Reviews - February 1, 2024

These Were January’s Coolest and Weirdest Gadgets

January was a pretty loaded month. We saw some cool stuff released at CES 2024. We saw a couple of interesting TVs. Of course, robots made it to the list, too.

Samsung released its flagship phones, and we also messed around with a fancy new OLED display from Alienware. Some of the tech unveiled this month was cool, but some of it was also just plain weird. Let’s look at our top coolest and weirdest picks of the month of January. You can check out December’s list here.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

The Galaxy S24 Ultra (left) compared to last year’s Galaxy S23 Ultra (right).

The titanium frame that Samsung adopted this time around definitely helps with pulling together the whole look of the phone, making the S24 Ultra feel like the ultimate model you can get. It also helps that the Galaxy AI features they packed into this device don’t feel gimmicky (though one does feel worrying).

Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24+

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Obviously, the standard Samsung Galaxy S24 and the middle child Galaxy S24+ accompanied the Galaxy S24 Ultra this year, and although these were gorgeous phones, the changes to them didn’t feel as large as with the bigger model.

The Samsung Galaxy Ring

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Samsung revealed the Galaxy Ring as a ‘one more thing’ at the Galaxy Unpacked event, a health-focused smart device for tracking your daily exercise, similar to a smartwatch but worn on your finger. No pricing or release information just yet, but we’re looking forward to hearing more about it.

The Tesla Cybertruck looks worse in person

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

When I (Zac) travelled over to the U.S. to join Samsung in San Jose for the launch of the S24 range, I swung by a Tesla dealership, and was able to confirm that, yes, the Cybertruck is much uglier up-close. Between ugly marks and misaligned panels, we’re glad that this cursed math problem isn’t coming to Australia anytime soon. Yikes.

HP Omen Transcend 14

Photo: Jorge Jimenez / Gizmodo

The coolest thing about the Omen Transcend 14 is its incredibly small silhouette. It’s just under 18mm tall, or 0.7 inches. Its 3-pound, 12-by-9-inch frame is even more portable than the Transcend 16 for gaming on the go. There’s one HDMI 2.1 port, two sets of USB Type-A and Type-C, and a headphone jack.

LG Signature Series T OLED

GIF: Dua Rashid

LG announced a fully transparent TV at the CES. LG claims this is the world’s first wireless transparent OLED TV and is calling it the Signature OLED T (T for transparent). The OLED T is merely a transparent panel that plays your content without invading your space with a large, black, obtrusive screen. LG argues that this will help create an illusion of your room looking larger than it would with a regular screen.

The Xpeng AeroHT Land Aircraft Carrier

Image: XPeng

It’s difficult to really conceptualise what on earth Chinese automaker Xpeng is doing with the ‘AeroHT’, but we will try. This is a ‘land aircraft character’, with space in the back for a two-person eVTOL, driven on six wheels. It’s a huge car that looks like a Cybertruck if you squint your eyes, with Xpeng expected deliveries to commence at the end of 2025. I don’t really know what to say about this one. It’s just bonkers.

The Rabbit R1

Image: Rabbit

The R1 is an AI-powered device that aims to make using your phone less hassle. The goal is to provide you with an app-free online experience. This means it promises to do all the work you’d typically need ten apps for.

The SteelSeries Aerox 5 WL gaming mouse

Image: Alice Clarke/Gizmodo Australia

Sometimes, you get something because it’s pretty, and then discover that you love it. This is the experience reviewer Alice Clarke had with the SteelSeries Aerox 5 WL. It’s a lightweight gaming mouse with a lot of nifty features, a nice aesthetic and the specs to back it up. At AU$269 RRP it is pretty expensive

Hyundai’s cute little Active Air Skirts

Aerodynamics has always played a huge role in car design, but it’s especially important for electric vehicles, where every bit of extra range that can be eked out makes a difference. This month, Hyundai Motor Group released the first details on its new Active Air Skirt tech that’s in development, which will improve the range and high-speed stability of the company’s upcoming EVs.

