Tuesday, June 25, 2024

How-To Geek’s Best of CES 2023 Award Winners

CES 2023 sign outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

CES is the big tech event that kicks off the new year, and we’re in Las Vegas to take it all in. We’ve dug through the announcements and navigated the show floor to find our favorite products of CES 2023.

Samsung The Premiere 8K Projector
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

There are a lot of products to choose from for “Best in Show.” All of the products in this list as the “best” in some regard. However, there’s something extra impressive about an 8K projector. CES is flooded with 8K TVs, but 8K projectors are still relatively new.

Samsung’s The Premiere is an ultra-short throw projector with 8K resolution. Short-throw projectors can be placed only a few inches away from your wall or projector screen, which is much more convenient than projectors that need to be mounted on the ceiling across the room. Of course, 8K is the big deal here, though.

RELATED: How Much Space Do You Need for a Home Theater Projector?

This is actually Samsung’s second The Premiere projector. The first one was launched in 2020 with “only” 4K resolution. Not much is known about the 8K model yet—the body of the device was covered on the show floor. Beyond 8K, it has also been upgraded with Dolby Atmos sound.

But how much will it cost? Samsung also didn’t share that information, but it will likely be very expensive. Similar 8K projectors cost around $10,000. We also don’t know when the 2023 version of The Premiere will be available, but it’s certainly an exciting product.

CyberPowerPC Tracer Gaming I17E Liquid Cool laptop sitting next to its water cooling reservoir
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

We’ve been impressed with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 40 Series of laptop GPUs, and we’ve seen a lot of great laptops that use them. CyberPowerPC’s laptop stands out not just because water cooling is so cool in a laptop, but because the company says the liquid cooling system delivers a 10% performance increase and helps the laptop run much cooler than a traditional cooling system.

Let’s rewind: The 17-inch CyberPowerPC Tracer VII Edge-117E is a strong laptop on its own with the option of a GeForce RTX 4090 GPU as well as a powerful Intel 13th Gen Core i9-13900HX CPU and a mechanical keyboard with Cherry switches. It also has a smaller sibling, the 16-inch Tracer VII Edge-I16G.

Both laptops support an optional liquid cooling system. Fill the reservoir with water and connect it to the back of the laptop using a magnetic connector, and the laptop will run with liquid cooling. The connection is very secure, but you can unplug it at any time and, in our experience, only a single drop of water will be present in the connector and leak out. The connector really impressed us.

The laptop also has a more traditional cooling system, of course, which it can use when it’s away from the liquid cooling unit.

Liquid cooling is just super cool, and the connector is impressively well-designed and easy to use. Improved performance, cooler temperatures for your hands, less whirring of fans, and a longer hardware lifespan all sound great. In a world where laptop cooling pads are becoming increasingly common, a liquid cooling system sounds even better.

ASUS RT-BE96U Wi-Fi 7 Router
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

ASUS routers take four of our top picks for the best Wi-Fi routers on the market, so we were thrilled to see ASUS debuting some of the first routers supporting the ultrafast Wi-Fi 7 standard at CES 2023. The RT-BE96U is a router sporting two 10Gb Ethernet ports (one LAN and one WLAN/LAN) and a 2.6GHz quad-core processor with the RangeBoost Plus technology developed by ASUS.

The triband router features the 6Ghz band that debuted with Wi-Fi 6E, in addition to the 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz bands. Together they form an impressive aggregate bandwidth of 19,000 Mbps. Compare that to ASUS’ RT-AX88U (currently our favorite router overall) rated at 6,000 Mbps, and you can see what kind of potency the RT-BE96U carries.

The RT-BE96U won’t become available until later in 2023, and ASUS hasn’t announced a price either. ASUS has hinted at announcing wireless devices supporting Wi-Fi 7 soon as well.

ASUS ExpertBook B9 OLED laptop sitting on a table at CES 2023
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Late last year, ASUS announced the ExpertBook B9 and claimed it was the world’s thinnest 14-inch laptop. Now, at CES 2023, the company is back with the same laptop, but this time it has an OLED display instead of IPS.

In fact, OLED isn’t the only upgrade over the previous model. ASUS also swapped the CPU to the Intel 13-gen chips from the 12th-gen, upped the RAM to 64GB from 16GB, and still claims it’s the thinnest and lightest 14-inch laptop on the market with those upgrades. We held it and were impressed by just how light it was.

