From Transport to Tousles, we've got your back

It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, we didn't just take an accidental three-week nap, we're just really into CES. Vegas is fun (for a couple days at least), companies trot out some amazing devices, and other companies … try hard and are certainly very entertaining.

As expected, this year's CES was packed with the latest in home theater, the Internet of Things, ways of getting around, and “miscellaneous." Thanks to our correspondents and strategically placed sources*, we're pleased to bring you our best of CES: 2017 Edition.

(* other cool blogs and news sources whose contributors were in attendance)

Transportation

BMW, Audi, and others weighed in with their visions for the future of transportation, mostly focusing on autonomy, electric power, or both. The concept cars included a Hyundai that "docks" and blends in with the owner's home interior, a smart Toyota whose AI "befriends" the driver, and a Bosch concept that recognizes the driver's face and sets up the cabin environment to match stored preferences.

But the most anticipated vehicle seems to have been the potential Tesla-killer, the super-smart, super-exclusive Faraday Future FF91. This isn't just a concept car — the company presented it as a beta version of a production model due to hit the streets next year. The interior of the FF91 was Spartan, but the car was fully functional, and testers compared the thrill of the ride favorably to high-end European sports cars.

Construction disruptions, legal and financial problems, and other obstacles had beset the company, making it doubtful that FF would present at CES '17, but they made it, and the reviews were fair to - erm - frightful. The Outline, for example has had an acute case of jaundice.



TVs/home theater/entertainment

Engadget.com has pronounced LG's best-of-range OLED, the W series, to be the finest displays on, uh, display at this year's convention. The sets are just 2.6 mm thick — that's 1/10 of an INCH, people. That means they have to be wall mounted. It also means the inputs are located in the matching soundbar, which connects with a special cable. — you can't fit input jacks in a display that's thinner than two quarters stacked up. (Do two quarters even make a stack?)

Engadget says these TVs have the whiff of the future about them, and if so, we're already excited for Season 8 of “Westworld."

Computers and mobile devices

“Best"? Certainly “most extravagant." Acer is releasing a gaming laptop with a curved 21-inch monitor, two GeForce GTX 1080X graphics cards, up to 64 GB of RAM and four 512 MB SSDs, a brand-spanking-new i7 CPU, eye tracking, mechanical keyboard, four speakers, two subwoofers (!), and a partridge in a pear tree. The thing weighs just over seventeen and a half pounds. It costs $8,999 — that's over nine grand for a “laptop," once tax and shipping are added.

Put another way, you can get your teenager this “hideous" “clamshell monstrosity" with a “sheer and absurd level of power," or you can get them an '06 Honda Civic for the same money. (If you haggle, you might have some left over for driving lessons.) (Just kidding, teenagers don't drive anymore.)

'I didn't know I needed that!'

All we need to say: Beer Keurig.

The PicoBrew system turns grains and water into beer in seven to ten days, with an average brew time of about two hours. OK, so it takes a little longer than brewing a coffee pod — but it's customizable, and it's freaking cool. Partner breweries license beer recipes. Pico customers order the ingredients from the Pico marketplace, and then they use the Pico device to make the beer fresh at home. This year, the company won an Innovation Award for its PicoPak ingredient kits, under the “Eco-Design and Sustainable Technologies" award category.

The company is launching “FreeStyle PicoPaks," which give users an online tool to select a custom mix of grains, hops, and yeast. This means truly individual beer, made using a method that's supposed to be foolproof. Whether this foolproofness extends to the brew you make when you're on the messy side of your third PicoPak, remains to be seen.

… um, what?

And now Kérastase debuts their crowning glory, sort of. A hairbrush with microphone, moisture sensors, gyroscopes, and Wi-Fi, controlled by a dedicated app promises to optimize your hair-brushing technique.

Oh, CES...

We fail to see what's wrong with tap water, the palms of our hands, and a hat. Maybe we're Luddites after all.