Computers / News

CES 2016: Daily Roundups of the Hottest Tech

         

One of the largest showcases of innovation in the world opened its doors today, in Las Vegas, and thousands of vendors and attendees converged on the show floor as CES 2016 officially kicked off. More than 3,600 exhibiting companies will launch more than 20,000 products this week from the show, and it’s expected that  U.S. revenue for the consumer electronics industry, in 2016, will reach an all-time high of $287 billion. Products such as smartphones, televisions, laptop computers, tablets, and desktop computers will account for 51% of industry revenue—which can only increase as the smart-connection technology and  Internet of Things (IoT) drives market expansion. Categories such as virtual reality, wearable technology, and drones will see huge growth in 2016.

With so much to see, we’ve narrowed our day-to-day coverage to showcase only the hottest tech being talked about. Here are a few showstoppers we’ve heard about from CES 2016. Remember—pricing and availability are still unknown to us, but you can check back for more updates on these and more products at B&H Photo Video Pro AudioFor full coverage of the latest photo and video announcements at CES, please click here.

CES 2016: Day 2 Highlights

As we move on to the next round of CES announcements, there’s a general feeling that CES has failed somehow at wowing us this year. New tech, like virtual reality and self-driving cars, make for good press, but practical applications and mainstream integration might be years away. So what are we left with? If you’re a tech trendsetter, you have to be happy with the little things, such as USB C integration, Thunderbolt 3—with its promised data transfer speed of 40GB/s, four times the original Thunderbolt’s speed—and the downsizing of computers (mark my words: mini PCs will hit their stride this year).

A couple of trends that are worth noting have already been shown, including a proliferation of drones, OLED TVs, and connected devices. But today, it was mostly about Dell, robots, and smartphones.

Dell's First 4K OLED Monitor


Dell has made the jump to OLED with the Dell UltraSharp 30 OLED Monitor. It provides the advantages of OLED display technology to professionals working in color-critical environments, such as photography. The monitor delivers deep black levels, coverage of industry color spaces, such as AdobeRGB and DCI-P3, and a 0.1 ms response time, in 4K UHD resolution. It also supports USB Type-C, which enables single-cable power, video, and data connectivity with compatible systems. If you're looking to maximize your workspace and minimize desktop clutter, Dell also showcased the UltraSharp InfinityEdge Monitors. Both the 27" QHD and 23.8" Full HD monitors feature thin bezels and give you the option to choose a stand or a monitor arm to free up desk space.

What’s up, Docks?

Dell has entered into the productivity arena with two docking stations that utilize the new USB Type-C interface differently. The Dell Dock's USB Type-C port uses DisplayPort 1.2 technology while the Dell Thunderbolt Dock's USB Type-C port uses Thunderbolt 3, which supports up to 40 Gb/s. These technologies support data, video, audio, and power so your computer may access multiple peripherals while using a single cable. For connectivity, both docks sport two USB 2.0 ports and three USB 3.0 ports along with Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, VGA, and audio jacks. Additionally, the Dell Thunderbolt dock comes with an extra USB Type-C port that lets you daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt devices. 

UBTech’s Latest Addition to Nuclear Family: A Robot Named Alpha 2


UBTech officially unveiled the next step in robot evolution at CES this week, the Alpha 2 Humanoid Robot. Designed with the brains of a high-end smartphone and the flexibility of a seasoned yogi, the Alpha 2 responds to voice commands, can control compatible smart devices such as locks and lamps, and even teaches you new yoga poses. And that’s just the beginning. Thanks to its 20 flexible servo joints and sophisticated array of gesture, touch, acceleration, infrared, and ultrasonic sensors, the Alpha 2 can perform a full range of lifelike functions, including storytelling, everyday body movements, and more. You can control the Alpha 2 with pre-programmed voice commands or by using the compatible app, which is both Android and iOS compatible.

JIMU Robot: If You Think It, You Can Build It


UBTech’s other big CES announcement was the innovative JIMU Robot, which aims to let kids build anything they can imagine. The JIMU comes as a robot construction kit, complete with robo building blocks and instructions for creating robotic animals, including a giraffe, elephant, and penguin. A “dynamic drawing” app is also available to help builders understand design steps and movement mechanics more easily, which will, in turn, aid them when they are ready to conceptualize and construct their own customized creations. The app also serves as a controller for your JIMU, connecting to your robot via Bluetooth, so you can control your new creation without the fuss of wires.   

Sony Android TV Update: Same OS, New Features


At CES, Sony announced that its 2016 line of Android TVs will have advanced functionality over previous versions. They’re still using Android Lollipop, with Marshmallow coming later in the year, but the company says that it has increased the processing power for smoother, faster operation. Included is a new remote with a touchpad and built-in microphone for voice control, and the OS now accepts commands such as “launch Netflix,” and voice searches within the built-in YouTube app.

