CES 2018

Top five highlights

As CES 2018 opens for business in Las Vegas, Straits Times tech journalist Lester Hio goes on a walk-through of the best gadgets and offerings, from LG's 30m-long OLED Canyon to Furrion's giant exoskeletons.
The Wall
The WallPHOTO: BLOOMBERG

The year's most innovative and futuristic consumer tech products come out in full force during the annual CES convention, where big and small tech brands highlight their wares.

Here are five outstanding features of this year's show:

THE WALL 

Samsung built The Wall and, at some point in the future, hopes people will pay for it.

The Wall, in this case, is an ambitious room wall-sized 146-inch modular television. The "modular" part comes from the fact that the giant screen comprises a grid of smaller screens.

The screens are powered by what Samsung calls MicroLEDs - which it says offer better resolution and lower power consumption.

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.

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 it covered.

The US$30,000 (S$40,000) LSPX-A1 4K projector is capable of projecting up to a 120-inch 4K display onto a wall from a distance of about 25cm from the wall

It can play high-resolution content from Netflix or Amazon video and also supports high dynamic range footage.

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

RAZER PROJECT LINDA 

Razer unveils a new futuristic Project every year at CES and this year's Project Linda is a little bit different because it is well within the realm of possibility.

Project Linda is a laptop shell with no laptop components inside. There is no processor chip or memory and it only contains a keyboard, a 13-inch screen and, most importantly, a hole where the trackpad is to place Razer's recently released mobile phone.

The Razer Phone is meant to be the heart of the laptop that provides the computing hardware and software - the user basically transforms the Razer Phone into an almost full-fledged laptop.

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

As with most Razer Projects, there is no guarantee if it will actually make it to market, but it is certainly one to look out for.

KOHLER NUMI INTELLIGENT TOILET 

No home appliance is safe from the rise of smart home devices - not even the humble toilet. American plumbing and furniture company Kohler showcased its latest smart toilet, the Numi Intelligent toilet, drawing curious crowds to its display at CES.

The Numi toilet looks like something straight out of a new-age spaceship, with a minimalist, modern design, and comes with fancy adjustable lighting as well as speakers.

All functions of the Numi toilet, such as bidet pressure or temperature and the intensity of the toilet's "drying function", are controlled by a central touchscreen.

Users will be able to talk to and issue voice commands to this potty once Kohler rolls out virtual assistant support, such as with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, some time in June.

Once this happens, you can yell at your toilet to raise the lid or set the seat warmer to a more comfortable temperature. And if you forget reading material, you can ask Assistant or Alexa to tell you a joke or read you a story. The full-fledged toilet, along with all the frills, will set buyers back by US$7,200.

5 SENNHEISER HD820 HEADPHONES 

CES has something to offer for techies of all stripes and audiophiles get a new pair of premium, end-game headphones to lust after.

The Sennheiser HD820 headphones attempt to replicate the transparency, soundstage and details of open-back headphones - widely considered the best design for realistic-sounding headphones - but in a closed-back design.

The US$2,400 ($3,174) headphones do not come cheap and are designed to be top-class reference headphones for listeners who want a clean and accurate sound signature. Its earcups are enclosed in a glass panel that reflects sound waves internally to offer listeners the most realistic and natural-sounding audio playback in a pair of closed-back headphones.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2018, with the headline 'Top five highlights '. Print Edition | Subscribe