Best of CES 2022: Gaming Gear, PCs, Home Entertainment, Transportation

After watching countless Zoom briefings, sitting through dozens of livestreamed press conferences, and even attending a handful of in-person demos, we’re ready to declare these 14 products to be the most interesting things we saw at CES 2022. Of all the amazing and beautiful gadgets on display—both in Las Vegas and virtually—these are the products which exhibit the strongest sense of innovation and vision within their categories. They achieve this through groundbreaking industrial design, innovative engineering, and simply seeing the future and realizing it in a product you can touch, hold, ride, or wear.

Best PC

Asus’s experimental computer is just a screen that folds.

Photograph: Asus

Asus Zenbook 17 Fold. Foldables are still finding their place, but Asus’ design for a folding laptop-tablet hybrid is one of the more promising efforts we’ve seen this year. The device unfolds to reveal a full 17-inch display, with a kickstand on the back so it can stand alone as a monitor, or it can fold like a clamshell to create one continuous screen running from the top of the laptop down to a virtual keyboard on the lower half. If you prefer physical keys for typing, it pairs with the ErgoSense Bluetooth keyboard, which you can place over the bottom section of the screen, making the whole thing almost indistinguishable from a regular laptop. It’s a welcome shakeup to the field of laptops that hasn’t changed much in recent years. The concept has us intrigued about how the future of foldable laptops might, well, unfold, but we’re still waiting to see how it works in practice—and for a price. —Eric Ravenscraft

Best in Mobile

Oh so seamless.

Courtesy of Google

Google Fast Pair and Audio Switching. The magic of Apple’s ecosystem is how seamlessly iPads, Macs, iPhones, and AirPods all work with each other. Google’s trying to bring some of that pizazz to Android, Windows, and Chromebooks. This interoperability comes partly through its Fast Pair technology, which was announced several years ago and primarily lets you instantly pair wireless headphones with an Android phone. The tech is now expanding to include the quick-pairing of headphones with Google TVs and Chromebooks, connecting an Android phone to a new Chromebook for faster setup, and Android phones with Windows laptops to sync texts and share files. All of that is immensely helpful, but I’m most excited about the other new ability for headphones to automatically switch between the various devices they are paired to, just like how Apple’s AirPods switch from iPad to iPhone when you receive a phone call while watching a movie on the tablet. Not all Fast Pair-enabled devices will support audio switching and it very much will depend on the manufacturer, but I’m looking forward to when I don’t need to manually reconnect my earbuds to another device. Truly magical. —Julian Chokkattu

Best in Home Entertainment

Powered by radio waves.

Photograph: Samsung

Samsung 2022 Eco Remote. TVs are objectively getting prettier, but I wasn’t particularly blown away by any of the screens I e-saw at this year’s CES. I’m sure I’ll be more excited when I get to see the innovations—largely in processing and brightness—in person, but for now I have a new obsession in home entertainment: Samsung has made a remote that never, ever, needs new batteries. The Eco Remote, as the South Korean brand calls it, charges from both solar energy and the radio waves blasted out of your Wi-Fi router to stay juiced up indefinitely. It’s not only a blessing for those of us who are tired of the battery shuffle, it’s good for the planet; In April of last year, Samsung said that by eliminating AAA cells from the remotes it packages with its televisions and other gadgets, it could avoid 99 million discarded batteries over seven years. —Parker Hall

Best Headphones

How many games can you play in 300 hours?

Photograph: HyperX

HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless. The gaming accessories company HyperX announced a handful of new products this year, but the one that really caught our eye is a gaming headset that promises 300 hours of battery life. The Cloud Alpha Wireless has many of the same features we’ve come to love about HyperX headsets: the aluminum forks, plush leatherette earpads, a detachable boom microphone, and easy-to-navigate audio controls on the earcup. New additions include 50-mm drivers that are slimmer and lighter than the drivers used in previous headsets, leaving more room for that big battery. Of course, that 300-hour mark may only be attainable under ideal conditions, at lower volumes, or using a wireless dongle instead of Bluetooth. But if it can reach even 75 percent of that promised time, that’s literally days better than most of the competition. The Cloud Alpha Wireless will cost $200 when it goes on sale in February. —Jess Grey

Best in Home Audio

Classic sound, classic looks.

