Our Finalists For This Year’s Top Tech At CES 2022

Our Finalists For This Year’s Top Tech At CES 2022

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CES 2022 is starting to wind down, and while this year’s show looked a little different than usual, it still left us with a ton of cool tech that you should be keeping your eye on. From laptops with two screens to a projector that can turn any wall into a smart TV, we saw a ton of promising gadgets that can improve your WFH setup or help you stay fit — and some that are just plain fun.

After spending countless hours meeting with top tech brands, sorting through specs and, when possible, testing these new products ourselves, we’ve picked out our finalists for the best of CES 2022. These are the gadgets that stood out the most from this year’s massive show — some improve on our tested favorites, while others were simply too exciting or innovative to ignore. And tomorrow, we’ll be revealing our winners in each category to let you know which of these products will be most worth your money when they launch throughout the year.

CNN

The Dell XPS 13 Plus reinvents our pick for the best Windows laptop with a new minimalist design, which features a nearly invisible trackpad and bigger keycaps for better typing. It also promises speedy performance and strong battery life, thanks to Intel’s new 12th Gen processors.

Mike Andronico/CNN

Lenovo’s ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 combines an ultrawide 17.3-inch screen with an 8-inch companion display, bringing many of the things we love about a proper dual-monitor setup into a single laptop. This notebook stands out by allowing you to, say, take notes on the small screen while watching a presentation on the big one, or enabling a waterfall mode that lets you stretch a webpage across both screens to see more content at once.

Mike Andronico/CNN

Lenovo’s flagship laptops are some of the best around, but they tend to favor sheer efficiency over attractive looks. That’s why we’re delighted by the ThinkPad Z13, which is a more modern-looking notebook targeted at younger users. This laptop stands out with a striking design that comes in an optional faux leather coating as well as a custom AMD Ryzen 7 processor that promises extra-efficient performance.

HP

The HP Dragonfly Elite has always been one of the better mainstream laptops out there, and it’s getting some major upgrades for 2022. The new HP flagship introduces a taller 3:2 display (which we’ve loved on Microsoft’s Surface devices) for seeing more of important work documents at a glance, and promises to be super travel-friendly at just over 2 pounds.

Acer

At a CES where many gaming laptops are going bigger and bolder than ever, we appreciate the more subdued look of the new Acer Predator Triton 500 SE. This laptop is just as ideal for the coffee shop or office as it is for your gaming den, with an attractive and unassuming silver exterior and up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics for chewing through demanding work tasks and top PC games alike.

Mike Andronico/CNN

One of the cooler surprises of CES, the Asus ROG Flow Z13 is essentially a Microsoft Surface for gamers — a concept we really haven’t seen much of before. This unique 2-in-1 features a detachable keyboard and enough power for casual gaming sessions on the go, and can connect to Asus’ ROG XG graphics dock for when you want to get more immersed at home. Asus makes our top gaming laptop pick, and the Surface Pro 8 is our favorite 2-in-1, so we’re eager to spend more time with this unique combo of the two.

Razer

The Razer Blade 15 is one of our favorite gaming laptops due to the sheer amount of power it packs into its beautifully slim desiign, and it looks to get even better for 2022. This ultra-slick and powerful notebook now has the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors and Nvidia graphics cards, as well as up to a 360Hz refresh rate for ultra-smooth gaming.

CNN

Alienware makes some of the best gaming laptops out there, but they typically haven’t been the most portable. That changes with the Alienware x14, which is billed as the thinnest 14-inch gaming laptop with a strikingly slim design that still retains the brand’s signature sci-fi looks. It also crams up to an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics into its tiny frame, making it ideal for solid 1080p gaming on the go.

Alienware

What do you get when you combine quantum dots, OLED and a massive 34-inch curved display? A whole lot of awesome in the form of the Alienware 34 QD-OLED monitor. Dubbed as the world’s first quantum-dot OLED monitor, this advanced display promises to combine the striking contrast of OLED screens with the extra-rich colors made possible by the quantum-dot technology that has impressed us before on Samsung TVs. It’s also one of the slicker-looking monitors to come out of CES, sporting Alienware’s signature black-and-white sci-fi aesthetic.

We’ve seen curved monitors before, but not like this. The Samsung Odyssey Ark is a 55-inch 4K quantum dot curved monitor that can rotate — this way you can use it in a typical horizontal format or flip to vertical when you get the urge. Imagine running multiple apps in horizontal and then going deep into a spreadsheet with a wild vertical scroll. It will actually be available this year and will likely supercharge any work-from-home setup.

Samsung

Buying a gaming monitor typically means having to choose between an immersive resolution or a responsive refresh rate, but the Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 aims to give you the best of both worlds. This 32-inch display combines a rich 4K resolution with a high 240Hz refresh rate, meaning it’s ideal for both getting lost in cinematic titles and playing top competitive games without any nasty input lag.

