CES 2017 has got off to a cracking start, with innovation pouring in from every corner of the Las Vegas strip. From paper-thin TVs to AI…well, AI everything, the brightest minds in consumer tech have descended upon Sin City with some of the hottest gadgetry around.
So, what’s the best of CES 2017 so far? The TechRadar team has been stalking the Las Vegas Convention Center halls and grabbing front row seats at all the major press conferences to cherry pick the very best that this year’s show had to offer. This is what our expert team of editors have highlighted as CES 2017’s highlights – as well as what you, our dear readers, have picked out as your most-wanted new gear, too.
Best in Show – LG’s OLED W7 Signature Series TV
CES has always been Valhalla for TVs, debuting sets so mythically awesome (and inevitably expensive) as to be worthy of the living rooms of the gods. This year, nothing in the entire show could match the “wow!” factor of LG’s OLED W7 Signature Series TV. At just 2.57mm thin, packing in four future-proofed types of HDR support and complete with its own Dolby Atmos soundbar, its the very (ultra) definition of audio-visual opulence.
People’s Choice – Nvidia Shield (2017 Edition)
Whether your were a gamer or someone on the hunt for a feature-rich media player, the original Nvidia Shield ticked plenty of boxes. It’s second edition, debuting at CES 2017, has deservedly grabbed the attention of the TechRadar readership, who’ve voted to crown it with this year’s People’s Choice award. With a revised controller, superlative 4K HDR streaming options and built-in Google Assistant for voice control, this gaming-orientated Android set top box packs a wealth of features into its tiny frame.
Best Smartphone – Asus Zenfone AR
While the big guns traditionally hold their devices back for next month’s big Mobile World Congress smartphone blow-out, Asus has taken an early lead in this year’s smartphone race with its Zenfone AR at CES 2017. The first high-end Android device to feature Google’s Tango augmented reality technology, its amazing specsheet also includes a 5.7-inch 2560×1440 Super AMOLED display, 8GB of RAM, a 23MP motion-and-depth tracking camera system and powerful Snapdragon 821 guts.
Best Laptop – Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
Ever-reliable Dell really pulled out all the stops with its XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop. A portable, flexible Windows workhorse with a beautiful IGZO screen, it’s super thin and Windows Hello ready, with support for Thunderbolt expansion drives and accessories. Comfortable in either laptop or tablet mode, it’ll be on the shopping list of every laptop hunter as it lands in stores this month.
Best TV – LG OLED W7 Signature Series
Already our best in show, the LG OLED W7 was naturally the best TV we saw too, beating off stiff competition from the Dolby Vision equipped Sony OLED and Samsung’s QLED displays. You better start saving though – the LG OLED W7 Signature Series is expected to have a price tag starting at around $10,000 (£8,120 / AU$13,760) when it starts shipping in March, making this one for elite cinephiles.
Best Digital Camera – Panasonic Lumix GH5
Three years in the making, the Lumix GH5 is everything you’d want to see from a Micro Four Thirds camera. First revealed back at Photokina 2016 (though with a few blanks left on its spec sheet), its full unveiling at CES 2017 was a thing of beauty. With a 20.3MP sensor and OLED viewfinder, it has an autofocus twice as fast as its predecessor (with a staggering 225 points of autofocus), as well as the ability to shoot 4K video at 60fps.
Best Audio Accessory – LG SJ9 Sound Bar
Seen at the show partnered with LG’s W7 OLED TV, the LG SJ9 is the perfect audio companion for a serious screen. With built-in Dolby Atmos support (two of its myriad drivers are pointed at the ceiling for overhead surround sound) it can up-sample audio files to hi-res 24-bit, while also totally happy to provide a 4K passthrough option for your games console or UHD Blu-ray deck.
Best All-in-One PC – HP Envy 34
Who said Apple had to have all the fun when it comes to All-in-One PCs? The HP Envy 34 will drop jaws too, with a 34-inch, 3440×1440 resolution, curved screen design that’ll make even your office desk drool. Packing the majority of its hardware (including Bang & Olufsen speakers and the new Kaby Lake desktop processors from Intel) into the machine’s base, it even has a pop-up IR webcam to keep its lines as tidy as possible.
