CES 2020 gadgets that caught our eye

Some gadgets to look out for include (clockwise from top left) the Samsung Odyssey G9, the Royale Mirage Smart Speaker, the Alienware Concept UFO and the Belkin Soundform Elite. PHOTOS: SAMSUNG, ROYOLE, DELL/ALIENWARE, BELKIN INC

There were plenty of gadgets and gizmos unveiled during the annual technology extravaganza each year. And this year was no exception. We sifted through the deluge of launches and these gadgets caught our eye.

Alienware Concept UFO


Pricing and availability yet to be announced

Imagine a gaming PC or laptop maker such as Alienware creating a Nintendo Switch and you get the Concept UFO. It is a handheld Windows 10 gaming PC that looks unabashedly like the Switch portable gaming console. The Concept UFO even has detachable side controllers and a hub unit that allows the two side controllers to combine and become a single main controller - just like the Switch.

But the Concept UFO has a bigger 8-inch display than the Switch's 6.2-inch display. Plus, there are two USB-C ports for you to connect a mouse and keyboard - something the Switch cannot do.

Royole Mirage Smart Speaker


US$899, available in the second quarter of this year

Royole, famous for being the first company to launch a foldable screen smartphone, has unveiled the Mirage Smart Speaker. This cylindrical-shaped, Alexa-enabled smart speaker has a 7.8-inch Amoled touchscreen display that wraps around nearly the whole circumference of the device.

Inside the speakers are three 48mm full-range drivers and a passive bass radiator, delivering a total 30W audio output. Two far-field microphones ensure your voice will be picked up wherever you are in the room. Powering the Mirage is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 524 processor, 2GB of system memory and 16GB of storage for music and videos.

Creative Sxfi Carrier


US$1,000, available in the second quarter of this year

Creative took CES 2019 by storm with its Super X-Fi (Sxfi) 3D surround sound technology.

This year, it has released a sound bar imbued with Sxfi. Called Sxfi Carrier, it is capable of achieving high power output despite its small form that measures just 88cm long. According to Creative, it is the first Dolby Atmos Speaker System soundbar. It also features plenty of connectivity options, including Bluetooth, USB-C and USB-A ports, an HDMI eARC port for uncompressed and lossless HD audio, and two HDMI 2.1 inputs.

Samsung Odyssey G9


Pricing to be announced, available in the second half of this year

Just looking at images of Samsung Odyssey G9 ultra-wide gaming monitor makes me want to be at Las Vegas to ogle at it.

It has a 49-inch curved display with a resolution of 5,120 x 1,440 pixels and a refresh rate of up to 240Hz - faster than most gaming monitor's 144Hz. In addition, it supports both AMD's FreeSync 2 and Nvidia's G-Sync technology to work with their respective graphics cards to prevent ghosting and screen tearing.

Not to mention, the Odyssey G9 looks really futuristic with its rear circular LCD lights that change colour.

Insta360 One R


$728 (Twin Edition - 4K + 360-degree cam module), available next month

Insta360, known for its 360-degree cameras, has launched a modular "adaptive action cam" called the One R. It consists of three components - the camera module, the base and the core. The core has the screen, control buttons, a USB-C port and a microSD card slot.

There are three camera modules - 4K action, 5.7K 360-degree and 1-inch wide-angle - to choose from, to form the One R you want. This way, you can easily switch between an action and a 360-degree camera by getting an additional camera module.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14


Pricing yet to be announced, available in mid-March

At first glance, Asus' latest Zephyrus G14 slim gaming laptop looks more grown-up than its previous flashy models. That is until you enable the lid's LED dot-matrix feature. Built into the lid are 1,215 mini white LEDs with 256 levels of brightness. These LEDs can be customised via the Asus Armoury software to display animated GIFs, time and even a music visualiser.

That aside, the laptop comes with top-of-the-line hardware, such as AMD's latest Ryzen 4000 series processor and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics chip.

Belkin Soundform Elite


US$299 (S$400), ships in March

The smart speaker trend is showing no signs of abating. At CES 2020, Belkin - known more for its charging accessories and cables - announced the Soundform Elite, a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker with a built-in Qi wireless charging pad at its top.

Providing the audio expertise for the Elite is high-end audio brand Devialet. The speaker is said to offer "a deep, impactful sound with implosive bass", thanks to Devialet's signature woofer configuration that cancels undesired vibrations.

It is an interesting take on the genre, which has already seen some smart speakers taking on router functionality. Wireless charging is probably not as essential, but it is useful, especially if the speaker is placed next to the bed.

Intel NUC 9 Extreme Kit


From US$1,050, available in March

What if upgrading your computer is as simple as changing a game cartridge on the Nintendo Switch?

But the "cartridge" here is a stocky circuit board that contains the motherboard, processor, memory and internal storage, together with cooling fans and ports. Only the power supply and the graphics card are not integrated.

Intel plans to sell bare-bone systems, dubbed Intel NUC (Next Unit of Computing) 9 Extreme kit, based on this modular design. Other manufacturers such as Razer and Cooler Master will also use Intel's module in their own custom computers.

In other words, people should see plenty of these small upgradeable computers this year.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold


From US$2,499, available in the middle of the year

Last year saw the launch of the first foldable phones. Now, foldable laptops are on the way, with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold expected to be the first to debut in the middle of this year.

In its closed form, the X1 Fold, which has a luxurious leather exterior, resembles a large book. While there is a gap between the two halves of the Fold when closed, this space is used cleverly to hold a small Bluetooth keyboard.

This keyboard can then be used with the X1 when its 13.3-inch Oled screen is unfolded fully and propped up on a desk by the built-in kickstand.



Pricing and availability to be announced

If you do not mind a smaller screen, you may not need to pay as much for an Oled television set this year.

For the first time, Oled TVs will be available in a 48-inch version - down from 55 inches before - from brands such as LG, Panasonic and Sony. This should lower the cost for those looking to buy an Oled TV.

Besides a smaller screen, LG's upcoming 48-inch Oled TV will include features such as a Filmmaker Mode that turns off motion smoothing and other post-processing, so that users can view movies as the film-maker intended. Gamers, too, will also benefit from the TV's support for Nvidia G-Sync technology, which reduces screen tearing and stuttering while running games.

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