CES 2018: everything you need to know about the world's biggest tech show

Busy halls of CES

CES 2018 is a wrap, folks! The show that brought us a week's worth of gadgety goodness is saying so long to Las Vegas. 

If you want to see the best of the best from this year's show, check out the TechRadar 2018 CES Awards. From Best in Show winner The Wall by Samsung to People's Choice recipient HTC Vive Pro, this year's batch is truly a worthy group.

Before the show even kicked off on January 9 and we started scouring the crowded halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, we saw a rollable LG OLED TV, new Sony smartphones and ultra-thin laptops from a wide range of manufacturers. On the show floor, we went up close with everything from 8K TVs to solar-powered smartwatches.

What were the big themes at this year's CES? Nearly every company infused their tech with AI and voice assistants, meaning our smart products are about to get even smarter.

Read on for all the biggest announcements and hands on reviews from the biggest tech show of the year. But before you even get into all that, we think you should check out 10 weird and wonderful gadgets from CES 2018, because that's what the show is really all about, right?

Here are all the major highlights from CES 2018 in less than 4 minutes! 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The biggest consumer technology show on Earth
  • When is it? Jan 9 - Jan 12, with press-only events happening Jan 7 and Jan 8
  • What's on show? Everything from 8K televisions and connected fridges to laptops and self-driving cars

TechRadar CES 2018 opinions

So, have we made of the technology at CES 2018? Here you'll find a number of opinion pieces where we talk about the big trends at this year's show, and what we think about them.

How Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa took over CES 2018

This was the year of the voice assistant at CES 2018, and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa emerged the clear winners. Both assistants broke out of the smart speaker packages we're used to seeing and found their way into new and exciting applications. Whether new Google Assistant-backed smart displays or soundbars with Alexa, there was no shortage of devices featuring the voice assistants at CES. This sets the stage for an even bigger fight throughout the year, and we've got a front row seat to the action. 

Why the AT&T fallout shouldn't hurt the big year Huawei is gearing up for

Huawei made a big splash by announcing the Mate 10 Pro is coming to the US, but its other big news wasn't so positive. AT&T decided to drop its plans to launch the handset stateside right before the show, dealing what's undoubtedly a major blow to the phone maker. But, all is not lost, according to Cameron Faulkner, and Huawei could come out of this with the last laugh. Here's why Huawei is still poised for a big year

What happened to all the cameras?

We seen a huge range of devices at CES 2018, but something has been bugging us: where are all the cameras? Sure, there have been some new camera announcements coming out of Las Vegas this year, but it seems the photographic industry has kept a low profile. We look into why that may be.

The smart kitchen needs to be modular or you risk your oven becoming redundant

At CES 2018 the potential of the smart kitchen is starting to be realized, but it brings its own problems. What do tech companies need to do to make smart kitchens a reality?

Acer and Asus are courting Alexa – does this mean Cortana’s dumped?

Microsoft's Cortana was once pushed as the voice assistant for Windows devices, but with Acer and Asus wooing Alexa for its laptops at CES 2018, is this the end for Cortana?

Watch out consoles – PCs could soon be the center of the living room

Games consoles have traditionally been the go-to gaming devices to play on a big screen TV in the main room of your house, but that could all change. Nvidia has partnered up with a range of monitor makers to create some breathtaking Big Format Gaming Displays (BFGD) screens that feature 4K 120Hz HDR capabilities with integrated Nvidia G-Sync technology and Nvidia Shield functionality, all in giant 65-inch setups. We think that these screens could soon make PCs the center of your media setup, not consoles.

CES 2018 highlights

There's been some truly amazing technology on show at CES 2018, but some gadgets have really stood out from the crowd for us. Below, you'll find our pick of the very best tech at CES 2018. 

TechRadar's 2018 CES Awards – the best tech at the show

We've dished out our TechRadar CES 2018 Awards, highlighting the very best technology that we've seen at this year's event. Make sure you check out which gadgets bagged our coveted awards.

The world's first smartphone with an in-display fingerprint scanner

One of the most hotly rumored new smartphone features of the past few months, we've now finally seen an in-display finterprint scanner in action at CES 2018. And no, it's not from a Samsung or Apple handset, but rather a phone by Chinese firm Vivo. 

