It’s that time of year again: CES. The world’s biggest tech trade show, or a tech journalist’s worst nightmare.
But you don’t care about the long, sleepless nights in Las Vegas hotel rooms, running purely on terrible coffee and whatever scrounged canapés were left out at the last press conference. All you want are the announcements – a sneak peek at the biggest gadgets of 2018, months before they go on sale.
Whether you’re after a new TV, smartphone, camera or that next cool piece of wearable tech, it’ll be at CES. Think of it as 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 2018 should see its fair share of big reveals, in-the-flesh demos of kit we’ve been hearing about for months already, and of course a handful of surprises. Here are the things most whetting our gadget appetite at CES.
Samsung Galaxy A8
Want the best bits of Samsung’s ace Galaxy S8, but without spending a huge wedge of cash to get them? The Galaxy A8 should fit the bill. It doesn’t have a curved screen that bends around the sides, but the bezels stay pretty skinny, and the hardware is still top notch. There’s even a second camera up front for some bokeh blurring selfies. We just went hands-on with it, too!
OnePlus 5T Sandstone White
OK, it arrived before CES actually kicked off, but we love it, so we’re sticking it in here anyway. OnePlus has released a limited edition Sandstone White 5T, complete with grippy, textured rear that should help you keep it in your mitts – no cracked screens here, thank you very much. It’s on sale now, and we’ve already reviewed it – see our in-the-flesh snaps and first impressions right here.
Nokia 6 (2018)
Technically not a CES debut – or at least, not yet. HMD Global revealed a new Nokia 6 for 2018 in China a week before the show began, so we’re fully expecting an American debut this week. It’s shaping up to be a great budget phone, too, with an uprated Snapdragon 630 processor, slicker design and (hopefully) the same great price as last year’s model.
Sony Xperia XA2
The XA2 proves that snazzy smartphone cameras aren’t just for premium smartphones. this mid-range packs the same 23MP Exmor RS sensor seen on the high-end Xperia XZ range, which means 4K video recording and an ISO range that goes up to 12,800 – perfect for capturing board game night in your dimly lit pub. It’ll be available from February 2018.
Razer Project Linda
Been looking for a good reason to consider the sleek Razer Phone over other well-equipped Androids? Maybe Project Linda will do it: this laptop shell (with a 13.3in Quad HD screen) comes with a gap where the touchpad would be, because that’s where the Razer Phone goes to provide both the pad and the power for the whole setup. That sounds a far sight better than Samsung’s DeX as a phone-to-PC solution, but we’ll see how much it costs whenever it eventually releases.
Garmin Vivofit 4
If you’re the kind of healthy eating, super-fit exercise machine that lasts longer than your fitness tracker does, it might be time to strap Garmin’s Vivofit 4 to your wrist. It’s got the juice to last an entire calendar year on a single battery, meaning it’ll keep going long after you’ve called it a day and hung up your running shoes.
Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
Been waiting till the January sales for a sports watch? You might want to hold off for one more month. The Forerunner 645 Music is shaping up to be the best Garmin all-rounder yet thanks to built-in music storage – a first for the Garmy army. You can also store offline Deezer tunes (although sadly not Spotify ones) and the 645 packs the same goodies as Garmin’s other premium multi-sporters, including GPS and Garmin Pay. Check out our hands-on review here.
No CES is complete without a sci-fi wearable that we inexplicably want despite its extreme frivolity. Enter SGNL, a wristband that can work alone or connected to your smartwatch and lets you take phone calls by putting your finger in your ear. Why? We haven’t fully prepared our excuse for buying one, but it’d certainly be easier than fishing for the phone when out cycling. It’s out in March 2018 for $249.
L’Oreal UV Sense
Look, nobody likes sunscreen, but we all need it from time to time. But when exactly? That’s where wearable tech can help, thankfully, with L’Oreal’s new UV Sense stick-on sensor. It can pop onto your fingernail, skin, or sunglasses and it’ll let your smartphone app know when you might be getting too toasty. Of course, you could just slather on the sunscreen and be safe, but where’s the fun in that? This £30 sensor should be widely available in 2019.
Android Wear 2.0 has scads of fashion brands unleashing their own unique smartwatches, and now Danish maker Skagen is getting onboard with the new Falster watch. It’s the company’s first fully-touchscreen wristwatch, and while the minimal styling might be unique, the interface will be familiar to anyone who’s used a Wear watch. It should ship in the coming months at a starting price of £279.
