It’s now March which means that the annual CES, which took place two months ago, is a distant memory for many attendees. However, I like to compile my annual roundup of the best tech products at this time since many of the more innovative and eye-catching products are now available to consumers. Sure, it’s fun to see all the futuristic prototypes and Kickstarter products on display at CES, but what techies really look forward to is being able to purchase these products for the home and office.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the annual tech convention in Las Vegas and it was the best one yet. There was a lot of cool technology at this year’s CES, but some of it is still years away from being a reality. In this annual roundup, I take a look at the products that will improve your life, make you more productive and make your friends envious. From a robot that moves around your home projecting movies onto your wall to a pillow that will help you stop snoring and countless devices that interact with Amazon Alexa, let’s look at this year’s Best of CES
Huawei Mate 9 (US Edition) – Once again the Chinese company Huawei impressed the CES crowd with its line of beautiful, fast and intuitive technology. Its US version of the Mate 9 mobile phone was unveiled too oohs and aahs. This slim design combined with an amazing camera, Kirin 960 processor, intelligent Machine Learning algorithm and impossibly long batter life make this the phone that beats Apple and Samsung.
Cerevo Tipron Robot – Seeing robots at CES is nothing new, but most of these robots are cost prohibitive for the average consumer. Cerevo, a consumer electronics developer and creator, recently launched Tipron. This transforming, Internet-connected projection robot is still pricey at $2,299, but think of all the friends you’ll be able to impress with your own robot at your home. Tipron turns all the walls, floors and ceilings in your home into 80 inch HD screen displays, providing a new experience for visual media consumption. The robot automatically moves around your home projecting visual content on a wall or ceiling in your house at a designated time and day as if they are tuned into displays. It’s operated with a dedicated smartphone app.
Monster Vision Action Sports Camera with RF Remote – Monster always goes all-in at CES and this year was no different. Monster Digital is a licensee of Monster, but a separate company that went public last year. Its new Monster Vision VR camera is a fully-featured virtual reality camera with a full complement of accessories that allows video content creators and consumers to create incredibly lifelike 360 degree immersive VR video experiences in HD quality. It’s ideal for sports enthusiasts, travelers and content creators. I was shocked this VR camera is priced so low as it seems like it should be much more.
HiMirror Plus – At CES there’s a lot of duplication so it’s always refreshing to see something unique. HiMirror is the world’s first smart beauty mirror, offering beauty and health conscious individuals in-depth, personalized skincare analysis and product recommendations based not only on their evolving skin condition but also on local weather and other factors. It was unveiled at CES 2017 and the HiMirror Plus retails for $259 and the basic version is about $70 less. HiSkin, a revolutionary hand-held device providing a 360 degree analysis of your skin’s condition, was also released recently.
ZEEQ Smart Pillow – I never thought a pillow would be one of the most talked about products at CES. This smart pillow is designed to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. So many people have problems with snoring and insomnia so a product like this makes sense as it fits a real need. The ZEEQ pillow by Rem-Fit encourages smarter sleep by monitoring and analyzing sleep cycles, responding to the data it collects and providing insights on how to improve sleep. It has supportive and adjustable memory foam and a durable Tencel pillow case. ZEEQ tracks your data on an app and shares suggestions based on your tracked nightly patterns and habits to improve overall sleep quality.
Amplifi HD Home WiFi Mesh Technology – Known for its strong WiFi system, Ubiquiti upped the ante by releasing a standalone mesh point at CES. Also, its standalone router can be paired with any third-party router to create a mesh network in any home. More than a common home router, this is truly the ultimate WiFi system. With turbocharged 802.11ac Wi-Fi, AmpliFi utilizes multiple self-configuring radios and advanced antenna technology to bring ubiquitous Wi-Fi coverage to any home.