New Google Pixel 8 colour, and some new features

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

 the Google Pixel 8 range is now available in a gorgeous Mint Green. It’s available now from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, JB Hi-Fi, and other retailers at no additional cost. It might seem a little odd to just release a new colour, but Apple tends to do it with the iPhone in the first half of the year as well. Last year, Apple re-released the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus in a pretty yellow finish, so why can’t Google do the same?

MSI Claw

Photo: Kyle Barr / Gizmodo

The Claw is MSI’s version of a Steam Deck. It’s a Windows 11-based handheld that uses an Intel Core Ultra processor, and sports a 7-inch screen, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 16GB of RAM. The Claw weighs just under 1.5 pounds, effectively equivalent to a Steam Deck and a fraction more than the ROG Ally.

Honda heads for the year 2077

Image: Honda

Honda has debuted a suped-up ‘H’ logo that it has said will be stamped onto its next generation of EVs, with the Japanese carmaker revealing two new concept cars at CES 2024. One of them is a huge car that’s mostly windscreen, but the other looks like it was ripped straight out of Cyberpunk 2077. No specs, but I know I need it.

The Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots

Image: Alice Clarke/Gizmodo Australia

Are the Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots worth $1299? That really depends on your budget and how much use you’d get out of them. If you train for triathlons or run marathons frequently for fun, then you’re going to get a lot of use out of these, in which case they’re probably worth it, but most people probably won’t get much use out of them. They do a good job of compressing your legs and leaving them feeling a bit refreshed. Not like you never exercised, not like they’re not tired, but like they’re not as sore or stiff as they were before you used them. If that sounds like it’s worth $1299 to you, then go for it.

Hyundai’s flying taxi

Image: Hyundai

Hyundai showed off its flying taxi at CES 2024, which might be a bit familiar because the Korean car company brought an earlier prototype to CES back in 2020. This time around, though, Hyundai claims that the eVTOL will be ready by 2028. The S-A2 concept is what you’re looking at in the below picture, which is supposedly capable of flying at 120mph and can reach an altitude of 1,500 feet. It doesn’t have a lot of battery capacity, though, and can travel for between 25 and 40 miles before needing a recharge.

Razer’s new gaming range

Image: Razer

The next Razer Blades are really trying to push just how beautiful, blistering, and big gaming laptops can get. The company shared a preview of the displays for its upcoming Razer Blade 16 and a brand new 18-inch model last month, but the smaller version is already looking like the real glory hound. The next Razer will push 240Hz on a 16-inch OLED Samsung display, becoming the first announced laptop of 2024 that’s trying to break records for refresh rate on a compact design.

The Arc Search phone browser

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Last month, we tried out Arc Search, an AI-powered web browser, but not in the same way that, for example, ChatGPT or Windows CoPilot access the internet to provide you with answers. It’s an exceptionally clean-looking app, without a lot of distractions across the sides.

The new Bose QuietComfort headphones

Image: Alice Clarke/Gizmodo Australia

At $549.95, the new Bose QuietComfort headphones are perhaps a bit expensive for what they are (mostly 3-year-old tech), but what they are is still damn good. Not perfect, certainly, but so very, very good that most people will be well served by them, particularly if they can get them with a decent discount.

Kia’s cube cars

Image: Kia

We wrote about Kia’s ‘PV’ series of concept cars last month, but to reiterate – this rocks. While the PV concept series is business-oriented for different delivery environments, I have fallen in love with the PV1 microcar. It’s adorable! I want it.

Dell’s new AI-heavy laptops

Image: Dua Rashid/Gizmodo

One of the biggest features that the entire XPS portfolio boasts is its AI and generative AI (GenAI) architecture. The laptops have built-in AI acceleration engines with NPUs (neural processing units). This means the XPS will no longer rely solely on the CPU and the GPU for processing. Instead, it will take the help of a new third unit, the NPU, which will determine the computing engine you need based on the work you’re engaged in. This will “maximise efficiency and also help save battery life,” according to Dell.