Back to that display, though. The 14-inch OLED panel makes for super dark pure blacks and vivid colors. It comes in at a resolution of 2,880 x 1,800. The IPS model cost $1,840 at launch, but ASUS did not share pricing or release information for the OLED model.

Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip sitting on a table at CES 2023
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Probably cloud gaming’s biggest selling point is that you don’t need powerful hardware to play demanding titles. A Chromebook is seemingly a perfect marriage if you want the controls and experience of a full-size PC or console without the price tag. At CES 2022, ASUS aimed to officiate that marriage with the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip.

The CX34 Flip follows the C55 Flip released in October 2022, bringing a major improvement by upgrading the wireless standard to Wi-Fi 6E. An impeccable internet connection is key in cloud gaming, and the 6E upgrade should minimize lag. You get a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 processor for performance in productivity, and ASUS also added a customizable RGB backlight to the keyboard (something noticeably absent from the C55).

ASUS hasn’t announced a price for the CX34, but we do know the Chromebook will come bundled with a SteelSeries Rival 3 wireless gaming mouse and, for a limited time, three-month subscriptions to NVIDIA GeForce NOW Ultimate and Amazon Luna+ cloud gaming services.

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 50 Series flashdrive plugged into a laptop
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

We love recommending Kingston products for everything from buying storage to speeding up your laptop. If you need secure removable storage that works with USB ports you’ll find on modern laptops, Kingston announced a USB-C version of its IronKey Vault Privacy 50 line of encrypted flash drives.

The FIPS 197 certified flash drive uses XTS-AES 256-bit encryption to protect your files and has defenses against threats like BadUSB and brute-force attacks. The built-in virtual keyboard keeps your password from the prying eyes of keylogging and screenlogging spyware, too.

Speaking of passwords, you also have a ton of options when you set up the IronKey, including passphrases, numeric PINs, multiple passwords, one-time recovery passwords, and more. If you’re serious about portable storage security, the Kingston IronKey Vault 50 Series is worth a look.

Samsung QN95C 4K TV announced at CES 2023

Samsung’s displays never fail to disappoint, and their showing at CES 2023 is no exception. The new Samsung QN95C is built around Samsung’s Neo QLED technology — their take on mini-LED backlights.

The QN95C is a 75 inch, 4K television with a refresh rate of up to 144 Hz, making it an excellent choice for gaming or a home theater setup. The Samsung QN95C also incorporates top-firing speakers for full Dolby Atmos support.

RELATED: What Is a Mini-LED TV, and Why Would You Want One?

The real standout feature is the mini-LED backlight. Historically, LCD screens have had significantly worse contrast than OLEDs, Plasma TVs, and even CRTs. Mini-LED displays allow the screen’s brightness to be controlled in discrete blocks rather than adjusting the brightness of the entire screen uniformly. More blocks mean you can get better contrast between light and dark portions of a scene, and that is one of the big improvements we have with the QN95C. It quadruples the number of dimming blocks over last year’s model, providing even better contrast performance.

Samsung has paired the mini-LED backlight with special software that is designed to intelligently adjust the dimming zones, so that standard dynamic range (SDR) content, like older TV shows and movies, is automatically remastered to take advantage of the TV’s high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities.

Samsung says the combination should allow the QN95C, an LCD TV, to rival OLED TVs in detail and lighting control — an impressive achievement.

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G in a pink/purple colorway

Smartphone announcements aren’t a big part of CES anymore. High-end flagship phones are typically announced at dedicated events now, but there are still a few shown off at CES. Samsung revealed its Galaxy A14 5G this year, and it’s a pretty great deal.

The Galaxy A14 5G is the follow-up to last year’s A13 5G, and it has a lot in common. The A14 5G retains the MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset, 90 Hz display, 50 MP (f/1.8) main camera, 2 MP depth camera, 2 MP macro camera, and a big 5,000mAh battery. You also get the increasingly rare 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD card slot.

New this year is an upgraded 13MP front-facing camera (from 5MP last year) and a very slightly larger 6.6-inch display. However, the best thing about the A14 5G is its software support. Samsung is promising at least two Android OS updates and four years of security updates. For a phone that costs only $199, that’s pretty awesome. Samsung didn’t announce a release date.

Eve MotionBlinds Upgrade Kit at CES 2023
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Last year Eve released MotionBlinds at CES 2022. We loved the simplicity of the design but it came with a not-insignificant catch. The catch? You had to scrap your blinds and purchase everything all over again because the ultra-sleek design only came prepackaged with new blind sets.

