Let there be no doubt: CES isn’t just alive in 2023; it’s thriving. Take one glance at the taxi gridlock outside the Las Vegas Convention Center and it’s evident that two quiet COVID years didn’t kill the world’s desire for an overcrowded in-person tech extravaganza — they just built up a ravenous demand.
From VR to AI, eVTOLs and QD-OLED, the acronyms were flying and fresh technologies populated every corner of the show floor, and even the parking lot. So naturally, we poked, prodded, and tried on everything we could. They weren’t all revolutionary. But they didn’t have to be. We’ve watched enough waves of “game-changing” technologies that never quite arrive to know that sometimes it’s the little tweaks that really count.
Many of our Top Tech of CES 2023 award winners improved on previous generations in ways that elevated new technologies from merely “novel” to truly “livable.” From dual-screen laptops to smarter smart rings, here are our favorites in every category.
Samsung S95C 77-inch QD-OLED TV
While Samsung’s S95B QD-OLED TV garnered nearly universal acclaim in 2022, a common request quickly arose from consumers: Make it bigger! Chalk it up to never having enough of a great thing. At CES 2023, Samsung answered the call for a larger QD-OLED TV, introducing the 77-inch S95C OLED. And it could have stopped there, but it didn’t.
Thanks to improvements in the display tech developed by Samsung Display, Samsung Electronics’ new QD-OLED TVs aren’t just available in an expanded array of screen sizes, they are now brighter and more vibrant as well.
With peak brightness measurements promised to push past 2,000 nits, perfect black levels, and exceedingly accurate colors, the new S95C and S90C QD-OLEDs offer picture quality unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Toss in a premium onboard sound system and sleek design, and the S95C QD-OLED appears to be the TV to beat in 2023.
LG M3-Series OLED TV
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary as a pioneer in OLED televisions, it seems fitting that LG would bring an element of innovation to its OLED legacy at CES 2023. It did just that by introducing its all-new M-Series OLED, a model whose defining characteristic is a feature many of us have long waited for: completely wireless 4K video and high-resolution signal transmission.
That’s right, the days of running cables and wires to our TVs will soon be over, and the LG M3-Series OLED is proof. The M3-Series OLED allows users to connect their cable boxes, game consoles, Blu-ray players, and antennas to a cube-shaped “Zero Connect Box” roughly the size of a cigar humidor that can beam totally uncompressed wireless audio and video to the paired TV from anywhere in the room, up to a distance of 30 feet. It’s a feature so convenient, we’re inclined to forget about wondering why it took so long to get it.
Nakamichi Dragon 11.4.6 Dolby Atmos Surround Sound System
Younger readers may know Nakamichi best for its Shockwafe soundbar-based surround sound systems and the cultlike following they’ve built. But those Gen-X and older people probably recall Nakamichi as a high-end audio brand whose heyday was in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, punctuated by outlandishly high-end (and expensive) cassette decks, turntables, and CD players bearing the Dragon moniker.
This year’s CES sees the return of the Dragon in the form of a surround sound system so over-the-top, so brutally powerful, and so aggressively designed, it feels like a crime to associate it with the term “soundbar.”
With over 3,000 watts of power delivered to four subwoofers and over 22 mid-bass drivers and tweeters, many of which are packed into a solid slab of steel, the Dragon has more in common with an elaborate home theater system than anything else, yet it possesses the simplicity of a soundbar with entirely wireless signal delivery.
The sonic experience it delivers is simply transcendent. We’ve never heard anything quite like it and, frankly, we’re still in disbelief. It actually exists.
TCL QM8 4K QLED TV
TCL’s meteoric rise to fame has forced the company to adapt its TV lineup to a more scalable model. As such, the 4-, 5-, and 6-Series TV model names with which so many have become familiar are now gone. But the tremendous value TCL’s TVs have always offered isn’t going anywhere.
Sitting at the very top of TCL’s new Q-Series TV lineup is the QM8, a 4K QLED TV with a remarkably powerful mini-LED backlight system and extremely granular backlight dimming control that enables a picture so rich and vivid, you’d expect to pay many thousands of dollars to get it. Only you won’t have to, because this is TCL, and this flagship TV is going to look so good for so little that it will make everyone question why they’d ever spend more.
If you show up late, you’d better come in guns blazing – and Ram did just that at CES 2023 with the Revolution BEV. While Ford and GM have already showed off their electric haulers, Ram has been teasing the Revolution for months. When the curtain finally dropped, it didn’t disappoint.
If the Ford F-150 Lightning whispers electric, the Ram Revolution screams it. From the “tuning fork” headlights to its open, glassy cabin, this truck is unmistakably a different breed from its predecessors. A “midgate” at the back of the cabin allows it to accommodate long items up 18 feet, and it can even be outfitted with third-row jump seats – a first for any truck.
