Product Reviews

CES Liveblog: Smart Home, Workout Tech, and So Many TVs

WELCOME TO OUR CES 2021 liveblog! The WIRED crew isn’t in Las Vegas this year; the show was moved online due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. But even a global health emergency can’t stop the march of consumer technology. There are still plenty of gadgets, apps, electric vehicles, smart-home appliances, brain-training headsets, and Alexa-powered workout gear to tell you about. This liveblog is the place where we’ll report all of our findings. We’ll have videos, photos, written dispatches, and of course, more than a few lulz. New updates will show up throughout the day on Monday.

Samsung’s Mini LED Takeover Begins

Photograph: Samsung

Samsung’s entire TV line will be getting big upgrades in 2021. First and foremost is the company’s use of Mini LED technology in what it’s calling “Neo QLED”. The tech essentially brings tens of thousands of tiny LEDs into the backlighting system of its top-end TVs—something we’ve already seen from TCL in 2020’s 6-series. This means better blacks and improved contrast. Samsung has also announced a brand new settings menu for new consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, which will make tweaking picture settings a breeze.

On the ultra high-end, Samsung also showcased a brand new 110-inch model that uses a next generation form of Mini LED technology in which each LED pixel acts as its own backlight, similar to the OLED technology we’ve previously seen from LG, but without the hindrances of burn-in, and with the potential for even brighter highlights. We can expect this to be Samsung’s big tech in mainstream (and more normally sized) TVs in a few years’ time, according to a conversation I had with Mike Kadish, Samsung’s head of product marketing. The company also introduced a cool new solar-powered remote, so you’ll never have to search for AAA batteries again. —Parker Hall

JLab’s Frames Make Workouts Safer—and Louder

Photograph: JLab

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