Several people on the ground at CES in Las Vegas told me that it was down year. I’d argue that it was just plain boring. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t some neat gadgets in the mix. In fact, a baker’s dozen of them were just plain amazing.
The Gizmodo team scoured the show and found the very coolest things we could, including bulletproof pantyhose to edible fake meat, the best tech at CES weren’t necessarily what you’d expect to see at the world’s largest gadget fair. Two of them are TVs, though.
Royole’s foldable phone
The future of phones might be foldable. It sounds crazy, sure, but Royole is already building bendy phones. At CES, we got to test one that you can actually buy (for a mind-boggling $1,837) called the FlexPai. When unfolded, the Royole Flexpai has a sizable 20cm AMOLED display that bends in half to make the display, well, half the size. The big problem is that the phone basically sucks, since the screen never seems truly flat. Let’s just hope Samsung’s planned bendy device is less crappy, more futuristic.
The North Face’s super fabric
Futurelight is a new take on ultra waterproof, ultra breathable fabric, and it’s awesome. For the past 50 years, Gore-Tex has been the industry standard for waterproof fabric. However, The North Face might just knock that tech off its pedestal with Futurelight which uses a new process called nanospinning to weave microscopic fibres into a multi-layered porous fabric that looks like a chaotic spider’s web. The end result is a material that lets air molecules escape to keep you cool, while preventing water molecules from getting in to keep you dry. It’s also incredibly light and comfortable, and The North Face plans to introduce it on garments later this year.
The Impossible Burger 2.0
The problem with fake meat is all in the name: it tastes fake. For years, the Impossible Burger has been insisting that it can solve this problem by building a plant-based protein that not only tastes like beef but looks like it, too. The company released its second-generation of the food at CES, and hot damn, it tastes great. We tested the Impossible Burger 2.0 against a (slightly cold) Shake Shack burger, and the fake burger beat the real one by a mile. You will also soon be able to buy the new Impossible Burger in grocery stores, which is great for everyone—especially cows.
D-Link’s futuristic 5G router
Ever fantasize about ditching your cable internet for good? The new D-Link DWR-2010 5G NR router, as the name implies, works with next-gen 5G cellular technology. That means you just need electricity and a SIM card to get broadband-speed internet anywhere there’s 5G service. D-Link plans to release it later this year through cellular carriers who will also decide how much it will cost. Good luck finding real 5G reception, though. That tech is still a ways off.
The Asus Mothership
It’s hard to reinvent the laptop, but Asus might have done it for gamers with the new ROG Mothership GZ700. While it looks like a beefy Microsoft Surface at first, the Mothership comes with an Nvidia RTX graphics card, a six-core Intel i9 processor, up to 64GB of RAM, and up to three 512GB PCIe SSDs. It’s a powerhouse, and the keyboard is detachable which makes it easier to use. It also has more RGB lights than you could ever dream of.
LG’s Rollable TV
We saw a concept for a zany OLED TV from LG at CES last year, and this year, the company surprised us by announcing that it will soon start shipping. The 65 inch OLED TV R comes with wide colour gamut, 4K resolution, HDR support, and the picture looks absolutely stunning. Not to mention the fact that it rolls up into a tidy base that looks more like a buffet than a television. Pricing and availability hasn’t been announced quite yet, but you can probably expect this thing to sell for close to five figures.
Sheertex’s indestructible pantyhose
Anyone who’s ever worn pantyhose knows how flimsy the damn things are. If you sneeze too hard, they’ll run. Sheertex says that it’s fixed this problem with a new set that uses the same fibres found in bulletproof vests. The new Sheertex Sheerly Genius pantyhose cost $100, but in multiple tests, we could not rip them. Despite the new tech, the new nylons look like any other pair of pantyhose. Sheertex also says each pair should last ten times longer than its competitors’, which makes that big price tag seem more reasonable.
Spigen’s truly wireless charging case
Wireless charging as we know it is a bit of a trick. You don’t need to physically plug your phone in, but you do need to set it on top of a wireless charging pad. Spigen hopes to change that with a new phone case powered by Ossia’s over-the-air wireless charging technology. The Spigen Forever Sleeve works like magic. You just put the phone within 10 to 12 feet of an Ossia wireless power transmitter, and the phone starts charging. The technology won’t be widely available until 2020, but we tested it at CES. It’s real, my friends.
The Osé Smart Vibrator
It was impressive to see the Osé from Lora DiCarlo named as an honoree in the CES Innovation Awards. The smart vibrator comes from Lioness, a women-led company with deep credentials in the fields of robotics, biomimicry, and engineering. Using micro-robotics, the sex toy mimics the feeling of the mouth, tongue, and fingers. It seems to be a truly revolutionary device the category. Unfortunately, the organisation that runs CES rescinded the award not long after it was granted, claiming that the Osé was “immoral.” This led one Gizmodo blogger to ask: “Is CES Afraid of Sex or Women or Both?”
The Vive Pro Eye
If you’re not convinced that existing virtual reality technology is real enough, Vive has a surprise for you. The Vive Pro Eye is based on the existing Vive Pro, but it features eye-tracking technology, which means that what you’re looking at through the headset should be sharper than ever. It also means that certain applications will no longer require extra controllers, since the headset knows what you’re looking at and can select that option accordingly. The Vive Pro Eye will be available in the second quarter of this year. Pricing is TBD.
TCL’s 8K Roku TVs
Just like last year, 8K TVs were a big deal at CES 2019. All of the big TV companies—LG, Sony, Samsung—announced more 8K models that would go on sale this year. And TCL surprised us with a lineup of QLED 8K TVs. The TVs look a lot like those from competitors, but because TCL is a company known for making high-quality hardware for low prices, there’s a good chance these will be 8K TVs the average person can actually afford. That is, if the average person actually wants an 8K TV.
The Opté Skin-Editing Wand
This one might be witchcraft. The Opté Want is a wand-like gadget that scans your skin for differently pigmented areas and then blasts a microscopic amount of serum onto spots to make them blend in with the rest of the surface. To do so, the device uses a camera that takes 200 images per second to analyse the contrast in melanin and apply the serum accordingly. The company hasn’t said when the wand will become available or how much it will cost. Magic can’t come cheap.
Vizio’s Transforming Atmos Soundbar
Dolby Atmos is the future of surround sound, because it adds a dimension of height to compatible tracks. But Vizio bets that audiophiles will want the ability to turn this feature on and off. To do so, the company built a concept soundbar that actually rotates at will, either to point drivers at the ceiling for the Atmos effect or to point them straight ahead for a more traditional experience. There’s no word on if or when Vizio might make this soundbar. It sure looks cool, though.