Heavy Metal:  BLU Vivo 5 and Vivo XL


BLU has launched a pair of unlocked Android smartphones that put a premium on style and affordability without sacrificing features. The new Vivo 5 features an all-metal body, available in gold or silver with polished chamfering to complement its matte finish. A 5.5" HD AMOLED display covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 shows off Android’s Material Design language, as well as games and media. The device ships with Android 5.1 Lollipop and is upgradeable to 6.0 Marshmallow. Under the hood, a 1.3GHz octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM keeps the Android operating system running smoothly. This device also features a 32GB of internal storage. The expected price for all this? It's expected to retail for approximately $200.

BLU’s second offering, the Vivo XL, shares many components with the Vivo 5 including 5MP front and 13MP rear cameras, the 5.5" HD screen, and processor, but drops the memory to 2GB and the internal storage to 16GB, as well as another $50 off the expected retail price. Both phones are have microSD ports for expanding the storage by up to 64GB, as well as FM radio support, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, LTE wireless connectivity, and new USB Type-C charging ports.

Dell Brings Latitudes with Attitudes


Dell continues to expand its selection of Latitude commercial devices with the Latitude 13 7000, Latitude 12 7000, and Latitude 11 5000. According to Dell, the Latitude 13 7000 Series Ultrabook™ is the world’s smallest 13" business-class system of its kind. It is constructed from layers of unidirectional 40-ton carbon fiber, which is the same material used to build spacecraft. There is a machined-aluminum build option available, as well, and the Latitude 13 7000 also has an InfinityEdge display and supports Thunderbolt 3 via USB Type-C.

The Latitude 12 7000 Series 2-in-1 employs a magnesium unibody build and provides the functionality of a laptop and a tablet. While most 2-in-1 systems use latches, locks, or alignment pins to hold 2-in-1s together, this system uses magnets. It also features a Corning Gorilla Glass NBT screen that is 8mm thick on a 4K UltraSharp UHD touch display.

There are two keyboard options, such as the full-sized Latitude 12 Slim, with its backlit chiclet keys, and Latitude 12 Premium, with its backlit keys, mouse cursor control, and touchpad. Rounding out the Latitude series updates is the Latitude 11 5000 Series 2-in-1. With a starting weight of 1.56 pounds and a 10.8" screen, this system can switch between tablet and laptop mode and has strong pen accuracy for capturing handwritten inputs using an optional stylus.

These Latitude devices have been adapted from Dell’s XPS line of consumer devices and are designed for today’s mobile business professional.

Intel® Compute Stick™ 2nd Gen


The Intel Compute Stick is a tiny device, roughly the size of a pack of gum, which turns any HDMI display into a computer. Its predecessor wasn’t as well received as Intel would've liked, but it has addressed all of the issues and has announced the 2nd generation of the Compute Stick. The new entry-level stick packs an Atom™ x5 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage with Windows 10 preinstalled. According to Intel, it’s about twice as fast as the previous model, and now has two USB ports and an improved antenna array supporting 802.11ac Wi-Fi. While it’s not meant to serve as a complete desktop replacement in terms of performance, the Compute Stick will be available in more powerful Intel Core M3 and M5 variants, which can spit out 4K video at 30 Hz. The Atom-powered Compute Stick is in production now, whereas the Core M3 and M5 models will begin production in February.

LG 4K Notebook & MacBook Lookalike


Keeping up with the 4K trend, LG’s “15U560 Ultra HD 4K” laptop computer features a 15.6" 4K (3840 x 2160) display. To meet the demands of 4K content, this laptop is packed with an Intel i3/i5/i7 processor, Harmon Kardon speakers, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a NVIDIA 940M graphics card, and either a 1TB hard drive or a 512GB solid-state drive. It’s mostly white, aside from the black bezel around the screen, and has silver accents used for Harmon Kardon branding. Furthermore, with a 15.6" screen and said hardware, don’t expect it to be as light as an Ultrabook. On the other end of the spectrum, the also newly released LG Gram 15 weighs only 2.16 lb. It comes in Intel i5/i7 variants with a 1080p IPS panel, Windows 10, Hi-Fi Sound speakers, 8GB of RAM, and either a 256GB or 512GB solid-state drive. Additionally, it’s USB Type-C ready and features a gold paint job and curves that closely resemble Apple laptops. Aesthetics aside, it seems like laptop manufacturers are going to have some light competition. There’s currently no word on pricing and availability for these laptops.

Please check back for pricing and availability.


CES 2016: Day 1 of the Big Show

Oculus Rift gets a Release Date

After years in development, preorders for the Oculus Rift are now live. The first batch of units will ship on March 28. In addition to the Oculus Rift headset, you get a camera to help with head tracking, a Microsoft Xbox One controller, and the Oculus Remote, along with two free games, Lucky's Tale and Eve: Valkyrie. The first wave of integrated and mainstream true virtual reality has come ashore!

Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook™ and Razer Core


Razer decided you don't have to choose between an Ultrabook and a gaming desktop. The Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook measures 0.5" and weighs less than three pounds. Its 12.5" multi-touch display is available in QHD 2560 x 1440 or 4K 3840 x 2160 resolution. It has a 6th-gen Skylake Intel® Core™ i7 processor, PCIe SSD technology, and at least 8GB of RAM. You'll notice that a dedicated GPU is missing from the spec list. That's because it's located in the Razer Core, which is an external enclosure that you connect using Thunderbolt 3 via the USB Type-C port on the Razer Blade Stealth. The Razer Core can accommodate most AMD and NVIDIA GPUs, and installation is simple and user-friendly. The Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook and Razer Core provide a unique solution for portability and performance in a single computer.