Photograph: JBL

JBL 4305P Studio Monitors. I expect we’ll see a lot of photos of these new JBL speakers floating around on Reddit’s r/audiophile community in the coming years. They have a compelling blend of professional engineering, classic studio design, and modern-day connectivity options for a $2,200 price tag. JBL speakers have been used in prominent recording studios since the Led Zeppelin era. But not enough non-pros have used JBLs most impressive speakers, mostly because they required powerful audio interfaces or studio mixing boards to get a proper signal. Not so with these new speakers, which support many ways to connect: Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chomecast, Bluetooth, Ethernet, a 3.5 mm aux jack, and balanced audio inputs (via XLR or TRS). Add to that a near-flat response preferred by studio pros, and they’re the first modern speakers I’ve heard of that are designed to pull double duty on the mixing console and in your listening room. You can even get them with a walnut veneer and classic purple grill covers just like the JBLs of old. Gorgeous. —Parker Hall

Best in Parenting

Let’s go outside.

Photograph: Picoo

Picoo. I have a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old, who were 2 and 4 when the Covid-19 pandemic started. In 2020, we were determined to make school closures, social distancing, and quarantines bearable for our children. But as we roll into 2022 … we’re getting really, really tired. This year at CES, the Picoo was the only educational toy that didn’t make me cringe. The “outdoor game console” is really a set of lighted, handheld controllers, aimed at children between the ages of 4 and 10. The set comes with game cards suggesting games like Whack-a-Mole, Zombierun, and Math Mania; the child uses their controller to scan a card to play each game. The Picoos pick teams and adjust the game depending on the child’s proficiency, their age, or if they have special needs. It’s social; it’s outside; it’s equitable; it’s safe. That’s all I want for my children right now. Picoo is available now starting at $249. —Adrienne So

Best in Smart Home

Talk to me.

Photograph: Samsung

New Alliances. With all of the connected gadgets in our homes—security cameras, thermostats, smart speakers, phones, televisions, light bulbs, refrigerators—it feels like a small miracle when we can get just two different devices to talk to each other. That hurdle of interoperability is what’s truly keeping the smart home from advancing, so the companies that make most of these devices are banding together to try to solve it. At CES, Samsung announced that it is joining the Home Connectivity Alliance, a group of companies including other big-name appliance makers like GE, Haier, and Electrolux Group. The union will work on a set of guidelines to enable secure communication between each other’s smart-home platforms. The other entity generating goodwill at CES is Matter, an open source interoperability standard which will fully launch later this year. It already has buy-in from the biggest names in smart-home tech—including Google, Apple, Amazon, and Samsung—and dozens of other companies are showing off Matter-compatible devices at this year’s expo. We expect to see even more products with built-in support in the coming months. Good; It’s about time the smart home tidied up its house. —Michael Calore

Best in Transportation

Who needs paint.

BMW iX Flow. One thing to remember about CES is that it’s mostly make-believe. Sure, many things unveiled in Las Vegas actually ship, but the expo is also rife with experimental concepts, flights of fancy, and pie-in-the-sky demos. We have no idea where on that spectrum this one falls, but we were delighted to see BMW’s iX Flow bodywork tech, where the traditional exterior paint job on a car has been replaced with E Ink technology. BMW managed to deform and laser-cut E Ink panels to cover an iX luxury EV in its entirety. The E Ink on the prototype uses microcapsules with negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black ones, each the thickness of a human hair. At the push of a button, the driver can cycle through any shade between brilliant white and deep black, or run animated patterns continually across the exterior. Aside from the considerable aesthetic boon, BMW says the color changes can also help cut the amount of cooling and heating required from the vehicle’s air conditioning, reducing battery drain. Although this iX Flow prototype is monochrome, a full-color E Ink “paintwork” is in development too. —Jeremy White

Best in Micromobility

Simple, safe, practical.

Photograph: Panasonic

Panasonic and Totem Zen Rider. The concurrent Covid-19 and climate crises spurred an ebike boom, as a half-million Americans bought electric bicycles in 2020 to get off crowded, possibly contagious public transportation and reduce their carbon emissions. I loved this! What I didn’t love were new ebike riders leaning on their throttles, doing unsafe speeds against traffic in bike lanes, or setting themselves on fire by choosing sketchy bikes with sketchier batteries. This year at CES, Panasonic and Totem unveiled an ebike with UL certification, making it one of the first companies in the ebike sphere besides Bosch to seek the gold standard certificate for electronics safety. By earning the stamp of approval from the trusted industry nonprofit, Totem all but ensures the Zen Rider’s battery won’t arc on you when you plug it in, or burst into flames when you charge it. And, as more and more ebikes rely on high top speeds as their selling point, the Zen Rider goes in the opposite direction by only offering pedal assistance up to 15 mph. That’s just right for dense urban areas; similarly, Tern’s commercial cargo bikes only go up to 12 mph. Totem’s bike also has an easy-going and durable-looking step-through frame, with the battery mounted under the seat for better weight distribution. As ebikes become more widely adopted, I hope to see more bikes go in this direction—not necessarily faster or sexier, but safer, more durable, more reliable, and ready for years of use. (No price yet.) —Adrienne So

Best in Gaming

Take a swing.

