The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is in full swing and we’ve been browsing the exhibition to find and test cool products for you.
On day 2 (here’s CES 2018 day 1 coverage), we toured Sony’s booth. Among state-of-the-art TV screens, cameras, speakers, and headphones, the smart pet dog Aibo was the highlight of Sony’s booth. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the few items not yet available (outside of Japan).
Aibo, the Robotic Dog
First launched in 1999 and discontinued in 2006, Sony’s robot dog Aibo is making a comeback this year.
Powered by artificial intelligence and with cameras in his nose and tail, the new Aibo can map out your home, recognize family members, learn tricks, and develop a personality. Sensors in strategic locations like the head, back, and under the chin allow the AI puppy to react to touch and bond with humans. It picks up voice commands through a microphone and might eventually support smart home integration through Alexa or Google Home. When it needs to recharge or when nobody is home, Aibo will retire to its charging station.
Aibo’s robotic skills come at a steep price. On top of the roughly $1,800 that Aibo will set you back, you’ll need to purchase a $26 monthly subscription to receive updates and make backups via LTE or Wi-Fi. For now, however, Aibo is only available in Japan.
We were impressed with Aibo’s realistic behavior and little details like ear movements and its LCD eyes. Being a tech product, Aibo is also free of allergens, doesn’t need walks, and won’t make a mess in your house. But can it really love you? We find the idea of a robot pet that digitally “fakes” its attachment somewhat creepy.
Meanwhile, pre-orders completely sold out in Japan. Would you care for a digital dog or cat?
Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
Noise-canceling headphones have come a long way. Formerly a tough choice between sound quality and effective noise reduction, many manufacturers now achieve both.
We have previously covered Sony’s WH-1000XM2. These over-ear headphones offer supreme noise canceling, excellent sound quality, 30-hours of battery life, and to top it off they’re extremely comfortable to wear.
At CES, we also tried out Sony’s wireless noise-canceling earbuds.
The WF-SP700N are splash-proof and fit to be worn during sports. Though the battery life of three hours will somewhat limit your activities. But if you’re going to get a new smartphone without a headphone jack, it might be time to invest in compact wireless headphones to go with it. Sony’s latest model will be priced at $180, but you’ll have to wait a couple months before it comes out.
Already available is the equally wireless and noise-canceling WF-1000X.
All these models will be optimized for Google Assistant.
Sound Emitting TV Screens
Sony’s latest line of HDR 4K OLED TVs is suspiciously stylish. Viewed from the front, the A1E series lacks distractions like a bezel, stand, or speakers. All that’s left is a beautiful black slate that provides an immersive viewing experience. More than the superior visual design, however, the sound is what makes this TV outstanding.
Instead of speakers, the Bravia OLED A1E TV contains four “actuators”, which sit at the back of the panel and vibrate the display to create sound. Sony’s Acoustic Surface technology can output audio from isolated parts of the screen, ideal for dialogue or moving sound sources. Paired with an integrated subwoofer, also tucked behind the screen, you can get amazing acoustics in the tiniest of spaces — provided you can fit a 55″, 65″, or 77″ screen.
Sony already presented the A1E series at CES 2017. And by now you can actually buy it.
More in Store
The one Sony product that won’t be on the market for some time is an incredible 85″ 8K screen prototype. A 4K screen next to it pales in comparison. The 8K screen boasts 10,000 Nits (a unit used to measure brightness) making it the brightest television ever. The screen is crystal clear with a vivid picture quality that makes you feel like you’re looking out a window.
Meanwhile, we’re looking at another busy day at CES. Stay tuned for more from the show floor. In case you want to read some of our other CES 2018 coverage, check out the superpowers you might get in 2018.