CES 2022: Tech reveals you need to know about

Entertainment

In 1967, the first Consumer Electronics Show saw the introduction of the day’s most advanced pocket radios and the first TVs built with integrated circuits.

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The yearly Consumer Electronics Show is one of the largest and most publicized tech conventions worldwide. Many of the largest and most renowned manufacturers use it to highlight their most novel and advanced new products. It’s often a densely packed gathering filled to the brim with excited enthusiasts and hawkeyed journalists, although it’s seen some changes in the last couple of years. While CES 2021 was the first entirely virtual event ever, the 2022 iteration was poised as a return to normalcy until the Omicron variant swept the world, causing many top manufacturers to back out at the last minute.

With the all-virtual 2021 event under their belt last year, though, the Omicron wave didn’t stop many of those manufacturers from heralding their new and groundbreaking technologies or the cutting-edge upgrades to consumer-favorite product lines. As such, CES saw the announcement of tons of fun, useful and exciting products to keep an eye on throughout the year.

Advanced TV and display technology

While all types of electronics are on display at CES every year, it’s arguably best known for the reliable flood of new, high-end TVs. With that in mind, it’s been a few years since we’ve seen any groundbreaking new display panel technologies, but leave it to the top TV producers on the planet to deliver exciting news regarding premium home theater gadgets.

QD-OLED display panels

Quantum dot filtration, largely popularized by Samsung’s QLED TVs, does a great job of ensuring that a display offers the wide color gamut needed for a great cinematic experience. OLED, while similarly named, is an entirely different type of technology than the LCD panel underlying QLED TVs. Samsung has been teasing a combination of the two for some time, and at CES last week we saw the first official mention of QD-OLED TV sets from both Sony and Samsung. The first officially announced QD-OLED models are the 55-inch and 65-inch Sony A95K Series, and you can be sure they’ll outperform most other TVs in their size range.

LCD and OLED TVs are similar because they use relatively traditional color filters to turn blue or white light into the entire spectrum of visible light. QD-OLED technology aims to improve with a layer of nanoparticles (or quantum dots) that emit different colors when energized by the white or blue light from an LCD backlight or individual OLED pixel. Some researchers hail combining the two technologies as an essential improvement to high-end TVs. In contrast, others are more skeptical, waiting for real-world releases to decide if QD-OLED is a genius advancement or just a gimmick.

Samsung Q80A

Samsung Q80A

While it’s not Samsung’s absolute most premium option, the Q80A is one of 2021’s best-value high-end TVs. Its local dimming, high peak brightness and impressive color volume make it great for watching modern, action-packed films. 

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TCL S535

TCL S535

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a high-end TV at first glance because it’s one of the best-performing budget models out there. It’s one of the very rare models in its price range with local dimming, which increases HDR highlights and decreases bloom and light bleed while allowing for higher peak brightness in many scenes. 

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LG’s OLED improvements

Interestingly, up to this point, LG has been almost the sole producer of consumer TV-sized OLED panels in the world. Not to be outdone by Samsung’s fancy new acronym, they’ve gone to great lengths to improve upon one of the biggest knocks against OLED TVs in general. Their new EX family of OLED panels boasts a 30% increase in brightness compared to LG’s previous panels, which is a very welcome improvement to the many home theater enthusiasts looking for the perfect HDR setup.

In addition to increased brightness, the new lineup led by the LG C2 boasts a more powerful processor and an updated tone mapping algorithm that should make for a more effective HDR experience. Fans of large-format displays will also be excited to see the new 97-inch LG C2, the largest OLED TV yet released to the general public.

LG C1 OLED TV

LG C1 OLED TV

In the meantime, keep an eye on LG’s most popular OLED model from last year. It remains an excellent TV that will satisfy for years, and if you time it right, you can find it at a good discount. 

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Sony X90J LCD TV

Sony X90J LCD TV

There’s a lot to like about the X90J, including excellent motion handling and one of the best-performing full-array local dimming features on the market. Plus, it’s far more affordable than even last year’s top-of-the-line models. 

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The rise of mini-LED technology

Somewhere between traditional backlit LCD screens and individually lit OLED pixels is mini-LED. It’s a relatively new technology that essentially bridges the gap between its competitors and is, for the most part, just an extremely advanced local dimming array. Most simple TVs have only a single backlight zone, many high-end models can dim dozens of zones separately, and OLED panels can turn individual pixels on and off at will. Mini-LED panels come with hundreds to thousands of dimming zones and are poised to greatly increase HDR performance while hopefully minimizing the backlight bleed common to especially bright TVs.

As 8K mini-LED panels are relatively new and quite costly to produce, expect this class of TVs to cost a pretty penny when they hit the market. Granted, the new Sony Master Series Z9K 8K TV may be one of the best-looking TVs in history, but it will also likely cost about $10,000. In that same price range is the TCL X9 ODZero 8K TV, which is a mere 10 millimeters thick and boasts an integrated 5.1.2-channel soundbar that should blow most other TVs’ speakers out of the water. For a slightly more realistic mini-LED investment this year, keep an eye on the 4K Hisense U9H ULED TV, which costs about $3,000.

