(Pocket-lint) - The biggest tech event in the calendar, CES - the Consumer Electronics Show - rolls around each and every January, bringing heaps of new announcements and product launches.
However, the 2021 event is set to be rather different - the event will be online-only, like many shows and launches we saw in 2020.
The organiser of the show, the US Consumer Electronics Association (CTA), announced in July 2020 that the 2021 event will all be online.
When is CES 2021?
There's also a slight date change that comes with going virtual. CES 2021 will take place on Monday 11 January through to Thursday 14 January, 2021. Expect most of the announcements to take place on 11 January as that's the press, analyst and media day.
- January 11: Media-only access
- January 12: Exhibitor showcase and conference programming
- January 13: Exhibitor showcase and conference programming
- January 14: Conference programming
However, as we've seen before, some manufacturers will be holding their own events and these will fall outside of the official CES events. Many of these would have taken place at CES in a normal year, but 2021 isn't normal.
The CTA says CES 2021 "will be an all-digital experience connecting exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world. The new format will allow participants to hear from technology innovators, see cutting-edge technologies and the latest product launches, and engage with global brands and startups from around the world."
The CTA adds "we plan to return to Las Vegas for CES 2022, combining the best elements of a physical and digital show."
We'll be updating this feature up to and throughout the 2021 show, so you can see all the announcements that actually matter.
The announcements that matter from CES 2021
Acer at CES 2021
Acer kicks off CES each year with a refresh of laptops and in 2021 we see the Chromebook Spin 514, which launched on AMD Ryzen hardware, while retaining that 360-degree hinge for versatility. Acer has also announced a trio of new gaming monitors.
Elsewhere Acer has boosted its gaming laptops with new Predator Triton 300 SE offering a 14-inch display with 144Hz refresh rate, Intel Core i7 and Nvidia providing the graphics and all in a package that looks less like a gaming machine and more like a business laptop. Updating the Acer Nitro 5 is the option for AMD Ryzon 5000 innards or Intel, with an Nvidia GPU, and looks on this 17-inch machine that are much more like a hardcore gaming laptop.
AMD at CES 2021
AMD used the virtual show to launch the Ryzen 5000. With plenty of partners launching new laptops featuring the new hardware, the Ryzen 5000 cuts into the performance laptop space to take some of the wind out of Intel's sails.
There was also some interesting partner news from Samsung, with confirmation that there will be an AMD GPU in a future Samsung mobile device.
Arlo at CES 2021
Arlo didn't make a huge number of announcements at CES 2021, expanding its range of cameras with the Essential indoor camera - most of the company's cameras have been designed for the outdoors so far - but the touchless doorbell has attracted attention. Launched to reduce touchpoints, the aim of the Arlo Touchless Video Doorbell is to let you know someone is at the door without them having to actually touch the button. Of course, the existing model will already alert you to someone's presence. Exactly how you stop them going through and touching the button, we're not sure.
Asus at CES 2020
Asus announced a slew of laptops at CES 2021, taking advaatage of new core hardware announcements to base these new devices on. The ROG Zephyrus G14 gets itself updated to 1440p at 144Hz, bringing a boost over the 2020 model. There's Ryzen 5000 with the Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU to supply the gaming power.
There are also updates in other ROG notebooks, with the Strix Scar G15 and G17, again with Ryzen and Nvidia power. Aside from display choices including 360Hz, there's an optical mechanical keyboard and RGB lighting to highlight the aggressive designs.
Looking to appeal to those wanting something altogether smaller is the Asus Flow X13. This is a compact gaming laptop, 13-inches, with powerful internals, but also connecting to the XG Mobile external GPU, also acting as a hub for all your peripherals. The XG Mobile can accomodate the Nvidia RTX 3080 and has its own 280W power supply.
Gigabyte at CES 2021
There's certainly no shortage of laptops with Gigabyte updating the Aorus and Aero lines with new hardware. You'll find a mechanical keyboard on the Aorus 17G flagship, with a 300Hz screen and Intel and Nvidia hardware, with refreshes across the range providing options for gamers.
HP at CES 2021
Among a wide range of laptop updates, HP has launched the Elite Folio, which turns to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8CX platform, promising 5G and 24 hours of battery life for all day productivity.
There's an updated Dragonfly G2, with integrated Tile tracking. Taking a step up, there's the Dragonfly Max, better designed for video conferencing with more mics and a better webcam.
Intel at CES 2021
Intel has teased its 12th-gen Core chips, Alder Lake, which are expected in late-2021, saying that there's a performance boost, but still on the 10nm achitechture. But there are also 50 new chips in the Core S and H series, aimed at desktops and mobile gamers respectively, with the Core N series for education.
JBL at CES 2021
JBL has launched a range of new audio products, including the Charge 5, an updated Bluetooth speaker with a powerbank feature, the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam which is a soundbar offering virtualised Dolby Atmos and JBL Tour over-ear and true wireless headphones.
Lenovo at CES 2021
Lenovo kicked off its CES launches with a range of new devices. There's the Lenovo IdeaPad 5G, an ultraportable laptop that's built on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8CX hardware - designed for 5G connectivity and long battery life. There's also an 11-inch Android tablet in the Lenovo Tab P11, offering a 2K display and a reasonable price, so it's going to be great for binging video content and browsing.
Lenovo is known for the Yoga family and in 2021 you can get and all-in-one with a rotating display. That's right, the 27-inch Yoga AIO 7 computer will swivel so you can consume your content whichever way you want. There's no shortage of power either with a Ryzen 7 4800H CPU and GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, clearly pitched at content creators.
On laptop updates, the Yoga Slim 7i gets an OLED display, while the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is just 11mm thick, taking thin and light to the extreme. Gaming gets a look in with the Legion brand boasting QHD resolution displays at 165Hz, new AMD Ryzen hardware and Nvidia GPUs.
Stepping in a totally different direction is the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 i - with a E Ink display on the exterior of the lid. It's going to be niche, sure, but for those wanting a low power display for sharing, this is potentially the solution
LG at CES 2021
LG is hosting a virtual visitor experience so you can check out some of the latest releases yourself.
There's a new version of its InstaView refridgerator for 2021 as well as a number of new appliance updates, but on the entertainment front, LG has launched a range of QNED Mini LED televisions. These are an enhancement on LCD TVs, using thousands of LEDs behind the LCD panel to provide the illumination, moving the experience closer to that of OLED. On top of these new models the company has announced a new bendable 48-inch TV with cinematic sound as well as showing off more translucent OLED TV concepts.
But the announcement that everyone was waiting for was the 2021 OLED TVs. These will offer the new WebOS 6 for a refreshed look, while there's the addition of a 42-inch OLED to the family. Most will be looking for the new C1, the 2021 OLED that's likely to be the big seller, while there's the G1 and Z1, all of which benefit from the latest α9 Gen 4 AI processor for better picture quality. We're still waiting to hear about the exact models, sizes and prices for different regions - but they will also support Google Stadia.
Perhaps more interesting is that LG is going to be offering the A1 OLED, a more affordable OLED. It will miss out on some of the connectivity and latest standards - there's no 120Hz option here - but it could be a good affordable OLED for movie watchers.
There's a new collection of LG Gram laptops in a range of sizes. What's interesting here is a thin and light computer with a 17-inch display - ideal for those working from home.
LG also give us a sneak peak of the rollable phone concept that we're expecting to see later in 2021.
MSI at CES 2021
- 13 January 2021, 08:00 PST
MSI has confirmed that it will be hosting an MSIology event, showcasing new monitors, motherboards, graphics cards and desktops.
Nvidia at CES 2021
Aside from a huge run of partner announcements of new devices running Nvidia hardware, there's the launch of the RTX 3060, providing more accessible graphics cards for gamers.
Panasonic at CES 2021
Panasonic announced its flagship TV for 2021 and that's the Panasonic JZ2000. This new display supports all the latest tech, including 120Hz for those new games consoles, HDR10+ Adaptive, as well as Dolby Vision IQ for the best HDR performance. There's a Technics soundbar across the bottom to deliver the Dolby Atmos sound and it will come in 55 and 65-inch sizes.
Panasonic also has a custom Final Fantasy soundbar.
Razer at CES 2021
There's always space for bonkers at CES and Razer normally delivers. Of course the Razer Blade 15 and 17 updates with 360Hz displays and next-gen Nvidia graphics are to be expected, but most people are talking about the gaming chair with a 60-inch built-in display, and the face mask concept that wants to offer reusable filters and a hint of RGB to make it exciting.
Samsung at CES 2021
The company kicked off CES with The First Look 2021, where it showcased new hardware in a virtual event. The company fleshed out its already-announced MicroLED TVs for 2021, which will start at 110-inch and 99-inch sizes, with Samsung saying it's a new era for TV. MicroLED replaces the backlight with 24 million individual LEDs for precise picture control, with the argument that because they are inorganic, they offer durability that OLED can't match.
But the mainstay of Samsung's new televisions are packed with new tech called Neo QLED. These are Mini LED TVs, with the new display tech making the LEDs much smaller, 1/40th of the hight of previous-gen LEDs, so a really slim design is possible. Samsung also boasts that fine control will mean no blooming, while it jumps to 12-bit for better colour management. They will come in 4K and 8K versions, packing in lots of smart technology, like support for Google Duo on your TV once you've connected a USB camera, or Samsung Health to use it as a fitness guide. In addition, Samsung has announced a new version of The Frame, which can work both in portrait and landscape.
Samsung has bolstered its Chromebook lineup with the new Galaxy Chromebook 2, which is packed with a 1080p QLED display - but it's priced much more affordably than the previous model, so could be popular.
At the second event, Samsung focused on a smarter home, including bespoke fridges, but saving the best for the JetBot 90 AI+, a smart robot vacuum cleaner that can detect and avoid objects like cables. Samsung also dropped in a mention of SmartThings Pet, a system to monitor your domestic animals using SmartThing devices, while casting an eye on the future of domestic robots too.
Sony at CES 2021
Sony announced new TVs in the Bravia XR range. It covers LED and OLED sets at 4K and 8K resolutions, with new processing tech to boost the picture performance. There's a range of models and sizes for 2021 to hit a range of (uncomfirmed) price points.
Sony has also announced new 360 Reality Audio speakers, the RA5000 and the RA3000, offering Google Assistant or Alexa support, while the Airpeak drone was demonstrated filming the S-Vision concept car from Sony.
TCL at CES 2021
TCL use CES to show off forthcoming phones from the 20 series, while also confirming that it would be launch a series of Google TV televisions in 2021. The company continues to push new TV tech, with the introduction of MiniLED TVs.
Who attends CES?
CES is an industry event so, unlike IFA in Berlin, the public can't attend. But anyone connected to the consumer electronics industry can apply for a pass. In 2019 over 182,000 people attended, which is the show's capacity. That includes 69,000 exhibitors (across more than 4,000 represented companies) and almost 7,000 members of the media.