The year may have barely started but with the biggest annual consumer electronics show underway, there is an influx of new technology launches to get excited about.
CES 2021 typically takes place every year in Las Vegas but as with most events of 2020, organisers have instead chosen to make 2021's expo a virtual affair.
The four-day event is allowing technology and consumer brands from across the globe to show off their latest products including everything from earbuds and soundbars to robotic vacuum cleaners and drones.
To help you wade through the deluge of gadgets and tech that are being launched this week, here is a guide to the latest news from CES 2021. Below, you'll find key dates, a rundown of the event and the must-watch brands from 2021 including Samsung, Sony and Panasonic.
As may be expected, the events so far have often referenced the global pandemic situation in some way. For Philips, there was a clear focus on healthcare-related technology for the home while Panasonic accentuated how various features on its newest releases benefited working from home and spending more time indoors.
And, if you want to add more dates to your calendar, here is a rundown of all the upcoming video game releases for 2021.
When is CES 2021?
CES 2021 is a virtual event taking place from Monday 11th to Thursday 14th January. The first day is a 'media day' and when we can expect most of the big announcements.
Brands including LG, Bosch, Samsung, Panasonic and Philips will all use this day to reveal their biggest products of the year. The following days will be used to show off what these products can do in more detailed presentations and exhibitions.
CES 2021: what to expect
With CES 2021 being an online-only event, this year is clearly going to be a little different. The big brands such as Samsung and Sony are hosting their own livestreams to make their announcements.
Some of these livestreams should be available for the public to watch – however some will be exclusively for CES attendees and media. If you are eager to see products from a particular brand, you may want to keep an eye on their social media channels throughout this week.
There is also a chance brands not involved in CES 2021 will launch their products this week too, while interest is high. This means next week will be a great opportunity to find your next gadget or tech purchase.
With the event being such a big one, we've picked out some of the key brands to keep an eye on when it comes to the world of technology and entertainment.
So far, we have seen Samsung reveal its long-talked-about MicroLED TV that uses micrometre-sized LED lights to eliminate the backlight and colour filters used in traditional TVs. Samsung boasts that this show make colours more 'lifelike'.
And, while robotic vacuum cleaners have become increasingly popular, Samsung has taken it a step further with its latest developments. Alongside the JetBot 90 AI+, a robotic vacuum cleaner fitted with LIDAR and 3D sensors and a camera, the South Korean company has also developed the Samsung Bot Care. Designed to be a helping hand, the Samsung Bot Care a robotic assistant that will learn your schedule, habits and behaviours and send reminders to help you make the most of your day.
Samsung has also already announced the launch date for the new Samsung Galaxy S21, which will be revealed on 14th January. This is a good few months earlier than expected as the S range has typically been launched in March.
Sony's headphones and earbuds always prove popular. However, the brand did launch some new on-ear headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM4, relatively recently in August 2020, so earbuds may be more likely at CES 2021.
So far this year we have seen Sony reveal two new wireless home speakers, the SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000, and a range of new Bravia XR TVs powered by the Cognitive Processor XR. This new processor is designed to replicate the way humans see and hear by targeting 'focal points' that we unconsciously focus on to provide the best sound and picture quality possible.
Both of Sony's new speakers promise 'room-filling' sound. The RA5000 features a trio of up-firing speakers that spread music vertically, while the three middle sited speakers spread sound horizontally to make this a reality.
Both are also compatible with Google Assistant-enabled devices and Alexa-enabled devices so that you can control these devices hands-free. Available from February 2021, the RA3000 will cost £280 and the RA5000 will be more expensive at £500.
Of course, we can't mention Sony without talking about PS5 stock. While no new products are expected so soon after the release date, there will likely be plenty of discussion around the games console when it comes to any new TV launches.
Before the event had even started, LG has already revealed a number of its products including a bendable gaming TV. The TV can be watched flat or curved for a more immersive experience. LG will also be revealing its own range of Mini LED TVs at CES 2021, which will include 10 models covering a range of sizes up to a huge 86 inches.
If these pre-announcements were not enough, LG is also launching a new line-up of LG Gram laptops. Designed to be used on the go, LG describes the five new models as "ultra-light, ultra-portable and boasting exceptional performance and long battery life". No prices for these products yet.
Panasonic is another brand that we expected to show off its high-end TV line-up, and the brand did not disappoint. Last year saw the Japanese brand launch its HZ2000 OLED model that supported Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker mode, along with the likes of Dolby Vision and HDR10+.
This TV has a new HCX Pro AI Processor that uses AI to assess what is being shown on the screen and alters the sound and picture accordingly. Other features include upward-firing speakers, front-firing speakers and a subwoofer, and support for Dolby Vision. There's no exact release date yet but it should be available in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes.
Other new releases included the new Sound Slayer speaker which has ben designed especially for gaming, as the brand revealed that "82% of global consumers played or watched video gaming content" last year.
Referencing the pandemic and increased time spent at home, Panasonic also showcased their new True Wireless headphones created with Technics "bi-directional noise cancellation" and a microphone capable of high quality isolation, meaning it should pick up more of your voice and less of the background noise.
The brand explained that thought processes behind these design features was the increased time spent schooling and working from home, so the headphones are ideal for video calls and meetings.
The Honor Band 6, the brand's latest fitness tracker, was launched in China back in November 2020. However, it has been revealed at CES 2021 that the fitness tracker will also be available elsewhere. The fitness tracker will feature a 1.47-inch AMOLED screen and health features such as heart rate, sleep and stress monitoring.