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CES 2017: the hottest stuff from the world’s biggest tech show

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It’s a tricky time of the year to be a tech journalist, January. See, CES means long, sleepless nights in Las Vegas hotel rooms, running on nothing but fumes and too much cheap coffee.

Thing is, it also means a host of some of the year’s most exciting gadget announcements – from TVs and smartphones to wearables, cameras and, well, everything in between.

In fact, CES is regularly the tech fuel to the shiny fire that burns for the rest of the year.

What’s in store this time around? Well, as ever, CES 2017 should see several big reveals, a load of things we’ve already heard about in the flesh and a handful of surprises, too.

Want to know more? Here are the things most whetting our gadget appetite at CES.

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SMARTPHONES & TABLETS

SMARTPHONES & TABLETS

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On the hunt for a flagship-threatening bargain? The Honor 6X has been unveiled – and it’s quite the value powerhouse. Packing a dual-lens camera, octa-core chip and two-day battery life, at £225 it ought to have higher-end handsets quaking in their shells. The best news? We’ve already reviewed it – and you can find out what we thought here.

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As rumoured, Asus has taken the wraps off its new ZenFone – and it’s an 8GB whopper of a phablet. In fact, it’s the first smartphone capable of both VR – courtesy of Google’s Daydream platform – and AR, working with Google’s other project, Tango. It’s got the requisite dual-lens camera setup, alongside a 5.7in dispaly – all in a shell just 4.8mm slim.

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What we’re expecting

Apple might reserve its launches for events of its own, but there’s still bound to be a veritable sack full of smartphones unveiled at CES 2017.

With the likes of Samsung, Huawei, Google and even Blackberry attending, it’s anyone’s guess what we might see come January – but there are already a few rumours doing the rounds about the kind of tech that will be unveiled.

LG is penned to release several K-series phones, said to include the K3, K4, K8 and K10, which span the mid-range of the mobile market. The K10 is said to pack a 5.3in HD display, putting it in proper phablet territory and, given its past form, we’re intrigued to handle one.

Sony could be shipping a couple of new Xperia handsets, too – most notably a 4K-equipped 5.5in model to improve on the Z5 Premium. If we don’t see them at CES, chances are they’ll crop up at MWC at the end of February.

As for tablets, there’s a good chance we’ll see something new from Samsung – possibly a Galaxy TabPro S 2. The previous iteration was unveiled at CES 2016, running Windows 10 on its 12in AMOLED display. A new version of this hybrid hardware would be seriously interesting, given the potential of its first attempt.

WEARABLE TECH

WEARABLE TECH

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First into the wearables pen is Garmin, with its Fenix 5 range of three smart multi-sport watches. Equipped with heart rate trackers, on-board GPS and weeks-long battery life, the best news is for those of smaller wrists: available in three sizes – ranging from 42mm to 51mm – this is tracking, big and small.

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Meet the latest wearable from Misfit: a proper smartwatch with fine fitness credentials. On-board GPS, heart rate tracking and a two-day battery life give the Misfit Vapor the guts to fight the likes of the Moto 360. What’s more, it’s got a cool virtual bezel that acts as something of a scroll wheel around the touchscreen AMOLED display.

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Fitness smarts on your finger? Meet the Motiv Ring – a heart rate tracking wearable that slips on your favourite digit, monitoring steps, sleep and more, all for the cause of pushing you towards 150 minutes of activity per week. It’s got an on-paper battery life of up to 5 days, too, courtesy of a bespoke cell crafted to fit within its circular shell.

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If you’re pooch is feeling left out of the wearable revolution, good news: Jagger and Lewis has the answer, in the form of its Smart Dog Collar. Essentially a Fitbit for Fido, it’ll track your best friend’s movements throughout the day, as well as detecting if your dog is ill. How? It’s got all sorts of sensors, including an accelerometer and gyroscope.

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Not to be left out, New Balance has announced its RunIQ running watch. With a heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, a 4GB music player and Bluetooth functionality, it’s pretty much all the running watch you’d ever need. The fact that you can also take it in the pool is an added bonus.

