The Most Innovative of CES 2024

As someone who’s been covering tech for more than a decade, I’m used to seeing hundreds of gadgets vying for attention at CES. But even after all these years, the Most Innovative at CES 2024 still managed to impress me with a diverse array of smart devices, cutting-edge displays, and clever accessories that caught my eye.

Even with a show floor filled with thousands of new devices, concepts, and ideas, a few stood out to us as the Most Innovative of CES 2024, thanks to their designs that aim to improve productivity, boost performance, protect users, or build a more sustainable future. From Samsung’s clever new modular monitor concept to laptops that push the boundaries of portable computing, these devices solve problems in thoughtful ways or open up new creative possibilities. More than just flashy new gadgets, these innovations represent the kind of meaningful progress that makes me excited about the future of consumer technology year after year at CES.

CGMagazine’s Most Innovative of CES 2024:

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid

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Starting things off with a laptop that impressed me about as much as it filled me with questions.  The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid is a striking 2-in-1 laptop that pushes the boundaries of what is possible. While many 2-in-1 laptops can transform into different modes, such as folding over into a tablet, this laptop truly impresses with its innovative design and features. The ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid packs two completely separate computing platforms into one device, simultaneously making it a Windows laptop and an Android tablet.

Detach the 14-inch OLED display to instantly transform it into a fully functioning Android tablet powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The keyboard base runs Windows with its own high-powered Intel processor, creating two totally independent systems. This unique feature allows you to use the Windows laptop as a desktop while taking the Android tablet on the go, making it stand out from other 2-in-1 devices. This device has achieved a seamless workflow that is unparalleled by any other. The level of innovation is truly mind-blowing.

Samsung – The Link

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While their booth was filled with countless new displays and smart devices, it was a rather odd innovative option that put Samsung on this list: The Link, an incredibly sleek 4K monitor with a strikingly thin and minimalist design that has a surprise up its sleeve.

Despite the scant details initially provided, The Link stands out for its potential to enable a modular and wireless multi-monitor setup. The monitors appear to be connected via some sort of contact points on the bottom edges, possibly using pogo pins, although Samsung has since removed any mention of the specific technology. If the monitors can be securely linked and both data and power can be transferred through these integrated contact points, it would eliminate the usual tangle of cables required for multi-monitor configurations, something I rage against on a daily basis.

With its ultra-thin profile and ability to align perfectly flush with adjacent units, The Link looks to enable streamlined productivity stations or expansive display walls suitable for creative work, gaming, or entertainment. While many questions remain regarding specifics on The Link, Samsung deserves recognition for this aesthetically and functionally innovative monitor concept pointing to a cleaner desktop computing future. I’m excited to see additional details on this slick modular monitor as it emerges, but for now, the concept is enough to secure its place on our Most Innovative of CES 2024.

Xebec Snap

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The Xebec Snap is an innovative smart mount that attaches to the back of your laptop and allows you to “snap on” up to two portable monitors. With just one clever accessory, you can turn your standard laptop into a triple-screen productivity powerhouse. I’ll admit, when I first read about what the Xebec Snap could do, I was a bit skeptical, but once I saw it in action, I was hooked. The Xebec Snap manages to do the multi-monitor idea in a much more elegant and portable way than any other portable solution I have tested.

The wings that pop out of the stand can accommodate portable displays vertically or horizontally. So you can truly customize your optimal workstation setup on the go. Yet it remains slim and streamlined enough to slip easily into your bag. Of course, the ability to snap on additional displays is convenient. But they’ve also built in some smart features like pass-through charging and compatibility with both Mac and Windows machines.

The Xebec Snap represents the innovative thinking that we hope to see more of at CES, simple, useful ideas that solve real work needs for mobile professionals. I’ll be first in line to get my hands on a review unit, as this little gadget could be a potential game-changer for content creators or journalists like myself constantly working on the move.

Sennheiser Momentum Sport

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Sennheiser’s new Momentum Sport earbuds aim to bridge the gap between audio and fitness tracking. Packed into the durable yet stylish buds are a heart rate sensor and body temperature sensor, allowing them to output biometric data in real-time to popular apps and devices like Apple Health, Garmin, Strava, and Polar. The Polar integration is a first for Sennheiser, enabling advanced analytics by tapping into Polar’s fitness platform.

Beyond the high-tech health features, the Momentum Sport promises to deliver Sennheiser’s renowned sound with a custom transducer and acoustic relief system to limit ear pressure and ambient noise. Available in three stylish colour options, these versatile earphones let you ditch the smartwatch without losing the smart features. With advanced connectivity and up to 28 hours of battery life with the case, the Momentum Sport earbuds earn their name as a personal trainer that whispers in your ear with superior audio. Launching April 9 for $330, they aim to give fitness buffs a soundtrack while they track their vitals.

GIGABYTE MO34WQC2 Gaming Monitor

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There are countless monitors shown off at CES 2024, but something about the GIGABYTE MO34WQC2 made me pause. GIGABYTE pulls out all the stops with this new monitor, boasting a gorgeous 34-inch QD-OLED panel. This display serves up sumptuous colours and an ultra-fast 0.1ms response time, perfect for fast-paced gaming. The buttery smooth 240Hz refresh rate ensures gameplay stays sharp and tear-free, while the 21:9 aspect ratio expands your field of view for added immersion. 

Innovative touches make the MO34WQC2 a multi-tasker’s dream, providing the features people need in their daily computing lives. Its Picture-by-Picture mode lets you view two input sources side by side, while the built-in KVM switch lets you control two systems with a single keyboard and mouse. But perhaps one of the smallest features impressed me the most: a smart button that downscales the display to 24.5 inches for esports-style gaming, landing it on our Most Innovative of CES 2024 list.  

With an 1800R curvature that wraps around your field of view, the MO34WQC2 combines stunning visuals with an ergonomic and versatile design. It combines cutting-edge display technology with clever quality-of-life enhancements that will make gamers and power users excited. GIGABYTE has raised the bar for premium gaming displays, and I know I can’t wait to see more of the display when it launches later this year.

Lenovo Legion 9i (2024)

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Every year, Lenovo manages to do a few things that impress, and this year is no different. The new Legion 9i brings all the latest technology to the table in a way that ensures you get the most out of your gaming laptop. We’re talking about the latest Intel 14th generation HX processors designed specifically for gaming, plus improved AI and liquid cooling to push performance even further. The laptop adapts to your needs, so you don’t have to sacrifice performance for gaming, content creation, or anything else you want to throw at this powerhouse.

What this means for the end user is a blazing-fast monster that can handle even the most demanding AAA titles without breaking a sweat. The Legion 9i also sports a gorgeous 16-inch mini-LED display with a buttery smooth 165Hz refresh rate, making your games look and feel better than ever. And let’s not forget the forged carbon fibre lid that not only looks incredibly slick but helps keep things cool under pressure. It is a laptop built to take on the most powerful tasks, and it looks fantastic as it does so. 

ASUS Zenbook Duo

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I was lucky enough to get my hands on the ASUS Zenbook Duo ahead of CES 2024, and it is a sight to behold. This slick machine packs two gorgeous 14-inch OLED touchscreens for a combined viewing area of nearly 20 inches, all in a package that is incredibly portable, so no wonder it landed on our Most Innovative of CES 2024 list. As if that were not enough, ASUS has made sure that both displays have 3K resolution with ultra-smooth 120Hz refresh rates and 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut for truly stunning picture quality.

What I love is how thoughtfully the Zenbook Duo is designed for productivity, something I have been craving in a laptop for years. The dual displays transform into a makeshift multi-monitor setup so you can reference multiple applications and windows simultaneously. And the included wireless keyboard magnetically snaps to the bottom display to free up even more real estate.

With killer specs like next-generation Intel Core Ultra processors, this laptop is ready for the most demanding creative workloads. The I/O is stacked with state-of-the-art Thunderbolt 4 ports and HDMI 2.1. For a starting price of $1,500 USD, it feels like ASUS has achieved the balance of form and function with this dual-screen offering. If you need plenty of portable screen real estate for work or play, this could be the ultimate laptop for 2024.

Tiktaalik Hubstand Laptop Stand

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While it may sound a little less exciting than some of the items on this list, the Tiktaalik Hubstand really stood out to me as an innovative new take on the laptop stand. What makes it unique is the combination of an adjustable stand and a removable 8-in-1 hub. So not only can you raise your laptop screen up to 34cm for an ergonomic viewing angle, but you also get this handy hub with HDMI, USB, and 100W PD charging all built right in.

I love the origami-style folding design, where the whole thing folds flat, making it super portable to throw in your bag. And it just looks great with the open top and bottom and the modern aluminum finish. The magnetically detachable hub is clever, too-you can use it on its own or snap it onto the stand for a streamlined workstation setup. No more cable clutter!

