April 11, 2024

Byte Class Technology

Byte Class Technology & Sports Update

The coolest new gadgets and tech from CES 2023 Day 2

The coolest new gadgets and tech from CES 2023 Day 2

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The CES 2023 press-day activities gave us plenty of impressive new gadgets to gawk at Jan. 4. But now the show is officially underway, and the torrent of technological gizmos has reached its full potential. We have seen a few distinct trends pop up within the hordes of new products. Skinny TVs are still in as they have been forever. High-resolution monitors have taken a big jump in prominence this year. We’re also still seeing just about every gadget get the “smart” treatment, including Masonite’s $6,500 smart door that comes with Ring cameras built-in.

We’re going to spend the rest of the week scouring the CES announcements for the coolest (and weirdest) products but, for now, enjoy this list of the best new stuff we found today. As always, remember that products announced during CES may not come out for quite some time. Some of them may never even come out. So, while it’s OK to get excited about new gadgets, don’t let the promise of an ambitious but ill-fated product break your heart.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i

The coolest new gadgets and tech from CES 2023 Day 2
Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i’s dual-screen design is an imaginative rethinking of the traditional laptop look. Lenovo

Lenovo’s Yoga Book line of laptops has always been about flexibility, but the Yoga Book 9i takes that to an entirely new level. The notebook has two 13.3-inch 2.8K touch screens, which fold open like a traditional book. Each screen is distinct, unlike foldable phones, so using the 9i is equivalent to carrying an external computer display all the time. The computer is smart enough to know when it’s being used in portrait or landscape mode and will adjust its interface accordingly. Lenovo is shipping the laptop with a folio stand, and it’s designed with a detachable keyboard and stylus to work with it. An Intel Iris X processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an assortment of USB-A, USB-C, and Thunderbolt 4 ports complement the Yoga Book i9’s dual screens. Many laptops have been announced at CES 2023, but this is the most interesting one we’ve seen.

OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock

Other World Connectivity

OWC has been making multi-port hubs for several years, but the $399 Thunderbolt Go Dock will be the first one with a built-in power supply when it launches this April. This level of portability (hence the name Go) is impressive, given this dock’s specs. The OWC Thunderbolt Go Doc features two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one HDMI port, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a MicroSD Card Reader. Anyone who splits their time between two workstations will find immediate value in the dock, as will anyone who travels with many necessary tech accessories. The Go Dock is one of those practical CES announcements that make us go “finally,” especially since OWC’s announcement comes with a price and release date.

Ring Car Cam

Ring Car Cam
The well-known home security company is keeping an eye on your ride. Ring

Ring has already conquered the at-home security world, so its move to the world of dashcams is welcome but not surprising. The Car Cam is available for preorder for $199.99 if you order before Jan. 31, and it ships Feb. 15. Car Cams ordered after Jan. 31 will cost $249.99. The camera can record video in 1080p, begins recording when its motion sensor is triggered, and comes with both front- and rear-facing lenses. If you pay for an optional Ring Protect Pro subscription ($6 per month or $60 per year), you can activate the Car Cam’s 5G antenna and monitor your vehicle from anywhere. One of the most clever aspects of Ring’s Car Cam is that it’s powered by your car’s OBD-II port rather than its cigarette lighter. Ring recommends using the Car Cam only with vehicles whose OBD-II ports are on the left side of its steering wheel for safety, and lets you check the make and model of your car to ensure compatibility. If you’re already a part of Ring’s home security ecosystem, the Car Cam seems well worth considering, though you’ll have to act fast to get its early bird price.

Rachio Smart Hose Timer

Rachio’s Smart Hose Timer offers the convenience of an underground sprinkler system without digging holes.

The Rachio Smart Hose Timer is an elegant solution to a common problem for many homeowners: watering the grass or a garden without having to do it yourself. The Smart Hose Timer attaches to your spigot and hose and automatically turns the water on and off at set times. The device will track how much water you use and allows you to manage its usage remotely using an app. If you know it’s going to rain, for instance, you can instruct the Smart Hose Timer not to activate. Setting up an underground irrigation system is time-consuming and expensive, which makes Rachio’s Smart Hose Timer an excellent addition to smart homes with a lawn.

BMW i Vision Dee

A white Dee BMW electric concept car on a stage
This car closes the gap between vehicle and companion. BMW

Move over dogs, man has a new best friend: cars, according to BMW. The company’s i Vision Dee concept car was joined by Herbie and KITT—sentient vehicle-besties of pop culture yore—to showcase the feature-packed hypothetical mid-sized sedan that wants to be your loyal companion. Dee—short for Digital Emotional Experience—includes software and hardware beyond voice control and driver assistance. Standouts include the BMW Head-Up Display, which turns the windscreen into just a screen, displaying information and facial expressions; iX Flow featuring E Ink—which the company unveiled at last year’s CES—now has full-color capabilities, with 32 colors to choose from. Although it’s not clear when you can buy Dee for yourself, the Heads-Up Display will be rolled out into BMW’s NEUE KLASSE EV line from 2025 on.

New vacuums from Roborock

A white Roborock vacuum docked on the wall
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra has a liftable brush that prevents cross-contamination. Roborock

Roborock announced its latest line of vacuums and robovacs, including the Dyad Pro—the company’s new wet-dry cordless vacuum, which allows you to vacuum and mop simultaneously. Its rollers are self-cleaned and dried when docked, meaning you can say goodbye to weird smells coming from your vacuum. Plus, it packs plenty of suction power thanks to 17,000Pa suction. You can buy it on Amazon and the Roborock store later this month for $449.

