CES never fails to surprise and amaze with its annual showcase of breakthroughs. Amidst the thousands of new products, certain innovations shine brighter. An exceptional design, cutting-edge features, or the sheer novelty of the technology can make it a coveted item that grabs our attention and sparks the desire, 'Ooh, I want that!'"
This year, we crowned a select group of products with our Techlicious Top Picks of CES 2024 Award. We love them, and we think you will, too.
Elizabeth Harper, Suzanne Kantra, Josh Kirschner, Andrea Smith, John R. Quain, and Stewart Wolpin contributed to this story.
Celestron Origin Intelligent Home Observatory
Exploring the wonders of the night sky is a dream for many, but it can demand extensive astronomical knowledge and a lot of patience. Enter the Celestron Origin Intelligent Home Observatory, a game-changer in amateur astronomy. The new telescope can process data faster, thanks in part to AI, and can deliver crystal-clear images in just seconds, not minutes or hours. You can even schedule the Origin to take stunning pictures of space objects you'd otherwise miss while you're asleep.
The Origin uses a Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph (RASA) design that positions a Sony STARVIS image sensor at the front of a 6-inch telescope tube, creating a rapid f/2.2 system with an impressively broad field of view. AI technology processes the images to minimize noise, highlight fine details, and enhance contrast, all without manual intervention. This combination of hardware and software makes deep-sky astrophotography accessible to astronomy enthusiasts regardless of their skill level.
Clicks Creator Keyboard
If you miss the tactile sensation of typing on a physical keyboard, the Clicks Creator Keyboard for iPhone is a game-changer. It's not just a throwback to the BlackBerry days; it's a modern update that combines the best of both worlds. The keyboard offers familiar shortcuts, enhancing your productivity. For instance, CMD + H quickly returns you to the home screen, while CMD + Space launches the search function.
The Clicks Creator Keyboard is integrated with the iPhone case, freeing up valuable screen space. This feature is particularly handy when typing lengthy emails or crafting social media posts. During our testing, the keyboard's tactile feedback stood out, as did the convenient backlight.
The Clicks Creator Keyboard is more than just a nostalgic novelty; it's a practical tool for enhancing your iPhone experience. Available for pre-order at $139 on Clicks.tech, it starts shipping on February 1, 2024.
EssilorLuxottica Nuance Audio Glasses
The EssilorLuxottica Nuance Audio Glasses are a groundbreaking innovation for those with mild hearing loss who also wear glasses. These glasses do double duty: they not only correct your vision but also enhance your hearing in noisy environments, like bustling restaurants. This is a significant advantage over traditional earbuds or hearing aids.
Unlike traditional earbuds or hearing aids, these glasses use beam-forming directional microphone technology to amplify sounds in a 20-degree range in front of you, aligning with your line of sight. Instead of an earbud or rest-in-canal (RIC) speaker hearing aid design, the glasses’ frames have four tiny speakers built into the temples. The result? Clear audio without anything inserted into your ears.
Moreover, the glasses boast a stylish design with thick horn-rimmed frames, allowing you to wear your hearing aids without drawing attention. EssilorLuxottica is currently awaiting OTC hearing aid certification for the Nuance Audio Glasses and expects availability later this year. Pricing details are yet to be announced.
Hisense 110UX Mini-LED 8K TV
Hisense's 110-inch 110UX Mini-LED 8K TV sets a new bar for big-screen TVs. Its staggering brightness, peaking at an unprecedented 10,000 nits, is double that of any other TV we've evaluated. This model also sets a new standard with 40,000 local dimming zones, and boasts an extraordinarily wide color gamut.
However, superior specs alone don't make a great TV. The new AI processor skillfully utilizes the extra brightness to take advantage of HDR content and provides precise control over the numerous dimming zones. When we experienced the 100UX on the show floor, its performance was nothing less than spectacular.
With its size and outstanding features, it's clear the 100UX is a premium offering. But given Hisense's history for aggressive pricing, it will be interesting to see where it lands cost-wise when it hits the market later this year.
Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid
The term "2-in-1 laptop" is familiar in the realm of Windows laptops, denoting devices with detachable displays that double as tablets. Yet, Lenovo has advanced this concept remarkably with the 14-inch ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid. This innovative device isn't just a Windows laptop; it's also an Android tablet.
In its clamshell form, the ThinkBook Plus offers the unique ability to switch seamlessly between Windows and Android operating systems with a simple toggle. Detaching the display transforms it into the "Hybrid Tablet," an Android tablet compatible with the optional Lenovo Tab Pen, ideal for tasks like note-taking. The remaining keyboard unit, or "Hybrid Station," containing the Windows OS and its chipset, can connect to a monitor, offering a full-fledged Windows PC experience.
This versatility makes it two distinct products in one innovative package. As a Windows 11 computer, the Hybrid Station is powered by an Intel Core Ultra 7 processor and 32GB LPDDR5 RAM with a 1TB SSD. And as an Android 13 tablet, the Hybrid Tablet uses a Qualcomm Adreno processor and 12GB LPDDR5 RAM with a 256GB SSD.
Set for release in Q2 2024, the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid redefines flexibility in computing, starting at an expected price of $1,999.
LG SIGNATURE OLED T
There are times as tech journalists that a product triggers the joy and wonder that made us choose our profession. Viewing LG's SIGNATURE OLED T transparent TV was one of those moments.
The innovative transparent design of the OLED T offers unique placement options, such as in front of windows or as a creative room divider, a concept previously unthought of in TV design. The integration of LG’s Zero Connect box, which wirelessly transmits audio and video, further enhances its sleek design by minimizing cable clutter. Though final configurations are still in the works, options will include stand-alone, against-the-wall, and wall-mount setups, with or without additional shelves.
When watching content in transparent mode, images appear 3D and seem to float in the air. And with the press a button, a black screen rolls up behind the transparent display, giving you all the beautiful picture quality that you’d expect from one of LG’s high-end OLED TVs – a truly jaw-dropping experience.
While pricing and availability details are yet to be confirmed, we anticipate the SIGNATURE OLED T to be very expensive and potentially hit the market by late 2024.
Technology doesn’t have to be complicated to be incredibly useful, as the Lotus Ring demonstrates. For anyone with mobility issues, the Lotus Rings offers a simple way to turn lights on and off with no app, smart speaker, or AI chatbot required. Point your finger at the Lotus light switch, click the Ring, and it will send an infrared signal to turn on or off the light. Think "The Clapper," but able to handle all the lights (and, eventually, other devices) in your home.
Setting it up is a breeze. Simply attach the Lotus cover, which uses magnets, over just about any existing light switch.
The Lotus Ring is fully waterproof, so you can do the dishes and shower with it on. You can use the Ring with multiple light switches. Since it’s infrared and requires a line of sight, there’s no worry about interference or someone accidentally turning off the light from another room.
You can put a $4.99 pre-order deposit down now for Lotus Ring and three switches on GetLotus.
OrCam Hear OTC hearing aids
OrCam Hear OTC hearing aids redefine the experience of conversation in noisy environments. Unlike typical over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids that simply amplify all sounds, OrCam Hear specializes in filtering and amplifying only the essential voices. This advanced feature allows you to focus on your conversation, even in crowded rooms where background noise is overwhelming.
For daily use, OrCam Hear functions as standard OTC hearing aids, enhancing ambient sounds to match your hearing requirements. The innovation shines in noisy settings: with an iPhone and a dongle, you can quickly create 'voice signatures' for people you're conversing with. This process, taking only seconds, enables you to isolate and amplify voices of specific people by activating their profiles.
Currently, OrCam is awaiting certification for these hearing aids as OTC devices. The company anticipates shipping later this year, with pricing yet to be announced.
Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra
Robotic mop vacuums promise to take floor-cleaning off your hands for weeks, but often fall short of perfection. The Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra earns our Top Pick award with its three ingenious solutions to common robotic cleaning challenges: efficient corner cleaning, hair-tangle prevention, and keeping carpets dry during combined mopping and vacuuming.
Unique among its round counterparts, the S8 MaxV Ultra excels in corner cleaning. It features an innovative spinning FlexiArm that reaches into corners to sweep debris, complemented by a side brush that activates specifically for corners.
The DuoRoller Riser Brush is another remarkable feature. This dual brush system efficiently captures debris and prevents hair entanglement, thanks to integrated scrapers.
Most notably, the S8 MaxV Ultra elevates its mop head up to 20 mm, ensuring dry, clean carpets during vacuuming sessions. And both the mop and brush roll to lift away when docking, preventing debris fallout.
On top of these innovations, it boasts an auto-emptying, self-cleaning dock, options for hot water and detergent mopping, and automatic dirt detection so the robot will return to base for self-cleaning if the mop heads become too dirty to clean efficiently.
Set to launch in April 2024 at $1,799.99, the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra redefines automated floor cleaning.
Samsung Music Frame
The Samsung Music Frame offers a unique suite of features that seamlessly blend art appreciation with sound quality. Unlike other artwork speakers, the Music Frame offers the flexibility to utilize your own art, while delivering robust sound and full SmartThings integration.
As its name implies, the Music Frame doubles as a 14-by-14-inch picture frame. This innovative design lets you showcase any image of your choice, transforming your speaker into a personalized art display. Changing the displayed artwork is as simple as popping off the frame and inserting a new photo, offering endless possibilities to match your decor and mood.
In terms of sound, the Music Frame has an impressive 120 watts of power, sourced from two woofers, two tweeters, and two mid-drivers. This powerful configuration is ideal for small rooms, delivering crisp, immersive sound. For an enhanced audio experience, you have the option to pair two units for stereo sound.
Enhancing its versatility, the Music Frame seamlessly integrates with Samsung TVs via the SmartThings app, allowing you to use multiple units as stereo or surround sound speakers.
Slated for release in Spring 2024, the pricing details of the Music Frame are yet to be announced, promising to add a touch of sophistication and innovation to any space.
Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4
Amidst a sea of high-quality true wireless earbuds, the feature-packed Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 caught our ears for being among the first to support Auracast. Auracast is set to revolutionize public audio experiences in venues such as airports, bars, gyms, movie theaters, stadiums, and concert halls by streaming audio directly to headphones. Imagine lounging at the airport with music, yet staying alert to gate changes, or clearly hearing announcers at noisy stadiums – all made possible by Auracast.
Beyond public broadcasting, Auracast allows audio sharing from personal devices like phones, tablets, and computers to multiple listeners. In addition, Auracast technology is being integrated into TVs. It was recently added to Samsung’s 2023 Neo QLED 8K and Micro LED TVs, as well as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro 2, via a firmware update.
The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 earbuds don't just stop at Auracast; they excel in other areas too. They support high-end audio standards such as aptX Lossless, aptX Adaptive Audio, Bluetooth LE Audio, and the LC3 format. The earbuds boast a robust 7.5-hour battery life, extendable with three additional charges from their Qi wireless charging case. Plus, a quick eight-minute charge provides an hour of playtime.
These innovative earbuds, priced at $299.95, will be available for pre-order starting February 15.
TCL TAB 10 NXTPAPER 5G Tablet
The TCL TAB 10 NXTPAPER 5G combats eye fatigue and blue light issues with its innovative NXTPAPER 3.0 technology that lets you easily switch between a standard vibrant tablet display and a gentler, more paper-like experience.
The NXTPAPER 3.0 surpasses its predecessor with several major enhancements: its circularly polarized display allows light to pass through while blocking reflections, thereby reducing glare and eye strain. It's also 200 nits brighter, reaching a total of 700 nits, and offers faster performance. And the TCL Tab 10 adds a new toggle switch on the case to make switching between display modes simple.
Beyond its display, the 10.4-inch TCL TAB NXTPAPER 5G runs on Android 14 and is powered by an octa-core processor, accompanied by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Expect its arrival this spring, with pricing details yet to be announced.
Most people have a thermometer in their home med kit, but the Withings BeamO transforms the home into a mini doctor's office. The compact tool combines four crucial health monitoring devices into one: a digital stethoscope, a clinical-grade thermometer, a blood oxygen level sensor, and an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine.
What sets the BeamO apart is its ability to perform a quick health check-up in under a minute and detect things like fever, infection, and heart-related issues such as atrial fibrillation (AFib) from the comfort of home. These features are particularly valuable for those with chronic conditions, the elderly, or anyone needing regular monitoring.
In today's digital age, the ability to share health data with healthcare providers remotely is vital. BeamO facilitates this, especially during telehealth consultations, by allowing audio streaming through the Withings app so a doctor can listen to your heart or lungs.
The BeamO is expected to become available in June 2024 for $249.95, following FDA clearance for the ECG.
[Image credit: Techlicious, EssilorLuxottica]