To be clear, this is the world's first smartphone with an in-display fingerprint scanner. Want to know what it was like to use? Check out our in-depth first look.

The Google Glass dream made real again, but with Amazon Alexa

It's time to get psyched for AR again. That's how we were left feeling after trying on the Vuzix Blade, augmented reality glasses that are excruciatingly close to achieving what Google set out to master years ago:  truly augmented reality that not only keeps you connected but tells you more about the world around you. Read to our hands on Vuzix Blade review to see what we mean.

The best PCs of CES 2018

CES is the home of the latest and most innovative technologies but we've seen some fantastic traditional PCs at this year's show. Far from going out of fashion, these desktops show manufacturers are still willing to experiment and push the envelope with the form factor. 

Boasting drool-worthy specs and plenty of power, these are the best PCs of CES 2018. 

The best laptops of CES 2018

Laptop makers had a huge presence at this year's CES, with all the big names such as Asus, HP and Lenovo showing off their latest devices. To be honest, we were spoilt for choice when it came to choosing the best laptops of CES 2018, but we narrowed it down to bring you our pick of the top notebooks we saw in Las Vegas.

Nvidia BFGD screens

CES is all about making your jaw fall to the floor, and Nvidia's Big Format Gaming Displays, or BFGD for short, do just that. We went hands on with the HP Omen X 65 BFGD, basking in all its 4K HDR 120fps glory. These screens really are a big effing deal. 

The best wearables of CES 2018

As this year's CES has shown us, smartwatches are getting ever smarter, and there was an incredible selection of wearable tech (and not just smartwatches). If you're looking for some smart apparel, check out our list of the best wearables of CES 2018.

The drones of CES 2018

Drones were out in force at this year's CES show, and we've rounded up the very best drones of CES 2018, from handheld devices that help you take selfies to professional-grade machines and even one that works underwater!

The Wall by Samsung

Samsung unveiled a massive 146-inch screen early on during CES that's a modular TV, which means it can connect to other units to make an even bigger display. It's also a MicroLED screen, made of pixels that, like OLED, produce their own light. That means individual pixels can be turned on and off, which in turn creates better contrast and ultimately better dynamic range. Check out our first look to see why we awarded this the Best in Show. 

65-inch rollable OLED TV

LG is previewing a 65-inch rollable OLED TV prototype that's also a 4K screen, so when it's not rolled up, you can enjoy premium resolution. We likely won't see this screen on the market any time soon, but we were impressed enough to give it our CES Must See Award.

HTC Vive Pro

The tease came true: HTC unveiled a new, upgraded VR headset at CES 2018, the HTC Vive Pro. As we found out in our hands on HTC Vive Pro review, the headset has a 78% resolution increase over the current-gen Vive. It also features better audio performance with built-in headphones.

Lenovo Mirage Solo

To the surprise of no one, Lenovo unveiled its Google Daydream headset at CES. We tried it out for ourselves, and already it looks to be the best way to experience VR content on-the-go, thanks to a marriage of forward-thinking design and ambitious immersion features. It may all come down to the price, which Lenovo says will be under $400 (about £300 / AU$500).

Lenovo Miix 630

Lenovo’s first Snapdragon 835 Windows hybrid impressed us so much we awarded it our best laptop of CES. It looks and feels like an incredibly luxurious Windows tablet, with excellent portability and connectivity options. It promises incredible battery life, and we can't wait to give it a proper try later on this year.

Latest CES 2018 news

View from the CES 2018 show floor

View from the CES 2018 show floor

Brace yourselves, mechanical keyboards are heading to notebooks

Like mechanical keyboards but not their bulk? Then you may be interested in the new low-profile mechanical keyboard switch from German manufacturer Cherry. The switches are a full 35% flatter than their full-size counterparts, meaning they could be fitted into a notebook PC without creating a monstrosity. We've got the lowdown on the new Cherry keyboards

Dolby Vision or HDR10+? Dolby wants you to have both

It's Dolby Vision vs HDR10+, right? Not necessarily, Dolby Laboratories’ Senior Vice President of Consumer Entertainment, Giles Baker, tells us. In an interview with TechRadar, Baker mused about a future in which both systems coexist. Granted, he puts Dolby Vision on top, but he doesn't want there to be bad blook, or worse, misinformation. 

" [...] HDR10+ and Dolby Vision can coexist,” Baker says. We can get behind that.

The Root robot teaches kids how to code from toddler to teenager

Connected toys that teach kids to code are nothing new, but the Root robot is a little bit different. Rather than simply teaching toddlers how to code through more easily-digestible reductions of what coding actually is and stopping there, it increases in complexity as your kids grow in understanding. 

Root does this through a smartly-designed companion app that separates its coding concepts into three levels of understanding. Look for the Root robot in June for $199 (about £149, AU$259).

Misfit Path is one of the smallest hybrid smartwatches ever made

One of the best things about hybrid smartwatches is that they strike a more reasonable balance in size somewhere between a proper smartwatch and an analog smartwatch. Enter the Misfit Path, which puts forward an even smaller form factor than we’ve seen.

The Path has a bold, cohesive design that makes a statement without having to yell about it. Despite its diminutive size, there’s plenty of room for Misfit to add some nice touches, like the ever-so-slightly curved glass presentation on the Path’s face.

The smart home tech of CES 2018

There may be no better time to make your smart home smarter. Here we highlight some of the most interesting offerings for your humble abode from this year's Vegas tech extravaganza.

Huawei VR 2 grants you your very own portable IMAX screen

We've had an early look at the Huawei VR 2 and can tell you it's sleek, comfortable, and can do something that others can’t: show off IMAX content in certified fashion. But that’s not all.

Huawei's mobile VR headset has adopted a now-common design to guarantee comfort while playing or enjoying a film in VR for extended periods of time, much like the PSVR and new Lenovo Mirage Solo.

Doing what Amazon Echo can't - be a true smart home hub 

Milo speaker

Two devices at CES 2018 are attempting to do what neither the Amazon Echo nor Google Home can do; be a true smart home hub. The first device is Milo, a $149 (about £120 / AU$200) speaker available sometime early this year. 

Not to be outdone, ZLINK is a USB-sized gizmo that only costs $15 (about £10, AU$20) but can, too, transform your Echo speaker into a smart home control center. 

This selfie-taking drone fits in a phone case

This compact and ingenious drone is called the AEE Selfly, a fitting name as it will snap your group or solo photos for you. It can also collapse down, Transformer-style, into a phone case, keeping your  iPhone 6, 7, 8 and Plus sizes, as well as the Samsung Galaxy 8 and Galaxy 8 Plus intact. Look for it in the first quarter of 2018 for $130 (around £95 / AU$165).

Kohler has created a smart bathroom range that you’ll actually want

Kohler's new smart bathroom range (yes, it's a thing) includes a shower called DTV+ that can have a number of different voice-activated presets, a bath that will fill with water at a specific temperature and stop on it's own, and, naturally, an intelligent toilet. And there are even more of Kohler's latest, uh, innovations

Kodak just made its own cryptocurrency

Seemingly mundane when compared to what else is on show at CES 2018, Kodak's news could be far more important. Kodak, alongside WENN Digital, announced its very own cryptocurrency called KODAKCoin that aims to protect photographer's image rights and ensure they get paid for usage.

KODAKCoin (we like the name) will be backed up by a blockchain ledger and image rights platform called KODAKOne, which will allow photographers to securely register new and old work. Both amateur and professional photographers will be able to sign up to the scheme.

SteelSeries’ new gaming mouse helps keep your aim steady in the midst of frantic combat

SteelSeries has shown off its Rival 600 gaming mouse at CES 2018, and it has some pretty nifty features that could improve your performance in games.

The headline feature is a second optical sensor (most optical mice have just one) that tracks lift-off distance and helps reduce cursor jitter, making for a much smoother experience.

Coros Omni smart bike helmet lets you listen to tunes while still hearing the road

The Coros Omni smart bike helmet was shown off at CES 2018, and it's a great example of how technology can enrich our lives while also keeping us safe. Using bone-conducting audio it can allow you to listen to music while you cycle, without distracting you or masking important environmental sounds (such as approaching traffic).

Amazon talks up Echo Buttons at CES

Amazon has been talking about its future plans for the Echo Buttons at CES 2018. While they are currently used for games, Amazon has some big ideas for them, and we may also see some more 'Alexa Gadgets' coming soon as well.

Game Boy is respawning thanks to Hyperkin

CES isn't just about looking to the future, there are also retro-orientated bits of tech that look to the past as well, and apply a fresh coat of paint.

