Five of the coolest things at CES 2017


Whenever you have a trade show the size of CES there’s going to be a mix of incredibly cool and incredibly ridiculous wares on display. From the big-name, hyped up launches like Samsung QLED TVs and LG’s new Wallpaper flagship goggle box, to companies you’ve never heard of making things you didn’t even know you needed, this year’s CES has been no exception. We’ve trawled the halls documenting the best (and worst) of what we’ve to bring it to you, dear reader, right in the comfort of you desk chair, couch, airplane seat, beanbag, lilo, or wherever else you’re reading this.

Toyota Concept-i

Sure, Tesla makes attractive cars, but they’re still undoubtedly cars of their time — and that time is now. The Toyota Concept-i, meanwhile, came screaming into Las Vegas from the future. The future where biometric sensors make it possible for the Concept-i to recognise your mood or your health and choose a destination accordingly. Sad? Perhaps a breakneck-speed charge down the highway to your favourite roadhouse is in order to theme tune from Superman?

Lego Boost

Those clever Danes at Lego have, ahem, toyed with programmable sets before, but its forthcoming Boost set embraces the concept wholesale. Sensors for proximity, colour and tilt along with motors and other controllable bits come packaged with the parts to make five items straight out of the box and an accompanying app makes getting it to do your bidding as easy as stacking blocks. And, unlike a concept car, this one’s definitely coming to market, which makes us more excited than the robot on the box.

Pentax K-1

Canon and Nikon users might be shocked to read this, but the K-1 is Pentax’s first full-frame DSLR. And it’s jam-packed with features that should appease long-time Pentaxians who’ve been hoping and praying for a full-framer since Pentax first started making digital snappers.

The company’s legendary weatherproofing comes standard along with a 36MP sensor, a third control wheel for adjusting exposure compensation or other settings, and a reticulating display that includes rear illumination to make it easier to identify the buttons next to it in the dark. There’s also built-in stabilisation courtesy of the sensor, so even ancient K-mount or M42 lenses can benefit from the K-1’s anti-shake smarts. Finding those lenses, though, can prove tricky, so the K-1 is more likely to win adoration from existing Pentax users than win converts from the other teams’ camps.

Lenovo Smart Assistant

Amazon’s Echo speakers — that feature the always listening, usually helpful Alexa personal assistant — have proven so popular the retailer ran out of stock last month. While Alexa is pretty sharp, one thing users have complained about is the quality of the Echo’s audio. It’s a great listener, but not nearly as good a speaker. Which is where Lenovo comes in. Its top-end Harman Kardon version of its Smart Assistant speaker range promises stellar sound quality, and every device in the range gets an eighth microphone (one better than the Echo’s seven) to make sure it never misses a beat. Meanwhile, the entry-level models cost less than Amazon’s own device. Smart move, Lenovo.

Snugs custom earphone sleeves

A bespoke suit, a custom insole, a handknitted beanie, these are the sorts of personalised objects that you use until they literally fall apart because nothing else will ever be as comfortable. UK-based Snugs offers the same experience for in-ear headphones. Five minutes of ear scanning and a week or two for manufacture is all it takes to get a pair of 3D-printed earphone sleeves unique to your particular aural physiology in your postbox. The company keeps specifications for every major make of earphone on the market, so whatever you’re using can be improved with their custom sleeves, and they’ll keep your scans on file should you change brands down the line.


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