This year, Eve announced a welcome addition to the MotionBlinds family, the MotionBlinds Upgrade Kit. Now you don’t have to rip out all your old roller blinds, you can simply motorize the whole assembly with Eve’s drop-in retrofit kit. Then your dumb blinds will not only be smart but will have all the advantages of the MotionBlinds system, including a year-long battery life, easy USB-C recharging, and an ultra-slim profile that completely conceals the motor and battery.

The MotionBlinds Upgrade Kit will retail for $199.99 and be available on March 28, 2023 directly from Eve.

Rachio Smart Smart Hose Timer at CES 2023
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Smart home tech is always a big part of CES, but a lot of the products require you to fully replace existing things you have. Smart home products that inject some smarts into things you already own are even better, and that’s what the Rachio Smart Hose Timer does.

The idea behind this device is pretty simple. You connect the Rachio Smart Hose Timer to a standard water spigot, and then the water hose connects to the device. It controls when water can go through the hose and whatever is connected to the other end, such as a sprinkler. It’s a similar concept to a smart plug.

With Rachio’s app, you can create schedules for when the water should turn on and how long it should stay on before turning off. It also has built-in “Weather Intelligence,” which can automatically adjust things based on the weather and seasons. The Rachio Smart Hose Timer will be available in March 2023 for $99.

Worx Landroid Vision Lawn Mower at CES 2023
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Smart mowers have come a long way in the last few years and one of the newest additions to the growing field, the Worx Landroid Vision smart mower offers perhaps the most enticing new feature around: zero hassle setup.

Billed as a “drop and go” setup process, the Vision requires zero guide wires. That means no trenching, no tacking wires down around your flower beds, and no hassles. In fact, you could take it with you to your friend’s house and have it mow their lawn while you’re visiting.

That’s all thanks to the sophisticated onboard sensor and camera array combined with on-the-fly processing that helps the Vision roll around your yard automatically detecting boundaries, avoiding obstacles, and even maneuvering around that garden hose or rake you left out. With the included RFID tags, you can even mark a point on your driveway, sidewalk, or other traversable “barriers” to show the Vision where you want it to cross the road, so to speak, and keep mowing on the other side.

The new Vision lineup was announced at CES 2023 with prices starting at $2,399. You can sign up on the Worx website to be notified when the Vision is available.

Nanoleaf Skylights on display on a ceiling at CES 2023
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

There are so many lighting products at CES each year now it’s really tough to pick a favorite. And this year Nanoleaf announced so many new things, including a new sensor-based AI smart lighting system and a TV light, that it was even hard to pick among just the new Nanoleaf offerings.

But the Nanoleaf Skylight is a fun and accessible new product that really taps into the heart of the Nanoleaf experience: modular lighting. The Skylight takes Nanoleaf’s tried and true hit— snap-together smart lighting panels—off the wall and slaps it up on the ceiling.

If you can imagine a pattern of squares, be it a simple rectangular run or a sprawling diamond pattern, you can create it with the Skylight.

Better yet, the Skylight is packed with all the updated goodies you’d expect from a new Nanoleaf product, including Matter compatibility, a Thread border router for your Matter smart home, and integration with Nanoleaf’s new Sense+ smart lighting sensor platform.

Justin Duino / How-To Geek

NVIDIA’s RTX 4000 range of graphics cards has been available for a while, but they’ve been limited to desktop gaming PCs. At CES, NVIDIA unveiled the Ada Lovelace architecture is now available on gaming laptops with five different GPUs.

NVIDIA claims this is its biggest generational leap ever in laptops, with efficiency increases of up to 3X. The five GPUs you can get on your next laptop include the budget RTX 4050, RTX 4060, RTX 4070, RTX 4080, and all the way up to the RTX 4090.

Alienware is one PC manufacturer that announced laptops with NVIDIA’s 40 Series GPUs. The four new models include the Alienware m16, m18, x14 R2, and r16. All four models can be had with NVIDIA’s latest mobile GPUs. The x14 can go up to the RTX 4050 and 4060, while the other three models have the choice of all five new GPUs.

Pricing and availability information for the Alienware laptops was not shared at CES. However, NVIDIA said to expect laptops with the new GPUs to start appearing in stores in February 2023.

