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Every year, the road to next-gen innovation begins at the Consumer Electronics Show. Most of the industry’s biggest names (e.g. Sony, Samsung, LG, Amazon), along with ambitious indie brands, bring their newest creations to the showcase to give consumers a glimpse into the future. Compact disks, DVDs, satellite radio, tablets and OLED TV all made their global debut on the CES stage. And while it’s still way too early to see where technology will take us in the new decade, the best of CES 2020 reassured us that more life-changing gadgets are on the horizon.
Last year’s show offered some of the coolest tech that humans have ever laid their eyes on, some of which even made for the best tech gifts of 2019. We saw everything from autonomous cars to rollable TVs, plant-based meat substitutes to smart fridges. Those concepts continued to evolve at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.
CES wouldn’t be CES without some wild revelations as well. Some we thought were beyond the realm of possibility, while others are still years (maybe even decades) away from becoming reality. Would you believe Toyota has plans to build a city near Mount Fuji powered by hydrogen fuel cells which will function as a laboratory for autonomous cars? Welcome to the future, where every screen rolls, bends and folds and friendly robots help us build green cars.
What we can look forward to in the coming months of 2020 is a lot of awesome gadgetry. Thousands of new products spanning 36 product categories were showcased in Las Vegas this year. Over the past few days, we selected 14 products representing the absolute best in consumer technology. Not all of these products are available to consumers yet, but we’ve included links and pre-order information for products that are. On the list: decor-blending 4K TVs, emotional support robots, foldable PC monitors and smarter security tech. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a closer look at the future of tech, as SPY awards the Best of CES 2020 winners.
Best TV of CES 2020: LG Signature OLED 65-Inch TV R
The only thing more astonishing than LG’s rollable OLED TV is its price tag: $60,000. Sure, it costs as much as a new car (an expensive new car), but this flexible, razor-thin display is a decorative marvel that belongs in every penthouse and luxury art studio. LG’s new Alpha 9 Gen 3 CPU can adjust picture quality based on content to produce sharper-looking visuals, while Dolby Atmos 5.1 virtual surround sound fills every room with theater-like audio. LG is also working on a model that unfurls from the ceiling, which the company showed off at this year’s show.
So what does the LG rollable TV look like in action? Now you see it, now you don’t.
Best Health and Wellness Gadget: Muse S Meditation Headband
If melatonin supplements can’t put you to sleep, we strongly recommend a meditation wearable like the Muse S. This high-tech headband has electroencephalography technology to read your brain waves and uses a combination of ambient sounds and soothing narration to send you off into dreamland. It provides real-time feedback on brain activity, heart rate, breathing and body movements to promote better sleep habits. Sporting the soft-fabric headband for a couple of minutes each night should do the trick.
Technology-enhanced meditation might sound like an oxymoron, but the Muse S has everything you need to develop consistent meditation habits. This headband uses sensors and biofeedback technology to help you optimize your practice. In addition to soothing soundscapes, the Muse app also gives you access to hundreds of guided meditations. The latest generation of this headband is the meditation tool you didn’t know you needed.
Best Smartphone: OnePlus Concept Phone
Days before the big show, OnePlus teased a new phone, which experts believed to be the highly rumored OnePlus 8. The company did unveil something, but it wasn’t their next-gen flagship device. Instead, they pulled the curtains back on the beautiful OnePlus Concept Phone, an Android phone prototype with a McLaren-inspired design and an “invisible camera” system. Apparently, the lenses are cloaked behind a strip of dark glass that transitions from solid black to fully clear when accessing the camera app, which also creates a neutral density filter perfect for shooting photos and videos in bright sunlight. Fingers crossed that OnePlus announces a release date at Mobile World Congress 2020.
Best Smart Security Product: Ring Access Controller Pro
Smart surveillance technology keeps us safe and makes it convenient to monitor our homes remotely. Ring is taking smart security tech a step further by allowing homeowners to operate their electric gates through their app. The Ring Access Controller Pro lets you buzz people through your front gate via your mobile devices without ever getting off the couch. Pairing it with the company’s smart doorbell or security cameras will keep you aware of invited guests or unwelcome intruders. The product also works with Amazon Key, so all Amazon deliveries can be received safely and placed inside the gate. It does require professional installation, but for the laziest human, that’s a small compromise. Starting on January 20, 2020, Ring customers can begin using the new access controller with their Ring app.
Best Headphones: Jabra Elite Active 75t
The original Elite Active 65t set the standard for sporty true wireless earbuds by packing killer sound and adaptive listening features into a tiny, sporty design. Jabra upped the ante by making its successor 22% smaller and increasing battery life by a whopping 89%; a single charge nets you 7.5 hours of playback and the charging case offers 28 hours in total. The buds are also IP57-certified, making them waterproof and dust/sweat resistant. Audio remains stellar, and Jabra is set to launch a new feature in Q2 2020 called Jabra Sound that calibrates audio to create individual hearing profiles. These are the earbuds you want in your gym bag in 2020.
Best Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
We’ve gone from 2-in-1 laptops to hybrid smartphones to foldable PCs. Wait, what? That isn’t a typo. Feast your eyes on the world’s first personal computer with a true folding display, courtesy of Lenovo. When unfolded, the ThinkPad X1 Fold reveals a 13.3-inch 4:3 OLED panel that produces 2048 x 1536 resolution. It also shuts magnetically and saves enough room to slide a Bluetooth keyboard right in the middle. If you’re worried about the folding mechanism snapping, take solace knowing it’s reinforced with carbon fiber plates. Thanks to the innovative folding design, this computer can be used in a variety of configurations. It also weighs in at just 2.2 pounds, and with a smart design and Windows 10 Pro at the helm, this is shaping up to be the ideal computing solution for business travelers. At CES 2020, Lenovo announced that the ThinkPad X1 Fold with Windows 10 should be released mid-2020 with a base price of $2,499.
