It’s just about time for CES 2024 to close its doors for another year, after what has been a busy week packed full of exciting hi-fi and AV announcements.
As has become increasingly the case at CES, TV news has come thick and fast over the last few days – from cool concept sets to the new ranges we’ll be seeing in our testing rooms in just a few months.
But there’s also been some great hi-fi to get us talking too, from turntables to true wireless earbuds, though of course it wouldn’t be CES without an expensive speaker system or two thrown in for good luck.
We’ve certainly not been short of products to get round at the show, but we’ve put in the steps and whittled down the 11 most exciting products to crown our Best of CES 2024. Which products made the cut? You’d better keep reading…
LG OLED T
It wouldn't be CES without some crazy concept TVs, and LG is almost always the manufacturer delivering them. Following in the footsteps of its rollable OLED – the LG OLED R – the new Signature OLED T is about as futuristic as it gets.
It’s a transparent OLED TV, and while the concept isn’t entirely new, they’ve only been proof of concepts before. This is a viable product that will sit within LG’s fancy Signature Series, in all its see-through glory.
It features a transparent OLED panel up front, which means you can literally see what is sitting behind it, with a rollable opaque film that LG is calling a "contrast screen". Engage that and you’ll get a more traditional OLED TV experience; roll it down and the TV almost disappears into your décor around it.
It will use the same wireless technology and processor as the new M4 Wireless OLED TV, with the Zero Connect box beaming sound and images wirelessly to the see-through screen and sound system. It will also run the latest version of webOS, as is the case with all LG's 2024 TVs.
No pricing yet but you know the drill. Expect expensive, because it almost certainly will be.
Panasonic’s flagship TV for the year usually breaks cover at CES, and that’s been no different in 2024, with What Hi-Fi? able to get its eyes on the new range-topper for this year, the Panasonic Z95A.
It comes with something of a surprise up its sleeve, which is that Panasonic has nixed its own My Home Screen operating system in favour of Amazon’s Fire OS – a first in its flagship sets, but that should ensure all the streaming services you’ll want are present and correct. Not something we could always say about its predecessor.
The Z95A uses the same MLA-packing Master OLED Ultimate panel as the outgoing MZ2000 but there are brightness improvements here thanks to more efficient processing and improved heat management.
That’s in part thanks to a new processor, the HCX Pro AI Processor MK II, which promises to elevate picture clarity through its 4K Remaster Engine, with a reduction on banding too, through improved gradation.
It also helps to power an upgrade from Dolby Vision IQ to Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail, which should result in a slightly crisper Dolby Vision performance, plus there’s support for 144Hz gaming in Dolby Vision too.
It’ll be available in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes, and with our hands-on first impressions throwing around words like “stunning”, “cinematic” and “strikingly impressive”, we’re excited to see more.
CES 2024 saw its fair share of super-sized TVs, but TCL’s 115-inch QM89 takes the biscuit.
Not only is it absolutely huge, but it's also got some pretty incredible numbers on its spec sheet.
The biggest of those is 20,000, which is the number of separate dimming zones the Mini LED backlight is split into. That's astonishing, and should allow the QM89 to produce strong contrast even across that massive display area.
That’s joined by a jaw-dropping peak brightness of over 5000 nits. That beats the strides forward in this area made by the likes of Samsung and Sony hands down.
You can also add support for 4K/120Hz and 4K/144Hz gaming (though the panel itself is 120Hz) to those numbers, as well as 6.2.2 – the number of channels in the built-in sound system that includes dedicated up-firing speakers and Dolby Atmos support.
Our TV and AV editor Tom Parsons has clapped eyes on the impressive set for some first impressions, and is already preparing to convert his garage to accommodate it. Now all he needs is the “under $20,000” for the price tag it’s likely to launch with.
Hisense ULED X
Hisense used CES 2024 to test the waters with some of its more conceptual products, including its new ULED X range.
This is Hisense's most premium TV collection, and as such, makes use of its most high-end screen technology and feature sets. If you thought the TCL numbers were impressive, wait until you hear what Hisense has up its sleeve.
For its flagship 110-inch 110UX, it features a whopping 40,000 backlighting zones and 10,000 nits of brightness – double that which TCL has to offer.
This is joined by the 98UX, which reduces the dimming zones to 10,000, but packs a TCL-matching 5000 nits of brightness, with both the 110UX and 98UX featuring a 4.2.2 integrated sound system and Dolby Atmos FlexConnect compatibility.
If you can’t quite accommodate a massive TV of these dimensions, the 75UX also got a mention. It’s Hisense’s thinnest Mini LED yet, measuring just 14 millimetres deep. This will come with 5000 dimming zones and the aforementioned 4.2.2 built-in speaker system, but loses the support for Dolby Atmos Flex Connect.
Pricing and availability is still TBC, but we’re excited to see more soon.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4
We loved the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 when we reviewed them in 2022. In fact, we’ve loved this range since its inception, dishing out a five-star review every time we’ve seen a new addition to the lineup.
It’s no wonder, then, that we’re excited about the new Momentum True Wireless 4. Promising a "larger-than-life sound", some of the improvements here include better ANC, longer battery life of up to 7.5 hours on a single charge (with 30 hours in the case) and Auracast support.
There's also support for Qualcomm's S5 Sound Gen 2 platform and Snapdragon Sound Technology for aptX lossless codec and ultra-low latency capabilities when streaming via Bluetooth.