Atoms Garage Door Opener – Garage doors seem so archaic. They simply go up and down using a track and we control them with the simple press of a button from a handheld opener, the infrared button in our car or a keypad attached to the house. Atoms has created the first opener that is compatible with the IFTTT (If This Then That) platform, allowing users to connect the garage door opener to other industry-leading connected home accessories including Amazon Echo, Nest Cam, WeMo and Phillips Hue. You can create recipes so you receive immediate email notifications when the garage door opens. You can control your garage door using a smartphone app from anywhere in the world.
LUTRON Caseta Wireless Smart Lamp Timer – Smart light controls were very popular at CES this year, but there were a few notable companies that have taken smart lighting to a new level. Lutron’s affordable and easy-to-install Caseta Wireless system really lets your control every light in your home from an app or using Amazon Alexa, setting the scenes to fully automate your home’s lighting.
Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack – This device makes smart lighting and other smart home devices useful for everyone in the house by providing direct access that would otherwise require multiple apps. With Pop, you can simply control smart lighting and access your favorite playlists and radio stations. Imagine walking into your home everyday following a hectic schedule at the office to a relaxing environment of mood lighting, soothing music and the temperature adjusted just perfectly. logitech.com
Roku Ultra – With each passing month there are many more cord cutters who have gotten fed up with their monthly cable bill. Roku Ultra makes that transition even easier than with past Roku models with a fast quad-core processor and 802.11ac dual-band wireless. With smooth and responsive navigation and channels that launch quickly, you’ll get amazing 1080p HD streaming. roku.com
Evolus 3 – Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s time for some Spring cleaning and an opportunity to organize your electronics. Evolus 3 helps you organize your Apple devices using this dock. Its integrated intelligent charger provides sufficient power to your devices, including iPads.
RemoBell Wireless Video Doorbell – Everyone talks about Ring because it was famously passed over by the sharks on Shark Tank. However, this newer wireless video doorbell options shouldn’t be overlooked. This HD wireless video doorbell streams crystal-clear live video and audio feed via WiFi to your phone. With the app, you’ll get push notifications and the videos will go to the Cloud.
igloohome Smart Keybox – There’s nothing worse than getting a call that someone needs to get access to your home, but is locked out. This can be a child, a parent, the babysitter or a housekeeper. igloohome’s smart keybox allows home or property owners to grant access to visitors remotely via a mobile app and a PIN code or bluetooth key. The visitor or service provider then uses the code or key to retrieve keys or keycards from the keybox.
Sandman Clock – Palo Alto Innovation’s streamlined alarm clock and device charging station is exactly what you need next to your bed. Some of the other USB charging station alarm clocks on the market aim too high with complicated mobile apps required just to dim the light on the clock. Sandman Clock’s four USB ports let you keep all your gadgets charged at night. The clock’s simple design means setup takes seconds and its display features easy to read, over-sized digits that auto-dim. Available in white or black. paloaltoinnovation.com
Portal WiFi Router – Anyone who lives in an apartment building or dormitory will tell you that WiFi can be very spotty. Portal is the fix for better WiFi connectivity in multi-unit apartments, dorms and small businesses performing up to 10 times faster than a conventional consumer router and delivering three times lower latency. Portal uses congestion management technologies to access additional airwaves.
Pai Technology’s CubeTastic and Ocean Pets – Video games have taken over our kids’ lives so it’s nice to see some techie educational games on the market. Pai Technology’s CubeTastic is a puzzle cube that will remind parents of the Rubik’s Cube, but it uses 3D augmented reality to guide kids through the puzzle. Ocean Pets lets kids create their own fish, scan them with their mobile device and then see them come to life with 3D augmented reality. Both products are inexpensive and intended for kids ages 3-12. pai.technology
Summer Infant Panorama – This remote control camera allows you to view the baby’s entire room with fluid 180 degree pan/tilt visibility. The nice feature is that you’ll never have to physically adjust the camera, which could disrupt your sleeping baby.
Onanoff BuddyPhones InFlight – I’ve been a fan of Onanoff’s BuddyPhones for kids because they are the safest headphones option on the market for children. BuddyPhones InFlight feature a child-proof twist to change the decibels settings and the volume can easily be adjusted to three different settings with the lowest volume of 75db ideal for children with sensitive hearing.
