Last year, CES 2022 was a diminished affair because of the omicron variant — no such restrictions at CES 2023, but following a yearlong slowdown in the tech industry that saw thousands of layoffs, the show didn’t necessarily have the bombast of prior years. No huge, landscape-altering innovations, and not as much noise about crypto and VR, but there’s nothing wrong with all that — just cleared the way for a spate of practical and well-considered gadgets from some unexpected sources, along with some solid upgrades from the usual folks in audio, laptops, and TVs.
Here are our picks for the best of CES!
Best of CES 2023
L’Oreal Brow Magic
Beauty tech was all over CES 2023, and no one had a stronger showing than L’Oreal. In addition to a lipstick applicator designed for folks with limited mobility, L’Oreal showed off Brow Magic, a device that combines an app with face scanning tech and, basically, a big makeup printer. The result? Easy-to-apply brow looks customized for your face and preferences.
Nourished x Neutrogena Skin360 SkinStacks
In the sentences we never though we’d write category is SkinStacks — personalized gummies for skincare. SkinStacks lie at the intersection of 3D printing, advanced facial scanning, understanding of skin health, and incredible flavor. Use an app to scan your face, and Nourished will 3D print some gummies in the flavor of your choice, packed with skincare nutrients. Contents of the gummies will be personalized based on that scan, plus self-reported information like skin tone, climate, and your current skincare habits.
EcoFlow Wave 2
EcoFlow wowed us at IFA 2022 with their potent outdoor battery charger, and at CES 2023, they’re still making the outdoors even better. The EcoFlow Wave 2 is the next iteration of their portable outdoor air conditioner, which features a robust battery and now also doubles as a space heater – so it’s great for too-hot trips to the beach and too-cold camping outings.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i
In what might be the best execution we’ve seen of the two-screen laptop concept, the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i ditches the old keyboard-display paradigm and has two OLED panels attached at the hinge, with a Bluetooth keyboard that lays separately. Should be great for remote work and play for folks who are used to having a two-monitor setup at work or home, and thanks to a flexible stand, the two screens can be held securely in landscape or portrait orientation.
Well, put a pin in this one, anyway — if the Opteev ViraWarn can pass muster with the FDA, it promises to detect COVID-19, the flu, and RSV with a simple breathalyzer test. It’ll definitely be the easiest way to detect COVID-19 if it works, but we’ll have to wait to see if it gets the green light. Here’s hoping!
See, the trick to a good robot dog is to make it irresistibly cute — like Dog-E! This little fella can also be pretty expressive with lights and a moving tail, and Dog-E can have a different personality depending on who in the family it’s interacting with. It can be shy or playful, and can learn tricks. Dog-E also promises to be the people’s robot dog, coming in at $80 instead of the much more expensive robot pups we’ve seen in the past.
Every CES is good for at least one gadget that is so simple, and so useful, we’re genuinely surprised we haven’t seen it already — this year, that’s the Cruz BlenderCap. It’s all in the name! It’s a bottle that has a small, powerful blender in the cap, so you can get your protein or otherwise smoothie going when you’re on the go.
John Deere ExactShot
Seeing dope stuff from John Deere is our new favorite CES tradition! This year, it’s a small innovation that could save farmers a ton of money, and could be more environmentally friendly. Their ExactShot technology can be used with drones to follow along as seeds are planted, spraying only as much fertilizer as needed directly on the seed, which they say should reduce the amount of fertilizer farmers need to use by 60 percent. That’s great by itself, but limited the amount of excess fertilizer used also will cut down on the likelihood that it will run out of the soil and into a waterway.
Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle charging network
Traditional automotive companies have been rapidly catching up to or surpassing Tesla’s electric vehicles, but there’s one advantage Tesla still undeniably has — its network of Superchargers that ensure its drivers can navigate around and charge up in a timely fashion without getting stranded. That’s the path to EV dominance, and that’s what Mercedes-Benz is after by announcing that they’ll be rolling out their own network of high-powered charging stations starting this year in North America. Mercedes-Benz says their chargers will be open to all electric vehicles, but only Mercedes-Benz owners will be able to make reservations — and it sounds like there will be other as-yet-unspecified perks.