Nanoleaf’s new roof tiles

Image: Nanoleaf

Nanoleaf has carved out a nice little market for itself: satisfying gamer lights you can stick onto your walls to make your entire room feel like the inside of a gaming PC. Determined to cover every flat surface in your home with RGBs, Nanoleaf has announced the Skylight — RGB lighting tiles that you can attach to your roof.

The gorgeous Lucid Air

We got to see the Lucid Air in person, and were very impressed with how gorgeous the Tesla Model S competitor is up-close. Although it’s not coming to Australia anytime soon, we can dream, can’t we?

Palmplug One

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Our U.S. colleagues got to try out the Palmplug One at CES. Though writer Florence Ion wasn’t entirely sure about how effective this would be in helping rehabilitate stroke patients (as it intends to do), she was attracted to it because of the bright LED lights on each fingertip. This device features haptic feedback, and you can use it inside other apps for a tactile effect when playing video games.

PlayStation 5 Slim Covers and Matching DualSense Controllers

Photo: Jorge Jimenez / Gizmodo

The new PS5 Slim already looks so good, so the three new covers for the console are just the cherry on top.

Lenovo’s Windows/Android hybrid

Image: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

At CES 2024, Lenovo announced its laptop lineup for the year. The upcoming refreshes include updates to its gaming and work laptops and the ThinkBook series, including the ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid, which boasts Android and Windows. There’s also a new affordable Android tablet on the horizon, plus colourful accessories that give me hope Lenovo is finally adopting colour into its products.

Sony and Honda are still building a car together

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz/Jalopnik

It seems as Sony and Honda really have been serious about building a car together, as at CES 2024, the Sony Honda Mobility joint venture showed off a more production-ready version of the Afeela sedan than what we’ve previously seen. It has slightly redesigned bumpers front and rear with more production-ready lighting setups, real side-view mirrors, a new active rear spoiler, more realistic cutlines and window glazing, and other little details.

Samsung’s picture frame and smart speaker

Image: Samsung

The Samsung Music Frame resembles an ordinary picture frame but hides six speakers behind the photo: two woofers, two tweeters, and two mid-drivers. It also supports Dolby Atmos for high-quality playback. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality, you can pair the Frame with your Samsung SmartThings gadgets or phone.

This HP Instant Photo Printer

Image: Dua Rashid/Gizmodo

All in all, the HP Sprocket does a pretty good job for casual prints you’d want to put up in your room. Reviwer Dua Rashid wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for ten-out-of-ten image quality, though. Despite some performance hiccups, she really enjoyed the device, and her friends were equally amused by it. It’s a nice way to print out impromptu mementos and keepsakes from your daily adventures.

C-Seed N1 Folding MicroLED TV

Gif: Jorge Jimenez / Gizmodo

The N1 is a massive 137-inch microLED 4K TV that folds itself back into its base and turns into a modern art piece in your living room. It uses what they’re calling the ‘Adaptive Gap Calibration’ that increases brightness around the edges of each panel to make the gaps invisible. Priced at $US220k, this is the farthest a product can get from being for the mainstream market.

Samsung’s Ballie

Screenshot: Samsung

After showing an initial prototype four years ago, Samsung officially revealed its cute new robot, Ballie, at CES 2024. This adorable little soccer ball-looking thing is being marketed as “your true AI companion” and can do everything from projecting visuals on your wall to turning switches on or off for you.

AMD’s New CPU

Image: AMD

AMD is releasing its new processors this month, as part of the Ryzen 8000 series – and the top-of-the-line model, the Ryzen 7 8700G, appears to be an absolute monster when it comes to playing games, without the need to install a separate GPU (as is normal with the ‘G’ range CPUs). It seriously impresses.

The SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini

Image: Alice Clarke/Gizmodo Australia

If you’re after more desk space and don’t mind losing some of the buttons on the sides, reviewer Alice Clarke recommends the SteelSeries Apex 9 Mini. The keyboard is built like a tank, its response times are lightning fast, it feels good to use, and if it ticks the boxes of what you’re after on paper, it could be the perfect choice.

Alienware’s new laptop (now with less junk in the front)

Alienware’s laptops have, for a long time, been a bit on the big side. That’s especially true in one particular dimension we’ll be gentle and refer to as the M-series laptop brand’s “posterior.” Alienware returned to the drawing board and redesigned the M16 so it’s smaller thanks to its contracted rear and makes some use of all the extra space.

LG CineBeam Qube 4K Projector

Photo: Jorge Jimenez / Gizmodo

LG’s latest 4K projector, the CineBeam Qube, is being marketed as a “stylish interior accessory.” The aim is for it to blend quietly with your room decor because of its subtle, low-profile design. It also features a 360-degree rotatable handle that adds to its modern aesthetic. Weighing just 3.2 lbs, it’s also quite portable.

XReal Air 2 Ultra

Photo: Kyle Barr / Gizmodo

Unlike Apple’s ridiculously expensive $US3500 Vision Pro, the XReal Air 2 Ultra costs just $US700 (about $1,100 in Australia). They also don’t make you look like a fool thanks to a titanium ring frame and a modern, Wayfarer-esque design. XReal’s latest glasses are the successor to the XReal Air 2 and Air 2 Pro, mainly focusing on spatial computing. They embed a pair of 3D environment sensors with computer vision capabilities and provide real-time location as well as mapping intel.

A handy Blackberry-like iPhone case

If you’re one of those folks still grumbling about the lack of a physical keyboard on iPhones 17 years after Apple released its first smartphone, Clicks might have a solution so long as you have deep pockets. The company’s new creator keyboard straps onto your iPhone and turns it into an extra-long BlackBerry-like device. Hell, it even comes with keyboard shortcuts.

The Asus Zenbook Duo

Image: Kyle Barr/Gizmodo

What’s better than one screen? How about two? If you’re one of the many used to the dual-screen lifestyle, PC maker Asus is trying to get into your good graces with its three-in-one Zenbook Duo, a clamshell laptop with two full 14-inch touchscreens and a magnetically attached keyboard. Unfold it, and it becomes two staggered desktop screens, or better yet, stand it up vertically and feel like a real “hackerman” from the early 90s movies watching the matrix code drip down their screens like rain.

TCL’s new paper displays

Image: TCL

At its CES press conference, TCL announced quite a few things but seemed most proud of the Nxtpaper 3.0 display technology. The company believes it could be a game-changer. Nxtpaper is a kind of wellness display technology that looks and feels like paper more than a harsh, glaring, harmful screen.

Alienware’s AW3225QF QD-OLED monitor

Photo: Kyle Barr/Gizmodo

The gentle 1700R curved screen on the Alienware AW3225QF is a beauty. Or, with a bit more metaphor, the monitor is a pure Goldilocks expression of “this one’s just right” in terms of size, performance, and quality. It’s a curved screen supporting up to a 240 Hz refresh rate at 4K, 3840 x 2160 resolution. There’s the stated 0.03ms response time that is typical of most OLEDs.

Kohler’s Newest Bidet

Image: Kohler

CES is about more than just the gadgets you hold in your hand or sit at the desk to use. It’s about the stuff in your bathroom, too, which is why Kohler is using the annual trade show to debut its latest in connected fixtures. The new items include a new shower sprayer, a ventilation fan that helps with humidity after a long shower, and my favourite, the PureWash Bidet Seat with Google and Alexa built-in.

Image: Gizmodo Australia

That’s all for January, but check out the others: