Mark Watson — better known as “Soldier Knows Best” — has been reviewing tech on YouTube since the very first iPhone. He now joins Andre Stone and Ariana Escalante in the Digital Trends CES Experience Center to give his thoughts on some of the product announcements from Sony, Samsung, and more.
“Foldable” is definitely one of the buzz words at this year’s show, and some say foldable devices hold the potential to revolutionize tech. While there were a handful of foldables last year, none of them really seemed to take hold. However, this year may be different, says Watson. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold laptop, for example, promises much more of a mass market appeal than the prototype phones seen last year. “I’m all about the foldables, so hopefully this year we’ll see a lot more companies start to showcase their phones at a more affordable price,” he says. Watson does note that some of the products, such as LG’s bendable OLED display, may still need a few years to really gain a consumer following, as they still need ample time for them to release, and then for the prices to come down.
Samsung has been making some noise with a teaser about its upcoming Exynos chip. “The Exynos 2100 could finally start to rival the offerings from Qualcomm,” Watson says. “I think Samsung has something up their sleeve this year, and they’re going to be bringing more power with these chips.” He adds, “And according to some rumors, their new chips could actually beat the Snapdragon 888.” As far as how Samsung is planning to take on Apple with their Exynos chips, Watson says, “I think it will allow Samsung to have that top-to-bottom control. Since they’re developing the processor, they’ll be able to know exactly what the capabilities are, and fine tune the software to match the performance of the processor.”
Speaking of Apple, there is some new competition in the headphone space. Watson is excited about Sony’s new WF-1000XM4 headphones. “That name is crazy,” he laughs, and while they haven’t been announced yet, they would be a follow-up to their in-ear line that came out a few years ago. “I think these can definitely challenge the AirPods Pro,” he said, because prior versions have “fantastic noise cancellation and fantastic audio quality.” He adds that if Sony can get the price down to under $200, “I could see some really good competition.”
As far as how this year’s CES differs, Watson is excited to see how different companies handle the all-virtual event. “I’m interested to see what people and companies can do with CES this year to really try to impress us,” he says. That excitement is tinged with some competing emotions, however. “I’ll miss meeting other creators. It’s like a family reunion. And honestly? It’s the after parties!”