CES 2021 is here, and the world’s biggest annual tech show has never looked so different. But while this year’s event ditches the packed Las Vegas ballrooms in favor of an all-online experience, there are just as many cool gadgets and exciting innovations to get excited about as ever.
From eye-popping 8K TVs to laptops and desktops that make working from home more seamless than ever, we’ve already seen a ton of great products come out of this uniquely all-virtual CES. In order to cut through the sea of shiny new tech and find the best products that we think will be worth your money, we met with manufacturers big and small for in-depth briefings, compared these gadgets to our top tested picks in terms of specs and features and, in some cases, even got our hands on early units.
With that in mind, here are our picks for the best gadgets from CES 2021 that you’ll actually want to buy this year.
Best Chromebook: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is our current recommendation for the best 2-in-1 Chromebook you can buy, but it retails for a steep $999. The new Galaxy Chromebook 2 retains the best aspects of its predecessor (including a vivid display and a stunning Fiesta Red design) while starting at a much more attainable $549 with more modest specs. Don’t call this a downgrade, though — the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is the first Chromebook with a QLED display, delivering much more vibrant colors and finer details than you’ll find on a standard LCD laptop screen. The Chromebook 2’s beautiful screen and snappy keyboard performed well in our early hands-on testing, and its eye-popping design makes the other Chromebooks of CES look boring.
Best gaming monitor: Acer Nitro XV282K KV
If you’re in the market for a gaming monitor to use with your PS5 or Xbox Series X, the new Acer Nitro XV282 KV should be on your radar. This 28-inch display features the latest HDMI 2.1 standard, which you’ll need to take full advantage of the smooth 120 frames-per-second gameplay that the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles are capable of. It’s also a great option for PC gamers, with AMD FreeSync Premium technology for eliminating screen tearing and 1 ms response times for minimal input lag. The Nitro XV 282K KV secured our best of CES pick because its HDMI 2.1 support makes it one of the first displays to make your next-gen console gameplay as smooth as possible — and could usher in a new wave of gaming monitors optimized for PS5 and Xbox Series X. Look out for it in May with a starting price of $899.
Best home appliance: Samsung JetBot 90 A.I+
Like most other smart vacuums, Samsung’s latest doesn’t have the catchiest name. But after a demo and an in-person briefing (conducted safely), the JetBot 90 A.I+ to bring a lot to the table. It goes past other smart vacuums that just feature LiDAR sensors by tossing in cameras and object recognition. This way it can actually identify what’s in its path and change direction. Obstacle avoidance is the *chef’s kiss* on the JetBot 90 for this very reason — it can work around a cable, a pair of sneakers or the dreaded doggy doo-doo. It will even send an alert via the connected app to let you know what it ran into. This is the first vacuum to have this truly next-level object avoidance tech, so it pretty much makes other smart vacs look quite dumb. We don’t have pricing just yet, but the JetBot 90 A.I+ has a feature set that will leave other smart vacuums in the dirt.
Best laptop: HP Elite Dragonfly Max
Laptop webcams are generally terrible, which is a problem HP looks to solve with the new HP Elite Dragonfly Max. This powerful 2-in-1 business notebook features a 5MP webcam, which, combined with the laptop’s advanced AI-driven sound technology, should make you look and sound as presentable as possible during important Zoom meetings. Combine that with a 13.3-inch display with features such as HP Eye Ease and HP Sure View Reflect for keeping your documents safe from snoopers while minimizing eye strain, and the Dragonfly Max is shaping up to be the ultimate work-from-home laptop. Though we didn’t test directly, the Dragonfly Max’s design, specs and feature set look to rival the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon — our best laptop pick for business users — making it the most impressive laptop we’ve seen come out of CES so far.
Best monitor: Dell UltraSharp 38 Monitor
The UltraSharp 38 Monitor doesn’t just give you an expansive display, but it has the specs to match. This 37.5-inch WQHD+ curved display features a resolution of 3840 x 1600. While this isn’t exactly 4K, with that high resolution we fully expect it to be sharp and likely hard to pick out individual pixels on. The panel should allow it to produce a wide range of colors like previous UltraSharp Monitors, one of our current top picks for best monitors. Those who work in creative apps like Photoshop and Illustrator will be able to handle detail-oriented edits with relative ease. And in everyday use, we expect it to provide plenty of room for emails, spreadsheets and web browsing. The real kicker is the built-in productivity hub — there are two HDMIs, a DisplayPort, two USB-Cs, an Ethernet jack and four USB-A ports, among others. It’s an all-in-one docking solution that we feel will really be a plug-and-play experience. That’s not something every monitor out there can match. If you’ve been squinting at an aging monitor and struggling with all sorts of dongles, this feels like the complete package. We look forward to testing the UltraSharp 38 Monitor when it launches on January 28.
Best TV: Samsung Neo QLED
Samsung Neo QLED aims to increase the brightness level and color vibrancy as well as deepen black levels compared to previous generations. It’s not doing so with entirely new technology or even a dramatically new processor, but with Mini LED. Samsung’s Quantum Mini LEDs are about 1/40th the size of a conventional LED backlight and remove much of the packaging. Shrinking the size allows for more LEDs to be placed inside, and the TV can control the lighting on an LED-by-LED basis. This is closer to the pixel-by-pixel picture creation found on OLEDs. We got to see it in person, and the 8K Neo QLED drew our eyes with its increased levels of vibrancy without causing blooming or leakage. Given Samsung’s expertise with producing images and upscaling, we have a feeling this will excel past our current overall pick for best TV, the TCL 6-Series. The specificity that Samsung can offer with Mini LEDs should increase the clarity level and deliver brightness at a new level. We don’t know the price yet, but Samsung’s Neo QLEDs will be available later this spring.
The story is derived from a syndicated feed and Team TOV has not made any amendments to it. Image Courtesy : CES