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Aping its effort from last year, Casio has unwrapped its Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 ticker. Tougher than, well, something really tough, it’s a seriously chunky device – and all the better for it. Water-resistant down to 50m, Casio has apparently built it to military standards – meaning it’ll take a beating should you drop it, or cover it in sand and mud. Oh, and it’s smart too – with on-board GPS.

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After a little more style from your smart wrist-wrapper? Armani has entered the fray with its AX Exchange Connected smartwatch. Pairing rugged smarts with a helping of style, the AX Connected is fashionable yet firm, while sleep and step tracking, together with notifications and smartphone controls, make it a truly multi-functional machine.

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Shoes might not be what you’d expect to see on this list, but Under Armour has stuck some serious smarts into its SpeedForm Gemini 3 REs. They’ll make you perform a series of jumps in order to measure your average air time. If you’re under-jumping, they’ll tell you to sit the day out for a welcome dose of recovery. They’ll deliver comprehensive stats to MapMyRun, too.

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PKVitality has demonstrated a prick-free future for elite athletes: its K’track Athlete watch measures levels of lactic acid in the blood, using 0.5mm-long microneedles – either constantly, or at the touch of a button. It’s a smart innovation, albeit one that will cost you: the watch itself is US$200, but it needs a US$150 Athlete K’Apsule to function, each of which lasts a month.

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Upping the action footage game, Polar has unveiled its H10 heart rate chest strap. Pair it with a GoPro Hero4 or Hero5 and it’ll overlay a pulse graphic on your shots, showing the world just how cool you are in moments of sheer fear – or, you know, not.

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What we’re expecting

The wearable tech area only continues to get hotter, which means CES 2017 should be home to some properly exciting reveals.

At CES 2016, Fitbit, Misfit, Casio and even HTC announced products and plans for the wearable market, so you can expect 2017 to be just as big. The most exciting bit? Product reveals could come from companies that have never before made a wearable.

Take the presence of Amazfit at the 2017 show, for example: An offshoot of Chinese mobile maker Xioami, it could well be a budget rival to the likes of Fitbit – if it can make it to the UK.

TV & HOME CINEMA

TV & HOME CINEMA

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As expected, CES has already delivered some delicious displays – including Samsung‘s new QLED TV range. Because 4K, HDR and OLED weren’t enough acronyms for one telly, Samsung has brought QLED to the floor. It means screens that can deliver 100% colour volume, for solid colour at any brightness.

Not content with simply searing our eyeballs, Samsung has also given its Tizen OS a shake up – getting your smartphone involved.

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Looking for a whopping telly to top your lust list? Panasonic has announced a new OLED Ultra HD TV that’s packed to the frame with pro features. Its 65in EZ1002 features the same tech as the manufacturer’s pro broadcast gear, making for super-accurate colour reproduction.

For home cinema buffs, Panasonic also unwrapped a pair of new Ultra HD Blu-ray players. The high-end DMP-UB400 and UB300 boxes support a wider gamut of colours than previous models – so, if you’re after the best possible 4K HDR picture quality, these are ones to watch.

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Not to be left behind, LG has shown off its Signature OLED TV W – a 77in 4K HDR affair that’s an astounding 2.57mm thin. Sure, it’ll inevitably be eye-wateringly expensive – but it’s also a glorious glimpse of the TVs of tomorrow.

LG has also unveiled its latest lineup of Super UHD tellies, featuring Nano Cell tech. What’s this Nano nonsense? It basically means better pictures thanks to tiny, uniformly sized particles. It also delivers brighter, sharper highlights, courtesy of Ultra Luminance kit. Basically, despite being LCD, it’s a stellar screen.

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Sony has joined the telly party, too, displaying a host of pretty picture panels – including the speaker-less Bravia OLED A1. Sony’s first ever OLED sets, the A1 TVs create sound by vibrating their screen for a totally new way to watch.

