Presenting the Matridox CES 2021 Best in Show Awards!

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to the official Matridox CES 2021 Best in Show Awards! The Consumer Electronics Show may have looked different this year than in years past, but that didn’t stop manufacturers of all types from announcing new products, technologies, and experiences.

To commemorate all of the amazing tech we’ve seen over the past week, I’m launching the Matridox Best in Show program. I’ve got 11 awards to give away for CES 2021, and they’re all really neat. I approached my selection of winners by discovering what peaked my interest, what I thought was relevant, and what I thought could set new industry trends.

Without further a do, here’s the inaugural class of Matridox Best in Show winners for CES 2021!

Best Car: Cadillac Celestiq

Futuristic cars are a regular at CES as the future of transportation is further explored, and Cadillac did enough interesting stuff to earn itself the Best Car title this year with the Celestiq (via The Verge).

The Cadillac Celestiq will be a fully electric vehicle with plenty of tech onboard. It has a massive glass roof that uses “four quadrant suspended particle device smart glass” so individual passengers can adjust how intense their tint is for shade. There’s also a massive infotainment display that’ll span the entire width of the dashboard, according to the company. It’ll have the “highest pixel density available in the automotive industry” and “display over one billion colors.” What’s more, the vehicle will be built on GM’s Ultium electric vehicle platform for continuity between other EVs from the company.

The cool part is it seems the Celestiq will eventually ship – at least, that’s the impression from Cadillac’s presentation at CES. We don’t have a release date or price yet, but you’ve gotta give credit where credit’s due. This will undoubtedly be quite the feat of engineering when it eventually hits the streets.

Best Smart Home Gadget/Appliance: ColdSnap ice cream maker

Look, 2020 was pretty miserable, and I’s sure many of us have been indulging more in sweets than usual. Why not indulge in some ice cream made by the Best Smart Home Gadget/Appliance winner, the ColdSnap?

Think of ColdSnap as the Keurig of ice cream. You can make single-serve ice cream using different pods that are shaped like energy drink cans. It takes about 60-90 seconds to make your frozen treat, and cleanup is easy since no ingredients leave the pod besides when they dispense into your bowl. You can make everything from ice cream, to frozen margaritas, to smoothies and more.

It’s a big machine that weighs 50 pounds and it likely won’t hit stores until 2022, but it’s undoubtedly one of the more indulgent gadgets out of CES 2021. And after the year we all just went through, don’t we need more indulgence in our lives?

Best Phone: LG Rollable

CES isn’t usually a place where you find the latest and greatest smartphones, but lately, companies have been showing off prototypes and visions for the future of the device we all have in our pockets. As the winner of my Best Phone award, the LG Rollable peaked my interest the most out of the handsets shown off this year.

It’s worth noting that no one’s actually touched this device yet, nor has LG commented on how it works or when it might be formally announced. Rather, it was teased during the company’s keynote in a video where the device’s screen slowly retracts into its body.

I’m giving this device an award not because I’ve touched it, but because of its sheer potential. This isn’t some startup trying to envision the future of the smartphone. This is LG, who has an established brand and the money to back a project like this that will eventually hit store shelves. It looks incredibly interesting from afar, and it’s a form factor no other company but TCL has mentioned. It was even one of the very first devices I decided to give an award to during my decision process.

We should know more about this fascinating device soon. Until then, we have this GIF to marvel at.

Best Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga

It’s no secret that I love the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, so when Lenovo told me it was gonna put out a special Titanium version of that machine, I immediately made it a contender for Best Laptop. After a thorough evaluation, I’ve decided to give it that very award.

My reasoning is simple: the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga does enough to get me absolutely pumped to review it. After years of complaining about 16:9 screens, Lenovo finally caved and put a 3:2 panel on the X1 Titanium. It has a 2K resolution (the perfect sweet spot between Full HD and 4K), 11th-gen Intel processors, Intel Evo certification, 5G, and the thinnest form factor of any convertible ThinkPad yet.

Lenovo is finally listening to what customers want, and I couldn’t be happier.

Best TV: LG’s transparent OLED television

When considering my awards, I tried to keep concepts to a minimum since you likely won’t ever be able to buy the exact thing manufacturers put on display at the show. However, when something’s cool, something’s cool, and LG’s latest concept TV is just that.

I’m giving LG’s transparent OLED television my Best TV award. Why? Look at this thing. It’s a transparent TV.

LG says the TV can be used at the foot of your bed so you can enjoy some entertainment and still see what/who is behind it. It can raise to various heights depending on what you wanna see on the TV, and LG envisions other use cases like info screens in public settings or menus at restaurants. Overall, it seems like a really interesting idea, one that I hope LG pursues.