The company also announced its S8 line of robot vacuums. The S8 sucks up dirt, dust, and crumbs at 6,000Pa, while a dual rubber roll brush allows for fewer hair tangles. The S8 Pro Ultra—a combo vacuum-mop robot—includes a liftable brush that prevents cross-contamination and damage to the robot. The mop also automatically lifts when cleaning carpets. The S8 lineup goes on sale in April, but you can still snag the S7 models on Amazon—the S7+ is currently $200 off.

Panasonic nanoe X Portable Air Purifier

A black Panasonic air purifier on a white background
This air purifier not only reduces odors but it helps inhibit viruses, bacteria, mold, and allergens, both air-borne and on surfaces. Panasonic

If you want to up your safety game while you travel, Panasonic unveiled a portable air purifier that fits in a car cupholder. Perfect for rideshare drivers or public transit riders, the nanoe X Portable Air Purifier uses hydroxyl radicals to reduce odors and in-air nasties. It can clean car cabins in two hours at a barely noticeable 36 decibels. Although it’s not HEPA-certified, it’s CARB-compliant and lessens the germy impact of that kid who just open-mouth cough six feet away from you on the subway.

Withings U-Scan

If you’ve ever peeked into your toilet after a workout on a hot day, you may have glimpsed one of the telltale signs of dehydration: dark urine. But pee, which contains 3,000 metabolites, can also tell us a lot more about the state of our metabolic and reproductive health. Withings, known for smart scales, has now made checking in on your ovulation cycle or ketones as easy as a trip to the bathroom. 

The company’s new U-Scan devices let users affix a cartridge inside their toilet that filters urine from other liquids. Test pods within the devices then provide a chemical analysis in minutes. The results then show up in the associated app. It even lets you separate urine tracking for different people with a feature called StreamID. Best of all, the system empties itself, and there’s no need for you to mess with test strips or mailing.

The company has developed two models: U-Scan Nutri Balance, which breaks down hydration and nutrition, and the U-Scan Cycle Sync, which tracks women’s monthly cycles. Depending on the option you choose, the device can determine a woman’s ovulation window, or make recommendations for workouts and diet tweaks and even provide recipes. A winner of the CES Innovation Award in the categories of Smart Home, Fitness & Sports, and Digital Health, U-Scans are currently only available in Europe. They will need FDA approval before you can get them in the United States.

Asus ROG Raikiri Pro gaming controller

The coolest new gadgets and tech from CES 2023 Day 2

Perhaps I’m particularly tuned into game controller news because my Xbox Elite 2 controller recently started rattling when I shake it. Or, it’s possible Asus just dropped one of the coolest gaming controllers I have seen in a while. The ROG Raiki Pro works on current-gen Xbox consoles, PCs, and even mobile devices. It can connect via Bluetooth, USB-C, or traditional 2.4GHz wireless. 

Like many other high-end controllers, it offers four programmable buttons on the back of the controller. Plus, it has a built-in ESS digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for high-fi audio when listening through the built-in headphone jack. 

While all the performance elements make it appealing, the real draw comes from the built-in, customizable OLED display at the top of the controller. It doesn’t seem all that practical, but it sure is cool.  

Unistellar eQuinox 2 smart telescope

Unistellar eQuinox 2

Light pollution plays havoc with stargazing. Even powerful traditional telescopes have difficulty piercing through the view-ruining glow from populated areas and their artificial illumination. This smart telescope, however, relies on a digital sensor and computational photography (like you’ll find in your smartphone) to provide a clear, detailed image of more than 5,000 different space objects without the light pollution spoiling things. It’s also super simple to set up: Once you’ve put the telescope together and connected to the app, the scope can typically locate its own position in under two minutes. You can then simply use the app to select the part of the sky at which you want to gawk. It comes with a high price tag ($2,499), but it’s a great option for city dwellers or people who want the easiest possible astronomy experience.

Nakamichi DRAGON 11.4.6 Wireless Home Surround Sound System

Japanese consumer electronics brand Nakamichi already produces the Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 eARC SSE Max, the popular setup that tops our wireless surround sound systems list. So what do you do when you’ve got a highly successful $1,999 soundbar + surround speakers + subwoofer bundle that’s already massively overpowered for many rooms? Double down and produce a new flagship that’s even more expansive and expensive, that’s what! The Nakamichi Dragon, premiered at CES 2023 and currently slated to ship in Q2, is an 11.4.6 configuration pumping 21 channels of audio through 31 drivers. Supporting Dolby Atmos/Vision, and the first soundbar to feature the less-common DTS:X Pro spatial-audio protocols, the Nakamichi Dragon’s distinctive architecture delivers positional precision to home cinema through components including 6 upfiring height channels (with units angled at both 10 and 20 degrees), 7 Air Motion Transformers tweeters, and individually managed dual dual subwoofers (yes, a quad kicker setup in an isobaric configuration split between and two wireless cabinets). A total of 15 amplifiers (3000W of total power) are split between the 58-inch soundbar, subwoofers, and two 9-pound adjustable Omni-Motion Reference Surrounds, pushing an immersive soundstage with adaptive overhead effects. Plus there’s Qualcomm aptX HD Bluetooth 5.0 for streaming music from smartphones, tablets, etc. If you’ve got the space (think a 65-inch TV and a medium-sized viewing room at a minimum), as well as the budget, the Dragon will be available for $3,499.