The all-digital CES 2021 is upon us, and with it comes an onslaught of incredible new products that could potentially improve our daily lives. Many of the revolutionary ideas on display won’t hit the market for months, while others are already available to the public. But there’s one thing they all have in common: new tech is pretty much never cheap.
Most of the gadgets shown off this year cost thousands of dollars and have no concern for your wallet. But hidden among the expensive computer monitors and overpowered processors are some frugal inventions just waiting to be found.
From solar cells and tablets to smartphones and Chromebooks, here are the coolest products at CES 2021 that can actually help save you money.
Lenovo Tab P11 Tablet
Dozens of tablets made their debut at this year’s CES 2021, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value than the Lenovo Tab P11. It’s billed as an affordable version of 2020’s popular Tab P11 Pro, making it perfect for streaming movies, catching up on Facebook or taking video calls from your family. The slim device boasts a Snapdragon 662 processor, up to 6GB of RAM, and has an optional, detachable keyboard if you need to knock out a bit of work.
The Tab P11 starts at $230, making it an attractive offer if you’re in the market for an affordable – and reliable – laptop alternative. Best of all, it should be available for purchase within the next few months.
A Whole Suite Of Motorola Phones
Motorola hasn’t been as active in the smartphone game as it was a decade ago, but that’s about to change in 2021. Four new mid-range devices were shown off during CES, although they’ll be sold exclusively in the US and Canada. Each one packs a lot of tech under the hood, and they’re all much more wallet-friendly than the flagship smartphones from Samsung and Apple. Here’s a quick rundown of each:
- Motorola One 5G Ace: A 5G-ready smartphone for just $399.99.
- Moto G Stylus: Boasting a massive 6.8-inch screen and built-in stylus, the $299.99 smartphone is a frugal alternative to the Galaxy Note20. It is also currently available for $40 off on Motorola’s site.
- Moto G Power: If you need a reliable phone that will last all day, look no further than this. The 5,000mAh battery will last you all day long, and it even comes with a triple rear camera setup that features a 48MP lens. Best of all, it can be had for just $249.99. The 32GB option runs even lower at $199.99.
- Moto G Play: A mid-range smartphone at a dirt-cheap price. Retailing for $169.99, the G Play includes a Snapdragon 460, a 5,000mAH battery and 3GB of RAM. It’s not the most powerful phone on the market, but at less than $200, there’s a lot to like about the ultra-affordable product.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514
Inexpensive Chromebooks are a dime a dozen. Head over to any electronics retailer and you’ll find affordable Chromebooks lining the shelves. However, this is the first Chromebook from Acer to use an AMD processor, turning the diminutive laptop into a powerful mobile workstation.
The Spin 514 is among the best spec-ed Chromebooks on the market, boasting an AMD Ryzen 3000 mobile processor, 16GB of RAM and up to 10 hours of battery life. The goal is to take the performance of a traditional Windows 10 laptop and marry it with the longevity of a Chromebook—and the early indication is that Acer pulled it off with flying colors. The new Chromebook Spin 514 will launch in February and retail for $479.99.
Low Light Indoor Energy Harvesting Solar Cells
Low Light Energy Harvesting Solar Cells, developed by Ambient Photonics, are looking to do away with the need for disposable batteries and power-hungry chargers. It’s not going to happen overnight – and the initial investment might be expensive – but these tiny solar cells can turn ambient indoor light into an energy source. They’re specifically marketed towards IoT devices (Google Home, Amazon Echo, etc), giving you a way to power your electronics without increasing your utility bill or running out of batteries.
Pricing details and availability are yet to be announced, but they’re definitely a product to keep your frugal eyes on.
InfiniCon Wirelessly Powered Xbox Controller
Unlike PS5, Microsoft’s next-gen console still relies on expensive AA batteries. The InfiniCon Wirelessly Powered Xbox Controller is essentially a rechargeable battery for the gamepad that charges wirelessly while you play. No need for a dock, no unsightly cables—all you need is a small receiver on the back of your controller. Wi Charge said the power delivery is “completely automatic,” so you’ll never have to worry about running out of juice ever again.
Pricing and availability of the innovative product have yet to be announced.
Samsung SmartThings Cooking
Food is probably one of the biggest expenses in your monthly budget. Going out to eat is convenient but costly while planning your meals is affordable yet time-consuming. And if you’re not a good cook, the idea of whipping up your own dinner after a long day of work can be daunting. SmartThings Cooking is hoping to change that.
The new app from Samsung will recommend recipes that match your preferences and even give you weekly meal plans. If you have other Samsung appliances, you can sync them all together to receive detailed cooking instructions, making it easy for anyone to create affordable, delicious food.
VAIMOO – Integrated e-Bike Sharing System
Named a CES 2021 Innovation Award Honoree, this e-bike sharing platform is hoping to change the way we navigate our busy city streets. The system works much like current scooter rental platforms do—users simply create an account, check out a bike, and get on with their day. All of Vaimoo’s bikes come with a storage rack on the front for groceries or luggage, and the handlebars even come with a unique place to hold your smartphone, which can double as a GPS during your ride.
Pricing and availability vary by region, but it’ll undoubtedly be a much cheaper – and eco-friendly –alternative to owning a car or taking public transportation.
EyeQue VisionCheck 2
Originally launched on Kickstarter last December, VisionCheck 2 has since gone on to be named a CES 2021 Innovation Award Honoree in two categories—Health & Wellness and Mobile Devices & Accessories. It’s essentially a tiny refractometer, letting you test your eyesight and order glasses without having to step foot into the doctor’s office. Simply connect the device to your smartphone, follow the on-screen prompts, and you’ll have a prescription ready in minutes.
Surprisingly, the powerful device is available for just $65 and includes a two-year subscription for one account.. It doesn’t replace the need to visit an optometrist on a regular basis, but it’s bound to save you money on appointments that are only needed before ordering contacts or glasses online.
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