CES 2021 highlights: 10 of the best new tech products

by W. Andrew Powell
CES top 10 gadgets

The venue may have changed, not to mention the format, but CES 2021 is live this week, and there’s a lot of news coming out of the virtual conference from some of the world’s biggest tech brands.

Over the last week I’ve been getting updates from Samsung, Lenovo, TCL, Hisense, and Sennheiser that I’ll be sharing in longer stories, so stay tuned for those. Until then, here are some of the other big products being announced at CES.

Sony revealed the AirPeak, a new drone that uses their Alpha mirrorless camera for professional photography and video production. The drone is set to launch in spring, and it uses Sony “imaging and sensing technological expertise” with AI Robotics to offer a “never-reached creative experience,” the brand said.

Watch a video of the AirPeak filming the VISION-S road test using the a7S III camera.

Smart locks have been a big focus over the last few months, and BenjiLock By Hampton unveiled their Fingerprint Bike Lock, a U-Lock that can store up to 10 fingerprints. The smart lock is weather-resistant, IP65-rated, with a pick-and drill-resistant cylinder, it’s bolt cutter-resistant, and has a hardened steel shackle.

The Fingerprint Bike Lock will last for 6 months on one charge, and can be opened by key, if needed. It will retail for $79 in the U.S.

Kohler and Phyn partnered for the launch of Kohler Whole Home Water Monitor Powered by Phyn, and is expected to launch later this year. The devices come as a DIY unit, or a Pro version, to manage automatic water shutoff at home, detecting when there are leaks in your waterflow and shutting off the water to prevent flooding and water damage.

In addition to emergency notifications and shutoff, the Whole Home Water Monitor can also provide insights into water usage.

Kohler also announced their Konnect voice-activated, touchless kitchen faucet, with a range of features for measuring water, and even hand washing.

Looking at smartphones, LG teased their appropriately named rollable phone, the LG Rollable, and it could launch sometime this year. LG didn’t reveal a lot about the device, other than showing it expanding, but the phone adjusts from tablet size, or rolls up so it can be used as a phone.

LG also showed off their QNED Mini LED TVs, featuring quantum dot and NanoCell technology that deliver more brightness and contrast than standard LCD TVs, with better colour, and ranging from 4K models up to 8K. The new TVs will feature up to 30,000 LEDs, up to 2,500 diming zones, and display sizes up to 86″.

While there was a lot of news for laptops, HP announced the notable Elite Dragonfly G2 and HP Elite Dragonfly Max, lightweight convertible laptops (under 1kg for the G2), with Intel’s 11th Gen processor, integrated graphics, 5G or gigabit-class 4G LTE connectivity, Tile built in, audio by Bang & Olufsen, and up to 32GB LPDDR4 memory. The G2 is expected in Canada this month, with the Max arriving in the spring.

HP also showed off the two-in-one Elite Folio with AES pen, the EliteBook 840 G8 Aero business laptop, and the HP Envy 14 for creatives.

Taking their audio lineup further this year, Belkin revealed the Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds, with custom-built drivers, 8 hours of play time, environmental noise cancellation, Qi wireless charging, and 20 hours of charge with the case.

In case they’re lost or stolen, users can also take advantage of Apple’s Find My network to locate the earbuds, and they’re IPX5 rated so they’re sweat and splash resistant. The earbuds will launch in March or April of this year for $99 USD.

Zhiyun launched their Crane S2 camera stabilizer, aimed at larger cameras like the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II, and featuring up to 12 hours of runtime, a changeable battery, and a 0.96″ OLED screen for controls. The camera can also be mounted vertically, with a new vertical quick release mount, and the new gimbal features the company’s 9th Instune Algorithm with high axis responsiveness.

The stabilizer will retail for $599 USD, and up to $849 USD for the Pro Kit with additional attachments like a phone holder, and stand.

Godox debuted the Pocket Flash AD100Pro, a compact, lightweight, and versatile strobe for off-camera lighting. Working at up to 100 meters, with a recycle time between 0.01 and 1.5 seconds, the flash is ideal for work on-the-go, and weighs just 524 grams.

The Pocket Flash also works with Godox’s 2.4G wireless system, as well as Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panadonic, and Pentax cameras. And the 2600 mAh battery lasts for up to 360 full power flashes on one charge. Available for order now, the flash is priced at $299 USD.

Finally, OtterBox revealed the Mobile Gaming Clip for Xbox controllers and mobile gaming. For gaming without the TV screen, on Xbox Cloud Gaming, the clip connects your smartphone to your Xbox Wireless Controller, and you can adjust the angle for the best balance and viewing angle.

The clip can also be used as a tabletop stand, and it folds down for travel or storage. It will retain for $30 USD and will start shipping in February.

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