I just got back from CES 2024, and what a week it was. I was able to spend four days in Las Vegas checking out the products and companies sharing news and showing off their wares. It was no small feat: There were upwards of 4,000 exhibitors at the show this year, spanning 12 venues and over two million square feet of exhibition space. My Apple Watch is very happy with my fitness activity.
While I saw a ton of cool, unique, and weird tech during my time at CES, there were a handful of devices that truly stood out. Here are my five favorite products from CES 2024.
LG OLED T
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Credit: Jake Peterson
There were a lot of TVs at CES this year. Perhaps too many. Samsung showed off its micro-LED TVs, Hisense pushed its mini-LED displays, and everyone was trying to prove they had the biggest screens possible. (I believe Hisense took the cake with a massive 163-inch display.)
But it was an LG TV that impressed me most. It was impossible to miss, even if you skipped their press conference on Monday: The second you walked through the first entrance in the Las Vegas Convention Center, you’d walk straight into a massive wall of their OLED Ts.
The OLED T is possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. That “T” stands for “transparent.” When shut off, the TV is essentially a clear glass box. However, turn it on, and the “glass” suddenly starts playing video, while remaining transparent. You can see right through it, but also watch your shows and movies. Is that practical? Not really, which is why a curtain on the back of the set can be raised to transform the T into a more traditional OLED TV.
LG wasn’t the only company to show off transparent display technology. Samsung had it too, as did companies like RCA and “Dongwoo Fine-Chem.” LG, on the other hand, made the biggest impression, in no small part thanks to that prime convention center real estate.
I was first introduced to Ballie during Samsung’s press conference on Monday, but the smart robot has been in the works since 2020. It’s come a long way since then—it used to look like an oversized tennis ball. Now it looks like an oversized tennis ball with wheels. In short, it’s cute AF.
Ballie is meant to be a smart smart hub. That’s not a typo: This little guy can analyze your home and adjust all your smart devices accordingly. You can check in on it from your phone and see your home through its eyes. Samsung’s demo video showed Ballie checking in on your dog, for example, which I’d love if I wasn’t confident Ballie would scare the crap out of my dog.
Ballie also has a built-in projector so it can display video on any surface in your home. You could project a workout video on the wall in a room without a TV, or a cooking video on the wall of your kitchen as you follow a recipe. It has quite the range, too, so it can display video on the floor or ceiling, whatever makes the most sense.
Does anyone need Ballie? Probably not. Does anyone need a transparent TV, either? Sometimes, things are cool because they’re cool.
ColdSnap drew a big crowd during CES Unveiled, and it’s obvious why: free ice cream. But also, free ice cream that takes just two minutes to make. ColdSnap is what you’d get if Keurig made an ice cream maker: You pop a flavor pod into the machine, press a button, and after 120 seconds, out comes a bowl of ice cream.
The best part? It’s actually pretty good ice cream. I don’t know if it’s “the creamiest, best tasting ice cream available anywhere” like the promo claims, but for what it is, I was seriously impressed. I tried the bourbon flavor, and it was great. (Unless that was the bourbon talking.)
As a dog owner living in an apartment, I often think about how nice it’d be to have a dog door in my home—specifically when I’m in the elevator at 11 p.m., taking the dog out to pee. While a typical dog door would be a huge quality of life increase, Pawport convinced me that a smart dog door makes a lot of sense, too. (It helps that the device fits over existing dog doors. Not that I have one. Sigh.)
Pawport works by opening the doggie door whenever it senses the accompanying Bluetooth device you attach to your dog’s collar. You can choose how sensitive its rangefinder is, as well as how quickly the door opens, how far it opens, and how long it takes to close, among other options. You can also use the app to check some stats, such as how long your dog has been outside and how many times your dog has come and gone through Pawport.
Perhaps most importantly, you can schedule when Pawport is functional and when it will close up shop if you don’t want your dog running in and out of the house all night—and the company assured me that it’s a one-way lock, so if your dog is outside when the schedule kicks in, it’ll still be able to get back inside. Plus, there’s a built-in battery, so in the event of a power outage, your dog won’t be stuck inside or out.
XGIMI IMAX enhanced projector
As with TVs, I saw a lot of projectors this year. Many impressed me: One of Hisense’s “laser TV” projectors has a rollable screen that lets you adjust the aspect ratio of your projection. One 4K 3D ultra short throw projector from AWOL Vision offered a fixed projector at the cinemascope aspect ratio (2.35:1), which means you won’t have to deal with black bars when watching many widescreen movies.
However, it was XGIMI’s “Horizon Max” projector that intrigued me most. XGIMI has partnered with IMAX to offer the first “IMAX enhanced” long throw projector. The company dedicated an entire demo booth to showing off the tech, and wow. When the image switches from traditional 2.35:1 to the boxy IMAX ratio, it fills the wall with the movie you’re watching. Of course, this effect will work best with movies shot in IMAX (Oppenheimer, anyone?), but I’m certainly keen on turning my home theater into an IMAX experience. That is, if I had a home theater.