For the first time in its 54-year history, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year was a virtual affair, rather than a glitzy Las Vegas shindig. While none of us could get hands-on, all the big names in tech came out to play with lavish visual presentations featuring desirable looking kit.

We’ve selected highlights of the show from some of the biggest players in tech. Not everything here will necessarily reach the shores of Australia, but it’s always good to have an idea as to what’s out there, where tech is heading, and what we may wish to jot down on our wish lists for the future.

SAMSUNG

With a theme of “Better Normal for All”, Samsung took to CES with everything from a stunning fridge to cool new TV tech.

The Bespoke 4-Door Flex refrigerator comes complete with colours to match your décor, and a hidden ‘Beverage Centre’ that dispenses chilled water, cubed ice and funky, smaller “ice bites”. It wasn’t the only example of the tech formerly known as white goods, either, with new, AI-powered washers and dryers that can sense how much detergent to use and how long to run to get a load clean.

Joining Samsung’s array of televisions for inside and outside the home is a huge 110″ MicroLED TV. Practically bezel-less, this new advancement in TV tech utilises a self-lit organic LED panel for superb picture quality, plus the screen can also be split four ways, so you can say goodbye to channel surfing during the footy and watch four matches simultaneously. Plus, solar-charged TV remotes! Look out for them accompanying higher end new models from Samsung.

AI continues taking over at a crazy pace, with Samsung showing off robots to handle everything from cleaning floors to stacking the dishwasher and even tidying up messy rooms. We’ll be living like those corpulent folks in WALL•E in no time!

As leaders in the field, it wouldn’t have been a show without new Samsung phones. They unveiled their shiny new S21 range of Galaxy smartphones. Whether you plump for the Galaxy S21, S21+ or S21 Ultra, you get a smart new 5G handset with a powerful processor, high-end camera and superfast-charging, long-life batteries. Plus, they’re available now!

IN BED WITH MINI-LED AND MICROLED

While Mini-LED and MicroLED may sound quite similar, they’re actually very different technologies. Mini-LED is an advancement of the familiar LCD TV, providing more backlighting LEDs than ever, resulting in better contrast and black levels. The big difference with MicroLED is that it doesn’t have a backlight – the tech is more akin to OLED in that individual pixels are either on or off, meaning pure black levels and, in this new tech, up to around five times the available brightness of OLED.

LG

LG entered the CES fray with a catchcry of “Life is on”, and didn’t disappoint with their offerings.
A definite show highlight was the incredible tech of their rollable smartphone, aptly named LG Rollable. It’s a unique resizable screen, meaning that it can serve as a smartphone one minute, or be embiggened to tablet size the next. Far from being just a fun concept, LG are promising a 2021 launch.

At the forefront of brilliant OLED TV technology, this year LG unveiled their next-gen OLED evo, promising even better colour and brightness at sizes from 55 to 77 inches. Not snazzy enough? How about a rollable OLED television?! The LG Signature OLED R is a 65-inch display that rolls neatly into a housing when not in use. Cool in itself, but imagine ceremoniously unfurling the screen on your next movie night? The other cool OLED development is transparent screens, which we can’t wait to see more of. Meanwhile, LG are embracing Mini-LED, with their range of QNED screens at up to 86 inches.

Also shown was LG’s range of customisable kitchen appliances, able to be colour-coded to your décor. Their InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerators let you knock on them twice to illuminate and see what’s inside, without opening. You can even ask it to open the door via voice command and it’ll do your bidding. The power!

HISENSE

The exciting TV tech continues, with new models from China’s Hisense. Their take on Mini-LED, ULED, is set to launch with 4K and 8K models, available in sizes up to 75 inches. Features abound, including IMAX enhancement, low latency game modes, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support, as well as full 8K Ultra HD and 4K HDR Ultra HD certification.

Meanwhile, if Hisense’s 100-inch Laser TV just isn’t big enough for you, an upcoming 120-inch model may do the trick. Plus, Hisense are promising even bigger to come.