Razer Stargazer Webcam


With the emergence of Twitch, the Razer Stargazer Webcam gives gamers a better option for their streams. Capable of capturing 720p video @ 60 fps or Full HD 1080p video @ 30 fps, the Stargazer provides a high-res alternative to built-in webcams of laptops, monitors, and all-in-one desktop computers. The Stargazer also has an automatic noise-canceling, dual-array microphone if you don't want to invest in a separate one. Powered by the Intel RealSense™ SR300 camera, the Stargazer has Dynamic Background Removal, which intelligently senses depth to separate foreground and background, eliminating the need for the current green-screen setup used by streamers. It can also do face and object 3D scanning, as well as facial and gesture recognition. If you're thinking of getting into streaming games, the Razer Stargazer Webcam is a great place to start.

Rival 700 Gaming Mouse

Information is critical, which is why SteelSeries has outfitted the Rival 700 gaming mouse with a small customizable OLED display. Located on the upper right-side corner of the mouse, the screen lets you view in-game statistics, button mapping, and other critical details. In addition to the display, this gaming mouse comes armed with physical customization options that include two swappable cables, mouse covers, and modular sensors so you can be at your best while gaming. There is also a tactile alert feature that delivers real-time in-game events, such as cool-down timers and more, through the SteelSeries Engine.

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

Samsung wants some of that Surface fame and fortune, and the company is going to try to get it with the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. Available in both Wi-Fi and LTE versions, Samsung’s Galaxy TabPro S is not only a Windows 10 tablet, but Samsung’s first Windows product to use the Galaxy name. Equipped with a 12" diagonal Super AMOLED display that has a resolution of 2160 x 1440, the display is also energy efficient, which helps contribute to the tablet’s maximum 10.5 hours of battery life. The TabPro S is powered by an Intel Core M processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. It employs a fanless design and connectivity options are limited to a lone USB Type-C port, although an optional port hub with HDMI, USB Type-A, and USB Type-C will be offered. While there is no fingerprint scanner, software will allow TabPro S owners to link their Galaxy phone to their tablet for fingerprint authentication.

Samsung Rink VR


Virtual reality is coming soon, with many companies making their own headsets, each trying to create a more immersive experience than the rest. While these virtual reality headsets keep your eyes and ears occupied, your hands are still chained to a mouse and keyboard or a controller. Samsung’s Rink controller for the Samsung Gear VR headset frees your hands from the typical forms of interaction and lets you move them around freely, however you wish, for gestures and actions in virtual reality. There’s not much else known about the Rink so far such as the price or release date. Nonetheless, be sure to keep up with it if you’re going to be picking up Samsung’s Gear VR headset because it looks like it’ll be an essential component for the immersive experience you crave.

MSI 27XT AIO PC


With the release of upgradeable all-in-one gaming PCs, MSI hads stepped up to bat with the Gaming 27XT. This all-in-one PC is the first to feature a full-sized external graphics card, for a different take on thermal management. Its design allows users to access the GPU at any time without taking apart the whole machine. Furthermore, MSI stated that the Gaming 27XT can accommodate most commonly sized graphics cards, such as the NVIDIA GTX Titan and 980 Ti so that gamers can have the performance they want. The Gaming 27XT will be available with many options and configurations, such as a choice between a FHD (1920 x 1080), a QHD (2560 x 1440) @ 144 Hz, and even a 4K (3840 x 2160) @ 60 Hz display. In addition, it dropped SATA support for the M.2 interface, allowing for a slimmer, compact package. There’s no information on pricing and release yet, but MSI has definitely changed gaming on all-in-one PCs.

Samsung New SUHD TVs

Every year we expect Samsung to push the tech envelope a little further, and at this year's CES, the company aimed to deliver with its new range of SUHD TVs. Available in an array of sizes, from 49 to 88 inches, Samsung's 2016 SUHD TVs will incorporate cadmium-free 10-bit Quantum dot displays. This  display technology is engineered to deliver enhanced image brightness, contrast, and color reproduction. The TVs also support High Dynamic Range (HDR) content and feature Ultra Black Technology, which reduces light reflections in an effort to optimize picture quality by minimizing glare-related distractions. Samsung also showcased its KS9500 series TVs—these models will feature a welcomed bezel-less, curved design, offering even greater image immersion.

Samsung also knows that consumers care about the overall user experience, which is why its Tizen Smart TV interface allows you to quickly navigate between live and streaming content, and both options can conveniently selected from the screen. You can also use the Smart TV's remote control to operate multiple components simply by connecting them to the TV—no advanced setup required.

Samsung 4K Blu-ray Disc Player


As we've highlighted here, we will soon have disc-based UHD content to feed our pixel-hungry 4K televisions, since Samsung unveiled its UBD-K8500 Blu-ray player at this year's CES. With more than 100 titles expected in 2016, consumers will have plenty of options from popular studios like 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Thankfully, this Blu-ray player will also allow you to enjoy 4K streaming content from premium providers like Netflix and Amazon, thanks to its integrated Wi-Fi and Blu-ray connectivity. Dual HDMI outputs are on board, along with a front-facing USB 3.0 interface. The UBD-K8500 is expected to begin shipping in March, and we can't wait to see the content options that follow.

Samsung's Dolby Atmos-Ready HW-K950


If you don't believe a soundbar system can deliver an immersive multi-channel listening experience, you may want to take a long look at what Samsung just announced at this year's CES. Not only does Samsung's new HW-K950 feature two rear wireless speakers, but both the rear speakers and main soundbar support expansive Dolby Atmos sound technology, thanks to its 5.1.4-channel array. When paired with Dolby Atmos mixed content, this system utilizes upward-facing drivers to fill your room with rich and detailed overhead sound. A subwoofer is also included with the system and, like the rear speakers, it connects to the soundbar wirelessly, enabling placement flexibility in your listening space.

Watch 4 HD Channels at Once with the Dish Hopper 3


Have you ever seen a security monitor showing four feeds at once and asked yourself, “Why can’t they make something like that for TVs so I can watch four games at once?” Now, Dish’s Hopper 3 makes that possible. It has a whopping 16 tuners built in and will allow you to watch up to four separate HD channels, at the same time, in split-screen fashion. This dream-come-true feature will work best on a 4K TV, but it will also work on a 1080p TV at scaled-down resolutions.

Scheduled to ship in the first half of 2106, Dish is claiming that the 16 tuners in the Hopper 3 represent the largest number packed into any DVR so far. While 16 tuners may seem like overkill, for a big family with different tastes, it will solve the problem of having to cancel someone else’s recording for your own—and prevent ensuing arguments over what show is more deserving of the DVR space. And yes, it’s also compatible with 4K content from Netflix.

Panasonic to Offer a 65" 4K OLED… Eventually

This week at CES, Panasonic confirmed that it would be entering the OLED game with a 65" 4K model later this year, but without getting into specifics regarding a release date or price. At the moment, LG remains the only manufacturer with OLED TVs available in the US, and neither Samsung nor Sony seem to have OLED on their minds.

Download a 4K Movie in Seconds? The Talon says, Yes You Can.


A new router usually doesn’t get a lot of buzz, unless it’s sporting a new wireless protocol. The TP Link Talon AD7200 is one such device—it’s the first to ship with the faster 802.11 ad protocol, and it’s a tri-band router that will utilize the 60 GHz 802.11 ad band and 802.11 ac bandwidth channels. Formerly known as WiGig, the new router will reach blazing speeds—one claim is that it will hit 7 gigabits per second, which can conceivably download a 4K movie in four minutes. Because 60GHz technology is weak at passing through walls, the router will still be able to transmit on the 802.11 ac protocol using 2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz bands. Will all of this hold up in real world tests? We’ll have to wait and see.

Kangaroo Miniature Windows Computer

Although InFocus announced the Kangaroo in October, CES 2016 is really the first time it’s been showcased. Why is the Kangaroo turning heads? It’s an all-in-one mini PC that has the footprint of a smartphone. Inside the metallic shell (which is only 14mm thick, about the size of a stack of sticky notes) is an 2.24 Intel Atom™ GHz x5-Z8500 processor, 2GB of RAM,  and 32GB of storage, along with a microSD card slot and a microUSB charging port. The base (which acts as a sort of dock for the unit), includes a USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and HDMI port. It runs on Windows 10 Home, but with the OSLINX app for Apple, you can hook this mini PC to your iPad to enjoy full-scale computing on the go. Just as the Raspberry Pi showed us last year, micro computing could be the wave of the future, and at only $99, this could be the first real crest in that wave.

Please check back for pricing and availability.


5 Trends to Look Out for as CES Starts

 

CES is upon us once again. The largest global Consumer Electronics Show of 2016 kicks off on Wednesday, January 5, and will showcase all of the technology you’ll be looking for this year. Although some of this year’s tech might be categorized as “vaporware,” we’ve compiled five areas where tech seems strong, with products that should trend up this year. Please note: price and availability on all of these items has not been determined. Check back with bandh.com/explora for more news on these and other CES items throughout the year. 

By category we have:

1. Virtual Reality

Expect to hear about the advent of virtual reality and its inclusion in every home across the globe in the coming days. We still have some time before virtual reality is all-inclusive, but the wave has definitely started, and there are more than a few items showing at CES 2016 that will garner a fair amount of attention.

HTC Vive Pre

As their 2nd-gen virtual reality headset, the HTC Vive Pre features many improvements from its predecessor. The compact headset has an updated strap design, interchangeable foam inserts, and nose gaskets to fit a variety of facial shapes and even prescription eyeglasses. An improved visual system with brighter displays and image refinements will lead to increased clarity. There is now a camera so you can see what's in front of you. An added front camera allows you to do more both inside and outside of your Virtual world by blending physical elements into the virtual space. The Vive controllers have also been overhauled with ergonomics such as softer edges, better balance, textured buttons, and grip pads. The HTC Vive Pre will support Valve's SteamVR and will require a spec-heavy computer. The HTC Vive Pre is scheduled to be released in April 2016.

Oculus Rift

There may be no set launch date for the Oculus Rift, but you'll be able to preorder it. On Wednesday, January 6th, at 11am EST, you'll be able to put in your preorder for the Oculus Rift. Unfortunately, you'll have to find out what the price is at checkout like the rest of us. The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset and will require a wired connection to a high-end computer to run. If you happened to back the Oculus Rift kickstarter in 2012, you don't have to preorder because you'll be getting a free consumer version whenever it's released.

Merge VR

While HTC Vive Pre & Oculus Rift are the VR heavy hitters at CES 2016, the Merge VR is geared more towards the casual user who wants to experience virtual reality without being tethered to a $1,000+ computer. Made of soft, rugged foam, the Merge VR headset is lightweight, comfortable, and easy to clean. Unlike other smartphone VR headsets, the Merge VR is compatible with nearly any iOS or Android device from the last two years. It also has dual input buttons, audio ports, camera access for augmented reality, anti-fog ventilation, and adjustable, custom lenses.

PlayStation VR Delivers Exciting and Innovative Gaming Experiences

Experience visuals and sounds in 360 degrees with Sony’s PlayStation VR. This virtual reality gaming platform delivers content using a visor-style headset and two sets of images: one 3D image for the headset and a 2D image for the television, allowing others to participate. The headset is equipped with a 5.7” 1920 x 1080 RGB OLED display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz and a 100 degree field of view. This not only expands the field of view and helps to enable low persistence, but also minimizes motion blur. 

The PlayStation VR is also equipped with an accelerometer and a gyroscope that run at a frequency of 1,000 Hz, allowing the movements of your head to be detected with minimal latency. When used with a PlayStation camera, the movement of your head and the controller can be tracked and reflected in real time. Multiple PlayStation VR units connected to PS4 systems can be networked together to play in the same virtual world.

2. Computers and Tech

The Internet of Things is Quickly Becoming a Reality thanks to Wi-Fi HaLow

As homes become smarter, vehicles become more connected, and appliances feel the need to talk to one another, there lies one major problem: how do all of these devices communicate? Traditional Wi-Fi can be spotty and often times unreliable. To solve this problem, the Wi-F Alliance has introduced Wi-Fi HaLow.  Sitting just below the 1 GHz band, Wi-Fi HaLow utilizes the 900 MHz frequency which has many benefits including a stronger signal, longer range and the ability to penetrate many common obstacles such as walls. Additionally, many of the Wi-Fi HaLow compliant devices will remain compatible with traditional 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.  While Wi-Fi HaLow may operate on a weaker frequency, that doesn’t mean it sacrifices security as it still maintains the IP-based connectivity found in current Wi-Fi devices along with strong government-grade security.  Whether your connected fridge needs to alert you when you’re out of milk, retailers need to monitor a product, or entire cities need to remain connected, the new Wi-Fi HaLow is poised to change how we communicate with everyday devices and how they communicate with each other.

USB Type-C Peripherals

USB Type-C is quickly becoming the go-to interface for a variety of devices including monitors, hard drives, tablets, and phones thanks to a thinner and more ergonomically sound connector. This makes it a viable interface for both monitors and hard drives.  Debuting at CES this year will be an ever growing variety of monitors and hard drives that take advantage of these capabilities.

The Samsung Portable SSD T3 series of solid state drives in capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB models will have USB-C.  They’ll feature data transfer rates of up to 450 MBps, are small and durable, measuring just 2.9 inches long and weighing in just under two ounces, and can withstand a drop of 2 meters.

LaCie has also jumped into the USB Type-C game by outfitting their Porsche Design line of desktop and mobile hard drives with this new interface. One major benefit of the Porsche drives is the ability to charge your laptop through the drive so long as the drive is plugged in. Additionally, each drive comes with a USB 3.0 adapter if your machine doesn’t have a built-in USB Type-C port. The Porsche Design Mobile Drive comes in a variety of capacities including 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB while the Desktop Drive comes in 4TB, 5TB, and 8TB options to suit your storage needs.

USB Type-C compatible monitors from Acer and ASUS will also be shown this year at CES.  Acer’s USB H7 monitor comes in both a 25 and 27-inch version supporting resolutions up to 2560x1440. USB Type-C port supports both the display signal and USB data connection.

While Acer’s offering confines you to a desktop, ASUS announced a portable USB Type-C equipped monitor. The ASUS MB169C+ is comparable to the previous version of the same monitor, the ASUS MB168B+ albeit it includes a few major upgrades.  The most significant upgrade is obviously the included USB Type-C port, making this monitor compatible with a variety of USB Type-C equipped devices such as the new Apple Macbook, Google’s latest Chromebook, and more. Another upgrade found in the new ASUS monitor is the IPS display providing a more vibrant, colorful, viewing experience over the previous versions TN panel.

IdeaCentre 610S

Transform your living room into an entertainment powerhouse with the Lenovo Ideacentre 610S, which offers you a Windows 10 system and a wireless 720P HD projector. When you need a large display, the detachable projector delivers a screen size of up to 100”, at a throw distance under 8’, as well as sound with a 2-watt speaker. It is powered by an internal battery and outfitted with an HDMI input port and a USB 2.0 port. For computing performance, the triangle-shaped tower is less than 8” tall and comes packed with a 6th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750Ti graphics, and up to 2TB of storage capacity. Other notable features included in the 610S are an SDXC card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI, and four USB 3.0 ports.

Lenovo 900S

Lenovo unveiled the Yoga 900S 2-in-1 convertible notebook today at CES 2016. The Yoga 900S will be available in a bold new color scheme and is thinner and lighter than its predecessors at only 12.8mm thick and 2.2 pounds. While still available in standard silver, the “champagne gold” model combines a black chassis with a gold-colored surface, keyboard, and matching watchband-style 360-degree hinge. Unlike the 13” Yoga 900, the 900S has a 12.5” QHD panel that supports an active stylus, and will be using Intel Core M processors, which are designed for thin laptops, tablets, and hybrids. Simply put, the Yoga 900S is a smaller and lighter version of the Yoga 900 with a different processor and display.

Maingear Alpha 34

All-in-one PCs never caught on in the gaming community because they weren’t powerful enough to satisfy the crowd and didn’t allow for upgrades. Debuting at CES 2016, Maingear’s Alpha 34 solves both issues by cramming serious hardware into a curved, 34” 1440p display. The Alpha 34 supports 8-core Intel Core i7 processors or an 18-core Xeon chip, catering to both gamers and workstation users, and can even accommodate a NVIDIA Titan X graphics card and other parts you’d expect to see in a computer tower. There’s also optional liquid cooling, but the standard model starts at $1,999 and only packs a Core i3, 8GB of RAM, Radeon R7 360X, and a 1TB hard drive.

Origin Omni

Sporting a 34” 1440p display, the Origin Omni was unveiled today at CES 2016 as an all-in-one gaming computer. Similar to Maingear’s Alpha 34, the Origin Omni can be packed with powerful components such as an Intel Core i7 5960X processor or an Intel Xeon E5-2699 processor, and NVIDIA Titan X graphics cards. It also features optional upgrades like liquid cooling, a translucent back cover to show off your gear, and adjustable colors. The Omni can be fully customized to the user’s preference and comes with free lifetime 24/7 technical support. Currently the base configuration and price have not been released.

3. Health and Fitness

Every new year starts out the same, with resolutions to get fit and get healthy – and by this time next month, most of us will have forgotten those promises. The tech industry won’t let you forget them – they’ve developed tech that will remind you, berate you, and guide you to a better healthier state.

Polar Balance Lets You Carry Your Weight with You Wherever You Go

Following in the footsteps of other high-end fitness brands, Polar has unveiled its own smart scale, the Polar Balance. Announced today at CES, the Balance helps you manage your weight, set fitness goals, and track your overall weight trends, including monitoring your body mass index (BMI). Its real innovation, however, is the way the Balance interacts with your other Polar fitness products. Every time you weigh in on the Balance it automatically sends your weight to your Polar fitness tracker, where it will mark you like a badge of honor (or shame) for the rest of the day. Whenever you look at your wrist, there’s your weight staring right back at you—it’s like the Scarlet Letter of dieting. The idea is that by constantly seeing your weight displayed on your wrist you’ll be more inclined to work toward your fitness goals. And by syncing the Balance with Polar’s fitness app, you can actually get tailored workouts and real-time feedback on how you’re doing. 

Withings Thermo

A thermometer may sound like a fairly simple device, but Withings have taken this vital instrument out from under the tongue and into the future with the Thermo. Instead of taking your temperature via your mouth or underarm, the Thermo needs only to be touched to the side of your head for two seconds for an accurate reading. When connected to your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, the Thermo can store temperature data for your entire family, provide simple analysis, and instantly share information with your doctor.

Fitbit Blaze

Fitness trackers comprise one of the fastest growing categories of consumer electronics today, but most have prioritized function over form. Fitbit’s Blaze, however, is designed to look as good with a jacket and tie or jeans and a T-shirt as it does with sneakers and workout clothes. The tracker module itself floats within a hexagonal stainless steel case that allows you to easily switch between various bands made from elastomer (included), leather, and stainless steel. Despite its large color screen, it lasts for up to five days on a charge. It connects wirelessly to Android, iOS, and Windows Phone as well as computers.

As a fitness tracker first and foremost, the Blaze performs all of the functions you’ve come to expect (step tracking, calorie counting, sleep tracking) as well as a few extras. An optical heart rate monitor takes measurements every five seconds throughout the day, upping it to every second while working out. And when you hit the gym, there’s no need to fiddle with settings to record your workouts: the Blaze automatically tracks aerobic activities like running, walking, basketball, tennis, and soccer without any input from the user.