The Game Boy Ultra by Hyperkin is one of those gadgets, bringing Nintendo's iconic handheld into the 21st century with some modern features to make it easy and comfortable to use. It's not an official product, like the SNES Classic Mini, but the thought of being able to play classic games like Tetris, Super Mario Land and the original Pokemon series is very exciting!

Sandisk squeezes 1TB storage into a prototype thumb drive

SanDisk is a company well known for its storage devices, and at CES 2018 it showed that it was aiming to push the envelope further by presenting a USB thumb stick with 1TB of storage - the largest capacity yet for such a small drive.

It also includes a USB-C connection, which will mean incredibly fast data transfer rates when you plug it in to a compatible port on your laptop or PC, and it may even be compatible with smartphones. Its just a prototype at the moment, but we're keen to see the final product come out.

Ring ups its security with array of new smart home devices

Ring, maker of the Ring Video Doorbell 2, has shown off some of its new home security devices at this year's CES, hoping to be a big player when it comes to companies that can protect your home.

In Las Vegas it revealed the Stick Up Cam and Stick Up Cam Elite, two 1080p cameras with two-way audio for keeping an eye on your property, as well as a number of motion-activated lights.

Polk Audio Command Bar is a soundbar with integrated Alexa support

Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant, continues its strong showing at this year's CES by turning up in Polk Audio's new Command Bar soundbar. This will allow you to use your voice to change the volume, or to perform standard Alexa tasks, such as stream music of your choice, or control connected smart home devices.

The Command Bar's love affair with Amazon hardware continues with four Alexa control buttons (that are also found on Amazon Echo devices), as well as a specially-designed space to install an Amazon Fire TV device.

Even if you've not bought into the Amazon ecosystem, it looks like there should still be lots to like about the Command Bar, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a wireless 6.5-inch subwofer, two HDMI 2.0b ports (which support 4K, HDR, HDR 10 and Dolby Vision and lots more.

An in-display fingerprint sensor is here

Not Apple, not Samsung but Vivo has brought about in-display fingerprint sensors, an accomplishment that could revolutionize our devices. The China-based company's device works through a "Clear ID" optical sensor from Synaptics that's hidden below the phone's OLED display. 

Scanning between the OLED display's pixels, it effectively does the same job as the old direct-contact fingerprint displays (if a tad more slowly). Can Vivo beat the Samsung Galaxy S9, which is rumored to have an in-display sensor, to the punch? We'll find out soon!

Casio's new smartwatches recharges with the sun

(Image credit: Casio)

If you're the sort of person that likes to go on long treks into the truly empty parts of the world, you'll probably want to pick up the Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR B-1000, which comes with a built-in standalone GPS system. Even niftier: it's solar powered, and you can harness that solar power in the middle of the wilderness to recharge the built-in GPS whenever and wherever you need it. 

BlackBerry's new shade

There's a new BlackBerry on the block, but it's not a whole new handset, for now. Rather, it's a new color as the iconic brand has announced the BlackBerry KeyOne Bronze Edition. In addition to the new color, the metallic phone also has dual-SIM. While we don't know the cost or a release date, BlackBerry tells us we can look for new phones from the company this year, including ones with keyboards.

What's more, the BlackBerry Motion will arrive in the US and Canada on Friday, January 12 with an all-touch form factor that ditches the brand’s iconic physical keys in favor of more screen. This marks the Motion's arrival in the two countries, and it will be unlocked from Amazon and Best Buy for $499.99.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro launching in the US next month

Planting its flag in US soil, Huawei announced the Mate 10 Pro will be available for pre-order in the US on February 4 via its retail partners. The phone will be available on February 18 to purchase for $799, but there’s a good reason to pre-order, as you’ll get a free $150 gift card to whichever retailer you purchase through in the lead-up to its release.

New point-and-shoot VR cameras

Google and the Daydream team have announced a slew of VR180 cameras, designed to make capturing content for VR just that much easier. These aren't 360-degree cameras, despite housing two lenses. This is to capture depth rather than a full 360 view. Look for cameras from Yi Technology, Lenovo (pictured), LG and Panasonic when the snappers are ready for consumers.  

Want even more CES 2018 news and hands-on reviews? Turn to Page 2!

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.