If design is more your thing, Sony has also unveiled its XE94/93 series, replete with prettily crafted backs that are beautifully free from ports and vents. It’s not slacking on picture, either, packing the same X1 Extreme processor as the A1.

Prefer projectors? Sony has also demonstrated its mammoth VPL-VZ1000ES picture box. It’ll cast a 100-inch image just six inches away from the wall – making it a proper shelf-top cinema machine.

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As expected, Nvidia has unwrapped a sequel to its Shield TV box – and it’s quite the doozy. Think: 4K HDR streaming, Google Voice support and a supremely powerful Tegra X1 chip. The best bit? In future, it’ll get SmartThings and Google Assistant support, making it quite the home hub.

What we’re expecting

Massive, beautiful tellies are something of a staple at CES. It’s almost inevitable that more than a few wall-dwarfing whoppers will appear – such as last year’s LG UH9800, a 98in, 8K display that had us gawping.

Aside from the show kit, though, CES usually delivers some delicious displays within the consumer price range – and 2017 should be no exception.

What of Dolby Vision, though? Well, you can be sure that a lot of talk will surround just how it compares to HDR 10, in the biggest format war this side of Beta Max and VHS.

Pretty picturesBest 4K TVs of 2016

VIRTUAL REALITY

VIRTUAL REALITY

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Fancy turning anything you like into a VR peripheral? Say hello to the Vive Tracker. Slap the 10cm long puck onto a real-world object and – via the wireless magic of Bluetooth – it’ll be transported into virtual reality. So far we’ve seen it work with a gun, a pair of gloves, and even a fire hose. The only limits are humanity’s imagination, a six-hour battery life, and your bank balance.

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Elsewhere, there are finally in-built on-ear headphones for the Vive, in the shape of the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap – which means no more faffing around with your own buds when you wanna dip back into The Labs. Plus, they also come with some extra padding and a dial to adjust its positioning.

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Bored to tears with the wires on your Vive? TPCast has the solution – in the form of a Vive wireless kit. Developed by a Chinese startup as part of HTC’s Vive X accelerator programme, the widget clips on the top with a battery pack underneath. It’s good for about an hour and a half of gaming, although the company is developing a larger battery that the user will put in a pocket. That’ll get you a whopping five hours of play.

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What we’re expecting

Famously hard to explain in a press release, consumer shows are the perfect demonstrating arena for VR – and CES is the grand-daddy of them all.

In 2016, the biggest news was an updated version of HTC’s Vive headset – dubbed the Vive Pre. HTC is making a return this year and it’s anyone’s guess whether we’ll see yet further updates to the hardware that’s had us talking for ages.

Microsoft will be there as well and we’re hoping to see HoloLens updated in a big way – or, rather, the software. Whilst you can already pre-order a unit in the UK, there’s little in the way of substantive software to really make it worthwhile, yet. But, with Project Scorpio angling towards VR capabilities, here’s hoping that Microsoft will bring some big VR news to CES 2017.

VR battleOculus Rift vs HTC Vive

LAPTOPS & COMPUTERS

LAPTOPS & COMPUTERS

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PC gamers rejoice: Acer has taken the wraps off its Z301CT – an eye-tracking titan of a gaming monitor. Able to follow your pupils as they dart across its 21:9 format frontage, it process eye movements alongside traditional inputs – such as mice and keyboards – to deliver a more immersive gaming experience. Shame it doesn’t work for the kettle.

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Elsewhere, Dell has made its high-end XPS 13 ultrabook even better, by flipping it all the way into a hybrid for the 2017 edition. That’s right: the properly powerful Windows 10 machine has been upgraded into a convertible, so it’ll do double duty as both laptop and folded-over tablet – and it still looks just as cool as before.

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Accomplished kit-maker Razer has brought a raft of gaming gear to the CES show floor, including its wall-spanning Project Ariana projector. It projects gameplay and Chroma-matched colours onto your wall for an ultra-immersive thumb-mashing experience. There are 3D depth-sensors in the camera, too, so it won’t warp on Furniture.

Razer has also been at a laptop, sticking three displays on a single flipper. Yes: meet Project Valerie, a gaming laptop that packs a triplet of 17-inch 4K displays. More of a multi-tasker than a gamer? This’ll do for that, too. It’s only a concept for now, but we’re hoping it won’t change much when it’s shipped.

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Not to miss out on the monitor fun, LG has created a 32-inch 4K HDR display that could well be the perfect partner for gamers and photographers. The freshly-announced 32UD99 will play nice with HDR10 – meaning proper gaming with a PS4 Pro or an Xbox One – whilst USB-C means its future-proof, too.

What we’re expecting

CES is all about eye-catching, next-generation kit – and there are few places in which that is more readily felt than with computers and laptops.

CES 2016 delivered powerful PCs and delicious hybrids galore, with all kinds of manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon – think: Acer, HP, Lenovo and Razer.

The good news? 2017’s turnout should be just as spectacular, with new gear rumoured from Intel, HyperX, Nvidia and more.

Lenovo, meanwhile, is pipped to reveal a refresh of its sublime ThinkPad X1. A carbon-clad workhorse with an impressively sharp display, the first-gen X1 was a beast to behold – which means an update should be something greater, still. Leaked documents suggest the new model will offer more than 15 hours of battery life, a 14in WQHD display and serious durability.

HI-FI & AUDIO

HI-FI & AUDIO

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Sure, they might lack the bright lights and garish colours we’ve come to expect, but these freshly announced Logitech cans are squarely pitched at gamers. The G533s pack everything you’d expect and more: noise-cancelling, EQ tuning and 7.1 surround sound – not to mention the fact that they’re wireless. They’ve got a 15-hour battery life, too – which should be longer than any (healthy) gaming marathon.

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Call yourself an audiophile? You’ll want to take a look at Audio-Technica‘s new purely digital cans. Its ATH-DSR9BT headphones deliver an entirely digital signal from source to driver, eliminating any analogue elements altogether – meaning a properly pure sound, even over Bluetooth.

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Meet LG‘s latest effort at Bluetooth audio: the PJ9 floating speaker. With clever use of electromagnets, the PJ9 suspends its omnidirectional speaker in the air, levitating a few centimetres above its base station – or Levitation Station, as LG calls it. It then calmly rotates, pumping out tunes, while you watch on in astonishment.

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What we’re expecting

You can bet your headphones that CES 2017 has some properly appealing hi-fi kit in store. 2016’s show saw new releases from the likes of Naim, Philips and Libratone – and, with B&O, Skullcandy, Pioneer and more all set to attend, we’re getting more than a little jittery with audio anticipation.

Do we know anything concrete? You might never have heard of Meters Music, but its stunning OV-1 headphones are set to make a splash come CES – not least, courtesy of the VU meters built into their sides. A spin-off of amplifier maker Ashdown Engineering, Meters Music is new to the game but definitively old school – and we can’t wait to get our paws on their stunning cans.

Not to be outdone, Bang & Olufsen has released a teaser video ahead of CES 2017. What does it tell us? Well, actually, not all that much – besides the fact that it’ll be "connecting spaces". We’re intrigued.

CAMERAS

CAMERAS

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Do you find that camers have too many buttons? Relonch has unveiled the snapper for you. Its 291 Model has just one button, uploading you pictures to the cloud for a robot – yes, really – to sort, before pinging them over to your smartphone. There’s no screen or settings to worry about, just the pure, unbridled joy of shooting and sharing.

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HDR. 10-bit recording. 4K shooting. Panasonic‘s new Lumix GH5 is the most powerful snapper you can buy, packed into the shell of a compact system camera. Sure, it’ll set you back £1699 when it launches in March – but you’ll get a whole lot of photographic tech for that cash.

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Clumsy snapper? Fujifilm has the camera for you: its FinePix XP120 is made of properly tough stuff – and it weighs just 203g. You could drop it from a height of 1.75m into 20m of water, before leaving it in a freezer at ten degrees below zero, then shaking it around in a bag of dust – and it’d still take sharp 16.4MP snaps.

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Polaroid has pitched up at CES with its Pop camera. With a 20MP CMOS sensor inside, the Pop should take digital snaps on a par with any top-level smartphone, saving them to any microSD card (up to 128GB) and then printing them instantly on 3x4in Zink photo paper. It’s also rocking a dual-LED flash, so low-light shots should be equally up to scratch.

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What we’re expecting

If snappers are what you’re after, CES 2017 should have something to please you. Nikon, Kodak and GoPro are all attending – not to mention the potential for other manufacturers to surprise us with photographic tech.

At CES 2016, Nikon took the wraps off its full-format D5 DSLR, a 20.8 megapixel monster that had us rapt. What could 2017 hold? Well, the rumour mill reckons both a D760 (successor to the sublime D750) and D620 (update to the D610) are due – both of which ought to be ogle-worthy shooters.

The last CES also saw Kodak show off its updated Super 8. Sadly, 2017’s releases might not offer the same retro glory, though, as it’s likely that Kodak will be keen to demonstrate its new photography-focussed smartphone instead.

Still, with a host of tech makers in attendance – including Sony – there’s every chance we’ll see some tasty new snappers on show.

AUTOMOTIVE

AUTOMOTIVE

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As expected, Faraday Future has revealed a new vehicle – and boy is it a doozy. Dubbed the FF91, it’s an SUV packing – wait for it – 1050 horsepower. Oh, and it looks like something straight out of sci-fi. Thankfully, it’s real – and it’ll hit 60 from a standing start in 2.39 seconds, which is faster than any street legal car you can buy right now. Better still, it’ll do 378 miles on a full charge. Will Tesla be worried? Only once Faraday has proved it can walk the walk, as well as talking the talk.

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What we’re expecting

Each year CES delivers more and more in the way of cars and car tech – and 2017 could be the biggest year yet. CES is frequently a platform for new model reveals, as well as demos of future tech and in-car ideas, with last year seeing everything from Cortana in a Volvo to BMW’s AirTouch.

A host of marques are attending in 2017, including the likes of Mercedes, Ford, VW, Nissan and Hyundai – and, with electric vehicles very much in vogue at the moment, you can be sure that at least one manufacturer will be bringing an EV or two along to display.

On the car tech side, BMW is slated to demo HoloActive Touch tech – essentially a virtual touchscreen complete with tactile feedback that will float beneath drivers’ fingertips, delivering driving info as well as in-car entertainment and the like. No more buttons? Yes, please.

Continental, too, is likely to get in on the accessories act, with suggestions that it’ll bring an in-vehicle fingerprint and facial recognition system to CES 2017. Employing biometric tech instead of something so old-fashioned as a key, the idea seems to be that all you’ll need to start your car is, well, you. If you’re forgetful like us, that’s the dream.

SMART HOME

SMART HOME

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Say hello to Alexa, outside of an Echo: Lenovo has squeezed Amazon’s smart assistant into its new speaker. There’s even talk of a Harmon Kardon edition, for even sweeter sounds – which will be a boon for those not fond of the Echo’s audio credentials. The bad news? There are no plans to bring it to the UK.

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It’s not all voice-controlled tech: Sevenhugs has demonstrated a production model of its crowd-funded Smart Remote, a nifty device that can support more than 25,000 devices. It’s craftiest trick is knowing which thing you’re pointing it at, so no more button mashing on the multi-remote.

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Netatmo has managed to squeeze smarts into a smoke detector, in the form of its aptly named Smart Smote Detector. As well as sounding an 85 decibel rigner, the Netatmo Smart Smoke Alarm will tell your phone where in your house it’s detected trouble. And if the thing has gone off in error then it can be switched off from your phone. It’s also got a 10-year battery life to boot.

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Say hello to your future robot rulers: LG has shown off its Hub Robot, essentially a curvy little critter equipped with Amazon’s Alexa voice tech that’ll play nice with a host of smart home gear. When you’re not talking to it, it’ll display updates on its face and recognise members of your family. Neat. And scary.

As for your floor, Samsung has also made an Alexa-enabled vacuum cleaner, dubbed the Powerbot VR7000. You’ll need an Echo to give it instructions, mind.

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Another new Alexa integration, GE has created it’s C by GE lamp – complete with talk-to-me tech. It does far more than turn on and off at your command – it acts more like a physical version of the Echo’s glowing circle, with blue light circling around it whenever it’s prompted by a request for a news flash or an addition to your shopping list.

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Making Alexa more kid-friendly, Mattel has introduced Aristotle – essentially a full-blown Echo, albeit with a unique mode designed just for little ones. It’ll do everything from auto-soothe your baby with a lullaby when its camera recognises them waking to answering their homework questions to reading children’s books.

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Cool it: LG has unveiled its Smart Instaview fridge, the first to implement Alexa. You could, of couse, buy an Echo and a cheaper fridge – but then you’d miss out on the Instaview’s ability to let you remotely check its contents using your smartphone, not to mention leaving notes on its 29in touchscreen.

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What about other white goods? Well, Whirlpool has taken created a whole new range of appliances – from washers to smart ovens – with Alexa tech built-in. How effective they’ll be remains to be seen.

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What we’re expecting

Amazon is down to attend CES and there’s any number of things the company could be wheeling out. Intriguingly, it’s specifically registered to exhibit Alexa – which could just be a demo of its smart home platform, or it could be something new altogether. What would we love to see? Well, we’re still waiting on that wider Sonos compatibility – not to mention better third-party offerings.

Philips is set to display plenty of products, too, but the company’s Hue arm has a stand of its own. It could just be a home mockup to show the power and versatility of its rather fancy smart lights – or it could see some new connected tech on show. Given how much we already love the Hue ecosystem, this one’s got us listening.

Nanoleaf and its nifty lights will also be present. Last year, it unveiled its fantastic Aurora modular lighting system, winning an innovation award in the process. Here’s hoping for something fancier, still, from the smart lighting upstart come 2017.

Cooking up somethingBest Amazon Alexa IFTTT recipes

BEST OF THE REST

BEST OF THE REST

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Withings has announced the intriguingly bizarre Kerastese Hair Coach, a handy hairbrush that’s packed to the bristles with sensors. What will it measure? Well, it packs accelerometers, gyroscopes and 3-axis load sensors to judge the amount of force you’re putting through your do, not to mention microphones that enable the app to establish – according to Withings – manageability, frizziness and split ends. Astonishing.

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More of a builder than a brusher? Meet Lego Boost: a clever set of connected blocks designed to get the kids coding. Create one of five cool models – including a mini-model production line and a walking, talking robot – before programming them with a nearby tablet. Nifty.

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If pretty flying machines are your thing, DJI‘s vibrant Phantom 4 drone will be right up your runway. Internally identical to the same Phantom 4 that we gave five stars in our review last year, it’s had a new paint job courtesy of Martin Sati. It’s all in the name of the Chinese New Year.

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What we’re expecting

Meanwhile, in the always-interesting miscellaneous category, there’s a raft of intriguing tech chalked up for revelation.

LG is said to be bringing 4K monitors to the stage – notably, a 32in, USB-C-equipped monitor that’ll handle HDR, making it a boon for both gamers and creative sorts. The manufacturer has further confirmed that it’ll be showing off a 34in 21:9 display, too – the world’s first Chromecast-enabled monitor. Nifty.

Parrot, makers of the Bebop and Disco drones, will also be there – hopefully with aerial critters to test, causing inevitable carnage in the process – as will Sphero, masterminds behind the remote-controlled orbs frequently disguised as BB-8 droids. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a bit of a battle.

Elsewhere, a number of accessory and tech manufacturers are making their way to Vegas, including the likes of ZTE, Anker, SanDisk, Razer, Olloclip – and more.

What does that all mean? A whole lot of shiny new gear, that’s what.