We’ve seen curved monitors before, but not like this. The Samsung Odyssey Ark is a 55-inch 4K quantum dot curved monitor that can rotate — this way you can use it in a typical horizontal format or flip to vertical when you get the urge. Imagine running multiple apps in horizontal and then going deep into a spreadsheet with a wild vertical scroll. It could be pretty handy, and it will actually be available this year.

Dell

Very few products seem tailor-made for our hybrid work world like the Dell Ultrasharp 32 4K, which combines a huge 4K display with a 4K HDR webcam for the ultimate videoconferencing setup.

Samsung

Samsung’s latest 32-inch monitor offers a sleek design with minimal bezels, but more critically it adds in all the benefits of a smart TV to a 4K display. It will support AirPlay and fully double as a TV with a Tizen interface built in. Thanks to this functionality, you could spend the day working with a laptop plugged in and then take in a movie or TV show from a streaming service in the evening.

Mike Andronico/CNN

The Jabra Elite 4 Active are a superb value for those seeking a great pair of workout earbuds, with excellent comfort, sound quality and even active noise cancellation for just $119. They offer a lot more functionality than pricier competitors (including the AirPods and Galaxy Buds 2) and last very long on a charge.

Belkin’s latest pair of earbuds wants to impress with Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation and multipoint technology to let you easily connect multiple devices. They also feature an updated design that focuses on comfort and support Apple Find My functionality. And hopefully these will come in at an affordable price point like previous Soundform models.

Shockz

The Shokz OpenRun Pro are the company’s highest-end earbuds yet, with a unique open-ear design that uses bone conduction technology to deliver great sound while allowing you to easily stay alert when you’re out on a run.

The Galaxy S21 FE is launching at a time with stiff competition available, but in terms of mobile launches at CES 2022, it really offers a great mix of features. The S21 FE offers a triple-camera system with an impressive 30X Space Zoom, a 120Hz AMOLED display and the same processor that powers some of the fastest devices on the market.

TCL

TCL’s previous smartphones have offered an interesting mix of features in the budget category. The TCL 30 XE 5G, which will be coming to T-Mobile first later this year, looks to continue that tradition serving as a budget 5G smartphone with a hopefully smooth 90Hz larger 6.52-inch display and a multi-camera system.

Samsung’s The Frame in 2022 is inching closer to a masterpiece by adding in anti-glare and anti-reflective layers. Not only should this make it a better viewing experience for TV, but when in art mode those works will look more realistic.

Mini LED isn’t anything new, but Sony’s first entry into this TV tech with the X95K is seriously impressive for its control over the thousands of LEDs behind the screen. We expect this screen to offer tremendously less blooming (aka halos around bright parts of the image) and to offer an incredibly vibrant immersive experience.

Can Sony make our luxury pick TV — the 2021 A90J — even better? Injecting quantum dots into an OLED panel aims to do just that. The new Sony A95K QD-OLED still offers incredible contrast points but also aims to deliver even more brightness and vibrance.

Sony’s A80K OLED is essentially the A90J — our current luxury pick for a TV — minus some extra Master Series tuning. It still features the brighter OLED panel, Bravia XR processing and upscaling, a great Google TV interface and an immersive viewing picture with support for standards.

The Hisense U8H adds Mini LEDs into a setup that normally consists of ULED and quantum dots — this addition should allow for greater control to create an image and allows for a high amount of brightness. It also features a 120Hz refresh rate, support for content standards and smart home platforms.

Chipolo

Chipolo looks set to take on AirTags by putting nearly all the same technology inside your wallet. The Chipolo Card Spot is a $35 item credit card-sized tracker that can slide right into a wallet. It’s deeply integrated with Find My, which allows you to ping it, see its location and even get notified if you leave it behind.

Razer

Like last year’s Razer Zephyr, the $149 Razer Zephyr Pro attacks a very real-world problem in a way that’s uniquely over the top (and uniquely Razer). This RGB face mask, which provides N95-grade protection and internal cooling, now also features voice amplification, meaning it could make it easier to hold a conversation with someone while you’re staying masked. It certainly isn’t cheap, but it could fill a niche for someone willing to invest in a mask that’s both uniquely personal and built to last.

Targus

Sure, stuffing an AirTag in your backpack can reduce the chances you’ll lose it, but Targus is making it so that you don’t need to. The company’s new $149 Cypress Hero Backpack features integrated Apple Find My technology, meaning you can use your iPhone to track it down just like you would with an AirTag or pair of AirPods.

We’re fans of fast charging, and the latest accessory from Satechi offers 165W spread between four ports, with GAN and power delivery specs on board. It even comes with a stand to sit in so its Space Gray design can live comfortably on your desk.

The Bravia Cam might look like a webcam — and can function as one — but it has a number of tricks up its sleeve like helping you conserve energy. Even cooler, it can yell at you for sitting too close to the screen and adjust the picture quality based on where you are in the room.