Ram still isn’t sharing all the specs on range or towing, but let’s be honest: Even if it doesn’t top Ford and GM in that realm, the Ram Revolution’s design alone is a feat that is going to win some EV converts.
Samsung Odyssey OLED 49
The Samsung Odyssey OLED 49 was a winner from the start, but it still managed to floor us at CES. It’s a 32:9 OLED monitor with a 240Hz refresh rate. What’s not to love? That’s not what’s so impressive about the display, though. It’s how remarkably thin the monitor is compared to last year’s Odyssey Neo G9.
It’s still a massive monitor, but the thinness of the OLED panel makes this 49-inch 32:9 display feel far more manageable. It certainly helps that the OLED panel is beautiful, making colors pop off the screen in a way that traditional panel types just can’t manage. Combined with ultra-low response times and a super high refresh rate, the Odyssey OLED 49 is a destination gaming monitor for 2023.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16
Gaming laptops are a dime a dozen at CES. It takes a lot to stand out, but that’s exactly what the ROG Zephyrus M16 does. It’s a new chassis with some refined touches — like the AniMe Matrix lid lighting and clean edges — on an already incredibly popular laptop.
And everything is better about it this year. The addition of up to an Nvidia RTX 4090 is certainly going to help on the performance front, but the biggest upgrade is the mini-LED display it now has. As part of Asus’ Nebula HDR program, this monitor comes with 1,024 local dimming zones and is capable of up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness. The Zephyrus M16 isn’t the only gaming laptop with this screen, but it might end up being the best. More than that, it’ll likely be the most popular way for PC gamers to experience HDR gaming this year, and that’s worth celebrating.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i
The Yoga Book 9i is the laptop dream that I thought might never be realized. It shares a lot in common with the Surface Neo, an abandoned project by Microsoft, but it brings that concept to life in an exciting way. The laptop has two OLED screens that can be used in a variety of different ways, enabled by its “origami” magnetic stand. It all comes together brilliantly, whether you’re stacking the two screens vertically or using the detachable keyboard over the bottom screen in laptop mode.
Lenovo even engineered a touchscreen keyboard that I didn’t hate, thanks to the precise haptics involved. That alone feels like an achievement, and I, for one, am excited to see Lenovo take seriously a laptop concept this daring.
Sony Project Leonardo
While some speculated that Sony might show up to CES 2023 with a new PlayStation 5 model, we instead got a much more groundbreaking reveal. Project Leonardo came as a total surprise, standing out as the most important piece of gaming tech to come from a show that’s usually dominated by monitors and laptops. The unique, circular controller is built with accessibility in mind, allowing players to customize its controls to their needs via custom software. It’s a much-needed piece of innovation for the gaming space, and one that comes on the heels of Sony’s recent accessibility efforts on the software side. It’s an important move forward for assistive tech that aims to make it so even more people can enjoy some of the industry’s most important experiences.
Razer always comes to CES prepared, and this year was no different. The show acted as a final showcase for its upcoming Edge device, a gaming handheld that looks to change how players access cloud games. Though we still have questions about whether or not a standalone device built for streaming is a necessity, we still came away impressed by what Razer has to offer. The device feels excellent in the hands thanks to a strong control scheme that builds on the Razer Kishi V2. Most important, though, is the 5G edition of the handheld, which aims to make portable cloud streaming even more stable. That makes it feel like an important piece of innovation that improves on its sole competitor, the Logitech G Cloud. If handheld cloud gaming is going to have a viable future, the Razer Edge makes a strong case for that reality.
Asus ROG Azoth
At this point in computing history, it’s hard to really innovate on the keyboard. How many more ways can you slice the same set of keys? Asus had a bold answer for that at this year’s show thanks to the ROG Azoth, a 75% keyboard that’s loaded with impressive features. The mechanical keyboard impressed us with its unique gasket mount design and ROG NX switches, which make for a smooth typing experience that feels perfect for gaming. However, it’s some of the extra bells and whistles that make this a fun innovation in the keyboard space. Its built-in OLED display provides a clever way to let users see settings or system info at a glance. Combine those features with a tri-mode connection that allows it to connect to up to three devices at once, and you’ve got a keyboard that actually stands out among the sea of them you usually find at CES.
Movano Evie Ring
At CES 2023, Movano showed us what it looks like when someone creates a wearable that thinks outside the box. Movano’s new smart ring, called the Evie, has many of the health features you expect — including monitoring for your heart rate, skin temperature, SpO2 levels, and more. But where Evie is unique is that it’s designed specifically for women. In addition to menstrual cycle tracking, Evie and its companion app will show women why their body feels a certain way and help them make “meaningful changes,” rather than just tracking X number of steps each day. The Evie ring also has a slight gap in its design so it’s still comfortable even if your finger swells a bit, and Movano’s going an extra step to get Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. You’ll be able to buy Evie later this year for $300, and unlike some other smart rings, it doesn’t make you pay a monthly subscription to unlock all of its features.
