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Best of CES 2017: the most impressive products from the show
Once again we kick off the new year with one of the biggest tech events on the planet, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)! For those that have never been, let’s just say that massive doesn’t even begin to describe CES, which is sprawled out across 2.4 million square feet, with more than 3,500 exhibitors and over 170,000 attendees.
It’s been an exciting show so far, and we’ve had plenty of opportunity to check out a lot of cool products. Of course we can only give out so many awards, so which products were worthy of this distinction? This year we awarded a total of 10 products, with four awards for Android Authority and TabTimes, and three for Sound Guys.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our winners.
Android Authority winners
Asus ZenFone AR
Over the last few years the ZenFone line has evolved quite a bit, but with the ZenFone AR, Asus is taking the brand to all new heights. While the gigantic Lenovo Phab 2 Pro had the distinction of being the first Tango phone, the ZenFone AR shines as the first truly high-end Tango device, packing a Snapdragon 821 and a whopping 8GB RAM.
The ZenFone AR shines as the first truly high-end Tango device
The ZenFone AR features a unique design that houses all the cameras needed for Tango-powered AR, and also supports Daydream VR out of the box, giving you a phone that is designed from the ground up for both AR and VR. Needless to say, the ZenFone AR stands out in just about every way and is easily one of the most high-tech smartphones we’ve ever seen.
Samsung Chromebook Pro
Chromebook adoption has been on the rise for a while now, but with more models supporting Google Play and Android apps out of the box, we expect this trend to heat up even more in 2017. Leading the front is the new Samsung Chromebook Pro and Plus. The Pro is the top end model, offering an Intel Skylake processor instead of an ARM-based chip. The Samsung Chromebook Pro and Plus both feature stunning metallic designs as well, giving them a high-quality aesthetic that has eluded Chromebooks in years past.
All of Samsung's greatest strengths packed into a notebook.
The Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro aren’t just lookers, they also are packed with quite a few useful features such as a 36o-degree rotating design and a 12.3-inch 2400 x 1600 touchscreen, essentially allowing you to transform the laptop into a tablet. That’s not even the best part, though.
What really makes the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro stand out is the addition of a Samsung Note staple: a pressure sensitive stylus, making the new Samsung Chromebook family perfect for drawing, taking, notes, and more. It’s all of Samsung’s greatest strengths packed into a notebook.
Last year Honor announced its intention to enter the US market starting with the Honor 5X. Since then, the company has released two phones, both offering solid specs, great designs, and exceptional pricing. At CES 2017 Honor is continuing this trend with the the new Honor 6X.
The Honor 6X flies with the flagships and lasts with your lifestyle.
The Honor 6X offers solid specs including a Kirin 655 processor and a 5.5-inch 1080p display, as well as a killer battery which reportedly can last around two whole days with moderate usage. All the extras you’d expect from a more expensive device can also be found here, such as a fingerprint scanner and quick charging. Under the hood is EMUI 4.1, and while we would have liked to see the most recent version (5.0) onboard out of the box, there’s still a lot to like on the software front, with plenty of extra features that help Honor’s UI stand out from the pack.
At just $250, the Honor 6X delivers a whole lot of phone at a great price, and while its not a massive change from Honor’s past designs and pricing philosophy, the company continues to refine its formula, crafting a polished product that is worthy of recognition at CES this year.
Garmin fenix 5 family
Garmin’s new fenix 5 lineup of multisport watches may be a tad pricey, but they’re some of the powerful trackers around.
While the standard Garmin fenix 5 may not be a huge upgrade from the fenix 3 HR, it still offers a refined, smaller design that fans of the series will certainly welcome. If the standard fenix 5 still isn’t small enough for your liking, the fenix 5S should do the trick. The 5S is Garmin’s first multisport watch geared towards women, though it still looks great on both women and men with smaller wrists. On the other end of the spectrum is the fenix 5X, which comes preloaded with TOPO US mapping, routable cycling maps and a bevy of other navigation features, perfect for users serious about hiking, backpacking and other outdoor activities.
Garmin really pulled out all the stops with the fenix 5 line.
Of course, all three watches come with full multisport functionality for running, hiking, swimming and more. They also feature updated versions of Garmin’s Elevate heart rate trackers, water resistance up to 100 meters, built-in GPS and tons more.
Garmin really pulled out all the stops with the fenix 5 line. If you’re in the market for a truly powerful and feature-packed multisport watch, you can’t go wrong with the Garmin fenix 5 lineup.
Blue Microphone Satellite
Blue has built a stellar reputation for itself in the microphone market with studio-quality offerings at justifiable price points. However, the company isn’t satisfied just sticking around the input business, and they’ve started shuffling some attention to output.
A pair of headphones from Blue isn’t new, but the Satellite is the company’s first wireless offering to-date. The Satellite operates on Bluetooth 4.1 with AptX for connectivity, but it does not have Apt HD support. Alternatively, you can always kick it old school with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The device made its debut at CES 2017, and what was immediately impressive about them is its noise cancelling capabilities.
Some of the best noise cancellation we've seen.
Whereas most noise cancelling headphones use a single driver to deliver audio as well as perform noise cancellation, the Blue Microphone Satellite has split these duties. In each ear, there are independent drivers: one dedicated to audio, the other taking on noise cancellation. This technology produces some of the best noise cancellation we’ve seen.
