CES (the world's biggest Consumer Electronics Show) has, like all conventions, had something of a rough go of it the last few years. But with CES 2023 being the first year that exhibitors and media have been back in full flow, it's no surprise that expectations are high. And sure enough, it didn't disappoint when it came to showcasing the best, most impressive next-gen products.
From fully wireless OLED 4K/120Hz TVs to crazy soundbars with a ridiculous number of channels to some very exciting new kit from hi-fi brands, there was plenty to see and get excited about at CES this year. Whether you're a hi-fi obsessive looking for a new turntable or a gamer ready for the latest immersive tech or just someone looking for a new home cinema set up, there's something for everyone at this year's show.
So, sit back, relax, grab a drink, and let us take you on a journey through the top ten best tech products we saw and were excited by at CES 2023.
LG M3 wireless OLED TV
A wireless 4K OLED TV. Is that an urban myth or perhaps a practical joke? Nope! That would be LG's impressive wireless M3 OLED TV getting its world-first showing at CES 2023.
While the M3 does require a cable to receive its power, the wireless angle of this set comes down to it getting all its video and audio content totally wirelessly via a separate transmitter box. Meaning that you won't be seeing a tangle of HDMI cables dangling from the back of the telly, making the M3 effectively wireless. LG calls this proprietary tech 'Zero Connect', and what's more is that this isn't just a tech demo – the plan is for the M3 to be on store shelves for the average consumer to pick up by the second half of 2023.
As far as the TV itself goes, you're getting a 4K/120Hz OLED panel, HDMI 2.1 inputs that support gaming features like VRR, G-Sync and FreeSync, and even robust HDR support and Dolby Atmos support, too. And remember, all your sources can be plugged into the Zero Connect wireless transmitter box and not the TV itself. LG hasn't revealed every detail about the M3 just yet, but in general, we'd expect a TV with all the goodies you'd expect out of a premium television. You can read our first impressions of the TV, but stay tuned for a full review once we get our hands on it!
- Hands-on: LG M3 wireless OLED TV review
- New LG M3 OLED is a stunning, 97-inch 'wireless' TV
- LG 2023 OLED TV lineup: everything you need to know
JBL TT350 Classic turntable
JBL has been a big part of the audio world for quite some time, but the brand hasn't always made every piece of kit under the sun. But that's changing more and more as the years go by. At CES 2023, JBL announced its Classic Series of hi-fi components that includes a music streamer, amplifier and CD player, but most exciting of all, the brand's first-ever turntable, the JBL TT350 Classic.
The TT350 sports a direct drive design with a heavy die-cast aluminium platter set in a natural walnut wood veneered chassis. You'll get to play your records at 33 1/3 and 45rpm, and you'll also get adjustable dampened feet to both help cut down on vibrations and enable you to play the TT350 on uneven surfaces.
Its S-shaped, curved aluminium tonearm is fitted with a "high quality" moving magnet cartridge in a removable headshell, courtesy of Audio Technica.
All told, seeing a popular brand bring out such core hi-fi kit in 2023 is exciting (we also love the modern-retro design), though we'll have to get our hands on a TT350 for review to give you the full picture on whether or not JBL's first turntable is worth the cash.
- JBL launches Classic Series of hi-fi electronics, including its first ever turntable
- JBL's first Bluetooth turntable offers aptX HD wireless streaming at an affordable price
Naim NAP 250 power amplifier
Iconic British brand Naim is celebrating its 50th anniversary (which is usually gold, in terms of anniversaries, but black feels like a good fit, too) at CES 2023, and accordingly, the brand has come equipped with a slew of new components. One of the most exciting, though, is the Naim NAP 250 power amplifier.
The NAP 250 is the sixth generation of a product that's been around since, if you can believe it, 1975, and for us at What Hi-Fi?, it's one of the best products the brand has made over the course of those five decades. So, what's new with the sixth generation? Well, you're getting some tech that's trickled down from Naim's flagship Statement amplifier, like an eddy-current circuit breaker between speaker outputs and balanced XLR connections, alongside Naim's promise of "more power, even better performance, and greater system-matching flexibility."