Never before, no, not even the golf gadgets, have I seen something so intensely dad at CES. Destined be a hot Father’s Day gift, current Kickstarter darling Bird Buddy is like a video doorbell, but for the birds that fly up to your backyard bird feeder. Not only will this smart feeder snap a photo of all your backyard bird friends as they snack, notifications will get sent out so dads everywhere can jump off the couch and go take a peek in the backyard through the window real quick. The companion app can even identify species based on the picture taken!
Ring Car Cam
Well, it’s a bummer so many of us need the Ring Car Cam, but it’s undeniably going to do numbers. The Ring Car Cam from Amazon is an Alexa-powered two-way dash cam, with separate HD cameras facing outside and inside. Like their series of doorbells, it can be controlled with voice commands and used as a speaker to communicate with someone — like, say, the person who is in the process of stealing your catalytic converter. The Ring Car Cam will push notifications to you if it detects motion around your car while it’s parked, and fast and easy voice commands make it easy and quick to start a recording if you’re being pulled over by the cops. Someone backs into your car while it’s parked in a lot and drives off? Chances are the camera will activate and snag the driver’s license plate number. We could dedicate an entire blog post to just listing the use cases, so we’ll stop there and tell you it’s available to pre-order now.
Samsung Flex Hybrid
Samsung’s folding gadgets keep getting better. The Samsung Flex Hybrid does a lot with its OLED display — the left side folds out to give you a 10.5″ 4:3 display, at which point the right side can slide out to extend the display to a more cinematic 16:9 aspect ratio. When not slid out and folded up, it’s small enough to fit into a pocket, giving you an incredibly versatile device that’s as easy to carry as a phone. It’s exactly what makes folding devices so potentially useful, and we love to see the idea this well executed.
JBL Spinner BT Turntable
Tech doesn’t always move in a straight line. The JBL Spinner BT Turntable is one of many modern turntables to add Bluetooth connectivity, but JBL stays true to some of the reasons old turntables are still in demand, leaving analog output in place for traditional sound systems. Damping on the feet cuts down on vibrations, and speeds are locked to 33 1/3 rpm for LPs and 45 rpm for EPs and singles with a speed sensor. If you do opt to use Bluetooth, the turntable has aptX HD encoding to protect audio quality over wireless transmission.
Hisense ULED X TV
If you’re going to call it the ultimate LED TV, you’d better bring the heat! Hisense certainly did — their 85″ ULED X TV blasts out a brilliant 2,500 nits of brightness, but more impressive might be the over 5,000 local dimming zones thanks to 20,000 mini LEDs, which helps bring the TV closer to the levels of contrast possible with individually-lit OLED.
LG Zero Connect
It’s hard to do, but LG managed to serve up something totally unexpected in the TV world at CES 2023. Their Zero Connect tech nixes the ports, allowing for the TV itself to be more cleanly and sleekly wall mounted than any other. TVs with Zero Connect will ship with a box capable of wirelessly transmitting audio and video over a short range to the TV set, cutting yet another TV cord!
Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition Smartwatch
Stylish and workout ready! Don’t see a lot of smartwatches like that, but the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition Smartwatch fits the bill. With analog hands, it has the style of a traditional watch, with an energy-efficient e-ink display underneath that displays fitness information like heart rate, estimated VO2 max, SPO2, and more. It can even start recording workouts automatically if you forget to do it manually — pretty handy!
Best of 2022
Best Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad Z13
Lenovo celebrated 30 years of the ThinkPad with a brand new insanely stylish line in the Z series, which has a few nods to where Lenovo wants to go with the ThinkPad next. Besides the next-gen AMD Ryzen Pro processors and OLED displays, Lenovo is moving towards a more sustainable future for their laptops, using compostable packaging, using recycled aluminum in the case, and adding a black vegan leather option for the Z13, which makes it our laptop of choice for CES 2022!