TCL R648 8K TV

TCL R648 8K TV

On the other hand, if you want 8K HDR image quality and don’t want to wait (or spend an absolute fortune), this recent high-end release is surprisingly affordable for a 64-inch model. 

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Laptops, desktops and gaming

Asus ZenFold 17

Possibly one of the most interesting laptops of the show actually isn’t quite a laptop, but instead a 17-inch OLED tablet that sports practically the widest color gamut and best overall image quality of any device its size. The ZenFold 17 is great for viewing media on the premium screen and also makes an effective laptop due to, as the name implies, its foldable design, which lets you attach a keyboard and use the entire device as a 12.5-inch laptop. It’s likely not going to be cheap, but if you’re OK with its 4-pound weight, it could be one of the neatest ultraportables ever.

Lenovo Yoga 7i Ultraportable Laptop

Lenovo Yoga 7i Ultraportable Laptop

Because the price and real-world effectiveness of foldable are still both up in the air, it’s worth considering a tried-and-true clamshell model. The Yoga 7i is another in a long line of great business machines from one of the world’s leaders in laptops. 

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Acer Swift 3 Intel Evo Laptop

Acer Swift 3 Intel Evo Laptop

Priced well below $1,000, this high-performing laptop is one of the best deals out there. It’s built around a powerful Intel CPU that’s even capable of playing a good deal of fun games and features like WiFi 6 connectivity and a fingerprint reader make it great for full-time use at work and on the road. 

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Samsung Odyssey G8 Gaming Monitor

There are many great gaming monitors out there, but this new announcement from Samsung is objectively the most advanced one yet in terms of resolution and refresh rate. Indeed, it’s the first 240Hz 4K monitor yet and utilizes a display stream compression technology over a DisplayPort connection to take the next step in smooth Ultra HD gaming.

Samsung Odyssey G9 49-inch

Samsung Odyssey G9 49-inch

Of course, we know that even 4K doesn’t provide enough real estate for some people. This ultra-high-end gaming monitor offers a whopping 32:9 aspect ratio, giving it the field of view reminiscent of a VR headset. 

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AOC CQ27G2 PHD 27-inch QHD

AOC CQ27G2 PHD 27-inch QHD

If you’re waiting on the newest and fanciest monitors to hit the market but need a gaming monitor now, consider this moderately priced 27-inch option from your budget-friendly favorite AOC. Its variable refresh rate and high pixel density make modern titles look great. 

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AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT Graphics Card

While it won’t drive the latest AAA games in 4K, this $199 entry-level GPU may be a welcome addition to the currently sparse stable of low-cost gaming hardware. This is partly because the architecture and drivers have been intentionally tweaked. It’s great to see a new, moderately priced GPU, and you’ll supposedly be able to buy one as early as January 19, 2022.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 GPU

Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 GPU

It’s not cheap and won’t run games in 4K, but it’s realistically one of the only GPUs on the market right now that won’t absolutely break the bank. It does a fantastic job of running many modern titles at 1080p. 

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Asus Republic of Gamers laptops

Asus’ ROG lineup is an excellent choice for gamers year in and year out, and 2022 sees even more interesting developments than normal. Of particular note is the ROG Flow Z13, probably the smallest laptop ever to pack a powerful H-class Intel CPU that’s perfect for gaming. It’s reminiscent of a Microsoft Surface Pro if the Surface Pro was built for power instead of efficiency. It’s also among the extremely rare gaming laptops with a versatile 360-degree hinge.

The popular ROG Strix Scar lineup sees an increase in performance with a high-powered GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU at the top end. At the same time, the Zephyrus G14 promises to offer premium gaming capabilities in an ultraportable form factor. The ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 also enables increased productivity (or just convenient chat abilities) with a secondary, high-resolution screen between the keyboard and display. Arguably the most interesting for the average consumer is the TUF lineup, which will come in a variety of 15-inch and 17-inch configurations and sports the lightweight, compact form factor and impressive durability for which the TUF lineup is known.

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop 

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop 

This is about as affordable as a functional gaming laptop gets, and it’s also a great form factor for traveling. It’s as durable and reliable as you’d expect from the Tuf lineup and sports a relatively recent GeForce RTX 3050 GPU. 

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MSI GL66 Gaming Laptop

MSI GL66 Gaming Laptop

It’s not cheap, but the GL66 is yet another MSI’s stable that offers great performance on modern titles. It offers plenty of firepower behind its Full HD, 144Hz display panel. 

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HP Elite Dragonfly Ultralight Chromebook

The Elite Dragonfly was pricier a few years ago for the performance and offered below-average battery life. This time around, it utilizes the lightweight Chrome OS combined with impressively powerful hardware that should allow remote workers and digital nomads worldwide to complete their daily tasks without having to lug around a bulky notebook.

Asus Chromebook CM3

Asus Chromebook CM3

This one’s a detachable two-in-one, much like the previous version of the Elite Dragonfly (which is now an actual clamshell laptop). As such, it’s remarkably versatile not just for work and travel but also for entertainment and video calls. It’s also notably less expensive than the Elite Dragonfly will likely be for some time. 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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