Welcome to Tech Bytes! In this series, we bring the biggest news hitting the Tech and Gaming fields, getting them into a simple brief for you to quickly catch up on, so you’re up to speed over dinner and drinks.
2023 has arrived, and as always, CES (Consumer Electronics Show) begins the year in earnest — showcasing tech that is set to release in the near future as well as stuff that will come out a little later. Check out the biggest news from the show here in our Tech Bytes for January 2023!
LG showcases wireless OLED TV
OLED technology has been at the forefront of the TV space for several years, with each new iteration bringing new features to the table. This year at CES, the next step for TVs is integrating wireless capabilities.
LG formally unveiled their new Signature OLED M (model M3). It features all the great things TVs can offer — a gigantic 97-inch cinematic screen with high resolution 4K and 120Hz refresh rate. The twist here is that everything displayed is transmitted wirelessly.
This is enabled by LG’s Zero Connect box, which houses multiple ports to connect any media device. Using wireless technology, it can transmit video and audio to the M3’s self-lit OLED screen within 30 feet and is capable enough to do so without lag or degradation in the quality. In addition, the implementation ensures that users get a cleaner space to work with for their TV area in a cable-free environment.
As of now, this is not a technology that will be coming this year. But consumers may see wireless TVs pop up in stores sooner rather than later.
AMD brings new processors and graphics chips for laptops
Ahead of 2023, AMD is bringing new options for potential laptop customers with their latest processors and GPUs for the coming year.
First up is their new Ryzen 7000 mobile processors. Their line of processors is defined by the number they are titled, with the third and fourth digits denoting its CPU architecture and whether it is a more powerful model (between 0 and 5). The jewel in the crown is the Ryzen 9 7945HX, a Zen 4 CPU using 16 cores and 32 threads that promises a 78% performance boost in Cinebench over last year’s Ryzen 6900HX. Four other CPU series complete the line— the 7040, 7035, 7030, and 7020.
Next is the Radeon RX 7000 Series Graphics for laptops. These new series of mobile GPUs bring AMD’s RDNA 3 architecture and are designed to power 1080p gaming at the highest settings. The highest-end GPU on offer is the RX 7600M XT. It has 32 teraflops paired with 8GB of GDDR6 memory and is claimed to deliver better performance than a desktop NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU. Meanwhile, thin and light laptops also can get into high-performance gaming with the RX 7700S, which promises benchmarks like Cyberpunk 2077 running at 87 fps on the maximum 1080p settings.
These new CPUs and GPUs will be making their way to the latest laptops this year, such as the Alienware M18 and M16, which can be configured with the RX 7600M XT alongside Ryzen’s 7000 mobile processors.
PlayStation unveils new accessibility controller
Paved the way by Xbox, Sony is now offering their own controller for their disabled user base with the announcement of Project Leonardo. Project Leonardo is a new accessibility controller kit that is highly configurable and will work alongside many third-party accessibility accessories. The controller kit was made with the help of organisations such as AbleGamers and SpecialEffect.
Shown off at Sony’s CES show, Project Leonardo features a circular gamepad with a joystick attached. The PS5 design language is evident here, with the face buttons having the signature white colour from the console. These same buttons can be swapped and repositioned for players to find the best configuration. It also comes with four 3.5mm jacks that can connect with third-party accessibility accessories.
While perfectly capable of being used on its own, it also can be used in combination with another Project Leonardo controller or with the DualSense. Like Sony’s DualSense Edge pro controller, Leonardo enables players to map functions to various buttons and save up to three profile configurations.
The controller kit is still in development, with no details about its pricing or release date. Nonetheless, Project Leonardo builds upon Sony’s accessibility efforts after games like The Last of Us Part II and God of War Ragnarok received extensive options in their game settings.
Lenovo reveals unique dual-screen Yoga Book 9i
Laptops with two screens aren’t new, with devices like ASUS’ ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 featuring a smaller screen on the deck to help with creative applications. However, Lenovo goes one step further with their new laptop, which comes equipped with an additional full-sized display.
The Yoga Book 9i isn’t your typical laptop, with a second screen replacing where the keyboard would usually be. Both displays on each side are 13.3-inches and use an OLED panel that supports a resolution of 2.8k. Lenovo has integrated gestures for users to fully utilise the dual-screen laptop, such as converting it into a tall display to scroll through sites. You can also switch the second screen into a keyboard and touchpad, which has haptic feedback to mimic the real thing.