Vusion House Racer – This fully interactive virtual reality drone is small enough to be controlled inside the house. Kids will go nuts flying this mini-drone through obstacle courses they designed themselves. The battery is small and requires recharging after less than eight minutes so it might be helpful to have some backup batteries on hand. Retails for only $179.99.
Turntables – If you haven’t noticed, Vinyl’s back! In what might be the biggest retro comeback ever, record player’s have become the audiophile’s ideal way to listen to music. The two really impressive turntables on display at CES were the Crosley C200 Turntable and the Audio Technica AT-LP5 Turntable. Crosley’s first direct drive turntable motor brings records up to speed quickly and smoothly. It’s also equipped with a sharp Audio-Technica magnetic cartridge, adjusted to perfection. Audio Technica’s version is sleek and boasts a high performance dual moving magnet stereo cartridge, which was designed specifically for this model.|
Sadie Premium Headphones – Blue Microphones makes some dynamic audio products and these over ear headphones might be their best yet. These are high-fidelity headphones with large, 50mm dynamic drivers perfectly matched to a 240mW built-in amplifier that turns any laptop, tablet or phone into a hi-fi system ($399.99 at).
Audeze iSINE In Ear Headphones – I was already familiar with Audeze’s Planar Magnetic over ear headphones so I had a good feeling the in ear version would be impressive too. I was correct. This is the world’s first in-ear planar magnetic headphones and they boast superior bass response (flat to 10Hz), and a wider soundstage than other in-ear designs. Designed and assembled at Audeze’s California factory with industrial style by BMW’sDesignWorks, they are individually matched to within ± 1dB.
Bragi The Headphone – When I wear my Bragi wireless earphones I always think people are going to ask when I got hearing aids. Instead they ask me how I love my Bragi earphones because everyone’s been talking about these. I love listening to music with Bragi’s The Dash earphones, but they are costly so Bragi came out with The Headphone, which is available at a much more manageable $149 ($10 less than Apple’s AirPods). The Headphone gets up to six hours of battery life per charge..
Bluetooth Speakers – There were a lot of really cool Bluetooth speakers on display at CES so it was difficult narrowing down the few that really stood out. I was impressed by the Kicker Bullfrog (), which is costly at $399.95, but might be the most powerful portable speaker you’ll find (and it’s waterproof). This high-performance 2.1-channel audio system features two drivers and two passive subwoofers. The Lemon Technology Waterproof Solar Powered Speaker ( ) is a powerful little guy. This is a solar-powered speaker that fits in your hand. It lasts up to 20 hours with just 7 hours of sunlight and includes voice recognition and connectivity for up to 3 devices. It’s crazy how much sound comes out of the Soundcast VG1 Premium
Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker (). It’s designed ergonomically to fit in the palm of the listener’s hand and the angular design of the speaker emphasizes its ultra-portability and makes for an easy grab and go experience. The Altec Lansing LifeJacket 4 is yet another amazing Bluetooth speaker from Altec Lansing. This will be the ultimate party speaker this summer as it’s portable, colorful and fun. It also emits impressive sound ( ). The DryVibes Floating Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker is the low cost speaker you’ll use in the pool and then take it with you to shower afterward. Its crystal clear sound and booming base will impress and the fact that it floats, has a microphone and is under $100 will make this a best seller ( ).
Tivoli Audio Pal BT – Tivoli’s known for audio products that have high fidelity sound performance, but also look amazing with furniture grade woods. The Pal BT is environmentally friendly, has no memory, fully charges in about 3 hours and provides up to 16 hours of cordless playback with FM and AM radio reception and an auxiliary input. It comes in red, white, blue and black and is priced at only $199.99. The Nyne Rock (), at 12 pounds, is heavier than other portable models, but blasts 65 watts of power with two active drivers, tweeters and subwoofer. The Rock features a hidden carrying handle, built-in rechargeable battery that provides up to eight hours of playtime and universal AC adapter with four interchangeable worldwide plugs.
