This year has been a CES like no other and though we’ve only been attending this show for the last five years or so, we weren’t really sure what to expect from this year’s massive tech conference in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we did obviously know that things would be completely virtual this year, we weren’t entirely certain there’d be as much to talk about with no one actually being there at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
As it turns out, pandemic or not, the show must go on and tech companies showed up left and right to announce new hardware that is both noteworthy and interesting. We wanted to take a moment and talk about all our favorite things from the show that make us excited for 2021 and the tech that will arrive this year. There are Chromebooks listed here, but we’re talking all tech in this piece, so let’s have a look at Chrome Unboxed’s favorite things from CES 2021.
ASUS Chromebook CX9, Flip C536, & Flip CM5
Without doubt, the biggest announcement for us here at Chrome Unboxed this week was the trio of Chromebooks from ASUS in the CX9, Flip C536 and Flip CM5. These Chromebooks bring a little something for everyone from the high-end extravagance to mid-range AMD Ryzen 3 processors. They look sharp, are coming in a wide variety of configurations (especially the CX9 and Flip C536 which have 11th-gen Core i3, i5, and i7 options) and we think ASUS is going to sell an absolute boatload of these when they come out in Q1 and Q2 later this year.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514
Another noteworthy Chromebook announcement that came from CES this year was from the folks at Acer with their new Chromebook Spin 514. This AMD Ryzen-powered Chromebook is one of the first of its kind and features an aluminum exterior, Rzyzen 3, 5 and 7 processors with up to 256GB of storage and 16GB of RAM. It is being targeted towards both consumers and enterprise alike and we’re very interested to see how it’s integrated Radeon Vega Graphics perform on a handful of Chromebook-based tasks.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
While not a spec sheet stuffer, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is taking a dialed-down approach to the Galaxy Chromebook formula with a 10th-gen processor, QLED screen, a fire red exterior, striking aesthetic and premium feel. If this Chromebook hits the main points of being a great Chromebook while delivering a solid look and feel at a lower price, it could be a big hit for Samsung similar to what we saw from Google in the Pixelbook Go.
LG has long made some of the lightest laptops on the market, and this year is no exception. While we’d love to see them make a Gram Chromebook, that’s just not in the cards right now. Regardless, there’s no denying the beauty and simplicity on offer by LG by this latest offering in the Gram lineup and we love the overall look and aesthetic LG has built with the Gram family of laptops. With all those sleek lines also comes robust internal options like being branded with Intel’s new EVO certification and a 16:10 screen in 14, 16 and 17-inch sizes while keeping the weight down below 3 pounds even on the 17-inch version.
LG’s Rollable Phone
Though folding screens haven’t exactly become mainstream, they are growing in popularity thanks to Samsung’s efforts around the emerging tech. In a similar way, rolling screens could be equally – if not more – useful for consumers. With devices like LG’s concept rolling screen phone, you can easily see how a standard phone can quickly transform into a larger tablet with ease and no need for bulky, thick devices like we get with the Z Fold 2. It’s untested tech at this point, but it sure does look amazing.
Samsung Neo QLED TVs
Samsung is always on the bleeding edge of display tech, and this year is no different. Their latest innovation in the screen space is what the company is calling Neo QLED which harnesses Samsung’s exclusive Quantum Mini LED’s to achieve far more contrast across the entire picture and gives these new TV’s very high levels of accuracy and detail. QLED has the ability to see televisions shipped at far larger sizes for far less money than OLED, so the better things get with mini LEDs, the better for everyone.
Lenovo ThinkReality A3 AR Smart Glasses
Among all of Lenovo’s announcements this year, none was more intriguing than their new AR headset aimed squarely at the enterprise sector. Though it will be very costly, these AR smart glasses are powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ XR1 Platform for high-quality performance and feature stereoscopic 1080p displays presenting the user with up to 5 virtual displays that users could work from in space without actually having a single external monitor. If this ever works with Chromebooks, I’m in!
TCL Google TVs
As we’ve already reported here at Chrome Unboxed, TCL has gone all-in on Google TV in their upcoming TV sets. Like Samsung, TCL is moving further into the QLED and mini LED space and as we’ve seen in the last few years, they can make some fantastic televisions at very reasonable price points. We’ll be on the lookout for some of these newly-announced televisions later in 2021 and can’t wait to see Google TV on board.
ASUS ProArt Display
ASUS also unveiled a new, mobile display this year with the ProArt branding and it looks pretty amazing. We don’t have pricing, but we’d expect this thing won’t be cheap as it combines some jaw-dropping stats for a mobile, USB Type C monitor. With things like a customizable control panel for creative apps, 100% sRGB and 100% Rec. 709 color spaces, Calman Verification and factory pre-calibration to provide Delta E < 2 color accuracy, this thing is pro-level all the way. The display also has 10-point multi-touch and an anti-glare coating, making it useful for editing or live recording or photo shoot situation.
JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam Dolby Atmos soundbar
If you are trying to take your home theater to the next level, but don’t really want to mess with wires and complex setups, JBL’s new Atmos soundbar might be the right choice for you when it debuts this spring for $400. Inside, this soundbar has all the speakers you need for an immersive home theater experience, including the subwoofer. JBL claims that their proprietary beamforming techniques – dubbed MultiBeam – can help this soundbar acheive room-filling sound and the sense of 3D immersion from movies equipped with Dolby Atmos. With Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Chromecast support, this speaker really brings the entire package all in one device.