We are excited to get the new amp into our listening rooms for a full review, and as a product that has received glowing five stars in its previous generation, we have high hopes. Additionally, the NAP 250 is a natural partner with Naim's stunning new NSC 222 streaming preamp.
Nakamichi Dragon soundbar
How many channels do you want out of your soundbar? Just two, maybe four? More? Well, how about a monstrous 21 channels of audio crammed into your soundbar? If that sounds like a dream and a half to you, dream no further, as Nakamichi has launched its Dragon soundbar that supports 21 audio channels and also happens to be the first to support DTS:X Pro, too.
DTS:X Pro support has, until now, been the domain of high-end AV receivers, and it can support up to a whopping 32 speakers in contrast to DTS:X's 11-speaker max. The Dragon is a huge 11.4.6-channel soundbar that measures a meaty 58 inches across, roughly the width of a 65-inch TV, and it'll run you $3499 (about £2900, AU$5000).
Inside Nakamichi's Dragon are 31 drivers (six of which are up-firing, four of which are in the main soundbar, and two of which are in the 3D Omni-Motion Reference Surround speakers) alongside four subwoofers. Each surround speaker is kitted with two three-inch drivers and an Air Motion Transfer tweeter, too. Plus, the Dragon supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and aptX HD.
This isn't a tech demo, either, as the Nakamichi Dragon will be uncaged in Spring 2023.
Panasonic MZ2000 OLED TV
In the world of televisions, Panasonic has been around the block a few times, you could say, but that doesn't mean this iconic brand is slowing down. At CES 2023, Panasonic is promising to deliver its "best and brightest picture" ever in 2023, courtesy of its new flagship MZ2000 OLED TV.
According to Panasonic, the MZ2000 is coming with a new custom OLED panel powered by Panasonic's HCX Pro AI processor, a new multi-layer heat management system, and Micro Lens Array (MLA) technology. These new features reportedly have improved max brightness by a massive 150% over last year's model, bringing the total peak brightness of the MZ2000 to around 1500 nits.
But image quality isn't the only thing that the MZ2000 brings to the table. You'll also be getting a Technics-tuned Dolby Atmos audio system with multiple built-in upward-firing, side-firing, and front-firing speakers. The front speaker array that runs the entire length of the TV has been refreshed to come with a wider soundstage alongside a variety of different listening modes, too.
On top of all of the above, you'll be getting a 4K/120Hz panel, HDMI 2.1, robust HDR support, and even VRR and ALLM for the gamers out there. Put simply, the MZ2000 looks to be a mighty upgrade over what Panasonic had going on last year. We're excited.
Samsung S95C QD-OLED TV
QD-OLED: the hottest, newest kid on the block when it comes to display technology. Samsung's already done great things with QD-OLED tech, but the brand's not resting on any laurels just yet, announcing two new QD-OLED sets: the premium S95C and the more affordable (relatively speaking) S90C coming later this year.
Both lines will come in 55-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch sizes, while pricing hasn't yet been revealed. You'll be getting Samsung's second-generation QD-OLED panel with the S95C which the brand claims to be brighter than the first-generation, though details haven't yet been revealed about by how much.
The S95C has a slimmer One Connect box, the ability to be mounted flush against a wall, and relies on pairs of both up-firing and down-firing drivers for its speaker configuration as opposed to the S90C's more traditional One Connect box and two down-firing drivers. Though, both sets will come with a native 144Hz panel, smart functionality, and FreeSync Pro.
We'll have to get our hands on these TVs to get a real sense of their performance, but it's fair to have high hopes for more QD-OLED TVs from Samsung.
JBL 4329P Studio Monitor speakers system
JBL's certainly not short on announcements at CES 2023, from a slew of new earbuds to hi-fi kit to soundbars, but the brand has also announced an all-new all-in-one speaker system with streaming powers: the JBL 4329P Studio Monitor speakers.
