Top Tech from CES 2016

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CES in Las Vegas may technically be running until tomorrow but the biggest showcase events are over and the major announcements have been made. Now its time to sift through the biggest and best to find the top tech of the show, and get a glimpse at what will be coming to consumers over the next 12 months and beyond.

Virtual Reality

2016 is the year of VR, when you’ll finally be able to buy one of your very own. The first out of the gate will be the Oculus Rift in March and it revealed pricing and specs at CES. You’ll get an Xbox controller, two free games and more in the box and be able to experience a full virtual world with 100 available apps by the end of the year.

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HTC also unveiled their Vive Pre, a developer kit which looks more like the final consumer model. It has rechargeable controllers, a lighter headset and a new front facing camera which will allow you to  peek at the real world from inside VR.

Other headsets are also coming to market, including even more interest in ones that hold a mobile phone. It’s an affordable alternative to buying a full scale headset and should be even more popular this year.

Smart Home

Everything is capable of connecting to a router and being controlled remotely this days, with homes getting smarter and smarter. So why not have something built around pets.

The Cleverpet is a kind of games console for dogs, and is targeted at pets who are left alone for hours with nothing to do. You can program this little device to come up with challenges for the dog by pressing different coloured lights in sequence. You can even record messages of instruction or encouragement.

Back on the human side of things, fridges were big news at CES this year, with LG and Samsung leading the charge. LG has shown off a model which has a transparent door – all you have to do is knock on it to see inside without having to go to the bother of opening it!

And Samsung has mounted a massive 21 inch touchscreen to the front of their latest, which allows you to post pictures, add a calendar and more. It even has cameras inside so you can check the snaps to see if you need more milk or eggs.

There was also a Smart device which can be attached to any shower head and flashes red when you’ve used a certain amount of water. Good for saving time and money.

Drones

The use of smaller consumer drones has also been on the rise in recent years, and it’s going to be even bigger this year.

The biggest manufacturers were out in force showing off their wares. DJI had their new Phantom 3 which comes with a lower price point and an amazing 4K camera included. That’s a lot of tech and it should also fly for an impressive 25 minutes.

Parrot turned some heads with their new addition, called the Disco (for some reason). It’s a very different kind of drone which looks more like a small plane. It’s meant to be very easy to control, all you have to do is throw it into the air and it will fly for 45 minutes at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour!

Nixie was also back – this little device got a lot of attention last year and now looks better than ever. It’s a tiny drone which can actually be worn around the wrist, take it off and toss it into the air and it will take an awesome selfie before returning to your warm embrace.

TVs

As ever, massive displays were all over CES this year, but there was also plenty of exciting new technology, some of which mere mortals might even be able to afford.

4K is still a buzzword but it has been joined by High Dynamic Range (HDR) which will show off more details in images by reducing contrast. Sony showed off a range of new UHD displays which will also have HDR, in sizes up to 75 inches. These sets will also be compatible with new 4K blu-ray players coming to market soon.

LG’s Signature series made serious waves, offering up image quality at a level called Ultra HD Premium, which is better than just regular 4K. The LG G6 and E6 models also look stunning themselves with a new ‘picture-on-glass’ display which is less than 3mm thin. They’re coming in the first half of 2016. And just to be fancy the company showed off a 98 inch 8K TV. That wouldn’t even fit in your living room.

Samsung was back with its Quantum Dot tech which is supposed to deliver superior image quality and they’re also on the 4K and HDR train. Their top model measure 88 inches and is extremely bright while also reducing glare.

Finally Panasonic brought out the big guns with the DX900 which will be the first Ultra HD Premium set to market in early 2016. You’ll find an incredible colour range on board as well as the brightness required to output topline HDR. That comes in 58 and 65 inch flavours.

Connected Health

Fitbit caused a stir with its new Blaze wearable. Instead of just being a fitness tracker it also has some smartwatch functionality, GPS functionality and a lovely colour screen. And, we’ll be honest, it looks quite like the Apple Watch.

HTC teamed with Under Armour for Healthbox, which is a suite of apps and devices which can help you get fitter. It includes a wrist-based fitness tracer, heart-rate monitoring strap and a smart weighing scales, with all the important info synched to a fully featured free app to keep track of your progress.

Withings is better known for health tracking but it’s new device is more about healthcare. The Thermo uses infrared to check your temperature without having to bother the patient and the results are automatically synced to the companion app on Android or iOS.

L’Oreal popped into CES with the curious MyUVPatch, which affixes to the skin and lets you know how much sunshine you’ve been soaking so you can keep safe from too much exposure.

Expect to see some of these new technologies, and many more, at Harvey Norman soon.

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Posts from the Harvey Norman blog team.

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