Best smartphone: OnePlus 10 Pro
CES is always good for at least a few solid smartphones, and CES 2022 was no exception. We got treated to the OnePlus 10 Pro, the latest model of OnePlus’s flagship line, and the second year in a row they’ve collaborated with Hasselblad on the camera system. With next-gen specs and a huge battery to match, it’s looking like a strong contender in 2022.
Best in Home Entertainment: Samsung Freestyle Projector
Been a while since we got excited about a projector! The Samsung Freestyle might not have the most geeked-out specs, but it’s super lightweight, works well outside and inside, and can give you up to a 100″ picture. The coolest thing is the versatility, and that’s not just from how small and light it is — it can be screwed into and powered by a light bulb socket, so you can disguise the projector as lighting if you want to!
Best in automation: John Deere fully autonomous 8R tractor
The end of decades of work, John Deere has finally gotten the software and hardware in line to make a fully autonomous tractor possible. No farmer in the tractor needed — after the tractor has been given a programmed route, it can do the work (mostly of tillage at first) by itself, freeing up farmers to go do one of the other many things they have to do. It’s in some ways not as complex as getting fully autonomous cars on the road (although there were unique challenges!), but the effects this could have on agriculture, in general, are big enough to make it worth mentioning!
Best TV: Sony Master Series A95K QD-OLED TVs
The best wasn’t the biggest for us. There were lots of good TVs at CES as usual, but we’re really excited about the emergence of QD-OLED in Sony’s lineup. The A95K, which will come in 55″ and 65″ models, addresses the one problem with OLED displays — brightness. Getting a little more shine out of that OLED display really brings home how much OLED makes a difference in contrast, and Sony’s Bravia image processing completes the package.
Best in transportation: BMW iX Flow with e-ink
It’s CES — we’re always going to be suckers for something new. And I’m not sure about anyone else, but I’ve never seen a car change colors before! The BMW iX Flow concept at CES uses e-ink (the stuff you usually find in e-readers) on the exterior, allowing it to change color from black to white to grey. It’s just a proof of concept — we probably won’t see it on the road anytime soon, partly because it’d have to hold up to dings and scratches, and partly because if Grand Theft Auto has taught me anything, it’s that the police probably aren’t going to be huge fans of color-changing cars.
Best in audio: Noveto N1
Invisible headphones experience? We weren’t sure what to make of that when we first heard about the Noveto N1, but the concept is pretty cool — using beamforming tech in a hyperfocused way, this desk speaker uses head tracking to continuously beam audio straight to your dome — you can crank the volume, and while you’ll hear it loud and clear, folks in the same room will hear a much quieter version.
Best gaming PC: Razer Blade 17
Razer always brings the heat to CES 2022 — and the cooling systems to manage it. This year’s Razer Blade lineup is everything we’d expect from the gaming pros — 12th gen Intel H-series Core processors up to i9, up to an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU (with RTX acceleration through Nvidia’s software possible), and lots else — including eight (yes, eight) speakers. Truly an all-in-one portable gaming machine.
Best camera: eufy Security Garage-Control Cam
Cameras are hard to improve on these days, so we went in another direction and went with a camera that gets put to work right out of the box. Depending on where you live, reports of garage doors getting broken though during burglaries have become more of a problem — the eufy Security Garage-Control Cam smart home device controls your garage door while giving you a video feed, with geofencing, motion recognition, and smart alerts all included with no subscription. Most importantly, you’ll finally have something to reliably let you know when you left your garage door open on the way out.
Best wearable: Fossil x Razer Gen 6 Smartwatch
Razer makes it again thanks to their partnership with Fossil on Fossil’s latest round of smartwatches. At this point, style has become a pretty big differentiator when it comes to smartwatches, and Fossil has had some great partnerships to help their smartwatch line. This time, it’s gaming pros Razer, giving the watch face their distinctive Chroma design, among other options. Only 1,337 units will be available, because this is Razer we’re talking about.