Motorola’s fallen into an expected release pattern with its smartphones in recent years, launching a slew of Moto G and Motorola Edge devices that all sort of look and feel the same. But at CES 2023, Motorola unveiled a smartphone that looks like nothing it’s done before, and it’s the most excited we’ve been about a Moto phone in a long time. Dubbed the “ThinkPhone,” it carries many of the same qualities of iconic ThinkPad laptops, right down to a bright red button on the left side. The ThinkPhone also flaunts a striking carbon fiber backside, impressive hardware specs, and a bevy of helpful software features (including a strong focus on security). It is disappointing that Motorola’s targeting the ThinkPhone at B2B customers instead of regular consumers. Even so, it’s a reassuring sign that Motorola is still more than capable of creating a phone that can stand out as something fresh and unique.
Lenovo Smart Paper
Hot off the heels of the Amazon Kindle Scribe, Lenovo used CES 2023 to throw its hat into the ring of e-ink tablets. Meet the Lenovo Smart Paper. The Lenovo Smart Paper is a lot like the Scribe in that it’s a large e-ink tablet that comes with a stylus for notetaking, but it ups the ante in a few important ways. You get nine writing tools compared to the Scribe’s two — including a ballpoint pen, pencil, mechanical pencil, paintbrush, and more. The Smart Paper supports 4,069 levels of pressure sensitivity, has 50GB of storage for all of your files, seamless cloud sharing to Google Drive, and access to digital books from eBooks.com. And if that’s not enough, you can also record voice messages to supplement your handwritten ones. You get all of this in a package that costs just $400, and you’ll be able to buy the Lenovo Smart Paper later this year.
TCL 40 SE
You may not think that $200 buys you very much when it comes to an Android smartphone. But what about $190? $180? What about going all the way down to $169? That’s how much the TCL 40 SE, shown off at CES 2023, costs. And it’s a remarkably good handset given the price. You get a 6.75-inch 90Hz display, an octa-core MediaTek processor, 128GB of expandable storage, and a 50MP main camera on the back. On the software front, Android 13 is available right out of the box. TCL had to make some concessions, as seen with the HD+ resolution and 4GB of RAM, but they certainly don’t cripple the phone. There’s even a 3.5mm headphone jack! The TCL 40 SE isn’t going to replace the iPhone 14 Pro or Pixel 7 Pro any time soon, but as a new option for shoppers on a budget, it’s poised to be a fantastic smartphone.
Enabot EBO X
There was no shortage of futuristic, forward-looking products at CES 2023 — but many of them will never see the light of day. Beyond all it’s cool features, one of the greatest things about the EBO X is that it’ll be available to the public this year. The adorable smart robot offers many of the same features as the elusive Amazon Astro. that quirky robot from years ago that’s yet to go mainstream. Propelled forward by two self-balancing wheels, EBO X is essentially a fancy smart home hub that can cruise around your home. It’ll connect to other devices using Alexa, pump out great sound through its Harman speakers, and can even give alerts if an elderly family member falls or if an intruder is on your property. We’re still years away from a true robot butler, but the EBO X might be one of your best options in 2023.
Ring Car Cam
Dash cams aren’t the most exciting products, but the launch of the Ring Car Cam marks the first time this Amazon-owned company is stepping away from its household niche. That alone is cause for excitement, as it shows that the wildly successful company isn’t afraid to strike out in new directions — and in the case of the Ring Car Cam, it seems to have hit a home run. Powered by the intuitive and versatile Ring app, you’ll be able to film both the interior and exterior of your car whether you’re parked or in motion. You’ll receive motion alerts through either Wi-Fi or LTE, and since it’s all powered through your car’s OBD-II port, you’ll never have to worry about swapping batteries. Best of all, the Ring Car Cam is now up for preorder.
Roborock S8 Ultra
Last year, we reviewed the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra and found it was almost the perfect self-emptying robovac-and-mop-in-one, except for a few key flaws. In a testament to its agility, Roborock appears to have addressed all those concerns with the S8 Ultra.
To improve cleaning power, the single-roller design that struggled with pet hair has been replaced with two rollers, suction has leapt from 5,100 Pa to 6,000 Pa, and when it mops, it even lifts its rollers to avoid dragging them on the floor. Perhaps most importantly, the self-emptying dock now includes a hot air blower to dry the mop pad after a run, to cut down on odor. We look forward to putting it to the test with mountains of dog hair later this year.