Coming alongside the laptop is a removable keyboard, kickstand and stylus. The Yoga Book 9i is also equipped with a 13th Gen Intel i7-U15 processor, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and 16GB of RAM. No details have been made yet about if it will launch in Singapore, but it will be released in the US market in June at US$2,099.99.
Razer reveals new generation of Razer Blade laptops
The Razer Blade laptops are getting another refresh this year, with the devices seeing a more significant change compared to their predecessors.
The new edition of Razer Blades is now available in a bigger size, capping off with a name change to the Blade 16 and Blade 18. Both laptops feature a taller 16:10 aspect ratio. The Blade 16, in particular, has an intriguing Mini LED implementation that allows users to toggle between 4K and 1080p, offering 120 Hz and 240 Hz refresh rates for creative work and gaming, respectively. The Mini LED upgrade also enables a very bright 1000 nits of brightness.
Both laptops will have the latest specs equipped, using the powerful 13th Gen Intel i9-13950HX processor and NVIDIA’s 40-series GPUs. The Blade 16 and 18 will be available within the first quarter of the year, starting at US$2,699.99 and US$2,899.99, respectively.
Apple updates the MacBook Pros and Mac Mini with the latest M2 chips
In an uncharacteristic move by Apple, the company has quietly announced that its MacBook Pro and Mac Mini devices will see an update that equips them with the M2 chip line.
Both the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will get M2 Pro and M2 Max options to power the laptops, similar to their predecessors in 2021, which brought the M1 variants. With M2 Pro, Apple promises better performance for creative applications like Adobe Photoshop (40% faster image processing) with its 200GB/s of unified memory bandwidth. Meanwhile, the M2 Max is up to 30% faster than the M1 Max in graphics, which will help in graphically-intensive projects.
The Mac Mini also gets a refresh to M2, with consumers given the option of upgrading it to an M2 Pro chip —the first time the device line has a more powerful offering. Base models with M2 start with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, with the device featuring ports for HDMI, Ethernet, USB-A (x2), Thunderbolt 4 USB-C (x2), and a headphone jack. The M2 Max version, on the other hand, will have 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage with two additional Thunderbolt 4 ports.
All these new devices are available to purchase right now, with the MacBooks Pros having the M2 Pro chip starting at S$2,899 while the M2 Max versions begin at S$3,599. In addition, the M2 Mac Mini is priced at S$849, and the M2 Pro upgrade starts at S$1,849.
Microsoft begins 2023 with its first gaming showcase of the year
It’s still early in the year, but Microsoft has pulled the trigger first with the first official gaming showcase. Though the Developer Direct stream may not be as big as the ones seen during the summer period (e.g. E3), it still brought some interesting information to excite fans.
The biggest highlight from the stream is the re-emergence of Redfall. First announced in 2021, last June was the last time we saw any meaningful footage of the game. Instead, the Developer Direct brought fresh new gameplay in the form of a deep dive, featuring a slice of the game’s story mission, weapons, abilities, and bosses. It ended with a reveal of its release date — 2 May 2023, not too far ahead.
One surprise we got from the stream was the announcement of Tango Gameworks’ newest game, Hi-Fi Rush. The game is a departure from the usual style of the studio, featuring a bright, colourful animated world. Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm action game requiring you to time your hits with the music. It also features tracks from bands like Nine Inch Nails and The Black Keys. The best info yet is that it is available to play right now.
Finally, the last huge announcement was the reveal of the next Forza game, simply called Forza Motorsport. As expected, the game will have realistically-detailed cars at the forefront, with dirt accumulation and paint chipping to further immerse players. Over 500 vehicles will be playable and include five brand-new environments to race through, like South Africa. They did not say when the game would come out but did confirm that it will release sometime in 2023.
This marks 2023 January’s edition of Tech Bytes, and we hope this roundup gives you insight into tech to be excited about. Check with us again in February 2023, as we bring you more byte-sized news every month!
Visuals courtesy of LG. AMD, Sony PlayStation, Lenovo Singapore, Razer, Apple, and Bethesda Softworks.