CES 2020 brought us new smartwatches, Chromebooks, smart home gadgets, and even a few phones. Here are some of our favorites that we chose to award this year.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
The Galaxy Chromebook is a super thin, super light, super premium Chromebook—probably the most premium thing this side of a Pixelbook, which in many ways it serves as a successor to.
Yes, it'a $1000 Chromebook. But it has a much more powerful 15W Intel quad-core 10th generation processor and a beautiful 13" OLED display. It even has a fingerprint reader! And it looks really sweet in red. This is definitely the most exciting Chromebook that's been announced in a good, long while.
Galaxy Note10 Lite and S10 Lite
I don't generally think of Samsung as a super competitive "budget flagship" manufacturer, but the Note10 Lite and S10 Lite may slowly be changing my mind. They're truly powerful phones that are priced far more like flagships of six or seven years ago (around 600-650 Euro).
Both have huge 4500mAh batteries, triple rear camera arrays, in-display fingerprint scanners, big OLED displays, and 128GB of internal storage. They just seem like damn good phones. And at much lower prices than Samsung's "real" flagships, they hold real appeal.
OnePlus Concept One
The OnePlus Concept One is orange. Really, really orange. (Please stop telling me it's yellow. It is orange.)
It also has a pretty cool party trick: it can hide its cameras using the same technology Boeing does to dim the windows on its 787 Dreamliner jet (and a lot faster than the plane does). This electrochromic glass is also used on the McLaren 720S, the supercar which inspired OnePlus to pursue this technology in the first place.
OnePlus says it can be used as a makeshift ND filter for the camera, which is kind of cool. I'm mostly just here for how damn orange and leathery this thing is, though.
Razer's new Kishi controller looks about as close as we're ever going to get to a way to turn your Android phone into a Nintendo Switch. The styling is simple and understated, the controls fully-featured and well-spaced, and a direct USB-C connection ensures basically zero latency or jankiness.
It was also designed in partnership with Nvidia to work well with its cloud game streaming service, and I have little doubt that Razer will seek to certify its controller with Google's Stadia when the time comes. With no need for batteries and a reputable design partner in Gamevice, the Kishi looks like the serious smartphone gamepad we've been demanding for years.
Skagen Falster 3
Skagen's newest line of Falster smartwatches are the sharpest the Scandinavian brand has released yet (like other Skagen Wear OS watches, they are made by Fossil). The Falster 3 is super clean and sharp, and I think makes the for the most Wear OS-appropriate smartwatch as a result. It doesn't look like it's trying too hard, and it doesn't look like a toy, either: it's understated, but it still has character. That's a pretty difficult balancing act to pull off with any piece of fashion.
The Falster 3 also packs all the latest hardware, and even includes a speaker. These are easily the classiest looking Wear OS watches we've seen in a while, so if you're in the market, maybe consider the Falster 3.
Belkin Soundform Elite
I don't even know if the Soundform Elite is coming to the US, but I don't care. This thing is a very good idea! Belkin's new Google Assistant smart speaker is very powerful (and quite expensive), but it also has a truly wonderful secondary function: it's a wireless phone charger. It supports 10 Watt output over Qi, meaning you can have a true all-in-one speaker, charger, and phone stand. I want one. Right now.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
The name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but Lenovo's new Chromebook Flex 5 packs serious hardware horsepower at a surprisingly low price, and could quite possible become our budget Chromebook of choice in 2020. Equipped with a Comet Lake CPU (up to i5) and a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port (first ever for a Chromebook), you'd expect that Flex 5 to start at closer to $500. But the entry-level model will be a mere $360.
The design looks sleek, slim, and the laptop is a full 360-degree convertible, our favored form factor for Chromebooks. It doesn't come out until June, but you can be sure we're waiting for it.
Aukey Omnia series
Aukey's new Omnia chargers are the brand's premium gallium nitride (GaN) accessories, and knowing Aukey, they're going to be cheap. I took a look at them at CES, though, and immediately felt like I was looking at a far more premium charging product than I'd typically associate with the discount brand. These new GaN chargers look slick, with dark colors and fun orange accents. They'll be available in 61W, 65W dual-port, and 100W (single or dual port) versions. The 65W dual USB-C version is probably the sweet spot for me, but the fact that you can charge even a Big Boy 16" MacBook Pro with one of these little handheld bricks is pretty amazing.
Given Aukey's reputation for extremely aggressive pricing, I'm confident these will be the GaN value to beat once they're released later this year.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C436
The latest iteration of ASUS's popular Chromebook Flip line is the C436, and it looks like it's going premium. The newest Flip offers a 10th Gen Intel Core processor with up to a quad-core 15W configuration, which will make it an extremely powerful machine in a familiar and flexible package.
US pricing hasn't been announced, but it's starting at an eye-watering 900GBP in the UK, which is steep indeed. Still, for those looking for a premium Chromebook, it's increasingly clear there's never been a better time to buy.