The 4329P is a pair of active loudspeakers, with, according to JBL, "extensive wired and wireless connectivity options" alongside built-in Digital Signal Processing and the brand's now-iconic horn-loaded compression drivers. Each speaker is powered by a 300W amp, with 250W being delivered to the 8-inch paper cone woofer and 50W going to the 1-inch compression driver. These are the bigger, pricier sibling to last year's 4305P model.
On top of all that, you'll be getting wi-fi and ethernet, built-in Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth 5.3, and aptX Adaptive support. There's also a built-in DAC to enable hi-res music playback support at up to 24-bit/192KHz; plus, you'll also get MQA support for the Tidal fans out there, and Roon Ready certification.
If you've been paying attention, the JBL 4329P sounds a lot like the excellent KEF LS50 Wireless speakers that we at What Hi-Fi? just gave a What Hi-Fi? Award in 2022 for their superb performance. Of course, we won't know how the two compare until we get our hands on the JBL for review, but we'd hope for a strong showing from JBL.
Razer Leviathan V2 Pro soundbar
Surprisingly, PC peripheral brand Razer didn't come to CES just to reveal a new spate of mice and the like, and instead has announced an all-new soundbar for gamers developed in collaboration with Audioscenic: the Razer Leviathan V2 Pro.
This soundbar is aimed at maximizing immersion in games via personalised sound, bringing THX Spatial Audio and 3D beamforming with dynamic head-tracking to the table. According to Razer, Audioscenic's tech tracks the position of listeners to be able to dynamically send out narrow beams of sound to the left and right ears. The idea here is to deliver 3D audio directly to your ears without headphones.
Unfortunately, the Leviathan V2 Pro is still something of a PC peripheral in the sense that it is only compatible with PCs; although, the idea for Razer longer term is to branch out with the brand's soundbar tech to offer up a full-fat home cinema solution. Of course, that remains to be seen, as does the performance of this bar.
Victrola Stream Onyx turntable
If you're in the market for a new turntable, well, get your credit card ready, as Victrola has announced at CES 2023 its very latest streaming turntable, the Victrola Stream Onyx. The Onyx is set to be a more affordable version of last year's Stream Carbon turntable that could transmit audio directly to a Sonos system.
In much the same way, the Stream Onyx is certified by the Works with Sonos programme, so you'll be able to use this table to stream the audio from your records directly to your Sonos multi-room setup. What's more is that while the Stream Carbon launched at $799 (around £720 / AU$1200), the new Stream Onyx is cheaper at $599 (about £500 / AU$900) when US pre-orders open on 7th January.
We're still waiting for all the details on this turntable to be revealed, but this deck should slot right into your existing Sonos system without any extra equipment required. Plus, you'll be able to control it from the excellent Sonos app.
If that sounds exciting to you, keep an eye out for the pre-orders coming soon and get ready to play some records, as the Stream Onyx hits store shelves in the US in late February, though it's coming to Europe later in 2023.
Focal's Vestia loudspeaker range
Do you have some cash to burn? Is your New Year's resolution to kit yourself out with new hi-fi speakers or a proper 5.1 home surround system? Well, you're in luck, because at CES 2023 Focal announced a new range of loudspeakers, the Focal Vestia.
The Vestia range consists of a pair of standmount speakers (the Vestia Nº1), three floorstanders (the Vestia Nº2, Nº3 and Nº4), and one centre speaker (the Vestia Center Channel) – all to create a stereo system or a full home cinema set up.
The Vestia range sits right between Focal's entry-level Chora range and its more premium Aria series, and features a new 'M' shaped dome tweeter that was originally developed by Focal's in-car audio experts. All speakers also feature Focal's 'Slatefiber' cone driver technology that's made from recycled carbon fibre).
Vestia speakers come in three different finishes, Black High Gloss, Dark Wood, and Light Wood, accompanied by black or white leather-effect finishes for the front panels, while stands specially designed for the standmount and centre channel speakers are also available in a brushed black finish.
If you're ready for a new speaker system, you won't have to wait long as the Focal Vestia range goes on sale this January.
More CES 2023 news: