TechSummit Rewind 141: Samsung at CES 2017

This is a special edition of the TechSummit Rewind, focusing on Samsung at CES 2017.

Notebook Odyssey

samsung-notebook-odyssey-050117-4

The Notebook Odyssey is Samsung’s first dedicated gaming laptop – available in both 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch models.

The frame is black with red trim, with a matching backlit keyboard. You’ll find the usual ports here, including a single USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, HDMI and Ethernet. It’s a surprisingly portable 5.5 pounds.

The Odyssey runs Intel’s 7th generation Core i7 processor that can squeeze in up to 32GB of RAM and a multiple storage options – one machine can take up to a 256GB SSD and up to 1TB hard drives at the same time. It ships with one of NVIDIA’s full-power GTX1050 GPUs.

The 17.3-inch model will come with a multi-color backlit keyboard and a bright 300nit display. It’ll support up to 64GB of RAM and SSDs up to 512GB (along with the 1TB hard drive limitation).

The smaller Odyssey will be available for $1199 in February.

Chromebook

samsung-chromebook-pro-plus

Samsung and Google have announced the Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro, a pair of laptops that strive to present the best Chrome OS experience a user can have.

The cheaper Chromebook Plus uses an ARM processor, while the Chromebook Pro features an Intel Core M3 processor. Everything else is the same here, including a 12.3-inch 2400×1600 touch display scaled down to 1200×800. Four gigs of RAM and 32GB of internal storage round out the spec sheet, with eight hours of battery life.

These are the first Chromebooks to have Google Play pre-installed. The Chromebook Plus will launch in February with a beta version of the store. However, when the Pro launches later this spring, it’ll be out of beta with full Android Nougat support.

These are also the first Chromebooks to have support for a stylus. It’s tucked in a slot on the side of the display, and is basically akin to what you’d see in a Galaxy Note.

For note-taking and doodling, both devices can flip their screens all the way around and work as a tablet. At 2.38 pounds, it probably won’t be ideal for holding it up, but it should be fine for putting it down on the desk.

Once you get set for notes or doodling, Google Keep’s redesign shines. The app has been redesigned with handwriting in mind. Using the company’s vast amount of machine learning data, it can analyze your notes and make them searchable, so your handwritten notes are just as easy to find as things you type up. Those notes sync back to the cloud and are available and searachable in the Keep mobile apps for iOS and Android as well.

Machine learning is also helping improve handwriting recognition and latency when writing notes. By analyzing a huge sample of handwritten notes, the Keep app can predict what you’re most likely to be writing based on the first few letters you start drawing. Google claims that this will give these Chromebooks less latency than the Surface Pro when writing words.

As for ports, these go all in on USB-C for both charging and connectivity. There are only two on board, but that’s pretty standard for most Chromebooks. There’s also a microSD card slot and a headphone jack.

Lastly, they won’t come cheap. The Plus starts at $449, and we don’t know about the Pro at this point.

TVs

samsung-qled-1

Samsung has also revealed its 2017 lineup of QLED televisions, which the company claims has the “best picture quality – ever.” An “invisible connection” cable has also been added with functionality similar to something like a Chromecast, letting you display content from your phone, tablet, and other “peripheral” devices on the big screen.

“2017 will mark a major paradigm shift in the visual display industry, ushering in the era of QLED. We have been successful in solving for past inconsistencies in the viewing experience and consumer pain points, while redefining the fundamental value of TV.”

-Hyun Suk Kim, Samsung visual display business president

The quantum dot technology was announced at last year’s CES, and Samsung claims that they reproduce “100 percent color volume.”

Anyone with access to Samsung’s Smart Hub and the Smart View app can now begin watching live TV shows or videos on-demand from over-the-top services on a phone or tablet and then beam the content to their television to continue watching it on a big screen. The updated Smart View app will display notifications about when your favorite shows are airing and where you can watch them.

The new QLED TVs also support the updated “TV plus” service that has added streaming content from Fandango, along with personalized sports and music sections for viewers.

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