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CES 2021: our top tech picks

Jan 29, 2021

As one of the world’s most influential tech events, CES is renowned for introducing exciting innovations and gadgetry firsts to the general population. But for 2021’s show, they had to take the innovation one step further by hosting their first all-digital conference. We may not have been able to get up close with everything they had to offer, but we still managed to plug in and garner new insights on the world of audio and communications in tech. Here’s a quick roundup of the products and announcements that excited us most.



Sony 360 Reality Audio
The last few years have seen a big push towards making surround sound and immersive audio experiences more accessible. And Sony has made huge strides in the market with their RA5000, announced at this year’s CES. Using their own 360-degree spatial sound technology – combined with video streaming – the RA5000 simulates a multi-speaker setup and attempts to recreate the live concert experience. With countless gigs cancelled since last March, this could be a true game-changer moving forward.

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Pioneer DMH-WC5700NEX
Audio technology for vehicles is another area we’ve highlighted before [maybe link to the best of 2020 audio tech blog], and it’s something we’re gearing up to see even further improvements on in 2021. Leading the way is Pioneer. They’ve created an indash receiver to bring some of the latest software into older cars, making new features that use Apple Car-Play, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa much more affordable to the masses. This means you’ll be able to control your stereo system and navigate maps hands-free, using only your voice.

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Pocketalk S Voice Translator
With much of the world at a standstill, we’re likely to see a boom in global travel when it’s safe to open up again – and PocketTalk’s latest CES debut could be just the thing to enhance the experience. Their portable device understands 82 languages and translates for you in real-time, bridging the communication gap and helping you form new connections wherever your travels take you.

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LG Rollable
While face-to-face interactions remain limited, we’re relying even more on technology to bring us closer together – and, with that in mind, we expected to see some innovations in the phone sector this year. What we didn’t expect was the unveiling from electronics giant LG. Forgoing the recent trend of foldable smartphones, LG has opted for a rollable handset that expands, transforming from a mobile to a small tablet, which has obvious benefits for things like video calls. We’re anticipating a release at some point this year, but may have to wait a while for further details on this intriguing concept.

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Samsung HW-Q800A
Soundbar Cinematic sound is no longer confined to movie theatres – which, given the events of the last year or so, is a welcome development. Sound technology like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X create multi-dimensional audio experiences, and one of Samsung’s most popular CES 2021 debuts supports them both. The new HW-Q800A Soundbar fits under your TV, can connect with your phone through touch, and has SpaceFit Sound – a feature that detects how the speaker should sound in your room based on its shape. And, as seems to be a requirement for any new speaker these days, it comes with voicecontrolled technology, too.

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The innovation on display at CES 2021 was inspiring. It’s clear that audio is set for another massive year, and we can expect even more advancements in the fields of immersive sound, voice technology and seamless communications