CES 2019 is in full swing, and the Tom's Guide crew has hit the ground running in order to bring you the latest and greatest advancements in consumer tech this year. From TV screens that double as speakers, to smartwatches that never run out of juice, to gaming laptops that transform into desktop replacements, there's something to tantalize just about every techie's palate.
Here are a few highlights from the first day of the convention — and remember, the show has only just begun.
LG's 88-inch 8K TV doubles as a giant speaker
Cramming good sound into flatscreen TVs has never been easy, but last year, Sony came up with a novel approach: Use the screen itself to broadcast sound. Now, LG has jumped on the bandwagon with its Crystal Sound OLED display. The screen on this 88-inch UHD TV produces 3.2.2-channel Dolby Atmos sound without the need for any internal speakers or external soundbars, making the gadget both elegant and functional.
Matrix PowerWatch 2 (almost) never needs charging
Environmentalists have pointed out for a long time that the biggest source of energy in our solar system — the sun — is woefully underused to power our society. The Matrix PowerWatch 2 is a smartwatch that wants to rectify that. The device uses solar power, as well as a user's body heat, to keep its battery charged almost indefinitely. That's a good thing, since it means you can use its fitness tracking, GPS and heart rate monitor capabilities without ever having to worry about plugging it in.
Samsung's modular MicroLED Window TV debuts
Manufactuers have spent years demonstrating that they know how to make really good, large TVs. But what about small ones? Samsung's modular MicroLED tech wants to take the TV experience out of the living room and move it, well, anywhere you want, really. Using small, customizable tiles, you can assemble a screen to fit almost any size and configuration, and the tiles will set the resolution for you automatically. This means you can take your tech with you into the kitchen, bathroom, ceiling — it's up to you.
Asus ROG Mothership is both a laptop and a desktop
Gaming laptops usually cost a lot. As such, it's often hard to justify buying a desktop, too. The Asus ROG Mothership is one of the first laptops that actively tries to split the difference, with a detachable monitor and a standalone keyboard. You can snap the ROG Mothership together and use it as a traditional laptop, or rest the screen on a kickstand, bring the keyboard in close, and play the setup like a desktop. It's up to you, and effortless to switch.
Nvidia RTX 2060 makes ray tracing affordable
Nvidia has made much of the innovative ray-tracing technology in its graphics cards. But up until now, the feature — which offers much more subtle, responsive lighting in big-budget games — has only been available in very expensive GPUs. The GeForce RTX 2060, which will debut at $349, will hopefully bring the technology to the masses. And, in turn, more developers may start embracing it.
HP debuts AMD-powered Chromebook
Chromebooks are at their best when they're inexpensive, but that's often difficult to pull off with costly Intel processors. As such, HP has turned to AMD for the HP Chromebook 14, which will run on an AMD A4 or A6 CPU, with Radeon R4 or R5 GPUs built right in. The least expensive system costs $269, and should still deliver more than enough power for everyday productivity and browsing.
Stay tuned for more CES coverage, including hands-on posts from the show, and daily recaps on the front page.
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.