One of the hardest things every year is having to answer the question: “What was your favorite thing you experienced at CES this year?”. The show is filled with so much innovation and eye candy that your head is fueled with topics to discuss all year. However, at the end of the run, we do tally our own votes together to select what brought home the winning prize, and this list is here to show them off.
There are many coveted prizes for companies to take home every year, with long lists of winning names. However, we pride ourselves with limiting the number that we hand out to a very select few. We narrow the names down by popular vote until only the final contenders remain on the island to receive the seal of approval, and these are the winning experiences we had this year.
1. Creative – Super X-Fi Headphone Holography Amp
This is by far one of our favorite smiles to have ever crossed our face when it comes to audio. Quality of audio will always be a never-ending game. However, the quality of sound isn’t the only thing to consider. How the sound is experienced is also important as there is so much room for innovation. From moving from channel based sound to object driven for one example. Or in this case, finally creating a true virtual surround experience using headphones.
Creative set up a private room where they demonstrated their new Super X-Fi headphone amp. They began taking images of our individual ears and face using their custom app, to achieve a measurement of their unique shape and angle. Then they brought everyone into another room where they have a 7.1 system setup. Using microphones placed in our ears like earbuds, they took another measurement for extra effect (a deeper measurement to make a point with). Then they asked us to put on the headphones and triggered your typical channel test on the speakers, where each speaker sounded off its position around the room. They did that a number of times until we realized it was no longer coming from the speakers. It was coming from the headphones we were wearing. It’s not everyday that you can get a room full of people like that to drop their jaw in awe. It was like someone just walked on water.
The speakers around us were silent. An accurate surround experience was being fed to us via headphones that not only delivered separation of channels (virtually), but distance as well. It truly sounded as though you were in a room with speakers around you, but not right against your ears. A true and open virtual sound stage in your ears, that really triggered the inner child in you to giggle.
It connects (and is powered) via a USB Type-C connection, allowing it to connect the headphones to smartphones, tablets, laptops or PCs if they support the port. You begin using an Android Smartphone (for now) and once your profile is downloaded to the amp, you are ready to go with the other devices. We will have more about this in the near future when we publish a full story/review.
2. LG Signature OLED TV R-Series – A Rollable TV is finally here!
The time is finally here. The last so many years, we have been hinted to and teased with the idea of having a screen that can roll up, bend or fold in half. Thus far it hasn’t really gone past fancy (and typically small) prototypes that we never hear much further about. LG stepped in to change this by bringing us a massive 65-inch TV that rolls up and hides away into a box, promising that what you see is exactly what you will get when it launches into the market.
Their new Signature OLED TV R-Series will be launching with a beautiful image and the ability to hide away when you aren’t using it, allowing owners to open the room up, especially if the TV is blocking a wall of windows. For some it might seem more like a gimmick than anything else, but for those who can afford this luxury, it might just be a new item in their living room worth every bit of the bragging rights. No pricing is available yet, and you can assume the average consumer won’t have anything like this for quite a long time, but innovation wise, they nailed it right on the head. It can even be controlled by Alexa!
3. June – The Smart Oven
This is another moment to geek out with giddiness if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking meals. If you are a big fan of toaster ovens. air fryers, dehydrators and more, you might just find yourself begging for a reason to put this on your counter somewhere.
June Oven is a 7-in-1 appliance that can act as convection oven, air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, toaster, and warming drawer. It features a camera that can auto detect the food you place into it and recommend the best ways of cooking it. In their demo, they showed you can place a sheet of cookie dough and bake cookies, or a sheet of asparagus where it will then recommend the best way to cook that. Two complete opposites, and it is supposed to be able to identify each on it’s own.
They are constantly adding food to their database and are able to add new features as they further develop the software through OTA updates. It’s a little pricey at around $600, but you are able to save a lot of counter space with it, and I bet all of your other appliances put together aren’t nearly as smart as this one.
4. Panasonic S1 and S1R Full Frame Mirrorless Cameras
Mirrorless is taking over now that Nikon and Canon have finally joined in on the fun. However, Panasonic and Sony are still the leaders when it comes to best models you can throw your money at. Their cameras have been neck to neck, but now Panasonic looks to be moving to own the industry (for now). Our crews shot CES this year using nothing but Panasonic GH5 cameras due to the results we can get out of those cameras (when the right amount of care and attention is applied). From images to video, the GH5 is a mean DSLR with a decent price.
The new S1 and S1R models will (should) blow the GH5 and similar models away, with a full frame sensor and enhanced specs to really deliver the path to the top seat with. It will be a blast to return to comparing the two companies together when the new models launch later in March. The list of specs isn’t available just yet as they are still working on it and neither is the price (gulp), but it sounds like this is going to be the next big demand for photographers, videographers and more.
5. Segway-Ninebot – Loomo Robot
Segway is a company with a huge portfolio of products now, announcing new items this year, including their new Gokart. However the star of their booth was their Loomo and Loomo Delivery robots. Our focus today is the regular Loomo due to it clearly having a much larger end-user group, which is broken down into multiple categories like consumer, enterprise and academic (Loomo Academy).
The new Loomo robot looks a little like their Segway miniPlus/miniPro, only with a robot built into the mix. You can of course ride it around like a normal Segway device, but it can do so much more on its own. It features facial recognition and can follow you around, it can carry a load and it can even take pictures or video using gestures. It has an SDK so that developers can create all sorts of ways for it to assist in your daily life both at home, work and more. It has a lot of potential and we look forward to keeping an eye on where it progresses from here.