretty solid: a new AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS mobile processor, liquid metal instead of regular olí thermal paste, and a choice between a 120 Hz or UltraHD 4K display covered with Corning Gorilla Glass. For anyone who wants the option of a better GPU, the Flow X13 pairs with Asusí XG Mobile, a compact eGPU that supports up to an RTX 3080. Pricing the two together is expensiveó$3,000óbut Iím hoping Asus sells the Flow X13 separately or at least makes the XG Mobile available with other GPUs soon. ó Joanna Nelius

Samsung Bespoke 4-Door Flex



I know it might be weird to be this excited about a fridge just because it makes a new kind of ice, but innovation in the fridge space has been pretty scant the last few years. Everything has seemed to revolve around screens or windows indoors and thatís just not a thing most people need or want. Good ice is a thing everyone can appreciate, and while the Bespoke is likely to be way too pricey for the average person its ability to produce good, or pebble, ice means this technology is finally coming to fridges. If this means a fridge four years from now can help me make a drink as satisfying as a Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper at Sonic Iím all in. ó Alex Cranz

TCL XL Collection



For TV shoppers on the hunt for the largest possible display on the tightest budget, Iíve got some great news: TCL is going big in 2021. The companyís new XL Collection will feature three 85-inch display models, including a 4K QLED powered by Roku TV, a 4-Series with Roku TV, and a mini-LED 8K TV that uses QLED wide color technology. Options! We donít know just yet how much TCL will be charging for two of those three, but we do know the 4-Series (85R435) will retail for $1,600, which is a ridiculously good deal for a display this size (and if you can wait a while, that price will likely go down closer to the holidays). Everybodyís debuting monster screens this year, but TCLís XL displays will likely be a tough deal to beat. ó Catie Keck

The Weirdest Gadgets of CES 2021

Razerís Project Brooklyn and Project Hazel



Weird doesnít necessarily mean bad, and in the case of Razerís two concept gadgets for CES 2021, Razer is presenting different methods for dealing with some of the everyday troubles people might be facing this year. One one hand Project Brooklyn represents the ultimate evolution of a gaming chair, and even with its over-the-top 60-inch rollable OLED display and RGB lighting, itís something that practically any gamer would love to have at home. Meanwhile, Project Hazel is an innovative take on a standard reusable mask, offering the kind of protection people need from airborne viruses while addressing a lot of the problems people have with a traditional cloth or paper face coverings. Honestly, the main thing keeping these concepts in the weird territory instead of hopping over to our best list is that both are closer to fiction than something you can actually buy. ó Sam Rutherford

ColdSnap



Keurig dominates the pod-based food space, while others like Juicero have spectacularly failed to try and muscle their way in. While the machines promise the experience is all about convenience, there are some big trade-offs to the approach. Pods need to be manufactured and recycled, and the per pod cost usually means if youíre not using the device multiple times a day, itís just not worth it. The ColdSnap also looks like a beast of a machine and seems like it would take up a LOT of space on your counter for the convenience of soft-serve ice cream in just 90 seconds. You can buy ice cream makers for less than $100 that takes longer, but you also get to use all your own ingredients. ó Andrew Liszewski

Panasonic nanoe Hair Dryer



The Panasonic nanoe Hair Dryer (EH-NA67-W) actually gets its name from a feature where the hairdryer draws moisture from the air around it (which is presumably very humid after a bath or shower) and then blasts your locks with ďtiny, moisture-rich particlesĒ that Panasonic claims are ď1,000 times more moisture-packedĒ than the charged ion particles that other hair dryers employ to achieve the same hydrating effect. It also features a unique oscillating quick-dry nozzle that quickly moves back and forth in an attempt to dry hair quicker and with less effort. At $150 it falls somewhere between a cheap department store hairdryer and Dysonís premium offerings and it could be neat if that very weird-sounding tech actually works. ó Andrew Liszewski

AMD and Nvidiaís Keynotes

Both AMD and Nvidia had some nice mobile-related news at CES 2021, but new news doesnít mean exciting news, and a massive shortage in the GPU space meant both companies seemed to have refrained from making the much bigger announcements fans expect. Weíll get the Radeon 6700 and the RTX 3070 Super someday, but not at CES. ó Joanna Nelius

Harman Personal Audio Headrest Platform



Speakers built into the headrest of your car seat that pops down to pipe the music into your ears is a very awesome idea, but Iím not sure it's necessarily a practical one. Speakers on either side of your head seem like a good way to do some damage to your noggin in the case of an accident, and it will be absolutely annoying if youíre driving along with a friend and they abruptly deploy their speakers. Thereís also the way it kind of kills the in-car sing-a-long thatís practically required if you have two or more people in a car and someone is being a kickass with the AUX cable. I donít hate Harmanís Personal Audio Headrest platform, but it definitely seems like a weird solution to a problem few people have. ó Alex Cranz

Samsung Eco Remote Control



Iím thrilled to see a TV maker moving away from single-use AA or AAA batteries that will likely wind up in the trash. If Samsung is to be believed, its new Eco Remote Controlówhich will ship with all of its new 2021 QLED 4K and 8K TVsócan charge via light as well as through a USB-C port, and Samsung says the remote can last up to two years on a single charge. Thatís not too bad if youíre buying a TV you hope to have for the next 10 years or longer. Iím cautiously optimistic about this remote, but Iíd like to see it in action before I get too pumped about the future of TV wands. It certainly seems like a step in the right direction, though. ó Catie Keck

Morari Patch



Itís a taint...bandaid...that zappies the no-manís-land between the scrotum and anus to stop premature ejaculation. Do I really need to elaborate? ó Victoria Song

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