Kate Spade New York Scallop watches
Speaking of high-end fashion brands jumping on the Android Wear bandwagon – Kate Spade New York also announced its first such smartwatch line, with a trio of compact watches featuring scalloped edges and both yellow gold and rose gold hues. It’ll have a custom face, but otherwise it’s all Android Wear underneath. Expect these in February starting at £299.
Got thin wrists and want a fitness tracker with a bit of style? Perhaps Misfit’s Path watch will do the trick. It’s a hybrid: seemingly a traditional watch on top, but with the smart innards within to track your steps, estimated burned calories, and distance travelled, plus you can control music and snap photos from your phone using the watch’s buttons. And the battery should last about six months, to boot. Expect the Path in the coming months for US$150.
Casio Rangeman GPR B-1000
A bum battery can be a real pain when it comes to smartphones, and that’s true of watches as well… but the rugged Rangeman GPR B-1000 has a solar bonus in tow. If you find that it’s run empty and you still need the GPS to help you out of a bind, you can tap into a solar-powered reserve to get another hour of sat-nav help. It could save you from a rather dire fate – remember that while shelling out the US$800 asking price.
Suunto 3 Fitness
Have trouble keeping up with your grand workout aspirations? We’ve been there before. Maybe the Suunto 3 Fitness smartwatch can help, though. It builds custom weekly workout routines for you to follow, and if you miss a session, it’ll adapt and gently nudge you back into the routine. Likewise, if you push extra hard, it might urge you to take a day off. Those are handy, downright compassionate shifts that might keep your exercise plans intact.
TV & HOME CINEMA
Samsung The Wall
Yes, The Wall is a massive, impractical telly, but it’s much more interesting than that. It’s our first glimpse of MicroLED tech, which is Samsung’s new competitor for OLED. So while you won’t be buying this particular 146in set (well, unless your lotto numbers came up this weekend), it might just be the tech that powers your next Samsung telly. Here’s our lowdown on everything you need to know about it.
Samsung NW700 soundbar
If soundbars wore dresses, Samsung’s NW700 would wear a size zero. It’s s super-skinny bar meant to be mounted on your wall, matching your already slim TV. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for speakers, but Samsung reckons it can still give your movies and games a big boost over using your telly’s built-in sound.
LG HU80KA projector
A 4K, HDR projector that doesn’t take up as much space as your sofa? LG’s HU80KA is good for a 150 inch screen, but takes up less floor space than a waste paper basket. It’s designed to be luggable, so you can wheel it out for movie night then hide it away again once the popcorn has been polished off.
Panasonic FZ950 OLED TV
Hollywood-approved colour correction is Panasonic’s latest attempt to win the coveted "best OLED TV" crown, giving the FZ950 OLED TV image processing that can change colour profiles on the fly, instead of just when you first hit play on a Blu-ray disc. HDR10+ support and a Technics-tuned soundbar look pretty promising, too.
LG 65in Rollable OLED
Forget foldable smartphones – LG has something much, much larger already. The company’s 65in OLED television concept is not only flat, but also fully rollable, letting you turn it into a tucked-away tube when you feel like clearing some wall space. We don’t know much else about it, such as resolution, price, or release date, but at least it’s a damn cool idea for now.
LG AI OLEDs
The rollable TV isn’t releasing anytime soon, so what’s LG got on tap for telly in 2018? How about a dash of artificial intelligence? Keeping the impossibly-thin design from last year, LG’s new OLED TVs come with a version of WebOS that has voice controls, A.I. learning, and even the ability to control other smart devices – so you can kick on the microwave to have your popcorn ready. Of course, they’re plenty feature-packed otherwise as well.
Sony Bravia A8F OLED TV
Sony already makes our favourite TV in the world right now, and they might repeat the feat in 2018 with the incoming Bravia A8F. It adds Dolby Vision HDR support to the stunning OLED panel, as well as Google Assistant voice commands and improved picture processing that will surely make it a strong contender against any and all comers this year. We don’t have an ETA yet, but hopefully it drops before the World Cup this summer.
Sony HT-Z9F soundbar
Dolby Atmos is a beautiful thing, but it requires a lot of space and tech – but Sony has a much simpler option coming: virtual Dolby Atmos. You’ll find it on the 3.1 channel HT-Z9F soundbar (with a subwoofer), which has a "Verticle S" button that delivers stunning 3D sound. It might not be as vivid as the real thing, but it might save you a bunch of hassle and space. The HT-Z9F will sell for £600 later this year, with optional back speakers to make it a true 5.1 setup. We went hands-and-ears-on here.