The Freestyle is a combination projector (making any surface a smart TV or display) and smart speaker with support for Alexa or Bixby — but can also function as a lamp. It’s a fun, unique and wild card gadget, and it’s not cheap at $899.99. But it should deliver a sharp, vibrant picture in an ultra-portable build.

HyperX

HyperX makes some of the best gaming headsets we’ve tested, which is why we’re especially eager to get our hands on the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless gaming headset. This headset promises a whopping 300 hours of battery life, alongside the same excellent comfort and sound quality we’ve come to expect from the company.

Alienware

The Alienware Tri-Mode is easily one of the coolest-looking gaming headsets we’ve seen yet, but it has more than a nice aesthetic going for it. This premium headset can connect via USB-C, Bluetooth or a standard headphone jack for easy use with any platform, and has Dolby Atmos Virtual Surround Sound support for getting extra immersed in your favorite games. Gaming headsets that have that combination of connectivity options aren’t very common, so we’re looking forward to putting Alienware’s latest to the test.

Arcade1up

Arcade1Up has been making excellent replica arcade machines of top games like Pac-Man and Street Fighter for years, but now the company has something to offer to more serious enthusiasts. Kicking off with its new Killer Instinct machine, the Arcade1Up Pro Series consists of the brand’s first full-size cabinets, with higher-quality buttons and joysticks meant to more accurately replicate the true arcade experience — just without all of the quarters.

Ring’s long-awaited Glass Break Sensor has arrived as a $39.99 circular unit that can detect breaks at up to 25 feet. Even neater, it’s using AI to properly identify sounds to only alert you when it’s an actual glass break. And Amazon — Ring’s parent company — has some expertise in this space, thanks to Echo detecting sounds through Alexa Guard.

Lenovo’s latest Smart Clock swaps the Google Assistant for Amazon Alexa and adds in plugs at the bottom to let you swap docks. The result is better for those in the Alexa ecosystem and adds ways to make the clock unique in your setting. For instance, you can dock it on LED clouds for an immersive night light experience.

The HomeKit doorbell family is growing — Wemo’s $249.99 Smart Video Doorbell aims to impress with a unique design and a 178-degree view that wants to show you everything from the eyes of your front door. And as you’d expect, it fully integrates with Apple’s smart home platform and supports HomeKit Secure Video.

Abode

Abode’s first doorbell is a relatively affordable option with really nice features. For $80 it will deliver a 2K resolution in a relatively simple design that’s fully wireless. That’s super-high resolution in a small build without comprising on other core features.

The Eve Outdoor Security Camera is tailor-made for Apple HomeKit users. For $250 you’re getting a seriously smart floodlight camera — one that can identify people, pets, vehicles and packages (like Nest Cams), but also deep integration with Apple devices.

Razer

The $149 Razer Zephyr Pro upgrades Razer’s uniquely wild-looking and expensive face mask that won our CES innovation award in 2021, this time adding voice amplification so that folks can easily hear you when you’re masked up. That’s on top of N95-grade protection, interior cooling and Razer’s signature RGB lighting that will make you look like you just stepped out of a sci-fi movie.

Being a first-of-its-kind solution for a TV set, the Bravia Cam pushes what a camera on a TV can really mean. It’s not just being used for controls like a Kinect or even for video calls. The tech really comes to life with “Ambient Optimization Pro,” which allows it to adjust based on the viewer’s location for the best possible picture and audio quality.

The new Sony A95K QD-OLED isn’t just poised to be a terrific TV, but it’s also ushering in a whole new panel type for OLEDs. By increasing the brightness and vibrancy scale, along with allowing for more pure colors, the pros of OLED get doubled down upon. Colors can pop more and be stark against the darkest of dark contrast points.

Samsung’s Freestyle is a lot of things, and innovative is one of them. It shrinks down a 4K projector into a tiny and ultra-portable build that doesn’t have the shortcomings of more affordable models. It’s a fully functioning Samsung Smart Display with built-in speakers and can double as a smart speaker. It’s a catchall device, but Samsung has packed a lot into a very small and functional product.

Mike Andronico/CNN

Of all of the laptops we saw at CES, the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 was easily among the most innovative — and not just for the sake of being eye-catching. We’ve seen dual-screen laptops before, but the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3’s combination of an ultrawide main display and an 8-inch companion screen for jotting down notes or doing calculations is actually practical, and felt very intuitive in our limited testing.

ASUS

It wouldn’t be a CES without a foldable laptop, and the Asus Zenbook 17 is one of the most promising ones we’ve seen yet. This laptop sports a 17-inch flexible OLED screen, which allows it to transform between a 12.5-inch notebook and a huge 17.3-inch display for watching movies or playing games. It also includes a Bluetooth keyboard, allowing it to double as a miniature all-in-one PC that you can set up just about anywhere.

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Our finalists for this year’s top tech at CES 2022

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