Garmin’s Varia Vision Gives You Line-of-Sight Cycling Statistics

Garmin debuted the latest addition to its Varia line at CES today, the Varia Vision. Designed for bike enthusiasts, the Vision is a heads-up display that clips onto your sunglasses, allowing you to see all your cycling stats without taking your eyes off the road. It syncs wirelessly with either the Edge 1000 or 520 cycling computer to give you real-time performance data, directions, and smart notifications. It even features built-in vibration alerts for performance, direction, and radar prompts.  Best of all, the Vision pairs with Varia Rearview Radar, so you can see what’s behind with you without ever looking back. 

Misfit Ray: The Wearable You Actually Want to Wear

While many companies have put forward activity trackers that emulate the look and style of jewelry, none have done it well enough to be totally convincing. Misfit looks to have finally bridged that gap with the unveiling of their latest activity tracker, the Misfit Ray.

At first (and second, and third) glance, the Ray looks to be a stylish bracelet or necklace, nothing more. However, the elegant cylindrical design of the module belies the tech underneath, which includes a sensor array capable of measuring your steps, distance, calories burned, and more. As well as activity tracking, the Ray is also a smart device, meaning it can send vibration alerts for incoming calls, texts, and user-set alarms. Its customizable design allows it to be worn around your wrist with either a sport or leather band, or you can wear it as a necklace. Another big plus is the 6-month battery life, which means you won’t have to charge the Ray—a particularly nice feature since you probably won’t want to take it off.

4. Drones

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, drones are here to stay. With big retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart poised to take over the skies with robotic flying monkeys (or their version of such), drones are becoming as ubiquitous as smartphones. But for those who want to explore the drone’s potential for filmmaking and other useful applications, CES 2016 will debut some sky-high contenders.

Parrot Disco

Having already established itself as a major player in the world of high-end consumer-grade drones, Parrot yesterday announced the Disco prototype, a new fixed-wing autonomous aircraft. Unlike traditional quadcopters, the Disco has a single propeller at its rear that can take it to speeds of up to 50mph. Despite its formidable top speed, Parrot has made every effort to make the craft simple to fly. Just toss it into the air and let its sensors and software safely propel it to altitude before you take control.

The Disco’s 1080p HD camera records video and transmits a live stream back to the smartphone controller via Wi-Fi. The 3.6’ wide drone’s battery lets it run for up to 45 minutes before needing to be replenished. When the battery runs out, you can land it by simply letting it glide onto the ground. And if it gets lost, it’ll use GPS tracking to automatically guide itself home.

Lily: The World’s First Throw-and-Shoot Camera

One of the winners of the CES 2016 Innovation Awards, the Lily is a flying action camera that operates hands-free with no controller required. Thanks to its built-in GPS tracking system and sophisticated sensor array, you simply toss the Lily into the air and it immediately begins to follow you around while simultaneously shooting video. The secret behind this aerial stalker is the included wrist-worn tracking device, which the Lily locks onto and never lets out of its sight.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Flight

Perhaps the most anticipated event at this year’s CES will be Qualcomm’s unveiling of their new Snapdragon chipset specialized for drones. Thus far known as the Snapdragon Flight, Qualcomm’s reported aim with these drone-specific processors is to bring down overall costs, improve battery life and flight time, and make advanced features more readily available to consumers, thus broadening the market and range of possible applications.   

Prodrone Byrd: The Portable Drone You Can Take Anywhere

Also expected at CES is the unveiling of the Prodrone Byrd, a powerful consumer drone that can fold up into a compact, iPad-sized package for complete portability. The Byrd’s arms, propellers, and landing gear are all collapsible, allowing you store and carry the Byrd in your backpack. Additionally it features a modular design, which allows you to customize it your needs and preferences. Three versions of the Byrd will be available: Standard, Advanced, and a Premium Model—each with flight specs suitable to your pilot level.

DJI Inspire 1: Back in Black

DJI unveiled an updated version of one of its most popular drones, the Inspire 1. Previously only available in white, the Inspire 1 is now being released in a special edition black in response to popular demand from the professional filmmaking community. Look for the Inspire 1 to incorporate all the same specs that has made it such a favorite among consumers, only now in stylish black.

5. Home Entertainment/Automation

Getting our homes aligned with the futuristic visions of Hollywood gets closer every year. Talking digital assistants (like the three tech muses Cortana, Alexa and Siri) are becoming a standard, and the ability to control the lights, appliances and even the security systems in our homes via a smartphone is here. Here are some trends we’re looking to see from CES 2016:

The iDevices Socket Bridges the Gap Between Standard Light Bulbs and Apple’s HomeKit

For some, the thought of setting up a home automation system seems like more trouble than it’s worth, but with the iDevices Socket, you won’t need to install any new wall switches or panels if you don’t want to. All you have to do is screw the Socket into your lamp or light fixture, then screw your preferred bulb into it. Your non-smart bulb can now be controlled by either the HomeKit iOS app or Siri.

Unveiled at CES today, the Socket also has a built-in color-changing nightlight to give your midnight snack the ambiance you may have been missing. According to iDevices, it will be priced somewhere between $50 and $70, which will make the jump into home automation more of a short hop.

