HP EliteBook x360
HP is cleaning up this year. The recent upgrade to the Spectre x360 was bona fide laptop-of-the-year material in December, and its new EliteBook x360 is an early frontrunner in 2017. It boasts a uniform metal finish across the chassis, beefy Core i5 processor, 1080p touchscreen and 8GB of ram out of the box. It also comes with a privacy screen built in so nosy coffee shop dwellers can’t spy on your plans for world domination.
Today, TV innovation boils down to two things: how thin can you make it and how many pixels can you cram into an already massive screen? LG has made a habit of crushing the competition in these respective areas, and did so again this year. It’s new W-Series is 2.2-mm thick – slightly thinner than three one-baht coins stacked on top of each other – and comes with a colossal 77-inch screen and colour-depth in the billions.
Best Out-of-the-Box Idea
Roli is the company behind the Seaboard – a malleable keyboard we featured a few months back. Lightning struck for the brand again this year as its Blocks creation wowed fans at CES. The device allows musicians to create music through a touchpad that feels part Seaboard, part Ableton Push and part Palette. It’s intuitive, fun, customisable, and we like it – a lot.
Panasonic Lumix GH5
Panasonic’s Lumix GH series has ruled the filmmaking roost among budget producers for years, and the latest GH5 stopped the show once again this year. It’s flabbergasting how much this camera offers at the price – full 4K at a ridiculous 60fps, simultaneous focus points with auto focus pulls and 6K Photo for snagging 18-megapixel images from video. If that sounds like gibberish to you, it’s just means: very, very good.
Best Fitness Wearable
The challenge to designing any kind of wearable tech is making it look like something people actually want to wear – a surprisingly difficult task. The Motiv Ring won this category easily at CES. It’s stylish (enough), well-built and features everything we want in fitness tracker – heart rate monitor, calorie tracker, resting heart rate, sleep quality check, etc.
There were a few contenders for “Best Innovation” this year – HP’s Sprout Pro comes to mind – but, for us, the Canvas from Dell takes the cake. It’s a horizontal “smart workspace” (i.e. touchscreen) with touch, totem and pen capabilities. Considering the Canvas comes stock with Dell’s UltraSharp 32-inch 8K infinity monitor, the creative possibilities for artists and designers are very exciting.
Asus ZenFone AR
The ZenFone AR from Asus was easily the most talked about phone at this year’s show, but not for conventional reasons. The phone has the ability to use depth-sensing cameras to scan the real world and create augmented reality using a new piece of software called Google Tango. The tech is still very young, but could be used to do things like demo furniture in a user’s home before they buy it or bring gaming experiences into their natural environment.