The Sizzle

Issue 305 - Friday, 6th January 2016 - CES 2017

CES is a thing that's happening that you should take a glance at if if you are involved in technology somehow. Luckily, you subscribe to this stupid email so you don't have to trawl through all the horrible tech blogs. I did that for you and it took me two whole goddamn days. There's still another day left of the damn thing too - I'll cover that in Monday's email, which will be a full proper Sizzle like you know and love.

Cars - they sucked
The thing I was looking forward to most from CES were electric car announcements - 2017 could be the year I get an EV! Yeah baby sign me up to the FUTURE!!. They were all, unfortunately, shit and disappointing. The disappointment started with Faraday Future showing off yet another EV supercar that costs more than most people can afford, but at least it has some specs, a price, a launch date and the ability to pre-order. Lucid Motors demonstrated a prototype and actually gave people rides in it, but it'll be another expensive fast car for the rich, so who cares. Honda and Toyota just showed off some more stupid protoypes you'll never be able to buy.

Ford said they'll make a hybrid (not pure EV) F-150 and Mustang, a PHEV Transit van and a full EV SUV. All some time in the next 5 years. Ugh, you're too slow Ford. Chrysler had an EV minivan concept car targeted at millennials. Not bad, but it's just a concept and Chrysler suck, so they won't pull it off.

My great hope was that Nissan would announce a new LEAF with a bigger battery and that Hyundai would make the Ioniq available outside Europe. Nissan quietly said something about the LEAF. But no date, price, specs or anything other than "yeah it's coming". Hyundai showed off the Ioniq in a big way, covered in sensors and pitched as a self-driving car for the masses that won't be out until 2021 - but again, no price and no date for the current Ioniq that's out in the UK. Fucks sake, where's my $30,000 hatch with 300km range? Someone take my money.

TVs - lots of OLED
LG have a super fucking thin, 2.75mm thin, OLED TV that has no price, so you can't afford it. Sony also have some fancy looking OLED TVs and also haven't revealed pricing, so you probably can't justify spending money on this either. Samsung doesn't have an OLED, but that's okay, it has QLED - quantum LEDs! They're also expensive. Hisense has a 100" short throw laser projector. It's $13,000, but it's cheaper than Sony's $25,000 one.

Laptops - so many nice ones to choose from but they don't run MacOS
Loads of laptops - probably to capitalise on the disappointment Apple fans have suffered (oh boy, have they suffered, the poor babies) with the MacBook Pro. LG updated the Gram with a bigger battery, 7th-gen Intel CPUs and still weighs under 1kg. The ASUS Zenbook now has as 14" screen in a 13" chassis and also weighs fuck all. Dell gave the XPS 13 a fully rotate-able screen hinge. HP has updated its pretty lame laptops with 7th-gen Intel CPUs.

Samsung has some very nice laptops, that are thin and have 7th-gen Intel CPUs and some are Chromebooks that'll run Android apps. So does Acer. Lenovo has loads of new laptops with nothing particularly amazing that will probably take ages to actually appear on their online store so that you can buy them.

Mesh Wi-Fi - it's mainstream now
Mesh wi-fi is very popular now, which is good, as it's very useful for people that need to extend their wi-fi coverage but can't or don't want to run cables through their home. ASUS has some that they're calling HiveSpot and HiveDot. Linksys is calling their mesh wi-fi system, Velop. TP-Link's is called Deco. D-Link thought Covr is a good name for their mesh wi-fi. 2017 is a good year to upgrade your home network if you haven't taken a look at it in a few years.

CPUs - Intel and Qualcomm have new ones
Intel finally announced the full range of Kaby Lake (aka 7th-gen) CPUs. There's more 15W parts, new 28W and 45W mobile parts and a full compliment of desktop CPUs in various TDPs. Anandtech has a review of the i7-7700K - the fastest consumer CPU Intel sells (some of the big boy Xeon stuff is arguably faster). TLDR: it's barely any better than the i7-6700K. I wonder how many years it'll be until Apple puts these chips in the MacBook Pro. I reckon 2020.

Qualcomm has a new flagship SoC - the Snapdragon 835. It's everything you loved about the Snapdragon 825, but faster and better and uses less power! It's the first 10nm SoC out there, which is cool. The 835 has a better GPU that Qualcomm reckons is good for VR (yeah, lol, ok), a "gigabit class" LTE modem and a revamped ISP (Spectra 180) that is supposed to provide super fast autofocus and supports to 32MP cameras. It'll pop up in some smartphones around the middle of the year.

Cute Robots
LG has a cute "robot" that it wants to act as your home assistant. Shout shit at it and it'll do stuff with all those wacky wi-fi connected LG appliances (dishwashers, washing machines, fridges, vacuums, etc.) That's not really a robot though, is it? It doesn't move, it's just a speaker and mic with a face. A proper cute robot is Kuri. Looks absolutely fucken useless, but it'll entertain your kids, which is nice I guess.

Other stuff I found interesting
Everything has fucking Amazon Alexa in it. LG chucked it in a fridge. Whirlpool chucked it in almost every appliance they make. It's in Ford cars. CNET has a big list of all the gear at CES with Alexa in it.

Panasonic released the GH5, an update to the popular GH line of stills cameras that kick arse at video. This one does 4k @ 30fps with internal 10-bit 4:2:2 recording - will do 60fps with an external recorder.

Remember Lego Mindstorms? They were badass and now there's a newer, simpler version for younger kids called Boost. There's motors and sensors that can be controlled via an iPad App and a "Move Hub" that sits between the Lego and the iPad. Pretty cool.

Xiaomi's first CES keynote was pretty mild. None of the stuff they announced will be available in the US, haha. There's a white Mi MIX (that cool bezel-less phone), another thin as fuck TV with a Dolby Atmos certified soundbar system and a new Mi Router that stashes a 3.5" HDD inside.

Dell has a US$4999 8K monitor. Yep, 8K. The 32" screen has 100% AdobeRGB and sRGB gamut support and will display a glorious 7680×4320 pixels. Or, in retina mode on a Mac, you get 3840x2160 equivalent at 32", which I think, would look fucking amazing. But no Macs can output 8K, soooo, yeah. Dell also released the Canvas - pretty much a Wacom Cintiq.

JVC, Pioneer, Clarion, Alpine & Kenwood have new CarPlay head units. Bad news - they're all still expensive. But at least one of them (the Alpine), supports wireless CarPlay. That's pretty nice.

Stupid shit nobody should buy
Bluetooth enabled tool lockers and ride on lawn mowers. The mower apparently tells you when to service the thing and the tool locker can be locked and opened via a phone (but doesn't seem to allow multiple people or times or anything fancy like that).

Withings and L'Oreal have a wi-fi and bluetooth enabled hair brush, called the Hair Coach. There's a microphone embedded inside, as well as an accelerometer, gyroscope and other sensors that tell you how to brush your hair properly.

LG has a 4K speaker. To go with your 4K TV. This speaker brings 4K resolution to your audio. Fucking marketing idiots.

If pressing a foot pedal or lifting a lid was too much for your delicate body, you can now just yell "BIN OPEN" and this trash receptacle will open, awaiting your refuse with glee. If I ever see this in your house, you better fucking give thousands of dollars a year to a charity or something, to offset the ridiculous waste of money this bin represents.

The biggest wanker at your kid's school will have an e-ink screen on their backpack.

A smart bed that adjusts to your body as you sleep. But the demo bed was broken, so we don't actually know if it works. It's comfortable though. Discuss

Here endeth the sizzle (until Monday!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Like The Sizzle? Like it on Facebook!