VIRTUAL REALITY & AUGMENTED REALITY
If you dig the idea of Snapchat spectacles, but aren’t really down with the kids enough to pull a pair off, maybe some ACE eyewear will be a better buy. They can take 8MP still pics, record HD video, or live stream to any social network – not just one that’s aimed at pre-teens.
Merge 6DoF Blaster
Fancy a bit of lounge-based Laser Quest? Merge’s promising 6DoF Blaster gun has a slot for your iOS or Android smartphone and uses positional tracking to let you look around (and unload rounds at) its 360-degree world. It’s neither VR nor AR, but it does sound like a lot of fun.
Intel’s built-it-yourself range of little PCs have long been favourites among the Stuff‘s tinkerers – and this one’s powerful enough to create smooth virtual reality worlds. It’s got some serious specs for one so small and, best of all, there’s a glowing skull on the lid. Just in case you were in any doubt about its gaming credentials.
HTC Vive Pro
The Vive is already very impressive, but two years on, HTC is looking to push its VR tech to new heights. Enter the HTC Vive Pro, a souped-up headset that provides 2880×1600 resolution within – that’s a 78% percent improvement, and you’ll see it in the clarity of games and apps. Built-in headphones and dual external cameras are added perks, plus it’ll work with a new wireless kit that cuts the cables. No word on price yet but the Vive Pro should ship this quarter, and we’ve been hands-on.
Lenovo Mirage Solo
Google Daydream is smartphone-powered virtual reality, but soon the platform will waive the smartphone requirement – at least with this headset. Lenovo’s Mirage Solo is the first all-in-one Daydream device, packing high-end Android flagship specs (including a Quad HD screen) but lacking the ability to make calls. Still, with a sub-US$400 price and access to the full library of apps and games, it’s the most direct way into Daydream.
Laptops & computers
Dell XPS 13
If The Last Jedi has you yearning to leave the dark side for something a little lighter, the 4th gen XPS 13 should fit the bill. It swaps the silver and carbon fibre of Dell’s superb ultra-portable for rose gold and white, with a world’s first glass fibre construction keeping those colours sparkling. The seriously skinny bezel Infinity Display makes a return, too, only now those edges are slimmer than ever.
Lenovo Thinkpad X
Any Thinkpad feels like a blast from the past – even one with a 360° hinge for flipping from laptop to tablet and back again whenever you like. The Thinkpad X is that, and more. USB-C fast charging and an 8th-gen Intel Core processor are present and correct, as they should be on every 2018 laptop, and you can doodle on the touchscreen with Lenovo’s active pen stylus, too.
Acer Swift 7
A laptop so thin you could practically shave with it. The freshly updated Swift 7 doesn’t have the latest or greatest parts, making do with a 7th gen Intel CPU, but when it’s a barely-there 8.98mm thick, being a little down on power doesn’t matter all that much – it’ll slip into the skinniest of man bags for carrying between meetings. Read the full Acer Swift 7 hands-on review here.
Acer Nitro 5 (2018 edition)
Holy dynamic duo, Batman! Acer has bundled AMD’s Ryzen CPU and Radeon graphics into one surprisingly affordable gaming laptop, which looks pretty much perfect for a spot of Rocket League or Overwatch, without squinting at low-res textures. Read the full Acer Nitro 5 hands-on review here.
HP Spectre x360
Its name might not be too auspicious given recent security news, but the Spectre x360 is a promising option for those looking for a powerful 2-in-1 convertible laptop. It packs the new AMD Vega chips that should make watching and editing 4K video a breeze.
Corsair Dark Core SE mouse/K63 keyboard
PC gaming peripherals usually opt for wired over wireless connections, but if you’re tired of getting tangled in all of those cords, consider Corsair’s new desktop duo. The Dark Core SE mouse (£70) is a Qi-chargeable mouse with all the style and inputs you’ll need to dominate online, while the paired K63 wireless keyboard (£80) has perks like Cherry MX Red key switches and blue LED backlighting. Lose the wires but keep the cool.
InCase Connected Power Sleeve
Laptops are wonderful devices – until they run out of juice when you’re on the go and don’t have a power cable handy. Luckily, InCase has an all-in-one solution: its new Connected Power Sleeve, which bundles in a 14,000mAh battery pack into its protective, MacBook-sized shell. You can’t charge while it’s stored, unfortunately, but you can plug in a USB or USB-C cable in a pinch and charge when your screen goes black. You could also charge a phone or anything else, really.
Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
Foldable, convertible laptops are usually compact little things, but Dell is going big with the new XPS 15 2-in-1. Sure, it’s still incredibly slim, but Dell has packed this XPS with a 15in Infinity Display, not to mention crazy power thanks to Intel’s new 8th-gen Core CPUs with AMD dedicated graphics, up to 32GB RAM, and up to 1TB of PCI-e SSD storage. Expect Active Pen support and a maglev-assisted keyboard when these ship around March/April (prices TBC).
SteelSeries Rival 600 gaming mouse
Gaming mice are all the same aside from their neon lighting schemes, right? Nope. That’s definitely not true with SteelSeries’ new Rival 600 mouse, which innovates by adding in a second optical sensor to more accurately track movements and try to prevent misread inputs if you happen to lift up an edge of the device. But yes, of course, it still has LED lights. It’s available now for US$80.
Here’s another gaming mouse with a totally unique hook: it’s wireless, but it doesn’t have a battery pack inside. Wait, what now? It’s true: the Razer HyperFlux draws power from the magnetic field created by the bundled mousepad, meaning the actual mouse weighs nearly nothing compared to most gaming mice. On the other hand, it’ll be a staggering US$249 when it launches in the next few months – but hey, that’s the price of innovation.
Hi-Fi & Audio
LG Thinq speaker
A smart home isn’t very smart if your gadgets don’t actually talk to each other. Light bulbs and thermostats are easy enough, but what about washing machines, microwaves and dishwashers? That’s the idea with LG’s Thinq range of white goods – they’ll all work with voice commands through the Thinq speaker. It should sound pretty decent too, and a helping hand from Google means it’ll do all the usual Google Assistant cleverness as well.
Sony Xperia Ear Open concept
Plugging up your ears with music can be a very welcome escape, but if you want to stay a bit more attuned to the world while still jamming out, maybe Sony’s Xperia Ear Open concept will be your headphones of the future. These fully wireless buds have openings to allow in outside noise without blocking off your ear holes, plus they have a built-in voice assistant for hearing and responding to texts and such, as well as touch gestures. No ETA or price yet, though.
Jabra Elite 65t
Apple’s AirPods quickly became the hottest thing in wireless earbuds, but Jabra has been on that beat for a while now – and the Elite 65t buds could retake the throne. These smart buds not only pack in five-hour battery life (with two more full charges from the case), but also come with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant within, letting you control your music, ask random questions and even command your smart home. They’ll be out this month with a US$170 asking price.
B&O Beoplay H9i
High-end, active noise-canceling headphones that double as earmuffs? Go on, then. It seems B&O might have found the ultimate combo with the Beoplay H9i, which should provide epic sound quality while keeping outside noise properly out. Meanwhile, the lambskin ear cups will keep your ears warm – and a transparency mode turns both the sound and ANC off so you can hear what’s around you. They’ll also pause your tunes when you remove them from your head. They’re out at the end of January for £449.
Looking for earbuds that’ll hold up against your most intense workouts? Audio-Technica’s new Bluetooth duo might do the trick, as these clip-on earbuds (with a neckband) are IPX5 rated for water resistance, meaning they’ll withstand sweat and water and can even be rinsed off in the sink tap once properly slathered in your bodily fluids. The pricier SPORT70BT model also adds an ambient hear-through mode for taking in real-world noise (as needed).
DJI Osmo Mobile 2
Shooting silky smooth videos on your phone used to cost a fortune, but DJI just slashed the cost for would-be smartphone Spielbergs. The Osmo Mobile 2 is half the price of the original, with simpler controls, a built-in battery (no hot-swapping this time around) and a new nylon construction that should make it a bit easier to lug around, too.
Panasonic Lumix GH5S
Eager to shoot your own epic film but don’t have a monster budget to go along with your ambition? Maybe Panasonic’s new Lumix GH5S will do the trick. Due out on 15 January, this 4K-shooting camera is an Ultra HD-pumping beast: the 10.2MP sensor is nearly double that of the previous GH5, and it’ll shoot in almost any 4K format, including Cinema 4K at 60 frames per second. At £2200 for the body, you’ll pay for that quality – but what quality it’ll be! Don’t miss our hands-on review.
Byton Concept electric SUV
Here’s a first – a car with a screen that’s probably larger than the TV sitting in your front room. Chinese car co Byton might not be a household name, but with the man behind the amazing BMW i8 at the helm, there’s every chance the Byton Concept electric SUV with a giant 40in touchscreen for a dashboard will actually make it into production.
Combine a GoPro with a guard dog and you’ve got a good idea what makes the Hive View security camera so special. Pop one off its mount and it’ll record for up to 90 minutes, letting you keep an eye on something special until you’re back in the room. Person detection means shadows and sunlight won’t bombard your phone with alerts, too.
Nanoleaf makes stunning, modular smart light panels – but their new Remote is for more than just wild light shows. You can map smart home scenes spanning numerous devices to each side of the dodecagon, and then trigger them by which side you leave facing up. Control the thermostat, speakers, blinds, lights, and plenty more using something that looks like a massive 12-sided die. It’s weird, but we’re into it – and it’ll be out this spring for £50.
JBL Link View
Why did Google pull YouTube access from the Amazon Echo Show? Maybe because the company is working on its own Android-powered screen-centric smart speaker. JBL’s Link View is one of several Google Assistant tablet/speaker hybrids that’ll let you watch videos, look up recipes, ask questions, play music, and plenty more. The Echo Show still doesn’t feel super-useful, but maybe Google has a more complete package on tap. We’ll find out when it hits the U.S. this summer and the rest of the world later in 2018.
Lenovo Smart Display
Like JBL, Lenovo is cooking up its own Google Assistant-powered home display to battle against Amazon’s Echo Show – and this one is the best-looking one of the lot so far. Available in 8in and 10in screen models, the Lenovo Smart Display is built to handle video calls, music playback, web browsing, recipes, traffic info, and answering your random questions. Expect it this summer starting at US$200.
Nokia might be back on its smartphone grind, but that’s not all: the company is also making a… sleep sensor? Yep, that’s right. The Nokia Sleep pad slides under your mattress and can monitor your resting patterns (including snoring), and then sends all of that data to a smartphone app. And you can tie it into IFTTT for smart home automation, so it can adjust your thermostat, turn off the lights, or open the blinds based on when you’re in or out of bed. Clever. It’ll ship this quarter at US$99.
Aibo was the tech-pet of our dreams until Sony axed the project back in 2006, but this robo-puppy is back – and yes, they did teach this old dog some new tricks. The new Aibo has OLED screens for eyes, has a pair of cameras onboard and can recognise different people, plus it’ll develop a personality based on how well you love it. Granted, it won’t come cheap: the Japanese price equates to about £1300 upfront plus a £16 monthly subscription.
BEST OF THE REST
No, this isn’t a quadcoptor built to deliver delicious Greek flatbreads through the air – the Pitta drone a whole lot more flexible. Dock it and it’s a security camera, hold it as an action cam, or hook up some rotors and record from the air, complete with advanced features like auto-follow and one-touch flying.
Asus Bezel-Free Kit
Can’t unsee those annoying bezels breaking up your incredible gaming monitor setup? Asus has a solution in the form of its Bezel-free kit, which attached between each monitor and somehow makes them appear as one screen.
You might not be keen on spending several hundred quid on a flying drone, but £99? That’s almost in impulse-buy territory, and Ryze’s Tello is the drone in question. It’s built on DJI tech, but it’s much smaller, lighter, and cheaper. Granted, it’ll only record 720p footage and the 13-minute battery isn’t much – but this could be an entry-level gem that brings in the masses. Expect it out this spring.
Even a pretty good Wi-Fi router can be thwarted by a couple of walls, making it hard to drape a large flat with strong connectivity. That’s why mesh networks are gaining steam, with multiple base units around your home, but Huawei’s Q2 system goes a step further: it also piggybacks on the electrical wires in your home to help keep speeds up between stations. Sounds great, but it’ll cost you: a house-ready three-pack will sell for US$350.
Yuneec HD Racer
Fancy yourself a racing drone, but don’t want to put in a big wedge of cash to buy something you’ll inevitably crash within moments? Fair enough – but maybe Yuneec can help. The new HD Racer drone is built for competitive racing, has a low-latency first-person video feed, and can even shoot 1080p footage, plus this little speedster is built for beginners and seems durable enough. It’ll sell for about £160 when it ships in April.