CES 2024 is now in full swing, but the tech announcements show no sign of slowing down – in fact, after hours of scouring the show floor, we’re discovering more hidden gems than ever after the big keynote announcements earlier this week.
We’ve already rounded up the best smart home tech of CES 2024, the best wearable and fitness tech from the show and 11 genius accessory ideas we’ve discovered on our travels. But what about some of our more left-field findings? You’ll find some of the best ones below, including one of the best bits of AI hardware so far, some fascinating neural headphones, and a wearable oven (yes, really).
It hasn’t all been tech eccentricities, though; we’ve also found time to go eyes-on with the LG C4 OLED TV (spoiler: it’ll probably be one of 2024’s best TVs), and a promisingly affordable 100-inch screen from Hisense. We’ve also seen a smart and eco-friendly hairdryer from Loreal and some of the biggest tech trends of 2024.
For a first look at some of the most intriguing tech we’ve found, read on for all of our highlights from day three of CES 2024.
1. LG C4 OLED TV
Transparent OLED TVs may be all the rage at CES 2024, but the ones we’re actually going to buy are more like the new LG C4 OLED – and our eyes-on time with it suggests the C4 going to be one to watch (quite literally) this year.
LG claimed in its CES announcement that the LG C4 is brighter than last year’s LG C3, despite using the same OLED panel. We were a little dubious, but our brief time with the set (which you can read more about in our hands-on LG C4 review) confirmed that its brightness boost is indeed very real.
Combine this with processing improvements, including the addition of LG’s lossless wireless Dolby Atmos sound, and you have a TV that we can’t wait to get in for proper testing this year, to see how it compares to the best OLED TVs.
2. Rabbit R1
Smartphones have now replaced most handheld gadgets, but a new AI-powered device is making waves at CES 2024. The Rabbit R1 is the first genuinely interesting bit of AI hardware (more so than the strange Humane AI Pin) that we’ve seen since the ChatGPT explosion started just over a year ago – and it might be a glimpse of next-gen voice assistants.
What does the Rabbit R1 do? We’d recommend watching the R1 launch video (which was clearly influenced by the original iPhone launch) for a fuller explanation, but it’s essentially a tool for talking to your favorite apps using natural language. Rather than swiping between different phone apps, you create ‘rabbits’ that can carry out tasks – like booking a flight or doing your shopping – using your voice commands.
We doubt very much that the R1 will be replacing our smartphones, but it does illustrate how today’s app-swiping experience is suddenly starting to feel a little archaic – and it’s a solid blueprint for how a next-gen Siri or Google Assistant might use AI.
3. Amazfit Helio Ring
We’re still waiting for the long-rumored Samsung Galaxy Ring, but in the meantime Amazfit has announced another contender for the title of best smart ring at CES 2024: the Helio Ring.
Like the Oura Ring, Amazfit’s rival promises to serve up detailed sleep-tracking and recovery stats from your workouts. Like the best Garmin watches it’ll also give you a daily Readiness score based based on your exertions and sleep, and you’ll seemingly be able to wear it while swimming or in downpours too, as it’s water-resistant to 100m.
We don’t have a price or release date for the Helio Ring yet – and you will need to take out a monthly subscription to unlock all of its features – but it’s another gadget that we’re very keen to try out later this year.
4. Neural headphones
Rather than a single product, neural headphones are instead a fascinating new tech genre that we’ve seen several examples of at CES 2024. By tapping into auditory nerves, these cans can effectively read your mind, giving you hands-free control of your tech or enhancing your ability to relax.
We checked out four examples of neural headphones at CES, and all of them bring their own spin on the concept. The Naqi Neural Earbuds, for example, were developed as an alternative to brain implants, and give you control over your Windows or Mac computer, while the NeurGear ZenBuds stimulate your vagus nerve to trigger a rest response.
With other examples that are designed to help us fall and stay asleep on the way, like the Earable Neuroscience Frenz Brainband ($490, ships in February 2024), neural headphones are definitely a tech trend to watch this year.
5. Kohler Anthem+
Your shower might be last place that you want to be colonized by tech, but our time with Kohler’s Anthem digital shower control has convinced us of the benefits of ‘digital showering’.
This touch-sensitive controller pairs with a digital thermostatic valve to give you a gloriously multi-sensory showering experience that lets you control the lighting, sound, and even the steam, as well as the water temperature and flow. It isn’t cheap, starting at $2,800 (around £2,200 / AU$4,180), but you could probably start charging visitors for showers.
6. Hisense 110UX ULED TV
You can’t call it a day at CES without seeing some truly massive TVs, and Hisense didn’t disappoint us on day three of the show, showing us its mini-LED lineup for 2024 – including a 110-inch whopper.
The 110UX is shaping up to be an impressive set all round, despite its size, with 40,000 local dimming zones and a scorching 10,000 nits of brightness. On the audio front you get a built-in 4.2.2-channel speaker system that’s bolstered by the new Dolby Atmos FlexConnect wireless audio tech.
If you’ve measured up and don’t quite have room for a 110-inch TV, Hisense will also be launching 100-inch regular QLED model in 2024 – and if that brand’s past offerings are any guide, that model will be impressively affordable for its size.
7. Willtex Willcook wearable oven
One of the phrases we didn’t expect to encounter today was ‘wearable oven’, but CES has a habit of surprising us – and sure enough, we found ourselves on the show floor trying a backpack that can cook food.
Okay, the Willcook isn’t an oven in the traditional sense, but it does have a thin mesh fabric that its maker calls an “embedded heat ray.” After putting our hand inside, we can confirm that this thing does get hot enough to slow-cook food (even meat, fish and curry, apparently) while you’re on the move.
The idea is that you could your cook dinner while on the commute home from work, or while you’re on a camping trip. We reckon the tech might have better applications in a winter coat (which was another prototype that Willtex showed us), but the wearable oven will go on sale in the US in September for around $200.
8. Bluetooth Auracast
If you don’t know much about Bluetooth Auracast, you can expect to hear a lot more about it in 2024. The wireless tech – which means your compatible wireless headphones aren’t just limited to the devices you’re paired with – is starting to roll out on everything from portable speakers like the JBL Clip 5 to Samsung’s 4K TVs and earbuds.
Our demo showed us some practical applications that we’re excited about. For example, you could be in a sports bar watching a TV that you could tune into without needing to do any pairing. Or you could be in an airport getting departure announcements beamed straight to your ears so you don’t miss the last call.
In future, Auracast should also let you tune into two streams at once, letting you watch a TV while still getting the airport gate announcements when they’re made. We’ll need more devices to support it, but Auracast could change the way we use headphones.
9. L’Oreal AirLight Pro
How smart can a hairdryer really get? Well, if you’ve been eyeing up the Dyson Supersonic, you’ll definitely be interested in the Loreal AirLight Pro. It combines a bunch of impressive tech advances that make it both super-efficient and eco-friendly, and also smart enough to please your inner gadget fan.
That efficiency, which apparently allows the Airlight Pro to use 30% less power than a traditional hair dryer, comes from its combination of air and infrared heating elements, which make it a bit like drying your hair in the sun and wind. Impressively, it can also recognize attachments and adjust settings based on which one you’ve fitted.
Naturally, the Airlight Pro is also app-connected (for Android and iOS devices), which lets you make further tweaks and customs settings on your phone. Read our hands-on report below, which might just convince you that Loreal’s hairdryer is worth the roughly $400 (about £315) price tag. It’s due to go on sale in Europe in June, and in the US before the end of 2024.
10. Fiio CP13
CES is traditionally a show about future tech, but Fiio has emphatically bucked that trend with its ode to the Sony Walkman – and after seeing the cassette player in person, we’re big fans.
The Fiio CP13 doesn’t have anything as modern as Bluetooth or touchscreens – instead, you’ll need some headphones with a 3.5mm jack and get used to proper buttons again. Still, it does at least have a USB-C port to save you scrabbling around for batteries or old chargers.
The only thing you will need to find is some cassettes to play in it. You have a couple of months to prepare – the CP13 goes on sale in early March, for £129 (roughly $165 / AU$245) and you can choose between white, black or two-tone blue.
11. Nanoleaf Orchestrator Software
Nanoleaf announced its new light-synching Orchestrator software a couple of days ago, but we’ve now had a chance to see it in action as CES – and we came away mighty impressed about the possibilities for house parties.
Smart lights that react to music in real-time have been done before, but Orchestrator is a desktop app that actually analyzes the music itself to make a comprehensive light show with your devices. You can customize which lights respond to certain parts of each song and the software will create a palette of colors to match the mood of the song, too.
The result is something that’s way better than the basic pulsations we’ve seen before and Orchestrator software should land something between March and May this year.
We’re covering all of the latest CES news from the show as it happens. Stick with us for the big stories on everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops, smart home gadgets, and the latest in AI.
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