Best Health & Fitness Tech: BioButton COVID-19 Screening Solution

Next up on my list is a pretty timely product called the BioButton. It’s getting my Best Health & Fitness Tech award for its innovative way of tracking COVID-19.

The BioButton is a coin-sized gadget you wear that connects to your phone to alert you if you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19. The single-use button has been cleared by the FDA and is medical-grade so facilities like schools, businesses, and hospitals can confidently use the device. It has continuous temperature, respiratory rate, and heart rate tracking to stay on top of your wellbeing. It can all be tracked through the BioMobile app which also alerts you daily with a screening, letting you know if you’re “Cleared” or “Not Cleared” before you head out. BioIntelliSense says it’s secure, uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone, and can last up to 90 days.

It’s a clever way to stay on top of your health in these crazy times, and it deserves your attention.

Best Wearable: Razer’s Project Hazel smart mask

For the Best Wearable award, I stayed in the COVID-19 vein with my selection of Razer’s Project Hazel smart mask.

It might be the craziest face mask you’ve ever seen, but Razer says it’s designed to keep you safe from catching COVID-19. It uses dual circular vents that can be cleaned via UV light to keep fresh air in and infected air out, while the hard shell plastic helps people see your mouth when you talk to them. Plus, it looks super futuristic thanks to its RGB lighting.

Razer says it’ll continue to work on it so long as people remain interested in it, and I for one want to see the end product. Hopefully, we’ll get it one day soon.

Best Gaming Tech: Asus ROG Strix Scar 17

Full disclosure: I’m not a gamer. For this category, I had to choose something that seemed like it would be a big deal to the gaming community, something that hadn’t been done before, but something you’d eventually be able to buy.

Enter the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 for 2021. It’s a gaming laptop (surprise, surprise) with a specific capability: its 17-inch Full HD model has a refresh rate of 360Hz. This is the fastest refresh rate in any laptop to date, and it’ll make everything from everyday computing to playing the latest high-intensive titles silky smooth. It’s got the components to match too, like an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HZ processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics with 16GB of VRAM, up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM, and 1TB of M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD storage.

Crazy specs like these are always fun to talk about, so I had to highlight this machine in my lineup.

Best Startup: IKIN

Holograms have been a part of science fiction TV shows, movies, novels, and comic books for as long as we can remember. However, whenever you wanna see a hologram, you typically have to put on a bulky headset. But what if you could project holograms right from your smartphone in the real world?

That’s exactly what IKIN’s trying to do, and it’s the reason it’s getting my Best Startup award. Founded by Taylor Scott, IKIN is a San Diego-based company that’s developing a smartphone accessory called RYZ that would allow you to project various holograms in mid-air. The company is also working on a platform that would let developers come in and make their own holograms using IKIN’s technology.

IKIN already has some games and short demos ready, but it wants to rely on licensing in order to speed up adoption. 3D models of houses, maps of amusement parks, 5G-powered experiences, and educational apps are some of the situations IKIN hopes to find its tech in.

It’ll certainly be a while until we see anything IKIN develops on the market, but their work sounds promising and their roadmap seems really interesting.

Best Robot: Roborock S7

Robotic cleaners are in many homes around the world, but most of the them only vacuum. But how about a cleaner that could vacuum and mop your floors?

Meet the Roborock S7, recipient of my Best Robot award. This cleaner is pretty unique thanks to its VibraRise retractable mop system which will mop your floors at a speedy pace all while avoiding your carpets. If the robot detects a carpet, it’ll move around it and vacuum it later. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, lasts for three hours on a single charge, and will launch on March 24th for $649.

There’s a strong chance I’ll be tempted to buy one, so you may wanna stay tuned for a review.

Best Concept: Cadillac eVTOL air taxi

Listen guys, there was no way I was gonna go an entire CES awards program without awarding at least one flying car. Cadillac is getting the final award of the CES 2021 Best in Show program thanks to its eVTOL air taxi concept (via CNET).

Mind you, this entire idea is strictly a concept, but man is it cool. Cadillac essentially designed a single-passenger helicopter of the future that can fly you from location to location without having to worry about getting stuck in traffic or being late. It’s powered by a 90-kWh battery and can go up to 56 miles per hour.

Right now, having a personal air taxi isn’t something the world is ready for since there’s practically zero infrastructure around it. Also, Cadillac stopped sharing technical details after mentioning the battery and speed, so this concept will likely evolve greatly before anyone can fly in it. Still, it’s awesome to see companies thinking about the future of transportation, and it’s easy to see that Cadillac specifically impressed me this year.