We’ve spent the last few days roaming the endless halls, conference rooms, booths, demo areas, and meeting rooms of the Las Vegas Convention Center and its surrounding casinos. Our Goal? To find the very best products announced at CES 2018.
From Android TVs to phones, connected speakers, smartwatches, long-awaited components, and unified services, we’ve got a mixed bag this year for the Android Authority Best of CES 2018 awards.
Razer Project Linda
Razer usually shows off a few new product concepts every year, and this one particularly impressed us.
Project Linda imagines a world where your smartphone powers your laptop. Why on Earth would you need that? As our smartphones get more powerful, fewer and fewer people need a larger computer. Still, a full keyboard and bigger screen can be helpful sometimes, which is why Razer is trying to combine the two devices into one seamless product.
Slide a Razer Phone into the trackpad area of a customized Razer Blade Stealth chassis and it automatically starts powering the laptop. This allows you to do everything you’d normally be able to do on your smartphone, but with a bigger screen. The company says it wants the final chassis to feature a 1440p 120 Hz touchscreen display, which means you’d be able to interact with your laptop just like a phone.
Sure, it’s just a concept for now, but it’s a really cool concept. You can learn more about Razer’s Project Linda in the video above.
Vivo/Synaptics Clear ID FS9500 fingerprint sensor
We already knew under-glass fingerprint sensors would be coming in 2018, but kicking off the year with the very first device to feature a functioning in-display sensor module was a real treat. Vivo’s unnamed phone will be out a little later this year, but the Synaptics FS9500 Clear ID sensor is already available for inclusion in a variety of devices with OLED panels in the near future.
The wafer-thin optical sensor sits between the display glass and OLED panel and “peeks” through the pixels to register your print. For this reason it doesn’t work on backlit LCD panels, but it bodes well for near bezel-less OLED displays, which are increasingly becoming the norm.
Synaptics assures us Clear ID is just as secure as current capacitive sensors, but it is marginally slower in practice. You’ll have to get used a slight delay when unlocking your phone through the screen (at least for now), but the coolness factor far outweighs the difference in speed.
Skagen’s claim to fame is its super classy analog watches, and now it’s getting into the smartwatch game.
The Skagen Falster is the company’s very first touchscreen smartwatch. It’s powered by Android Wear, features a fully-round display, and also doesn’t look like a smartwatch, which is very important for some people. Its minimalist, modern design makes it look like a piece of high-end jewelry.
It’s missing a few features that other Android Wear devices bring to the table — like a heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, and LTE connectivity — but if you’re looking for a classy smartwatch that won’t stand out like a computer on your wrist, the Skagen Falster might be just the thing for you.
Lenovo Mirage Solo Daydream headset
Another first at CES is Lenovo’s Mirage Solo standalone Daydream VR headset. The fully-equipped headset powered by the Snapdragon 835 has 4 GB of RAM, microSD expansion, a Daydream controller, seven hours of battery life, and “six degrees of freedom” — all without cables or a smartphone.
By placing more of the weight on your forehead, with the goggle section just resting against your face via a hinge above the head strap, the Mirage Solo already feels more comfortable than most smaller VR headsets. Lenovo is tentatively pricing it at “under $400” but we’ll have to wait a little longer to see just how affordable truly untethered VR is going to be. It’ll go on sale in Q2, 2018.
Google Wallet first launched way back in 2011, and was the company’s de facto mobile payment service until the launch of Android Pay in 2015. From then on, Android Pay would be used for all online and real-world payments, while Google Wallet shifted to a person-to-person payment system.
But that’s confusing. Why have two payment services when you could just have one? Google’s finally catching on, announcing the combination of its two mobile payment platforms.
Google Pay is the company’s new payment branding, combining all the features of Android Pay and Google Wallet into one easy-to-understand platform. Google is already starting to rebrand its legacy payment services, and it says we’ll learn more about its mobile payment plans in the near future.
We’re awarding Google Pay a Best of CES 2018 award because, well, Google seems to finally understand mobile payments. Now all it needs to do is figure out its long list of messaging apps.
Honor View 10
With a 5.99-inch Full HD+ display, Huawei’s powerful Kirin 970 processor, 6 GB of RAM, and dual 12 and 20 MP cameras, the View 10 is a beast on the spec sheet. The best news? Honor just announced it’s coming to the United States.
Don’t miss: Honor View 10 (Honor V10) hands-on
The View 10 is now available in the U.K. (£449.99), France, Germany (€499.90), Italy, Spain (€499.00), and India, and it’s coming to Malaysia and Russia later in January. It’s also slated for a U.S. release — exact pricing and availability information has not been revealed, but we’re expecting it to launch at $500.
In our brief hands-on time with View 10, we’ve been very impressed. This is a phone you should definitely watch out for in 2018.
JBL Link View
We’ve already seen two smart displays from Lenovo, but the one we’re most excited about is made by JBL.
Think of the JBL Link View like an Amazon Echo Show, but with much better audio quality. It features an 8-inch HD display (1,280 x 720 resolution), two front-facing 10W speakers, a rear-facing passive radiator for deeper bass, along with support for 24-bit HD audio streaming. Of course, it also comes with Chromecast support built in for multi-room playback.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but JBL says you’ll be able to buy one this summer.
ASUS ROG PG65 “Big Format Gaming Display” (with Android TV)
Why buy an expensive gaming monitor when you can have an expensive Android TV that’s pound-for-pound better than most gaming displays? The ASUS ROG PG65 is a 65-inch 4K G-Sync Android TV with 120 Hz refresh rates, ultra-low latency and a built-in NVIDIA Shield. It also supports HDR content with Quantum Dot Technology and peak brightness of 1,000 nits.
The real innovation here — as obvious as it seems in hindsight — is combining a large format smart TV with a high-performance gaming monitor. The price will no doubt be high when it goes on sale, but considering it means you won’t need a gaming monitor and a smart TV, it may end up seeming reasonable. The only difference is you’ll be able to play PC and Shield games on your couch rather than at your desk.
That’s it — our Best of CES 2018 winners! We’ve seen thousands of products at the trade show this year, and we feel these eight stand out above the rest. From concept computers to mobile payment platforms, CES 2018 has turned out to be quite a show.