CES 2017 may have hit back in January, but its effect is felt throughout the year. The Consumer Electronics Show is a great guiding tool for what to expect in tech for the upcoming year.
While there weren’t any groundbreaking new gadgets this year, it was more about refining last year’s groundbreakers and making them much better.
Virtual Reality Continues Moving Mainstream
Virtual reality (VR) is creeping into many aspects of our lives, and HTC has really made a huge advance with its Wireless HTC Vive VR headset. This thing is amazing and allows users to bring quite the variety of real world objects into their virtual one with a new VR tracking device.
HTC is also bringing in upgrades such as its Vive Deluxe Audio Strap which amps up the existing head-mounting strap. This enhances the user experience with sound that is truly out of this world.
HTC will also be rolling out a subscription program for software and VR content this year with a library of 3,000 titles.
You can read about the top Virtual Reality headsets here.
4K Becoming the Norm On Laptops
Finally, laptops are beginning to catch up to 4K which only helps to carry over into the television market. Realizing that many laptop users are also serious gamers and want to see every shot and kill on the best display, companies are rolling out some amazing deals that come with a beautiful 4K display.
Three of the top ones are the Microsoft Surface Pro 5, which will be coming with an improved Surface Pen. It will also be the first Microsoft product with the USB Type-C port along with Thunderbolt 3 support, making it a true mobile powerhouse.
The HP EliteBook x360 is a sleek, beautiful laptop with a screen you’ll have trouble not looking at longingly. For you hardcore gamers, the HP OMEN 17 will be your next big desire for 2017. Not only does it come with a 17.3-inch 4K screen, but it’s outfitted with Bang & Olufsen speakers to give you sound to match that gorgeous display.
Super Thin OLED TVs
Last year thin was in for 4K and OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs, but this year it’s now super-thin. LG introduced its Signature 4K OLED W series, and the W stands for wallpaper.
When you see the size, you’ll see it’s getting closer to the day when OLED TVs are truly that thin. Their 65-inch model boasts a screen that measures a mere 2.57 millimeters thick and only weighs 17 pounds. What a long way TVs have come from those plasmas that weighed over a hundred pounds.
This series comes in both their 65-inch model along with a 77-inch size. The prices on these are pretty close, so go ahead and splurge on that bigger model. Size does matter with OLED, and you’ll be glad for that guilty pleasure.
Samsung Introduces QLED TV
Just when you’ve learned what OLED is, Samsung moves light years ahead with its QLED TV. The company said that the QLED is a huge improvement over the 2016 OLED, and it’s all about brightness.
The color reproduction has noticeably improved, and they are actually capable of reproducing “100 percent true color.” Samsung claims to be the first in the world to have achieved this, and when you see the QLED up against LG’s best OLED, you won’t doubt that claim.
Basically, Samsung wants its QLED to deliver stunning images no matter what type of lighting you have. That’s been a big problem with 4K and OLED’s, as there are backlighting issues and when you turn on the lights, the screen can look less crisp. Not the issue with Samsung’s latest offering.
Smart Home Switches Smarten Up
Smart Home tech has been a fast growing sector, and Belkin’s Wemo line has expanded with the Wemo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug. It allows you to automate anything that you plug into it. It’s smaller than the company’s other smart products, which keeps it from blocking off those adjacent outlets like the bigger ones did.
The Wemo Mini still uses the same Android and iOS apps as the existing devices. You can be sure Belkin will be updating the app to be even faster with more ease of use.
Smartphones Get More Affordable
ASUS came charging out the gate with its budget-friendly ZenFone a few years back, and the maker has been able to improve with each new version. The ZenFone 3 and ZenFone 3 Laser have stepped up in quality from the previous version of all plastic construction.
The new aluminum one gives it a more premium feel with a fingerprint sensor just under the camera. This makes for very easy access to unlock it.
Not only is it comfortable with the rounded corners, but it measures in at 7.9 millimeters and weighs only 150 grams. Like those super-thin OLED TVs, ASUS is going very lightweight.
The Huawei Honor 6X gives a lot of phone for a low price. It comes with 5.5-inch screen, a ready for primetime fingerprint scanner and dual-Sim support.
The Honor 6X has earned its honorable name for not skimping just because it’s in the budget smartphone category.
Smart Wireless Earbuds
Just a few years ago, wireless headphones were the hot technology, but now it’s gotten smaller and carried over to smart wireless earbuds.
One of the best earbuds from CES 2017 was the Here One, which was truly wireless (yes, zero wires). They use Bluetooth to connect to your phone. Using NXP, they are able to communicate with each other which rivals Apple’s AirPods.
What also stands out with the Here One is their noise canceling that even allows you to add white noise to the app. This adds more relaxation to your listening while also increasing the noise canceling effectiveness.
Control All Your Smart Devices With A Smart Remote
With everything being so ‘smart’ now, you’re bound to end up with a whole bunch of smart devices reminding you of the days when there were five different remotes to watch television. The Sevenhugs Smart Remote is that “universal remote” to help wrangle all your devices together.
This remote is loaded with an all-touchscreen surface that adapts to whatever room you’re in based on where you point it.
Dell Continues the Affordable 2-in-1 Laptop Market
Dell has made its latest XPS 13 2-in-1 something remarkable and under $1,000. You’re now able to have a 13-inch laptop turn into a tablet with the 360-degree hinge.
Unlike the Microsoft Surface Pro which is a full-time tablet, the XPS 13 is more laptop with the tablet being a welcome plus.
Streaming Music Integrated
Streaming music is now the norm, so we’re now seeing these services integrated into countless products. Sonos has partnered up with Spotify to allow for seamless integration. Now you don’t have to do anything to that Spotify playlist. Expect more of this integration through the year with Echo and Google Home.