The engineering on this thing clearly took some thoughtful design. By combining an ergonomic stand and a versatile hub in one portable package, I’d say the Tiktaalik Hubstand hits the sweet spot, delivering a stand that keeps you productive and looks good doing so. I could see this being a hit with mobile professionals and creatives looking to streamline their workflow on the go.

ShiftCam Probe Lens

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I did not think I would be blown away by a lens at CES 2024, but ShiftCam has gone and made macro photography accessible to the masses with their new Probe Lens, landing it on our Most Innovative of CES 2024 list. I got to see this unassuming smartphone add-on and let me tell you, it’s ridiculous in the best possible way. It looks like a little missile you can clip onto your phone, but point it at stuff, and you’ll be stunned by the micro world it reveals. 

The lens delivers extreme close-ups of textures, bugs, and water droplets—all the things you’d normally need a high-end macro lens on a DSLR to see. But ShiftCam has made it mobile and wireless while keeping the price under $300. The image quality is up to snuff, too, thanks to built-in lighting and the ability to adjust the depth of field.

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From extreme close-ups of flowers in your backyard to exploring the micro-ecosystems in puddles and streams, the Probe Lens is an affordable way to open up a whole new realm of photography. Macro photography is no longer just for pros, with thousands to spend on equipment. ShiftCam has made it fun and mobile with this clever add-on.

JBuds Protect earplugs from JLab

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It may seem odd, including an offering that is under $20 and already on the market, but something about these earplugs made them stand out. Designed for adults or kids, they promise to prevent hearing damage in loud environments by lowering decibel levels reaching your ears. The little dial on the back of the plugs lets you adjust based on needs, so you can still listen to a concert while ensuring you will not lose hearing in the process. 

Despite their health-focused purpose, the JBuds Protect manages to make ear protection look cool with a sleek and low-profile design in fun colours like red, blue, and purple. With hearing loss impacting more consumers every year, especially younger generations, JLab seems to have found the sweet spot of an effective and affordable solution. If the quality matches the impressive specs, the JBuds Protect may just set a new standard for accessible ear tech that actually protects your hearing health, making it part of our Most Innovative of CES 2024 list.

HP Omen Transcend 14

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Perhaps my favourite portable, the HP Omen Transcend 14 easily secured its spot on our Most Innovative of CES 2024 list with a stylish body, performance and features that set it apart from the average laptop. Don’t let its unassuming design fool you; this lightweight 3.6-pounder can pack quite a punch. Available with up to an Intel Core Ultra 9 processor and NVIDIA RTX 4070 graphics, it promises solid gaming performance without the flashy “gamer” aesthetic.

But the Omen Transcend 14 is about more than just gaming. Its vibrant 14-inch 2.8K OLED display, combined with an Intel-designed vapor-chamber cooling system, makes it ideal for both graphics and streaming. At just 0.7 inches thick, it’s slim and portable enough to toss in your bag without compromise, something I wish I had with me for CES 2024. Starting at $1,500, it’s also competitively priced and made for people who want to push their laptop while still wanting to take it with them wherever they go. This is a laptop to look out for when it drops later this month.

NVIDIA ACE and Convai’s AI

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One of the most unique innovations I saw at CES this year was NVIDIA’s new ACE (Avatar Cloud Engine) technology for creating intelligent NPCs in video games. NVIDIA demonstrated some incredibly lifelike conversations between AI-powered game characters, and our own Dayna Eileen showed off what the technology can do, demonstrating how ACE can interpret speech, generate natural dialogue, and even animate facial expressions in real time.

But NVIDIA isn’t stopping there — they’ve partnered with a company called Convai that takes things even further. Convai’s AI allows NPCs not only to converse but also to interact with objects and environments. In our hands-on demo, these NPCs reacted to what Dayna was saying into the mic. Even though there are plenty of ethical questions to tackle, this has the potential to open up all sorts of new gameplay possibilities with reactive worlds and truly intelligent NPCs.

@cgmagazine NVIDIA Ace and Convai let us have an entire conversation with an NPC using AI at #CES2024 #NVIDIA #NVIDIAAce #Convai #CES #AI ♬ original sound – CGMagazine

Between ACE’s conversational capabilities and Convai’s environmental interactions, I think game developers now have immensely powerful tools to create the next generation of immersive, dynamic game experiences. This has the potential to fundamentally change the way NPCs behave in games, leading to new levels of realism and player engagement. It is definitely some of the most groundbreaking AI technology I have seen this year, and it gives a good sense of how AI, technology, and innovation will shape gaming for years to come.

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