Another CES has come and gone, and I was fortunate enough to cover it in-person for the first time in four years. I brought my mom to help me check everything out this year (hi mom!), and we had a blast exploring everything the technology world had to offer for CES 2023.
As is tradition, it’s time to pick my favorite things from the show. I won’t lie to you: this year was particularly hard. Not because I was trying to decided between one or two products per category. Instead, it was hard just putting the categories together. This year’s CES spanned far and wide, even compared to years when there wasn’t a pandemic to hinder its attendance.
After much deliberation, I’ve selected the best tech of CES 2023. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!
Sony and Honda’s Afeela
Out of all the cars at CES, Sony and Honda easily made the most noise with the introduction of Afeela. It’s the first car under the companies’ new joint venture, Sony Honda Mobility, and the most important aspect is the fact that some version of it will actually ship.
That’s a large reason why I’m giving it my Best Car award. It’s easy to give it to some car that floors you with its crazy design and an almost impractical amount of tech, but more often than not, those cars are just concepts that slowly devolve to vaporware.
Granted, Afeela is a concept, and we don’t know much about it. But this car represents the direction Sony and Honda’s EV collaboration will go, and with its combination of futuristic design and advanced technology (over 40 different sensors for autonomous driving, souped-up infotainment system, screens everywhere), it’s very exciting.
Best Smart Home Device
Samsung SmartThings Station
There were a lot of new smart home gadgets at CES, many of which support Matter, the new universal smart home protocol that ties together devices that support Amazon Alexa, Google Nest, Apple HomeKit, and others. But the most interesting one was Samsung’s SmartThings Station, a chunky Qi wireless charger that can trigger specific routines with the touch of a button.
The Station has a button in the top right corner that, when pressed, triggers the smart home routine of your liking. It all works through the SmartThings app, is fully compatible with Matter, and offers an easy setup process with Samsung Galaxy phones (obviously). The wireless charger on the top maxes out at 15W and makes it a nice addition to a coffee or bedside table (or wherever you put your phone at night).
The SmartThings Station seems like it’ll be a solid hub to connect all of your Matter-enabled smart home devices to. There’s no pricing yet or shipping information, but I left CES impressed with it, and it’s getting my Best Smart Home Device award as a result.
Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness
Am I a sucker for a new hybrid smartwatch? Yes, yes I am. So I was excited when Fossil reached out and offered to send me a review unit of the new Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness, which debuted at CES 2023.
It does so much right that’s earning by Best Wearable award. The Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness is a classy smartwatch with a beautiful design and watch face. The E Ink screen in the back is large enough to see things like notifications at a glance, fitness data, weather information, and more. It also comes with Alexa support, customizable E Ink watch faces, and an identical experience across Android and iOS.
I’ll have my full thoughts on the watch published on CNN Underscored soon, but it’s fair to say that this watch was one of the highlights of my trip to CES.
Honorable mention: Citizen CZ Smart
Of course, Citizen also had a big show with the introduction of its new CZ Smart watch. It’s similar to the previous generation in terms of design and functionality, but what makes it special is the new YouQ app, which can help track your wellness using technology from IBM and NASA. It can help you mange your sleep habits, anxiety, stress, and overall wellbeing using useful tips and advice based on the data it records on your daily habits. It’s powered by Wear OS 3, comes in a few case variations, and could be a contender for one of the best Wear OS watches of the year.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i
It’s pretty impossible to find someone who attended CES and wasn’t impressed with the Yoga Book 9i. Lenovo’s dual-screen laptop, which completely replaces the keyboard deck and trackpad with a second 13.3-inch OLED screen, seems practical and useful despite looking absolutely insane.
It’s got all the raw hardware to power a smooth Windows 11 experience, like Intel’s 13th-generation Raptor Lake processors and 120Hz refresh rates. The design is in line with the rest of Lenovo’s Yoga lineup, the keyboard and kickstand allow you to prop the machine up however you’d like, and it gives you a ton of screen real estate without compromising durability (unlike the ThinkPad X1 Fold).
When I played with it during a briefing with Lenovo, I knew it was getting my Best Laptop award this year. It just feels like one of those devices that could be an unexpected smash hit.
LG Signature OLED M3
When I wrote about LG’s new Signature OLED M television earlier this week, I said how it “might be” the coolest TV at CES. Little did I know, that would remain my opinion even after other companies unveiled other TVs that were cool in their own right.
LG is getting my Best TV award this year because of how impressive the Signature OLED M (also known as the M3) is. It’s the world’s first wireless OLED television. The 97-inch 4K 120Hz panel is completely separate from the processing power and ports the TV needs to function. Instead, all of that is stored in LG’s Zero Connect box which wirelessly transmits the connection to the television from up to 30 feet away.
I checked it out in person at LG’s booth, where the TV was floating up and down on a mechanical mount while the Zero Connect box sat around five yards away. It seems like it’ll be handy for those who want something slimmer to mount to their wall and better hide the ugly wires that we all deal with in our entertainment centers.
Honorable mention: Hisense UX (85-inch 4K mini-LED TV)
I also checked out Hisense’s new UX TV, which is one of the brightest TVs to debut at CES 2023. According to Hisense, the 85-inch 4K television can reach up to 2,500 nits, which is 500 nits brighter than their previous TVs. The UX uses mini-LED technology with 20,000 LEDs and 5,000 local dimming zones to create sharper contrast and inkier black levels. It also has the industry’s first 16-bit light control algorithm that gives the UX better control over how colors and brightness are presented.
Given Hisense’s ability to offer excellent viewing experiences at lower-than-average prices, the UX peaked my interest enough that I had to mention it here.
Best Health & Fitness Tech
It’s not every day that a company promises you it can analyze your urine to tell you things about your health, but that’s exactly what Withings had to say about its new U-Scan at CES. Earning my Best Health & Fitness Tech award, the Withings U-Scan is a small rounded puck that sits in your toilet and collects urine samples, analyzing them all on its own and delivering you insights on your smartphone.
It uses replaceable cartridges, a microfluidic circuit, and various other technologies to analyze your urine and give you insights into your health. This includes things like cycle predictions and ovulation windows for women, hydration and dietary biomarkers, pH, vitamin C, ketone, carb balance, and more. Without getting too in the weeds about it, Withings said it used 13 different patents to develop the U-Scan so that it can collect urine samples, specify which data is indicative of your health, and clean itself with each flush.
It’s a really incredible product, despite the concept seeming rather silly. There’s no word on when it might start shipping in the United States (it’s awaiting a ton of approvals from the FDA), but in Europe, it’ll launch in the second quarter of 2023 for €499.99.
Best Gaming Tech
Alienware 25-inch AW2524H 500Hz monitor
Gaming tech was on full display this year at CES, but one product in particular managed to capture my interest and win my Best Gaming Tech award: Alienware’s AW2524H monitor.
It seems like a standard 24.5-inch Full HD G-sync gaming monitor with 99 percent of the sRGB color gamut, VESA DisplayHDR 400, and TUV-certified ComfortView Plus. But the real kicker is the refresh rate, which can go up to 500Hz. It’s the first consumer-available monitor to achieve that rate, which makes it one of the most impressive monitors to come out of CES despite looking unusually normal.
Now, do you want a 500Hz gaming monitor? It’s kind of your call. Not a lot of games (or PCs, for that matter) can push a refresh rate that fast. Plus, you have to overclock it in order to achieve 500Hz, with the standard refresh rate hanging out at 480Hz. But if it’s something up your alley, at least it exists.
I love picking a Best Startup award winner because there are so many cool ideas and innovate products from startups at CES. My pick for this year? Cyberstroller.
The company makes exactly what you think they make: high-tech strollers for your little ones. It’s an all-terrain stroller with a beefy, graphene tire in the front that lets you steer with ease, multiple terrain modes, a camera so you can keep an eye on your child, an air filtration system, a headlight, and more. It connects to an app on your smartphone so you can control the terrain modes and tap into the security camera, and it can even track how far you’ve walked with the stroller.
At £1,299, it’s one of those gadgets that makes you go, “That’s genius!” then, “Wait, do I actually need this?” Also, I went to CES with my mom who’s obsessed with baby products, so I’m also picking this one in honor of her.
Aiper Seagull Pro
There was a huge water tank on the CES show floor, and inside was the Seagull Pro from a company called Aiper. It’s a new robotic pool cleaner that crawls around the bottom of your pool, sucks up all the dirt and sand, and stores it in a reserve while propelling clean water out. It features a quad-motor system to get around your pool, and the battery has been extended compared to previous versions so it lasts up to three hours on a charge. Aiper says it can clean pools up to 3,200 square feet.
It’s earned my Best Robot award because, well, it’s just plane cool. Who doesn’t want a robot to clean their pool? It’s expensive at $899.99, but… c’mon, it’s a robot that cleans your pool!
Honorable mention: Yarbo
Speaking of robots doing tedious chores for you, I wanted to highlight the Yarbo as well. It’s a multi-function yard care robot that can do just about anything you want, whether it’s mow your grass, plow snow from your driveway, get rid of leaves and debris, and more. It comes with removable attachments, a docking station, and more.
AI Aquarium by Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)
This was one of those I-have-to-stop-and-look-at-this attractions at CES. Developed by the Industrial Technology Research Institute, this AI Aquarium features eye-tracking technology that can identify the fish you’re looking at and help you learn about it in real time. It uses artificial intelligence to match the fish in the tank with its database of marine life, and it uses special graphics to present short descriptions of the sea create that caught your eye.
It’s an ingenious concept, which is why it’s earning my Best Concept award. The coolest part is it’s already been implemented at the National Museum of Marine Science & Technology in Taiwan, so there’s a solid chance more of these smart aquariums will begin cropping up in the future.
You must log in to post a comment.