Best monitor: Lenovo Legion Y25-30 gaming monitor
While there were some pretty cool-looking concepts at CES 2022, we’ve been to enough of these to know that the high-concept monitors have the tendency to disappear pretty fast. So, we went with a sure thing — the Lenovo Legion Y25-30 gaming monitor has a 240 Hz refresh rate with the AMD FreeSync tech to match, ensuring that the GPU (best used with an AMD Radeon GPU, likely) and screen work in lockstep to prevent tearing. Top it off with a 24.5″ Full HD IPS display, and you know you’ve got something you can rely on to hang with the most graphics-intensive games.
Best in micro-mobility: Segway P series
When you see the phrase “Segway Takes Vegas,” you give a knowing nod, secure in the feeling things are as they should be. But, this isn’t the Segway you’re used to seeing! Segway has naturally rolled into other forms of transportation, including the humble motorized scooter. Their P series, including the P100S here, have nice wide footboards, automotive-grade tires, and spring suspensions that make for nice cruising.
Best kitchen appliance: Black & Decker Bev
Good on Black & Decker for making sure everyone who made it to CES 2022 was properly liquored up for the experience. The Bev is, indeed, a pod system for cocktails — you supply the bottles of booze, they’ll be providing pods for purchase with all the mixers, which will eventually include all kinds of juice and bitters. It is also, just visually, the most fascinating thing on this list.
Best concept: Alienware Nyx
Sometimes things go in a circle. The Dell Alienware Nyx is a true machine of the future — one that realizes some of the things we used to do actually worked better! In this case, we’re talking about cloud gaming — latency is a persistent issue, so instead, just put the Nyx in your room. It’s an edge server that can store games that you have access to, then stream them to multiple devices in the home at once. It solves a couple of problems — lag from cloud gaming and slow internet speeds from too many people in the house trying to game at once.
Best headphones: Mark Levinson No 5909
Mark Levinson is Harman/Kardon’s premium, luxury audio brand. How premium, and how luxury? They haven’t even released a pair of headphones under the name until now. The Mark Levinson No 5909 shows why they waited so long — in addition to high-end 40 mm drivers tuned to meet Hi-Res audio standards using Harman’s processing, the headphones feature wireless Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation. They can even last up to 30 hours on one charge with that feature turned on. They’ll set you back a grand, but if you want only the best when you travel (or whenever you finally get back to traveling), they could be worth it!
Best desktop: Lenovo ThinkCentre Neo 30a 24
It is what it is — for a lot of us, Zoom meetings, and lots of them, are a new fact of life. So, we give a nod to Lenovo for making a work all-in-one built for that purpose. The ThinkCentre Neo 30a 24 has a 23.8″ FHD display, audio by Harman, and a retractable webcam. But, the big feature is the AI Meeting Manager, which provides you with real-time translation, voice to text, subtitling, a meeting noise editor, and Amazon Alexa Voice Interaction, making international meetings a lot easier, especially if you have to run one.
Best in health: Withings Body Scan
Withings is no stranger to the smart scale, having been one of the pioneers back in the day. Today, the Body Scan is taking that a step further. The Body Scan tracks not only weight, but segmental body composition, heart rate, and vascular age. It can even monitor nerve activity and heart rhythm, thanks to a 6-lead ECG. That starts to move into some territory that usually costs quite a bit at the hospital, and considering this can be linked up with your doctor to make sure they’re updated about your health status, it might be a good thing for a lot of folks to have. For their part, Withings uses all that data to look for signs that could point to more serious underlying health problems, giving you and your doctor advance notice.
Best in smart home: Samsung Home Hub
Now that Samsung has turned just about every home appliance into a connected, smart appliance, it only makes sense to tie them all together. The Home Hub is a tablet with a simplified interface dedicated to controlling a number of smart home devices, giving you an at-a-glance view of the home. It is also, to hear them tell it, the future location where the all-binding Chore List, that which must never be ignored, is to be found.