CES 2017 round-up – top picks of the show

RAZER PROJECT VALERIE

Pricing and availability to be confirmed

Razer unveils a new conceptual "Project" every year at CES aimed at making gaming cooler than it already is. This year, the gaming hardware company showed off its craziest gaming laptop to date: Project Valerie, a laptop that opens up to three 17-inch screens for portable multi-screen gaming.

Razer says it uses an "automated deployment mechanism" that lets the two additional screens pop out with either the push of a button or a software command.

The laptop houses a top-line Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, 4K display on each screen and a quad-core i7 Core processor with 32GB of RAM.

The multi-screen comes at a price, though: it weighs 5.4kg, and is no pancake with its 3.8cm thickness.

Lester Hio

CASIO WSD-F20 SMART OUTDOOR WATCH

US$500 (S$717), available in April

Casio's first Android Wear smartwatch, the WSD-F10, was launched in March last year. Its successor, the WSD-F20, will be released worldwide in April.

The WSD-F20 is positioned in Casio's Pro Trek series that is designed for outdoor enthusiasts.

It has low-power, built-in GPS and colour map functionalities. This makes the WSD-F20 ideal for trekking. Downloaded maps on the watch can still be used with GPS to track location, even in areas without cellular network.

The smartwatch will come with the latest Android Wear 2.0 and is waterproof to a depth of 50m.

Trevor Tan

LENOVO SMART ASSISTANT

US$129.99, available in May

For those who want a cheaper Amazon Echo, there is the Lenovo Smart Assistant. Like Echo, it is a small speaker with Amazon's Alexa smart voice assistant. You can ask Alexa for weather forecasts, to play music, or to turn on or off the lights.

A more expensive version comes with Harman Kardon speakers.

During the demonstration, the Smart Assistant was able to recognise English voice commands by a Lenovo representative with a Chinese accent.

The Lenovo Smart Assistant will be available only in the US and China during its initial launch in May this year, so Singapore users will have to wait.

Trevor Tan

LG SIGNATURE OLED W

Pricing and availability to be confirmed

Imagine a TV set that is only 2.57mm thick and attaches to a wall via magnetic brackets. That is the LG Signature OLED W.

The W stands for wallpaper - it is thin and light and looks like a wallpaper. Even with magnetic brackets to attach the TV to the wall, the total thickness is just 4mm.

Yet, the 77-inch Oled 4K TV is still able to deliver great colours and contrasts, with high dynamic range for better clarity in shadow areas. It is also the first TV that brings both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos together for the complete visual and audio experience.

Trevor Tan

MOTIV

US$199, pre-order at www.mymotiv.com

The Motiv ring is something that someone should have thought about earlier. It is a fitness tracker that you will certainly wear all the time, because it is a ring.

I wore it during a brief hands-on, and found it to be comfortable. It also looks pretty sleek with its light titanium shell, which should make it durable too.

Furthermore, it is waterproof to a depth of 50m, so you do not need to take it off when showering or swimming. It even comes with a built-in heart rate sensor, so it can track your active and resting heart rate. Battery life is expected to be around five days.

Trevor Tan

UNDER ARMOUR RECORD EQUIPPED RUNNING SHOES

From US$139.99, availabe next month

Sports-apparel giant Under Armour (UA) has three new smart shoes - the SpeedForm Gemini 3 Record Equipped (RE), SpeedForm Velociti RE and SpeedForm Europa RE.

The Gemini 3 is for neutral runners going on long runs, while the Europa RE is for overpronators for the same purpose. The Velociti RE, as its name suggests, is meant for speed.

Each shoe model has built-in sensors to track your workout data, such as cadence, distance and timing. It connects to UA MapMyRun app via Bluetooth.

You also get a pre-workout jump test via the app, which tells you if your body is ready to go for a run.

Trevor Tan

MAYFIELD ROBOTICS KURI ROBOT

US$700, available in December in the US

The Kuri robot stands out in the sea of digital assistants which were everywhere at CES this year, because the home-companion robot can roll out and interact.

Developed by American start-up Mayfield Robotics, a subsidiary of German engineering firm Bosch, Kuri has camera "eyes" that can feed video back to an app. Its sensors prevent it from bumping into things or rolling off stairs, and it learns over time where it can or cannot roll about in the house.

It can recognise faces and adjust its behaviour accordingly, while also responding to questions and commands with facial expressions and head movements.

Lester Hio

CREATIVE SONIC CARRIER

$7,999, available in April

Don't call it a soundbar. It may look like one but it's not a soundbar, and calling it so will only offend Creative founder Sim Wong Hoo. It's a high-end speaker system which combines high-resolution audio and 3D cinematic sound.

Like the class of warship it is named after, the Sonic Carrier is a beast, made out of anodised aluminium and coming in at 1.52m, along with a massive 27kg subwoofer. The Sonic Carrier is also jam-packed with features: Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, 4k video support, four HDMI inputs, two USB ports, and supports music and video streaming.

Mr Sim said more than 400 buyers in Singapore have ordered the Sonic Carrier - impressive, considering its $7,999 retail price.

Lester Hio

LEVITATING BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS: LG PJ9, CRAZYBABY MARS AUDIO SPEAKERS, PLOX DEATH STAR LEVITATING SPEAKER

Pricing and availability to be confirmed

Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days, so what better way to jazz them up and stand out from the competition than by making them float?

Levitating speakers are not new, but this is the year where enough companies are making them available at affordable prices so that buyers can impress their friends with both their music tastes and cool speakers.

LG is the latest to join the fray with its PJ9 Levitating Portable Speaker. The egg-shaped 360-degree speaker stays afloat thanks to electromagnets on the base. Speaking of base, it also houses a subwoofer unit for low-end bass.

The one display unit at CES was carefully kept within a glass case, so audio quality remains to be seen (or heard). But, as a centrepiece, the PJ9 is a looker that is sure to catch the attention of friends and visitors.

The PJ9 joins other levitating speakers such as the Crazybaby Mars Audio Speakers, which made a re-appearance at this year's CES, and Plox's Death Star Levitating Speaker, for the Stars Wars fan.

Lester Hio

SONY 4K BRAVIA OLED TV

Pricing and availability to be confirmed

Sony fans will say it is better to be late than never, as the Japanese electronics company finally entered the Oled market to give LG a run for its money, now that the latter isn't the only one offering Oled TV sets.

Named the XBR-A1E, the ultra-high definition offering comes in three sizes - 55-inch, 65-inch and 77-inch - and support 4K video and Dolby Visions HDR.

One unique feature of the line-up is the speaker placement, which is integrated within the screen itself, in what Sony calls an "Acoustic Surface". This way, audio will seem to emanate from the entire screen towards the viewer.

The TV sets run on Android TV, which lets them stream content directly from services like Netflix and other downloadable apps on the App Store. Sony has yet to announce both prices and release date for the new TV.

Lester Hio

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2017, with the headline 'CES 2017 round-up – top picks of the show'. Print Edition | Subscribe