A modular TV, a $40,000 projector and Razer's latest project: A look at the coolest gear of CES 2018

From Samsung's giant modular TV concept to Sony's 4K short-throw projector, Straits Times tech journalist Lester Hio highlights the best gadgets at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.
People queue to check out a two-story Google Assistant Playground at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, on Jan 10, 2018.
People queue to check out a two-story Google Assistant Playground at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, on Jan 10, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

The dust has settled on the first day of CES, the world's largest consumer tech show, and thousands of visitors have gotten a glimpse of what the future of tech might bring this year.

As The Straits Times Tech team returns with renewed vigour to the show floors on Day 2, here are some of the highlights and products that have wowed audiences and caught our eye at CES.

1. The Wall

At this CES, Samsung built The Wall - and at some point this year, it hopes people will pay for it. The Wall, in this case, is an ambitious ve wall-sized 146-inch modular television.

The "modular" part comes from the fact that the giant screen is made off a grid of smaller screens. Details of how it all works or how the screen will be sold are not yet clear but some have already imagined a scenario where people might add or remove screens to make their TVs bigger or smaller.

The screens are powered by something Samsung calls MicroLEDs - which it says offer better resolution and lower power consumption. It says the TV will be on sale some time this year . How much it will cost is anyone's guess.

2. Sony LSPX-A1 4K Projector

If televisions - even ones that fit together like a jigsaw - are too mainstream and you want a 4K projector instead, Sony has you covered. (Assuming you are also extremely wealthy.)

The US$30,000 (S$40,000) LSPX-A1 4K projector is capable of projecting up to 120-inch of 4K display onto a wall from a distance of just about 25cm from the wall - which means you don't have to mess too much with rearranging furniture.

It can play back high-resolution content from Netflix or Amazon video, and also supports HDR. And for all that money, you do get something that looks amazing -with a premium marble-topped aluminium framed side table.

It also doubles as a speaker, with tweeters on the front, 3 mid-range speakers, and a subwoofer on the base, and is capable of throwing audio to make it sound like its coming from all around you.

3. Razer Project Linda

By Razer's own standards, this year's "Project" is just about the most mundane one it has announced in recent times. Razer unveils a new "Project" every year at CES, and most of them are quite outlandish concepts that challenge current engineering feasibility and tech - which often mean they only rarely turn into something people can actually buy.

Last year's Project Valerie, for example, was a laptop that unfolds to open up to three screens, which is a dream for gamers but an engineering nightmare to actually develop for mass consumption.

 
 

This year's Project Linda is a little bit different because it is very well in the realm of possibility. Project Linda is a laptop shell with no laptop components inside. There's no processor chip or memory, and just contains a keyboard, a 13-inch screen and, most importantly, a whole to place Razer's recently released mobile phone in.

The Razer Phone is meant to be the heart of the laptop that provides the computing hardware and software.

Once plugged in, the phone acts like a trackpad or a secondary control panel if you connect a mouse to it. The case itself gives extra storage and battery life to the phone, so no worries about draining your phone extra quick while plugged in.

You basically transform your Razer Phone into an almost full-fledged laptop - something others have attempted before with patchy results. What Razer has on its side is a powerful phone with a snappy Snapdragon 835 processor and 8GB of RAM. Of course, as with most Razer Projects, there's no guarantee if it'll actually make it to market, but it's certainly one to look out for.

4. Google Assistant

Google has been making an aggresive push to install its artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant into as many products as possible.

Which is why Google made a rare showing with an outdoor booth at CES, the first time the tech giant is officially exhibiting at the show.

It's hard to avoid seeing Google at CES. It's Assistant software is everywhere -

Google announced partnerships with at least 15 different companies to integrate Assistant into speakers, headphones and TVs.

It wants Google Assistant to be everywhere - from your Android smartphone to the speakers you buy from Klipsch to the LG TV in your living room to the smart locks by Schlage that keep your front door locked to your car's dashboard.

Google also released four new smart displays - effectively speakers with Assistant built-in and a screen to effectively view the results of your virtual assistant integration - in partnership with Lenovo, LG, Sony and JBL.

Over the next year, expect to see more products with Google Assistant - and with its competitor Amazon already adding its own assistant into showers - don't be surprised if you are soon able to talk to nearly every appliance you own.