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Best of CES 2021: socially distanced, but innovation nonetheless

By Anton D. Nagy January 18, 2021, 10:00 am

Last year’s CES 2020 finally filled us with excitement as we’ve deemed it an extremely good show, and, arguably, one of its best iterations yet. This year’s CES 2021, however, due to the current events, was one of the strangest tech shows we’ve witnessed so far.

For the first time, the event didn’t take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and other locations scattered across the city’s major hotels, but it was more of an online, “socially distanced” event, with companies showing off their products and innovations via live streams. Thich has pretty much become the norm in 2020, and most probably for the remainder of 2021.


While some would argue for more convenience, it completely strips the media from any chance of in-person interaction with the products and the show floor, hence the lack of hands-on videos we all love and hate.

Thankfully, it didn’t stop companies from innovating, and we’re recognizing that innovation, and efforts, by awarding our annual “Best of CES” awards, to the companies and products we found most interesting and exciting on the virtual show floor.

Here are our Best of CES 2021 award winners, in no particular order.

HONOR Band 6

The HONOR Band 6, available in three colors (Meteorite Black, Sandstone Grey, and Coral Pink), offers a 1.47-inch AMOLED display with 194 x 364 resolution.

While being water-resistant for 5ATM, it sports a blood oxygen monitor (SpO2 monitor), heart rate sensor, sleep and stress monitor, as well as female cycle tracker. 

When it comes to working out, the fitness tracker offers 10 workout modes, and the battery life is rated by the manufacturer for up to 14 days with typical usage.

Earin A-3

Earin is not only the Sweden-based company that created the True Wireless in-ear headphone category, but it also boasts its employment of Scandinavian design in its products.

The Earin A-3 is, according to the manufacturer, the smallest earbud on the market, but the company somehow managed to cram a 14.3mm Dynamic Driver inside the units, which only measure 20mm x 17mm x 15.8mm and 3,5gr.

Those interested will be able to grab their own Earin A-3 in the first quarter of the year from Earin.com and Amazon, paying $199.

Roborock S7

Roborock is constantly innovating and improving its robot vacuum cleaners, with the recently announced S7 being the model which offers the most features.

Aside from vacuuming and mopping, the Roborock S7 now has a scrubbing function. Intensity can vary from 1,650 times/min to 3,000 times/min, and thanks to the sonic mopping technology, surface dirt gets disintegrated and broken up even when it’s tough and dried-on messes.

Additionally, the Roborock S7 can raise or lower its mop to avoid carpets, and will most likely feature a new docking station that will empty the dust bin. Be on the lookout for the S7 at the end of Q1, when you’ll pay $649 for it.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

The Galaxy Chromebook received a successor at almost half its price. It is not the usual successor that packs flagship upgrades. Instead, Samsung is focusing on delivering a Chromebook on a budget with its Galaxy Chromebook 2.

It features a 13.3-inch QLED FHD display. It is powered by the Intel Core i3-10110U Celeron 5205U processors, paired with Intel UHD graphics. You get plenty of storage options with 4GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. On the connectivity front, it has two USB Type-C ports and a MicroSD-Multi-media Card Reader. There is Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) 802.11 ax 2×2 capability on board as well. It houses a 720P HD camera on the front and comes with stereo speakers.

The new model has Active Pen support, though the pen is sold separately. Samsung will be offering two configurations, starting at $549.99 (Intel Celeron 10th Generation), and $699.99 (Intel Core i3 10th Generation).

Samsung Neo QLED miniLED TV

Samsung introduced its miniLED TV in the Neo QLED range. It brings an all-new light source technology. With smaller LED lights, more lights can be packed in the same real estate.

Unlike other LED backlights, the Q900 eliminates lenses that capture and transmit light from the backlight. Instead,  each compact LED is designed to emit light on its own. It means that the brightness is more finely controlled as well.

It measures just 0.9mm in thickness and packs a Quantum Processor that uses AI to optimize 8K picture and industry-first Multi-Intelligence AI Upscaling and make sound correspond to onscreen movement with Virtual Object Tracking Sound.

LG Rollable concept

LG Rollable phone

LG first teased its upcoming rollable phone packing a retractable slide-out display back in September last year. At CES 2021, the company gave us a glimpse of the device in action.

Touted to debut as LG Rollable, the device appears to employ a motorized mechanism that extends the panel outside or retracts it inside, depending on the use-case scenario. As per rumors, it is tipped to feature an OLED display.

You will not have to wait much longer as the company has already confirmed that it will be announcing its rollable phone – touted to be LG Slide – in the first quarter of 2021. It is rumored to cost somewhere around $2,359.

TCL Rollable concept innovation

TCL rollable AMOLED panel

TCL showcased a rollable AMOLED panel for phones that offers a different design take on this concept. The concept rollable AMOLED shows a phone whose display extends vertically upwards, instead of extending horizontally.

It can be directly compared to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip but instead of a foldable, TCL is offering a rollable. The company says its rollable AMOLED panel can go from 6.7-inch to a tablet-like 7.8-inch size. That said, there is no word when, or if, this concept will make it to the mass market.

TCL also showcased a 17-inch Printed OLED Scrolling Display that actually opens like a scroll. The company says it has created the panel using inkjet printing technology and that it can cover 100% of the color gamut. As per the company, it is currently focusing on commercializing its latest display innovations and that it can produce these panels at a lower cost compared to rivals. No details regarding the commercialization of this product have been revealed yet.

AMD Ryzen 5000 series chips

AMD Ryzen 5000

AMD released its Ryzen 5000 series mobile processors that target form factors ranging from high-end gaming laptops to ultrabooks and mass-market consumer laptops. 

The Ryzen 5000 H-series processors are targeted at gaming enthusiasts and creative professionals. There are 6-core and 8-core variants with a peak clock speed of 4.8GHz, base TDP of 35W (goes over 40W), and up to 20MB cache.

Further, the Ryzen 5000 U-series mobile processors are targeted at ultrabooks and mass-market laptops. These range from 4-core and 6-core to 8-core models with a uniform 15W TDP across the family, and up to 20MB cache. 

LG QNED MiniLED 99 Series 8K TV

30,000 tiny LEDs is an achievement that will definitely grant you a Pocketnow award while offering a great viewing experience for your customers. The LG QNED MiniLED 99 Series 8K TV is a Mini LED TV that offers great brightness and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, thanks to up to 2,500 dimming zones and advanced local dimming zones.

With sizes up to 86 inches and operation up to 120Hz, the new model combines Quantum Dot, NanoCell, and Mini LED technologies into one.

HP P34hc 34-inch monitor for professionals

HP Curved monitor

HP launched a new curved-screen monitor, which features a 34-inch display. It supports up to a WQHD resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels and has a 21:9 aspect ratio. The typical brightness can go up to 250 nits and it has a 3500:1 contrast ratio. 

The connectivity options include HDMI; USB-C; USB port; USB hub; Display Port. There is 1 USB Type-C™ (Alternative mode DisplayPort™ 1.2, power delivery up to 65 W); 1 HDMI 2.0 (with HDCP support); 1 DisplayPort™ 1.2 in (with HDCP support) and 4 USB-A 3.2 Gen 1. The VESA mount is 100 mm x 100 mm.

For environmental reasons, it features an arsenic-free display glass; Low halogen; Mercury-free display backlights; TCO Certified and TCO Certified Edge.

HP Elite Folio

HP Elite Folio

HP announced a convertible PC that features a pull-forward form factor to make it usable as a tablet and a laptop. It has a 13.5-inch display with an optional HP Sure View Reflect privacy panel and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G compute platform and supports Wi-Fi 6 and optional 5G connectivity.

The laptop also gets an HP Elite Slim Active Pen with an integrated charging and storage cradle for quick access. You can push it up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. 

The HP Elite Folio has two USB Type-C ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a Nano-SIM slot. It will be available in February, and pricing will be revealed closer to launch.  

LG Gram 2021 series

LG Gram 2021

LG showcased its 2021 series of Gram laptops. The new lineup includes five laptops: LG Gram 17 (17Z90P), LG Gram 16 (16Z90P), LG Gram 14 (14Z90P), LG Gram 16 2-in-1 (16T90P), and LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (14T90P). 

Unlike the size, they have a common 16:10 display. The Gram 17, 16, and 14 have different display sizes and batteries, but the internal specs remain the same. They feature an IPS display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. They are powered by 11th-Gen Intel Core processors and options for Intel Iris Xe Graphics or Intel UHD Graphics. As for the memory, they have 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM and M.2 Dual SSD slots for storage.

The LG Gram 16 2-in-1 (16T90P) and LG Gram 14 2-in-1 (14T90P) feature touch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection and a 16:10 aspect ratio. The processor, RAM options, and storage remain the same. 

Lenovo Yoga AIO 7

lenovo yoga aio 7.JPG

The Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 features a rotating hinge, allowing users to switch between landscape and portrait mode effortlessly. Moreover, you can change the screen orientation remotely using a phone or tablet. 

It allows 20-degrees of tilt adjustment for maximum comfort in vertical movements. You get a 27-inch 4K display that covers 99% of the DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB color gamut. There is TUV Rheinland Blue Light certification and anti-flicker settings as well.

The Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 can be equipped with up to an AMD Ryzen 7 4800H Processor, paired with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. Lenovo has equipped the device with up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD. It will make its way to the US market in February carrying a price tag of $1,599 for the base model. 

LG UltraWide Monitor

Part of a trio of updated products for 2021, the LG UltraWide Monitor is just one of the three offerings the Koreans announced at CES 2021, alongside the UltraGear and the UltraFine.

Built with multitasking in mind, the UltraWide has a curved 40-inch Nano IPS panel with a resolution of 5120 x 2160 pixels.

Offering a 98 percent (typical) coverage of the DCI-P3 color space and 135 percent of the sRGB color space, it is extremely accurate and HDR 10 compatibility guarantees great image output. With Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, you are guaranteed to get the best out of it regardless of what orientation you use it in, giving you the flexibility with full tilt, height, and swivel adjustability.

MSI Stealth 15M

MSI claims the Stealth 15M to be the thinnest gaming laptop in the world. It has a 15.6-inch 144Hz display. It is powered by the new 11th Gen Intel Core i7 11375H Tiger Lake processor.

It is the first laptop in the world to employ Intel’s latest H-series processor and weighs only 3.75lbs. 

You get the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q GPU alongside 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB NVMe SSD. This machine starts at $1,399.


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