These smart buds will be available to pre-order on February 15th in a choice of black copper, metallic silver and graphite, and will cost £260 / €300 / $299.95 / AU$499.95.
Victrola Stream Sapphire
Last year’s Victrola Stream Carbon caught our eye with its Works with Sonos capabilities, but this year’s Stream Sapphire takes that wireless functionality a few steps further. Consider us intrigued.
Not only can you stream your vinyl to any Sonos kit in your house, but the Stream Sapphire also includes UPnP and Roon support too, enabling playback to literally thousands of compatible devices, including AV receivers, speakers and TVs. It’ll even support up to 24-bit/48kHz lossless FLAC audio streams too.
These impressive feature upgrades are supported by an improved design too, with a bespoke walnut veneer for its MDF plinth, an upgraded brushless motor for quiet playback and an audiophile-grade Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge.
Of course, you can still use the Stream Sapphire in a more traditional set-up, with gold-plated RCA outputs for hooking it up to your systems and powered speakers too. It’ll cost £1599 / $1499 / €1799 when it’s available in the Spring.
Focal Aria Evo X
Focal used CES 2024 to introduce the Aria Evo X, the successors to the Aria 900 line released 10 years ago.
This is a five-strong range that can work for both traditional stereo and surround sound set-ups. It includes the two-way No.1 standmount speakers, the three-way No.2, No.3 and No.4 floorstanders, plus the Evo X centre speaker.
As you'd expect, there have been plenty of improvements here that Focal says should offer significant improvements on the range's predecessors. That includes redesigned woofers for a punchier, more impactful bass, while the midrange driver, constructed using Focal’s signature flax cone, now comes fitted with Focal's patented "Tuned Mass Damper" technology. Focal says this should deliver better stability to the surround and further reduce distortion.
The range offers varying options for different budgets and room sizes, with prices starting from £1299 / $2398 per pair for the compact No.1 speakers, rising to £3999 / $5998 per pair for the larger No.4s. The centre channel is available for £699 / $999.
There's a choice of Black High Gloss, Prime Walnut or the new Moss Green High Gloss finish across the range – we're looking forward to listening to them more closely soon.
Sonus Faber Suprema
If you’re looking for the wow factor, the Sonus Faber Suprema system has it in spades. And not least when it comes to its price tag.
Described as its “most ambitious project to date”, the Suprema system is a four column system made up of two huge 4/5-way speakers and two subwoofers, plus an external electronic crossover.
The speakers feature eight front-firing drivers alongside two back-firing ones, and there are three brand new elements at play here – a new Camila midrange with pulp diaphragm driver, and a new mid-tweeter and super tweeter with treated silk domes.
The chamber and its inner walls maintain an organic shape and are made entirely of recycled cork, too, making Sonus Faber the first to use a natural and sustainable material to create acoustic volume.
The subwoofer system, on the other hand, uses two 38cm transducers, carbon fibre membranes and a neodymium magnet motor system for undistorted pressures up to 16Hz, while the crossover is a dual mono and fully balanced design.
Available in a choice of red, graphite or walnut finishes, the system will set you back a whopping £695,000 / $750,000. A suitably indulgent way to celebrate its 40th year, we’d say.
Audio Pro C20
All-in-one speaker systems were a hot item in 2023 and Audio Pro seems to want to keep that trend going in 2024 with its newly unveiled Pro C20.
The Audio Pro C20 is a new flagship system from the iconic Scandinavian audio brand. Featuring a premium-looking wooden design, the system immediately caught the eye of our team members on the ground at CES 2024.
Though we haven’t yet had a chance to listen to it, the C20 has some pretty impressive specs and features considering its £450 / $550 / €550 price tag. Featuring two 25mm tweeters and a 16.5cm woofer, the C20 is quoted as being able to deliver 190W of sound, which is impressive considering its small 196 x 410 x 220mm dimensions.
Add to this its support for 24-bit/96kHz wireless streaming via Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Google Cast, Audio Pro Multiroom or Bluetooth, and robust wired connectivity, and it becomes a very compelling product. Hopefully, it delivers on its opening promise when we get it in for testing later this year.
FiiO has a reputation for making swiss army knife products that cram oodles of different functionality into one box. But this year it chose to throw a curve ball at us unveiling a new retro CP-13 cassette player.
FiiO claims the unit has been designed as a direct homage to Sony's first Walkman player, which launched all the way back in 1979.
It doesn’t feature Bluetooth, so it’s firmly designed for playing tapes only, with the only modern flourish being a the inclusion of USB C charging.
The CP13 will launch in early March, with a retail price of £129. And while that may sound steep for such a retro product, it got some of the older members of the What Hi-Fi? team excited enough to start dusting off their old tapes in anticipation and earned the CP13 a place on this list.
Samsung Music Frame
Samsung already has The Frame, a line of TVs designed to double as pieces of art, that can display images of your choosing. And, at CES 20204, the Korean giant announced a Frame product with a purely sonic slant.
The Music Frame is a wireless speaker that's been designed to be used either as a stand-alone product, or in conjunction with a Samsung soundbar or flatscreen TV. For example, you could use two Music Frame speakers at the front of your system as front left or right channels with your TV.
Or, you could use them at the rear of your set-up as surround sound channels. They support Samsung’s Q-Symphony technology so you can sync with compatible Samsung soundbars. You can also stream music over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and use them as traditional wireless speakers dotted around the home.