Best Home Appliance: Julia Intelligent Autonomous Cooking System
Cancel your MasterClass with Gordon Ramsey because this all-in-one cooking wonder offers everything necessary to turn you into a top chef. The Julia Intelligent Autonomous Cooking System from CookingPal can chop, stir, knead, and steam your food. It also comes with a tablet that serves as a cooking hub to access step-by-step instructions on prepping healthy recipes, as well as the ability to order groceries. Best of all, the cooking system washes itself, sparing you the unwanted manual labor that usually comes after home-cooked meals. This is definitely a luxury kitchen gadget, as it’s expected to retail for about $1,000. Julia could be released by the end of the year, although an exact release date has not been confirmed.
Best Robot: Samsung Ballie
We may still be lightyears away from having our very own Star Wars BB-8 droid take care of common everyday chores, but at least Samsung is getting the ball rolling with its new mini-robot personal assistant. Ballie has AI capabilities that allow it to interact with users and “reacts to their needs.” What exactly are those needs? That remains unknown. What is known is that this colorful gizmo has a front-facing camera to navigate around the house and can perform several tasks, including fitness instructions and home security. Samsung’s demo video shows Ballie interacting with house pets and several smart home devices, so the possibilities do seem endless for this intuitive roller. Plus, Ballie is really cute.
Best Gaming Device: Alienware Concept UFO Handheld
Picture a gaming PC in the form of a Nintendo Switch. That’s the Alienware Concept UFO in a nutshell. It’s a Windows 10 gaming tablet with detachable controllers on each end that have the feel of the Xbox One controller, along with specs that fall somewhere between the Switch and several top-rated gaming laptops. Like the Nintendo Switch, this handheld gaming device can be played in a variety of configurations. The detachable controllers can be attached to a “head” device while the screen becomes a wireless gamepad. The Concept UFO can run games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Fortnite with no lag. Despite its bulky form, the handheld only weighs two pounds, which is surprisingly light. The 8-inch touchscreen with 1900 × 1200 resolution looks awesome for streaming shows and video games on the go. Speaking of which, the Concept UFO also grants access to a massive library of titles, from the Epic Games Store to Steam.
No price or release date has been divulged, but we speak for all gamers when saying we want the Alienware Concept UFO in our hands come Christmas 2020.
Best Sex Toy: OhMiBod Nex 3 Smart Vibrating Couples Ring
The modern couple doesn’t shy away from sex toys in the bedroom, and CES 2020 introduced sex toys for men, women, and couples. OhMiBod designed this pleasuring instrument to enhance the sexual experience for both him and her. Meet the Nex 3, a vibrating cock ring with smart features that provide more consistent body contact and increased stimulation during sex. Look over its shape once again, then use your imagination.
The woman-owned sex toy company plans to release the Nex 3 wearable massager in March 2020, with a retail price of $109. It’s all part of what the company calls the teledildonics revolution. Its signature feature: the ability to vibrate in tune with your music via mobile devices. Now every couple can climax to their favorite jams.
Best Smart Home Device: Royole Mirage Smart Speaker
Ever seen a smart speaker with a wraparound screen? Neither had we, until the Royole Mirage made its grand appearance at CES 2020. This cylindrical sound blaster features a 7.8-inch AMOLED “fully flexible” touchscreen that wraps around nearly the entire design, along with Alexa integration and a 5MP camera, suggesting video chat support. Looks alone give it an edge over all other wireless sound systems exhibited at the show — it looks sleek AF. But don’t think the Mirage is all style and no substance. The speaker comes equipped with three 48mm full-range drivers and a passive bass radiator to pump out loud, 360-degree sound. At $900, it won’t come cheap, but this smart speaker will draw the eyes as it fills your ears with top quality audio.
Best Smartwatch: Suunto 7 Wear OS Smartwatch
Hardcore runners know Suunto for their remarkable multisport GPS watches. The Finnish manufacturer is jumping into the sports smartwatch category with the Suunto 7. Why is it so appealing? For starters, it can download offline maps and “heatmaps,” which indicate the best running, swimming and cycling areas around you. That means you can navigate freely outdoors without being tethered to your phone. The sporty timepiece supports hundreds of Google apps, including Google Fit and Google Pay for mobile payments. Suunto also programmed 70+ sport modes, 18 hours of battery life, mobile notifications and popular activity-tracking features into the smartwatch. Released just in time for CES 2020, the Suunto 7 retails for $500 and is available now for pre-order.
Best EDC/Portable Accessory: Mophie Powerstation Go
Portable chargers continue to evolve, making them the quintessential EDC item. Some have built-in flashlights. Others have the battery capacity to power a MacBook Air. Now we have one that can wirelessly charge your iPhone and jump-start your car at the same time. Enter the Mophie Powerstation Go. It houses a 44,400mWh battery, 65W AC output, Qi-enabled technology and two USB-A ports. Not to mention it comes bundled with two 14-inch mini-jumper cables. Talk about an amazing feature to have on hand if your car breaks down.
Best Wearable: Samsung AR Glasses
Samsung usually saves its biggest wearable announcements for Mobile World Congress in February, so it was a shock to see the mobile giant reveal AR glasses at CES 2020. These advanced fitness-inspired frames work with Samsung’s GEMS (Gait Enhancing and Motivation System) exoskeleton and act as an AR workout instructor. Basically, you can perform workouts with the glasses and receive expert feedback in real-time on how to optimize your performance. It’s a promising technology capable of transforming any small space into an aerobics studio. Think of it as the personal fitness coach you’ve always wanted.