Blue has not yet released information relevant to battery life, pricing, or a release date more specific than 2017.
Learn more: Blue Microphone announced at CES
House of Marley Smile Jamaica BT
House of Marley has become a pretty popular brand among those who have grown weary with the plastic-and-metal aesthetic of virtually all modern technology. Their down to earth aesthetic and high quality sound are sure to please fans new and old, but one thing the brand hasn’t really done is really commit to Bluetooth.
Truly a perfect pick for the stylish audiophile on the go.
This year the company brought a variety of new Bluetooth products to the show, but the standout to us had to be the Smile Jamaica BT. These voguish products bring all the quality and flair that the original Smile Jamaica earbuds did, now with the added convenience and portability of Bluetooth. Truly a perfect pick for the stylish audiophile on the go.
Altec Lansing Sonic Boom speaker
Altec Lansing certainly knows their sound, and the Sonic Boom speaker shows that they aren’t afraid to really go big with it. This massive, robust speaker is clearly designed with out-of-control house parties in mind. Part of Altec Lansing’s “Everything-Proof” lineup, this boom beast is IP67 rated waterproof, snowproof, shockproof, AND it floats in water.
This boom beast is IP67 rated waterproof, snowproof, shockproof, AND it floats in water.
The Sonic Boom speaker is the largest of Altec’s “Everything-Proof” products to date and offers some truly impressive sound – especially for something so rugged. It has a 100-ft wireless range, up to 50 hours of battery life, three phone chargers built right in, as well as outlets for regular plugs and car chargers. In short, it’s an 8in sub-woofer paired with a 3in tweeter and you’re going to have a really difficult time damaging it or wearing it out.
The Sonic Boom will cost you $249.99, and Altec Lansing plans on it hitting the market during either Q2 or Q3 of this year.
Learn more: Quick hands on with Altec Lansing Sonic Boom
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
If you’re looking for a powerful laptop that’s also thin and light, you’ll certainly like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
This thin-bezeled machine packs in a 14-inch display into a pretty small chassis, giving you a 2.5 pound laptop that’s just .6-inches thick. Of course size and portable don’t matter if performance isn’t up to snuff, but thankfully that’s not an issue for the X1 Carbon. The Carbon is powered by a 7th generation Intel Core processor with up to 16GB RAM and comes in both 1080p and 1440p variants. Power and elegance on the go; what’s not to love?
Power and elegance on the go; what's not to love?
With pricing starting at $1,349, the X1 Carbon isn’t a cheap laptop by any means, but it’s actually priced rather competitively given its specs.
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
We’e seen the convertible laptop market explode recently, and a number of great devices have come out as a result. The Dell XPS 13 is no exception, offering a beautiful design and cutting edge specs including an Intel Core i5-7T54 or Core i7-7Y76 processor, a stunning QHD display, and a 46 watt-hour battery. The XPS series has always been top-of the line when it comes to battery life, and Dell says this model is no different. The company says users can expect 14 hours out of its 46 watt-hour battery, which sounds promising if proved to be accurate.
The best ultra portable just got better
It is worth noting that Dell has taken a path similar to Apple, opting to remove all USB-A connections in favor of USB-C inputs with Thunderbolt 3 support. However, one great extra you do get is a stylus that works with the laptop’s active digitizer to deliver 2048 levels of pressure. There’s also a fingerprint reader, which we are starting to see in more laptops recently.
While the Dell XPS 13 doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to 2-in-1 devices, its great specs and good looks make it stand out against the competition, and is priced right — starting around $1000.
Lenovo Legion Y72
The Lenovo Y720 instantly caught our eye, receiving attention at both TabTimes and VR Source. Offering a great design, powerful specs, and a competitive starting price of $1399, it’s no wonder why we chose this as our best gaming laptop of CES.
Great design, powerful specs, and a competitive starting price
Probably one of the most impressive things is that this laptop manages to actually be pretty sleek and light in comparison to many other laptops in its class. Sure, it’s sill a pretty sizable device, but that’s to be expected from a gaming laptop that is powered by an NVIDIA GTX 1060. It’s also worth noting that this laptop is fully is optimized for VR, which is a huge plus. In fact, there is even a built-in application that comes with the Y720 that converts a number of traditional PC games into VR experiences, allowing you to experience AAA gaming experiences using your Vive, Rift, or other compatible headset.
If you are looking for a VR-capable laptop at a reasonable price, the Lenovo Y720 is certainly worth keeping an eye out for.
Samsung Notebook 9 N11
With a growing collection of unique and powerful laptops, convertibles, two-in-ones and tablets, Samsung is proving serious about the segment, and the newly updated Samsung Notebook 9 shows just how committed they are to continually raising the bar.
Feather-light and power-packed.
The new Notebook 9’s biggest standout is its weight, coming in at just 2.73-pounds, while still packing an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and Nvidia 940MX graphics. There’s also support for quick charging, as well as a battery life that delivers up to 15 hours on a single charge. Overall, the specs here are solid, and even more impressive when you consider the size and thickness of this laptop. Feather-light and power-packed.
For those who need portability without sacrificing power, the Samsung Notebook 9 clearly hits the nail square on the head.