Most Unique Product – Holo Cube
Maybe it’s the horror movie enthusiasts among the TechRadar team showing their influence, but we loved the look of the augmented reality powered Holo Cube from Merge VR – even if it does look just like the creepy puzzle box from the Hellraiser films! Working in tandem with a smartphone, app and AR headset, the Holo Cube (aimed at kids) can be used for education or recreation, turning the cube (through the headset’s viewfinder) into anything from a beating heart to a Minecraft-like blocky world.
Best Car Tech – Toyota Concept-i
Sit down. Grab a pen and pencil. Draw the car of the future. Chances are, your sketch would look a hell of a lot like Toyota’s Concept-i. With its very one AI, Yui, living in the dashboard, it points to a future where artificial intelligence doesn’t necessarily take over the joy of driving completely, but instead complements it with safety features in case a driver gets distracted or tired. Plus, with its wheel covers and scissor doors, it just looks super, super cool.
Best Home Theater Product – Dish AirTV box
A sign of things to come in the TV viewing world, the Dish AirTV box seems equipped to handle every possible living room viewing need. With 4K compatibility and Android TV smarts, it has options for picking up over-the-air signals with its built in antenna, or just internet-based streaming services. Whether you’re watching Netflix or tapping into a Sling TV subscription, the AirTV has you covered.
Best Gaming Device – HTC Vive Tracker
With each passing year we’re getting closer to that Matrix-like promise of the VR future, and as ever its HTC with its Vive equipment leading the pack. At this year’s CES, it was showing off its new Vive Tracker, which can be combined with practically any object to allow the room scale VR cameras to track and insert them into a virtual world. Those VR gloves that always seemed so obvious? With the Vive Tracker, they could soon become a reality.
Best Fitness Tech – Polar Smart Shirt
A smart shirt, with a difference. No, it’s unlikely you’ll be wearing Polar’s new shirt at your next important job interview or dinner with the in-laws. Instead, this fitness-focussed garment is aimed at sports teams, letting coaches know in real time exactly how hard a player is working out. Comfortable despite being loaded with sensors, don’t be surprised if you see some big-name sports stars warming up in one of these in the future.
Best Mobile Accessory – Incipio OX iPhone 7 Case
iPhone 7 owners, rejoice: the 3.5mm headphone jack lives on! Well, at least it does if you pick up the new Incipio OX iPhone case. A bumper that trades off an elongated lower lip on your phone for the ability to plug in standard headphones, it finally lets you charge and listen to some wired cans at the same time on Apple’s latest and greatest smartphone.
Best App / Software – Amazon Alexa
There’s could only be one winner here, and that’s Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. It’s in practically every connected gadget on the show floor, adding voice-activated smarts to everything from cars to speakers to fridges. It’s proving that Alexa is set to be very much a platform beyond Amazon’s own devices – and must be leaving the Siri and Assistant bosses at Apple and Google respectively scrambling to catch up.
Best Wearable Tech – Misfit Vapor
Misfit has been in the wearable space for years now, so it’s a tad surprising that it’s taken them this long to make a proper touchscreen smartwatch – especially when the market for such timepieces seems to be slowing. But matching good value (with its $199 price tag) with a feature rich spec sheet, it’s still got it where it counts. Packing a 1.4-inch AMOLED screen, a SnapDragon 2100 processor, 4GB of storage, and GPS and heart-rate tracking, it’ll be one to watch ahead of Google’s Android Wear 2.0 reboot.
Best In-Home Gizmo – LG Smart InstaView fridge
Remember how we said Amazon’s Alexa was everywhere? Well, here that is in practice. Cramming as much tech as it possibly can into its fridge while still leaving you space for the milk cartons, the LG Smart InstaView features a 29-inch touchscreen display that can show what’s inside and highlight products near their expiration date, while also making use of all the Alexa feature’s you’d expect from an Amazon Echo. Out of eggs? Have a chat with your fridge and it’ll order them from Amazon’s pantry. Ah, the future really does feel like it’s finally here, eh?
- New year, new tech – check out all our coverage of CES 2017 straight from Las Vegas, the greatest gadget show on Earth