Alienware 500Hz Gaming Monitor next to a laptop on a table

Monitor enthusiasts are always chasing the latest and greatest: higher resolutions, faster refresh rates, and better contrast, among other things.

One of the standouts from 2023’s CES is the Alienware AW2524H. The AW2524H is a 24.5 inch, 1080p display with a maximum refresh rate of 500 Hz when connected via DisplayPort. We’ve seen 500 Hz displays before, but Alienware’s screen is the first to utilize IPS panels.

IPS-based displays typically offer much better visual fidelity and viewing angles compared to TN-based displays, which means there should be fewer tradeoffs between refresh rate and visual quality with this Alienware monitor. It is an exciting piece of hardware for gamers, or anyone else that loves buttery smooth motion.

The AW2524H will be available for purchase on March 21st, 2023.

JBL Bar 1300X soundbar on a table

A soundbar is a great way to start improving the audio experience when watching TV and movies in your home. JBL’s Bar Series has included some of the best soundbars on the market, and the 1300X builds upon the company’s unique concept.

The JBL Bar 1300X is not your average soundbar. It has speakers on each end of the bar that can be detached and placed around the room for surround sound. That’s pretty cool already, but to take it a step further, the detachable speakers can now be used independently from the soundbar.

That means you can grab one of the detachable speakers and use it to stream music over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The system can also be controlled with Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa. In terms of audio features, you’re looking at Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D surround sound. It will be available on February 19, 2023, for $1,699.95.

Garmin Dash Cam Live on a pink background

A dash cam is great to have for evidence if you get in an accident, and they make it easy to record videos of interesting things you see while driving. Garmin announced their first dash cam with a cellular connection at CES.

The Garmin Dash Cam Live records in 1440p resolution, has a 140-degree FOV, a microSD card slot for saving videos, GPS for location data, and enhanced night recordings. You can also use voice commands to start/stop recording, take a photo, or mark the current recording as a video for later.

But the most interesting thing about the Garmin Dash Cam Live is the LTE connection. It allows you to access the camera from anywhere at any time—like a smart home camera. You can buy the Dash Cam Live right now for $399.

A Withings U-Scan in a demonstration toilet.
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

There is no limit to what can be achieved with some imagination and the right technology at your disposal. Withings, a company known for its smart health and fitness devices, has debuted the U-Scan — smart urine lab that sits in your toilet.

The U-Scan can test urine and measure things like pH, hydration, certain hormones, and vitamin C levels. It goes beyond simply measuring things in your urine, however. The software that pairs with the U-Scan is capable of making health recommendations based on the data it collects to help you achieve pre-determined goals.

U-Scan utilizes replaceable cartridges to perform its analyses, and Withings estimates the average user will get about three months per cartridge before it needs replacing. Using replaceable cartridges also means that the U-Scan may be able to analyze additional biomarkers in the future.

Roborock S8 Pro Ultra in black and white sitting in its charging and self-cleaning dock
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Roborock has built quite a name for itself in the robot vacuum market and the popularity of our coverage of Roborock, such as our Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra we review, shows how much the robot vacuum market has grown.

The new Roborock flagship, the S8 Pro Ultra is the Cadillac of not just their lineup but the robot vacuum market in general. It sports a totally automated dock that not only automatically dumps the dust bin and mop water as you would expect but also refills the mop tank and even features a tiny heater to dry out the mop pad to keep it fresh between uses.

The Ultra itself features strong 6,000 Pa suction (the most powerful in the Roborock line) but an updated roller brush with a rubberized coating to help scoop up hair, a redesigned ultrasonic pad system behind the mob head to help blast dirt off your floor, and enhanced object recognition and avoidance for a hassle-free experience.

The Roborock S8 series will be available for U.S. customers in April of 2023 with a starting price of $749.99.

Roku Plus Series TV on display at CES 2023
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

It’s hard not to recommend Roku when you want a streaming device that just works, so we were excited to see Roku announcing its own line of smart TVs. They won’t involve hardware partners Roku has used in the past like TCL and Hisense.

Roku was light on details about these TVs, but we did learn that sizes would range from 24 to 75 inches. There will also be two series involved: Roku Select and Roku Plus. Select will be more affordable and come with a basic remote, and Plus TVs will include a remote with features like customizable shortcuts and a lost remote finding system.

We’re told to expect Roku’s branded TVs to arrive on the market in spring 2023, and prices will be between $119 and $999.


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