Logitech G231 Prodigy Keyboard & G403 Prodigy Gaming Mouse – Logitech is the industry standard for keyboards and mice, so it only makes sense that it would make the best gaming peripherals. The Prodigy keyboard features a sleek, spill-resistant design that is comfortable and durable. An integrated palm rest and adjustable feet let you set your keyboard to the ideal position. The wired/wireless gaming mouse features a lightweight, ergonomic design and the world’s most advanced gaming mouse sensor. logitech.com
GameSir G3s Gamepad – This multi-platform portable game controller is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, and PS3. It features a high-speed 32-bit MCU chip for the highest gaming sensitivity and accuracy. With double shock vibration and a rechargeable battery that lasts 18 hours of play time, the G3s Gamepad is perfect for wireless play while traveling (just connect via Bluetooth to your phone or tablet). At only $39.99 it’s the must-have controller for all gamers.
Lattis Ellipse Bike Lock – I had actually been looking for a bicycle lock that could be controlled by a mobile device and just happened upon the Lattis Ellipse at CES. This is a smart bike lock with a theft alert, keyless entry and a built-in solar panel that automatically charges the battery. You can lock and unlock with a tap of your phone.
Motus Baseball – Major League pitchers and hitters are all using Motus to track their performance and now anyone can too. An interactive bullpen analyzes consistency and deception while identifying flaws across pitch types and for hitters, during BP mode, analysis is conducted in the nine hot-zones and feedback is provided for hitting work in areas of weakness. Detailed metrics, video and interactive tools allow players and coaches the ability to customize programs and train smarter than ever. The UCL workload monitor is used by 27 MLB teams and is the first tool aimed specifically at combating UCL tears that lead to Tommy John Surgery.
Navdy Head-Up Display (HUD) – This is the future of driving. The Navdy connects your phone to your car in ways only dreamed of before. Now you can stay connected to your network, your car and the road ahead. With Navdy, you can control music, answer calls with a swipe, have it read your texts, email, Facebook and Whatsapp, and more. It’s the safest way to use your phone while driving and its price has been reduced to $499.
Magellan MiVue 420 – Dash cameras are still more popular outside the United States, but they are gaining popularity. I love Magellan’s MiVue and the latest version is its best yet. The 420 has a 2.7” display, receives audible and visual warnings for potential driving hazards, and is intuitive. All events are recorded in Super HD and you can record hours onto the included 8GB microSD Card. A G-Shock sensor locks video recording upon impact and saves location and time information for an accurate record of events.
Vava Dash Cam T1 – This top of the line dash cam that records all driving reliably had a successful Kickstarter campaign and is available for preorder. Like the Magellan models it uses G-Shock sensor lock. It also has permanent emergency recordings and a power-bank to keep it on standby even when the car is off. Vava’s provides crystal-clear footage in 1080p HD whether it’s day or night. With the mobile app, you can seamlessly review and transfer footage without SD cards or cables. vava.com/dash
Cotton Carrier Harness System 2 – Even though everyone now carries an HD camera in their pocket, serious photographers forgo using their phones and use actual DSLR cameras. Cotton Camera Carrier Systems lets these photographers keep their cameras secure and accessible with the Harness system. Its patented Twist & Lock quick release camera mount keeps equipment safe from thieves.
iKlip Grip PRO – It’s important to know that IK Multimedia’s iKlip Grip PRO is not a selfie stick. This large-grip, compact multifunctional iPhone and camera stand has an integrated detachable Bluetooth shutter control that is really 4 accessories in one: super secure tabletop tripod, large-grip video handle, monopod handle and standard tripod adapter. ikmultimedia.com
YI Dome Camera – With a 1080p360-degreee panoramic view in HD resolution and with pan-tilt control, this indoor security camera is a must for monitoring a baby. Truly one of the best cameras with motion tracking, baby crying detection, two-way audio/video and flexible storage options, YI Dome is a bargain at only $79.99.
Zmodo’s Torch Pro – Zmodo’s monitoring solution for the front porch consists of a color-changing lightbulb with an embedded camera and a doorbell accessory. You can change the light’s color, answer the door, receive motion alert clips, and record to the cloud with the intuitive mobile app.
Lima Smart & Private Cloud Storage Device – When it comes to security, we usually think about alarm systems and cameras. However, we need to keep our personal files safe too. Lima Smart allows you to store your files directly to your Lima device. Only you will have physical access to them. Your devices are authenticated during the pairing process with your Lima device and your account.
sfty Sense – This CES Innovation Award honoree is a complete home safety unit, including a smoke detector and a motion detector. Also, sfty Sense measures temperature and humidity in the room. It comes with a Wi-Fi card,enabling it to reach you and others over the internet through the mobile app.
Geko Smart Whistle – A CES Innovations Awards Honoree, this remarkable device is the world’s first Smart Whistle. With GPS tracking and Bluetooth technology, this monumental tool can alert your loved ones instantly when you are in need of help. The WISO app lets you select the contacts you wish to notify when in need of assistance and to activate your SOS alerts, simply blow on the mouthpiece or press on your Smart Whistle’s button for two seconds.
Polar Fitness Tracker M600 – I’ve tried so many fitness trackers and am convinced this technology still has a way to go. However, I was very impressed with Polar’s M600. This Android Wear is waterproof, has Polar’s unique Smart Coaching feature and comes with Polar Flow — an online window to your training, activity and sleep, which is available on both mobile and desktop. The M600 is compatible with Android and iOS and has strong battery life. polar.com
Chronos – A lot of people want the innovative functions in a smartwatch, but don’t want to give up their favorite timepiece. Chronos instantly adds smartphone capabilities to any watch. The quarter-size disc attaches to the back of any watch in seconds and lets you enjoy features like step tracking, music control, notifications and alerts. The nice part about this is that it can easily be switched between watches, giving you the freedom to mix-and-match. At only $99.99, this is quite the bargain.
i-BLADES Elite Smartcase with Enviro Sensor – A CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree, i-Blades is a next generation phone case with built-in smart technology that lets users add new functions to smartphones. This slimline phone case lets you upgrade smartphone performance by easily snapping on/snapping off Smartblades. It can double smartphone battery life, increase memory by 284GB, provide health and wellness solutions as well as on-the-go entertainment and enable VR with a portable, foldable headset.
Lynktec Apex Fusion Fine Point Active Stylus – This fine point stylus pen is optimized to work with all iOS and many popular Android devices. It’s ideal for those who choose handwritten notes over typing on their tablet or phone.
Penclic Mouse D2 – A Scandinavian designed computer mouse, Penclic is a more comfortable and precise way to use a mouse. It feels just like using a pen.
Livescribe Smartpen 3 Black Edition – Described as more useful than either a stylus or a pen, the Smartpen 3 uses your smartphone or tablet’s microphone to record audio that’s synchronized to everything you write on paper. You can even search your handwritten notes and convert what you write into digital text with amazing accuracy. Once your notes are in the Livescribe+ mobile app, you can organize, tag, playback audio and send/share notes to any of the devices you use. You’ll never know how you lived without this.
Prynt Mobile Printer for iPhone – How many of your camera pics actually get printed? Prynt is a case that connects directly to your smartphone and allows you to print your digital photos instantly in a Polaroid-sized format. It even enables you to relive those photo moments in augmented-reality video and you can share those images with friends and let them see the short videos embedded in the photos too. It’s small enough to fit in your other pocket allowing you to always print on the go.
Cujo – Your home is full of smart devices, but most are not protected by an antivirus making your home a target for cybercriminals. CUJO secures everything from smartphones and laptops to TVs and baby monitors. You’ll have peace of mind that all your mobile devices are secure.
Tylt Energi Pro Power Backpack – Not only is this a really nice looking backpack that is comfortable to wear, it is also the only bag that can provide a full charge to your phone, tablet and your USB-C laptop. The 20,800 mAh battery is included in this light grey bag with more zippered pockets (12 internal) than even the busiest traveler would ever need. Worth every penny of its $179.99 price tag. tylt.com
Kanex GoPower Watch Portable Battery for Apple Watch – A CES Innovation Award honoree, this cordless portable charging solution for the Apple Watch is ideal for the traveler who wants a simple solution for charging their watch on the road. It’s an Apple certified magnetic charging dock uses the same inductive charging connector that comes with the Apple Watch. Only $99.95.