Photograph: Liteboxer

Liteboxer VR. Virtual reality has had a bit of a resurgence during the pandemic as we’ve all largely stayed indoors. If you’re not ready to go back to the gym with all the huffing and puffing and (probably) poor ventilation, give Liteboxer VR a try if you have the Oculus Quest 2. The company, which sells a physical pad you can box with at home, now has a VR version. You box a virtual pad in front of you, and you need to hit specific points at the right interval to score higher points. If it’s anything like FitXR (which we’ve tried), it’ll be fun and a workout. There’s even a live trainer to help you maintain your form and licensed pop music to motivate you to keep up the pace. It’s on the pricey end, costing $19 per month, but there’s a seven-day free trial, and it’s way cheaper than buying the IRL version. It goes on sale in the Quest app store on March 3. —Julian Chokkattu

Best Camera

Porch pirates begone.

Photograph: Eufy

Eufy Security Video Doorbell Dual. Your video doorbell can most likely use its onboard computer vision capabilities to detect family, friends, pets, and strangers. But can it detect packages? The Eufy Security Video Doorbell Dual boasts all the features a good doorbell cam needs—like a clear 2K camera and an included hub that acts as a Wi-Fi booster—while adding a secondary downward-facing camera that can accurately identify packages that have been dropped on your doormat. It’s an increasingly popular trend in video doorbells, with similar functionality recently showing up on some models from Ring and Nest. But Eufy has beefed up its detection capabilities with radar and PIR (passive infrared) motion sensors to cut down on false positives and to ensure you never miss a visit. Also, it captures and stores video without requiring a subscription, and since the doorbell is battery powered, you don’t need to hardwire it. The expected launch date is February 8, and it will cost you $260. That price includes the Homebase 2 hub with 16GB of storage. —Simon Hill

Best in Sustainability

Wash (way) up.

Courtesy of P&G

Tide Infinity. Washing clothing on a spacecraft is near impossible. Astronauts on the International Space Station have to re-wear clothes over and over again until new ones arrive in supply shipments, a process which renders their clothing so irredeemable that the apparel is burned up in our atmosphere, never to be worn again. That’s a problem Tide is aiming to solve. In collaboration with NASA, the brand just sent a prototype detergent called Tide Infinity up into orbit. The unscented, fully degradable formula is safe for a closed-loop water system like the one used on the ISS. Over the next few months, experiments will test the efficacy of key dirt- and odor-fighting ingredients in space. Future studies will take place to test stain removal, delivery methods, and potential laundry solutions for deep-space missions. Tide says it hopes to apply findings from its experiments to products to make our Earthbound laundry processes more sustainable. Perhaps we’ll be able to wash clothes in water-scarce locales or more efficiently reuse gray water. Or perhaps we’ll all be able to just do our laundry on our way to some distant exoplanet. While these studies are still in the very early stages, I’m excited at the prospect of making even the most mundane tasks better—both on and off the ground. —Louryn Strampe

Best in Health Tech

Wrapped up.

Photograph: Movano

Movano Ring. Move over, Oura. The Movano Ring is coming for you—potentially with clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration. It’s one of the only companies (along with Withings) that has applied for FDA clearance for its tracker, which would make it a certified medical device. This health-monitoring ring is expected to launch in the second half of 2022. Not only is Movano’s device smaller than the Oura, but the company also expects to make it more affordable and more widely accessible. The Movano can monitor common health problems like hypertension, and considering how nearly half of all adults in the US deal with high blood pressure, having a sleek and medically certified ring that can monitor it will be immensely more useful than standard-fare fitness trackers. —Julian Chokkattu

Best in Pet Tech


Photograph: Bird Buddy

Bird Buddy. The world doesn’t appreciate birds enough. That’s why, after stalking its Kickstarter campaign for the last year, I’m excited for Bird Buddy to finally become available. This camera-laden bird feeder allows you to not only see the cute little birds flying around your home, but it offers a chance to actually learn more about them by identifying bird species, noting foods they like, and sampling their bird songs all within its connected app. From there you can go off into the woods and try to spot them on your own, or just keep a log of your new buddies and learn to feed them what they really want. The company told me it’s hoping the data collected by its users can lead to meaningful change in conservation efforts by tracking bird migrations and populations around the globe. If I’m going to continue staring at a screen, it might as well be helping the birds. (And yes, this counts as pet tech; birds are everyone’s pets.) Bird Buddy feeders ship this spring for $235. —Medea Giordano

More Great WIRED Stories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *