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Best of CES 2020: Our picks from the techno expo

The greatest products on show at CES 2020 in Las Vegas

Amidst the regular mix of oddball robotics and pie-in-the-sky concepts, CES 2020 brought with it a hefty number of products for the coming year. Granted, many of these were just variants of grey rectangles, but some were genuinely interesting. From bezel-less TVs to modular action cameras, these are the standouts from the Las Vegas technology show.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold

Following the emerging trend for foldable smartphones, this innovative Windows 10 device consists of a foldable tablet screen and lightweight keyboard.

“Its key ingredient is, of course, the foldable screen,” wrote Tim Danton in his hands-on review. “When folded out flat, it’s a 13.3in tablet. When folded up, it’s roughly the size of a paperback book. It comes complete with a detachable keyboard and a stylus, too, meaning it can double up as a laptop and a digital notepad for meetings.”

Suunto 7

Finnish firm Suunto is well known for its diving watches, but it has been quietly refining its own line of general fitness wearables and with the rugged Suunto 7 the company takes aim at Garmin’s crown.

“The Suunto 7 is no run of the mill no-effort identikit Android Wear watch,” wrote Jonathan Bray in his hands-on review. “With the assistance of Qualcomm, the Finnish firm has produced the very first Google-based wearable to take advantage of the Qualcomm Wear 3100 chip’s co-processor to extend battery life past the usual two or three days.”

TicPods 2 Pro

Mobvoi’s latest true wireless headphones come with voice control that doesn’t need a wake word and a revamped design that gets rid of its predecessor’s silicone tips.

“The TicPods 2 Pro headphones are certainly an interesting product,” wrote Jonathan Bray in his hands-on review. “They’re tiny, lightweight and should be super comfy – the perfect antidote for anyone who wants a more general-purpose headphone for calls and the like – and the instant voice control, if it works well, is a really interesting feature.”

AMD Ryzen 4000 series

Over in the wonderful world of processors, AMD dropped something of a bomb with its third generation of Ryzen chipsets; the firm is gunning for Intel’s dominance in the field as far as laptops are concerned.

As we wrote in our report: “AMD claims its top-of-the-line Ryzen 7 4800U is ‘the world’s highest-performing ultrathin laptop processor’, with an eight-core, 16-thread design that offers a 1.8GHz base clock and boost speeds up to 4.2GHz. The company is also boasting of a 4% lead on single-core performance over Intel’s Ice Lake, Core i7-1065G7 processor, as well as a benchmarked 90% multi-thread lead and a 28% lead on graphics.”

Dell XPS 13 (2020)

The ever-popular Dell XPS 13 line has received a 2020 update, with the most notable tweak being a 16:10 aspect ratio screen – a 6.8% increase in area compared to last year’s model.

“Has this year’s best laptop already emerged?” asked Tim Danton in his first look review. The answer might be ‘no’ as far as innovation is concerned, but could be ‘yes’ given its building on an already-excellent laptop, this time with more screen: “It uses almost every last square millimetre available. And it helps that, just as before, it’s punchy, bright and films look great on it.”

Razer Tomahawk

Working with an Intel NUC, this offering from Razer is a build-it-yourself gaming PC but without the faff of having to decide on every single detail for yourself. It does this by placing the CPU, RAM and storage on a single PCI-e card instead of mounted on a motherboard which itself has PCI-e slots on it.

As we wrote in our report: “For someone building a gaming rig, it potentially simplifies the process of slotting together different parts of a machine by bundling together these important aspects of the PC.”

Samsung 8K QLED TVs (and the rotating Sero TV)

The Korean manufacturer came to CES 2020 with a gamut of TVs, and while the rotating Sero TV was the most attention-grabbing, the flagship Q950TS 8K QLED was by far the most stunning. This TV comes with an ‘infinity screen’; a near bezel-less display with a 99% screen-to-body ratio, as well as a way of upscaling non-8K content – of which there is a great deal.

As for the Sero, it’s a TV that can rotate between horizontal and vertical formats – all the better for watching TikTok videos on a big screen. Why on earth you’d want to do that remains to be seen, although it has already been launched in South Korea and must have had some success for Samsung to be planning a wider release in 2020.

Insta360 One R

The Insta360 One R is a clever modular camera that gives you three filming choices in one device. “The Insta360 One R appears to be an innovative new take on the classic action cam design,” wrote Jonathan Bray in his hands-on review. “We’re used to brands pumping out regular annual releases with incremental tech spec bumps. Comparatively, though, the Insta360 One R is something new – something a little more exciting.

“Time will tell whether Insta360 further fleshes out the One R’s ecosystem with additional modules and add-ons but, at launch, it presents a very attractive creative option even with only the option to switch between three different cameras.”

NuraLoop earphones

These in-ear headphones work by detecting microscopic audio signals transmitted by your ears when they receive sound, using this to create a personalised acoustic model for playing music. Tim Danton found a lot to like: 

“With all the usual caveats about this being a first-look review rather than an in-depth test, colour me impressed,” he wrote in his hands-on review. “Did I hear elements of the tracks that I’d never heard before? No, not yet. But there was a tremendous amount of clarity and detail that you just don’t get with normal earphones.”

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

In a world of dull, lookalike gaming laptops, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is something a little different. An LED ‘billboard’ on the back of the screen might be gimmicky, but this machine also has some serious gaming chops in the form of a top-end AMD Ryzen processor.

“It says something about Asus’s design ambitions that it wasn’t enough to simply create a stupidly fast gaming laptop based on the latest AMD processors,” wrote Tim Danton in his hands-on review. “It decided to add a second display on the reverse of the case too.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite

Samsung also unveiled a ‘Lite’ model of its Galaxy S10 handset, but it was the Note 10 Lite that impressed us the most. Sacrifices have been made in the display and processor departments, but these feel like cuts we can live with. That said, it’s true appeal very much depends on the as-yet-unannounced price. 

“I genuinely struggle to think of negative things to say about the Note 10 Lite,” wrote Tim Danton in his hands-on review. “Only size really counts against it. If you’re coming from a ‘normal’ phone, rather than a Note, it will feel wide in the hand at first. But I think you’ll quickly get used to that.”

Honourable mentions

Sony revealed the PS5 logo, which is unlikely to cause any surprises. Similar to Samsung, Sony also had an 8K TV up its (big) sleeve. The Dynabook Portégé X30L-G impressed us with its ultra-light design. Finally, Lenovo came to town with an imaginative, if potentially useless, hybrid between a laptop and an e-reader.

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