LG: The Game-Changing 38" 144Hz G-Sync Ultra-Wide
LG only entered the gaming monitor market last year, but of course, it knows a thing or two about high-performance displays. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that it leapfrogs everyone, from Acer, to Asus, to arch-rival Samsung, in releasing the new LG UltraGear 38GL950G, which may well be the only high-end gaming monitor to buy in 2019. Just get a load of these specs: 38-inch 21:9 curved ultrawide panel with a 3840x1600 resolution, a response time of 2ms, 450 nits brightness, color gamut of DCI-P3 98 Percent, and most importantly and impressively, a refresh rate of 144Hz plus Nvidia G-Sync. Every other ultra-wide on the market is slower, smaller, or only FreeSync-compatible, making the UltraGear a true unicorn when it comes to gaming monitors. It should arrive in Q2'19, and while price is undisclosed, we'd peg it at $1,400.
HP: Honorable mention goes to HP for its Omen X Empirium 65 Display. First shown off last year at CES, it's now hitting the market at the price of... wait for it... $5,000! Yes, that puts it in its own price class all together, and it's the reason it doesn't win the "Best Of" designation. But the specs are to die for: 65", 4K, HDR, 120Hz over DisplayPort, G-Sync, built-in Nvidia Shield, and included soundbar. It's a dream monitor for an elite few.
Pre-Built Desktop PCs
Corsair: The ONE
While Corsair released the ONE to great acclaim a few years back, it's not rest on its laurels. The new ONE is completely redesigned from the ground up to make it cooler, quieter, and more powerful. The top-end SKU will hit the market at $5,000 and come packing an Intel Core i9-9920X CPU 12-core processor and a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB video card, both liquid-cooled of course. The claim to fame of the ONE is that it uses just one fan to cool the entire system, blowing air through both the CPU and GPU radiators simultaneously. And Corsair tells us it can actually support CPUs all the way up to the 18-core i9-9980XE!
Honorable mention goes to Zotac for its expanded MEK lineup of gaming PCs. Long known for its ultra-compact PCs, it's venturing further into the gaming market. For 2019, the MEK lineup expands from one to three, as the mid-sized MEK1 (designed by partner SilverStone) is joined by a MEK Mini on the smaller end and the full-size MEK Ultra on the high-end (leveraging some very good Cooler Master designs.
LG: The Gram 14 2-in-1
This is an easy one: the LG Gram 2-in-1. LG has already established a huge lead in terms of power per pound with the Gram laptop line, and for 2019, it's releasing the Gram 14 2-in-1. Weighing just 2.52 pounds, it offers a 14" 1920 x 1080 touchscreen that flips 360 degrees. It will sell for $1,400 when it hits the market, and will immediately make all the 13" 3lb 2-in-1s offered by its competitors obsolete.
There really wasn't much else that impressed us from the big names like HP, Samsung, Lenovo and the rest. Alienware did have a monstrous true "desktop-class" Area-51M on display, and it purportedly uses upgradeable desktop components, which would be a first. We're a little unsure of how the whole GPU setup works, so we're not ready to give it an Honorable Mention, because the upgradeable aspects surely don't make it any thinner or lighter, which is what we really want to see in gaming laptops.
LG: OLED Signature TV R
No question about it, LG's rollable OLEDs blew everyone away. The throngs of onlookers made it hard for us to even enter the LG booth, let alone shoot a video of the OLED in action. But for those who want a truly custom TV installation, you can't get any better than a TV that rolls down and out of the way when you're done watching it!
Honorable mention goes to Samsung, which demonstrated to us and a few pre-selected members of the AV press the latest 2019 QLEDs. They have finally surpassed OLEDs in every facet of image quality. Far superior detail in dark images, better noise handling, and off-angle viewing that's at least as good. So why aren't they the winner this year? Because it's not just about image quality, it's about innovation, and a roll-up screen is from the future.
By the way, dishonorable mention goes to every manufacturer focusing on 8K when most consumers can't even get decent 4K content, despite there being a huge number of 4K TVs installed at this point. Luckily, Redbox is coming to the rescue as it rolls out 4K HDR disc rentals at its kiosks around the country!