LG’s New OLED TVs Are Thin as Glass

Today at CES, LG touted their new G6 OLED TV series, which is available in 65” and 77” sizes. Featuring a panel-on-glass design, these big screen TVs and the step-down E6 (55” and 65”) series are only 0.1” thick. How? They have a detachable stand/sound bar, which can be folded behind the screen in wall-mounted applications. This soundbar houses the power cable and input/output panel, now the only true source of bulk. Continuing on LG’s path of minimalism, the G6 series features rounded transparent edges, nearly making the term “bezel width” a thing of the past.

What LG hasn’t changed about their new OLEDs is their commitment to image quality. The entire 2016 OLED product line offers a color gamut that equals 99% of the DCI/P3 color space, plus full HDR support and Dolby Vision compatibility. Combining this with their already existing Perfect Black technology, LG has set out to become the standard in vibrant imagery.

Old is New Again with the Monster Blaster – “the Boom Box Reimagined”

Today at CES, Monster unleashed their new boom box that they’re calling the Monster Blaster. Inspired by the boom boxes of yesteryear, it features an integrated subwoofer to get your beats pumping. The Blaster also has V-Sound, which is described as directing and reflecting sound off the wall.

The Blaster also has an outdoor mode, and is splash-resistant for safe use poolside. It has Bluetooth with NFC built-in for quick connectivity, plus a built-in handle to make it easy to carry around. Also featured is a mini jack input for either a microphone or a wired-only source.

TCL Roku 4K TV

TCL, one of the fastest growing consumer electronic brands in the US, unveiled its anticipated lineup of Roku 4K TVs at this year's CES. These models will be available in a variety of screen sizes ranging from 43 to 65 inches. When it comes to streaming content, there's no denying that Roku has one of the best multimedia ecosystems around, offering a platform that is both easy to use and ripe with content. While many Smart TVs incorporate a home-grown user interface, the layout of TCL's Roku TVs resemble that of Roku's standalone players. As more 4K streaming content becomes available from providers such as Netflix and Vudu, it made sense for TCL to up the ante from last year's popular 1080p TVs with a new 4K panel. Videophiles rejoice as TCL will also introduce models that support High Dynamic Range, otherwise known as HDR, which delivers a wider color spectrum for life-like image reproduction.

Please check back for pricing and availability.


 

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I abandoned Roku years ago after several units crashed on me, but I'm hearing less about those problems now and they're becoming more attractive every year.  Time to give Roku another shot?

Why is the only fitness tracker for cycling something that has to be worn on glasses... I rarely wear glasses while riding. And speaking of the Varia Vision, I detect a blind spot.

And too, why do all the Fitbits and Misfits have to be worn on the wrist. My occupation has me on my feet all day but doesn't allow anything to be worn on my wrist. I need something (other than an app) that tracks my cycling commute everyday and something that is not worn on the wrist. Anybody?  

I do love reading about all the new technology featured at the CES every year... it's always amazing!

Jeff -

Check out the Edge 520 from Garmin:

Get advanced cycling analysis, enhanced connectivity, and a free 3-month subscription to Strava Premium with the . This Bluetooth-enabled biking computer is designed for competitive cyclists and hobbyists who want to take their training to the next level. The Edge 520 is compatible with Strava live segments and even includes a 3-month trial of Strava Premium. With this membership, your starred Strava segments automatically sync with the 520 for live feedback during your ride. Additionally, the Edge 520 tracks and records more than 70 points of cycling data, such as distance, ascent/descent, grade, and more. With a separately available heart rate monitor and cadence sensor, you can record additional metrics, such as heart rate and cadence. To ensure the accuracy of geo-based data and real-time transmission of your riding metrics, the Edge 520 is GPS- and GLONASS-supported for improved satellite acquisition and signal lock–even if you're cycling through challenging terrains, such as canyons.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I'm confused about USB-C, other than the way it connects and it's size, what is its main difference over USB 3? It can transmit video and data signals, but what makes little sense to me is how its being used as a Thunderbolt 3 adapter, isn't it slower that Thunderbolt 3? Why would one plug a Thunderbolt 3 device into a USB-C adaptor at the cost of the speed benefits of Thunderbolt 3? I am probably reading this wrong, any clarification would be appreciated.

USB-C and Thunderbolt can share the same connection even though they both have different technologies, and speeds. This merger allows for a single port to use both Thunderbolt, and USB devices, at the computers maximum supported bandwidth. 

TCL Roku 4K TV.  Why???   Apple has been contemplating this for years, they said no.  Why you ask you will make a bigger profit margin selling a stand alone device vs the expense of having to be invovled in building a tv.  Everything is so portable and easy to setup any where. I wouldn't buy a 4k tv with this.  Now that UHD blue-ray is on the way out, I will bet one or more will have this app on it delivering the 4k content at 3/4 of the cost.  Last how do you get this tv too send it back to your surround sound equipment, pointless if you have it.

Hi trick71 -

Certainly you are entitled to your opinion and it is welcome here!  4K is here and will be huge this year, with many companies jumping into the fray to supply content and display products.  TCL Roku 4K TV - I say why not?

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

tvs have audio out port, simple solution. but yea i agree with you..i wouldnt buy this tv because of the built-in roku.