IOGEAR Thunderbolt 2 KVM/Docking Station – A CES Innovation Award honoree, the ultra-sleek Thunderbolt 2 lets you transition from your home office to work on the road without the typical headaches. It connects up to two Thunderbolt 2 enabled computers and switches between them with the push of a button. Turning your travel laptop into a high-performance workstation.
MOCACuff Blood Pressure Cuff – Health Tech is a major industry, especially as the Baby Boomer generation ages older than previous generations. This stylish FDA-approved wireless blood pressure monitor fits comfortably on the wrist and is comfortable to wear. Without sacrificing accuracy, MOCACuff makes it easy to incorporate blood pressure monitoring into your everyday routine and receive instant, actionable insights to improve your health. Priced at $69.99.
AliveCor Kardia Mobile – It was only a matter of time until consumers were able to capture medical-grade EKGs anywhere and anytime. In only 30 seconds this device, which is smaller than a credit card, can record an EKG through a mobile device and then can be relayed to a physician for analysis and diagnosis. Kardia Mobile allows you to easily track palpitations, shortness of breath, dietary habits, sleep and exercise patterns for under $100. alivecor.com
Beddit Sleep Tracker – Anyone with a fitness tracker knows that its sleep tracking is not the most accurate feature. Beddit focuses on sleep tracking so you can learn why you sleep well some nights and horribly on other nights. This device, which is hidden under your sheets, provides accurate tracking for one or two individuals in the same bed. With Beddit, you can find out if you are snoring or at what point in the night your partner begins to snore. It has a smart alarm clock too so you can wake up refreshed at the right time.
Yunmai Color Smart Scale – Yunmai’s smart body composition scale evaluates physical condition and keeps track of body statistics through the mobile app. It records all the body statistics you need to be aware of your physical health, such as weight, fat, Body Mass Index, muscle, visceral fat, bone mass, water, basal metabolic rate, body age and protein. The scale includes four high precision pressure sensors and human body sensors to provide an accurate reading. It comes in many color options and retails for only $66.95.
thermoPeanut Smart Wireless Thermometer – Winner of a 2017 CES Innovation Award for Most Innovative Product, this smart thermometer lets you check the current temperature or history. Using it in your home, you can save 9% on your heating bill for each three-degree Fahrenheit that you lower your heating setpoint. You can also use it to determine the temperature of food, the baby’s room, or your fridge. The mobile app provides real-time alerts if it gets too hot or too cold.
QardioArm – This wireless blood pressure monitor measures your systolic, diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and has irregular heartbeat detection. FDA approved, QardioArm’s elegant and compact design lets you take it anywhere. You can set goals and reminders, track irregularities or perform triple measurement averaging. The mobile app enhances its functionality with useful features like comparing your results against the World Health Organization chart. All results are stored automatically in Qardio’s secure, HIPAA compliant cloud. getqardio.com
Airthings Wave Smart Radon Detector – Airthings unveiled its smart radon detector at CES Unveiled this year. The device provides consumers with critical, potentially life-saving information on indoor air quality, accessible via phone or tablet. Radon exposure claims the lives of approximately 21,000 Americans each year, which is more than six times the number of deaths attributed annually to house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning combined. The Wave changes the way radon is measured by using digital sensors and smart home technology.
Omron EVOLV Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor – I first saw this health device at the 2016 CES when it was called Project Zero. It’s now ready for consumer sales and called EVOLV. Nearly 80 million Americans are diagnosed as hypertensive so it’s imperative people are able to take their own blood pressure and keep a record of it. This is a portable blood pressure monitor with medical-grade accuracy. Without any wires or a tabletop unit, it’s convenient to take with you. omronhealthcare.com