CES may not be the best tech show for smartphones, but it does
set the stage for what we should expect to see throughout 2020.
While there were certainly a lot of products unveiled during the
week, only a few were good enough to be selected for Phandroid’s
“Best of CES” award.
Selected by our team, the winners of the award stood out from
their competitors through their design, innovation, performance,
and unique features which were unmatched by their competitors.
Typically, we see a lot of Android-powered devices at CES, but
2020 had a much wider mix of products. Narrowing down the winners
was harder than we expected, but in the end, we selected 8 devices
that we thought were worthy of receiving the Phandroid Best of CES
Diesel On Fadelite smartwatch
Diesel isn’t new to the smartwatch game, but the new Diesel On
Fadelite is one of the new smartwatches we’ve worn that makes you
forget that it’s a tech product. The main attraction here is the
translucent design which gives the body and included strap a unique
look that you don’t get from any other Wear OS smartwatch on the
The Diesel On Fadelite is impressive, running on Fossil’s Gen
5 platform, but the real reason this new watch has us excited is
that it will usher in a new era of playful, light and more
design-focused smartwatches which will appeal to a much broader
Motorola Tech3 earbuds
With wireless on-ear or over-ear headphones, you get the
benefits of a wire-free connection without the major downsides of
battery life. The battery lasts for ages, and if it ever dies, you
can still plug the headphones into your phone or computer with a
But with true wireless earbuds, there’s no such luxury. Once
they’re dead you have to drop them into the charging case and
wait. Quick charging has made this less painful, but if the case is
also dead, the earbuds are useless.
Motorola’s new Tech3 true wireless earphones are different. In
their normal configuration, they’re no different from any other
true wireless buds. But once the batteries are dead or you need to
connect them to a device without Bluetooth, you can remove the
wires tucked into the charging case and connect them to the
earbuds. This turns them into wired earbuds with no need for
battery life or charging. Fitness enthusiasts that prefer
wraparound earbuds when exercising can opt to connect them behind
the neck for yet another look and everything neatly wraps back up
in the case when you are done.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro wasn’t announced at CES, but this was
the first time it’s been shown off at a trade show. While there
were a handful of impressive new smartphones this year, the Mate 30
Pro blows them all away with the phenomenal camera system which can
outclass even Google’s Pixel 4 and the new Kirin 990 is
a step ahead of what Qualcomm offers with its SD855 chipset.
Add in reverse wireless charging, a 6.53-inch OLED display with
Gorilla Glass 6 and the phone’s stunning design featuring a
circular camera module and you’ve got yourself a smartphone
that’s definitely worthy of our Best of CES award.
TCL Alto 9+ soundbar
The TCL Alto 9+ Dolby Atmos soundbar drops gimmicks to give
almost anyone the best sound possible. Many soundbars advertise
surround sound satellite speakers, fancy equalizers, or
upward-firing drivers, but the end result is almost always the
same. There’s a small “sweet spot” in the center in front of
the soundbar where the sound is best and the Atmos effects work
best. This is due to the tiny front-firing drivers being so
TCL decided to fix that by angling two of the drivers backward
into large sound reflectors. This gives the sound space to spread
out and shapes it into a cone that fills your living room, creating
a much bigger sweet spot. Not only does this let a large group of
people enjoy the soundbar, but the 360 degree Atmos effects will
still work even if your TV is in the corner and at an angle.
And it really works. You can walk around the room and the
experience isn’t ruined. And the best part is that it will be
cheaper than much of the competition too, as the hardware itself
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook was one of the surprises of CES
2020 for us. While Samsung has put out some solid Chromebooks in
the past, none of them stood out considerably from the pack. Google
has been virtually alone in offering up high-end Chromebook
hardware until now, but the Galaxy Chromebook has a 13.3-inch 4K
OLED screen, a 10th gen core i5 processor, WiFi 6, and 8GB RAM as
minimum specs starting at $999.
Not only are the internals impressive, but the aluminum
construction and 9.9mm thick frame feel fantastic. After 30 minutes
with the Galaxy Chromebook, this is the first we would recommend
almost equally as a laptop or a tablet. Our one concern is the
hinge which allows for a fair amount of movement when using the
touchscreen in laptop mode or even when typing, but if Samsung can
add some rigidity there this is going to be hands down the best
Chromebook on the market in 2020.
Suunto 7 smartwatch
Smartwatches are a dime a dozen these days, but it’s rare to
stumble across a device like the Suunto 7 which offers a tailored
experience for fitness enthusiasts without alienating the average
consumer. The Suunto 7 packs in a full 1GB of RAM with 8GB of
storage for your music, GPS for location tracking, a heart rate
monitor, NCF for mobile payments a 1.39-inch display and a 450mAh
battery which delivers a full two days of battery life.
But what really sets the Suunto 7 apart is its offline maps
mode, 50-meter water resistance and the use of the SD3100’s
companion chip which allows the watch to track continuous heart
rate and GPS location for 12 hours. Similar tracking on other Wear
OS devices would result in a depleted battery in under 5 hours! We
honestly can’t wait to spend some quality time with the watch and
test it in the real world.
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet
Lenovo has been building cheap Chromebooks for the education
market for years now, but the new Lenovo IdeaPad Duet is a dramatic
departure from the company’s earlier strategy. The company took
Google’s Pixel Slate idea, shrunk it down and made it much more
affordable, all while including a keyboard and cover which allows
the tablet to function as a 2-in-1 right out of the box.
To be clear, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet isn’t going to compete
with the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook in terms of power and
performance, but the 10-inch form factor is just the right size for
a large tablet or small laptop.
The IdeaPad Duet is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but
its $279 price point and clean design should usher in a new era of
Chromebooks that will be more versatile and portable than what
we’ve seen in the past.
Last, but certainly not least on our Best of CES awards list are
the Huawei FreeBuds 3. When we saw the company’s newest true
wireless earbuds unveiled a few months ago, we were quick to
dismiss them as AirPods knockoffs. While the design Huawei is using
certainly draws a lot of inspiration from Apple, we quickly changed
our tune once we tested them for ourselves.
Simply put, everyone on our team was blown away. Huawei has gone
the extra mile to deliver a spectacular audio experience that far
surpassed our expectations. Not only do the FreeBuds 3 offer rich
and immersive audio, but the company also managed to cram active
noise cancellation inside the minuscule earbuds while maintaining 4
hours of battery life on a single charge, all thanks to the Kirin
A1 chip that Huawei designed specifically for this application.
Source: FS – Phones
Best of CES 2020