Another CES, the mammoth Las Vegas trade show, is over. At last, the endless miles of too-soft carpet, like ploughing through snow but with an extra helping of static, have been rolled up again.
As shows go, this was a good one, with plenty of innovation, some stunning products and, of course, the nuttiest gadgets on the planet.
The just-revealed products will arrive in stores over the coming months. Here are some of the best devices to look forward to.
Sony Glass Sound Speaker
This gadget manages to be both mainstream and quirky. It’s a wireless speaker (Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) with a delicate, beguiling tone that is highly attractive.
But it looks like something Florence Nightingale might carry because it has a glass cylinder growing out of it, with a light at its base.
In fact, the glass vibrates and its resonance is what creates the sonorous sound.
The light can even be set to flicker like a candle. It is perfect for romantic candlelit dinners, though it’s not cheap: £550.
Panasonic GZ2000 4K OLED TV
This was far from the only TV launched at CES but many of them seemed highly gimmicky: The LG rollable TV is plenty impressive and the Samsung 219-inch microLED screen called, appropriately enough, The Wall, looked just amazing.
But for a TV you can actually buy without breaking the bank, the GZ2000 was revelatory. The image quality on Panasonic is routinely outstanding, and there were certainly improvements over previous models.
But this is a Dolby Atmos TV, and the first with upward-firing speakers hidden behind the screen.
In action, these transformed the experience, creating a deeply immersive sound, especially when watching sport. The roar of the crowd was no longer just coming from in front of you.
Withings Move ECG
Withings makes spectacularly good health products and its smartwatches appeal because they have analogue hands like, you know, a real watch.
This latest model, out in the Spring, will include an ECG monitor, something only the Apple Watch Series 4 has, and only in the US for now. This will be rather cheaper, at £130.
An ECG reading occurs when you press on the watch glass (there’s another sensor pressing against your wrist on the watch’s back that completes the circuit).
The Withings watch has a secondary dial which shows how close you are to your steps target, too. Oh, and unlike the Apple Watch, this will be compatible with Android phones, too.
This was one of the coolest surprises at the show and comes from Sphero, makers of spherical robots and a brilliant Star Wars R2-D2 toy.
But the company’s toys have always had a considerable educational angle to them, encouraging youngsters to learn how to code, for instance.
Now, with Specdrums, there’s a musical angle, too. Two silicone rings fit to your fingers and when you touch a colour, then notes, loops or beats will sound.
The colours can be on the coloured pad that comes with the rings or things in the world around you. Very smart.
Technics SL-1210 turntable
Back in the seventies, Technics released a turntable designed for DJs. It was incredibly popular and highly praised because it was well-built, very reliable and easy to use.
There have been updates since then but this is the first for almost a decade.
The new model, in a cool matte-black finish, includes features such as the capability to spin the disc in the opposite direction and neat features such as a long-life white LED positioned to make it easier to see the stylus tip when you’re trying to place it in dim, or no, light. It goes on sale in around May for £900.
Royole FlexPai folding smartphone
A smartphone with a flexible screen that folds out to become a tablet, this was a hot gadget in Vegas.
But it will need to move quickly to work – Samsung has said its own folder will be out in the coming months.
There are certain issues with folding phones, such as the aspect ratio. A regular display looks almost square when unfolded or, for it to look like a regular tablet, it requires a wider-than-usual display when in phone mode. But it’s a sign of the future.
This comes from the company that made the Nuraphone, a pair of headphones that go over the ear and also have a bit that juts into your lugholes to deliver strong sound.
The NuraLoop is an in-ear headphone which, like the Nuraphone, measures your hearing and uses signal processing to adjust the output to suit your ears, personally.
There’s noise-cancelling on board and a social mode that lets the sound of the outside world out as much or as little as you’d like.
A pet feeder is straightforward enough, but what if it had facial recognition? So Fido doesn’t eat Tibbles’ food, for instance.
This is also useful if you have two dogs, say, with different dietary needs.
Or, if you leave the Mookkie in the garden, you can be sure that a stray cat won’t sneak in and eat it.
There are two food bowls with separately opening lids. It’s on sale in the autumn for around £160.
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