Each year, we take the initiative to research the thousands of products and exhibitors at CES in hopes of finding a few gems that our audience will enjoy. After all, early access to this stuff isn’t helpful if we can’t share it, right? After hashing over 50 entries (sorted from a few hundred products) in the CES 2022 Awards queue, our staff has narrowed the pile down to five distinct offerings worthy of your attention.
JBL Quantum TWS
When you think of “games” and “bluetooth,” the first word that follows is usually “lag.” However, JBL’s first true wireless entry into the Quantum gaming headset line uses a USB dongle and 2.4GHz RF to almost completely avoid this problem. This is a clever way to avoid headaches with audio delay, and a welcome change to the gaming headset landscape. Many people with long or curly hair (or a lot of it) can wear their locks in bands above the ears quite easily. Avoiding this problem with the JBL Quantum TWS is quite possible.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
Has your gaming headset ever stopped holding charging or the USB port got disconnected often? Well, one of our favorite gaming headsets is getting a wireless version, but with a (relatively) huge battery that’s expected to last 300 hours of use. Gaming headsets typically last between 24-48 hours in our tests, so a sixfold increase in battery life per charge will pay huge dividends in battery longevity. Additionally, charging the headset at a lower rate will reduce the cumulative strain on the USB-C port, keeping the most sensitive part of your cases intact.
Of course, it remains to be seen if that 300 watch figure is reasonable or just marketing, but even if it’s only half as good as its claim: it’s still three times better than the next best headphone. At $199, this is excellent value for what appears to be a long life.
Like many of us here at SoundGuys We ourselves are ex-audio guys, when we see a relatively frustrating way to combine four video streams and two XLR microphones on one device, we take notice—especially when there are no cables everywhere. Roland’s AeroCaster is centered around the VRC-01 deck, which can capture video from up to four smartphones or tablets, and gives the user excellent control over streams for Twitch, YouTube, or even recording on the go with fast turnaround editing. There are several physical controls, toggles, and sliders on the front that allow you to pin your levels across several recording devices. On the back are two USB-C ports, two XLR and TS inputs, and an RCA input. As with any surface worth its salt, it also has a headphone lane for monitoring.
At under $300, that’s a good value when you consider what it’s capable of. We fully expect to see AeroCaster rotate between early-stage creators, churchgoers, and school shows – whenever they start over.
TCL Alto 9 . Subwoofer
For those of you who are just starting out in a new place, an audio system that replaces the small speakers in your TV is usually one of the first expensive items to empty your wallet. However, TCL’s The method of work is making the most affordable products, you know, Like. When we saw the manufacturing giant release new speakers that support Dolby Atmos and a number of other features not found at their price point, it piqued our interest.
See also: Best speakers
The new soundbar has a 7.1.4 channel configuration, with support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and in-app integrations like those found in Spotify. While this is the loudest speaker TCL has ever released, we don’t expect the price to be too crazy.
Jabra Elite 4 Active
Continuing the trend of offering more affordable options this year, Jabra is introducing the Elite 4 Active true wireless headphones. These vents are in a nice place behind the Elite 7 Active, and boast an IP57 rating for gym mice — or especially wet ones. It’s unusual to get a $120 set of earbuds that offer active noise cancellation as well as ingress protection with the same quality found here, so Jabra was an easy pick.
Things we found interesting, but not award-worthy at CES 2022
We’re not going to dress it up, CES is a big show. There is a lot going on, and because of all that is going on, there is a lot that you can see from a computer many miles away.
Shure AONIC 40 noise canceling headphones
Oh man, if this headset was fired in a CES 2022 and not only at the same time, this will be an easy winner. After pursuing the AONIC 50 with a more affordable option, Shure is making a great effort to meet a wider audience with this headset. Like its line, the AONIC 40 supports listening to aptX, aptX HD, AAC and SBC, and also uses active noise cancellation and voice assistant support. It’s hard to say where to cut corners—if anywhere—to cut the price here, but on paper, the Shure AONIC 40 looks like its bigger brother. We’ll be looking forward to testing this out, and its very full reward.
JBL 4305P Studio Monitor
Bookshelf speakers are great additions to any living space, but their overall simple designs mean they can run a little late without some extra help. The JBL 4305P doesn’t have this issue—instead of creating passive speakers without any computing power, these active speakers can stream audio over Ethernet, built-in Chromecast, AirPlay, and Bluetooth.
You can also connect via asynchronous USB and good old 3.5mm male to male cables and an optical input as well. To handle decoding of digital signals, there is a built-in 24-bit/192 kHz DAC. Class D internal amplifiers ensure that the entire setup has enough juice sent to each channel. While this is all very compelling, we missed our CES 2022 awards with its $2,200 price tag. It may be worth the money and then some, but that price will be hard to swallow for many.
JBL Wind 3
If you bike a lot, or ride around on a motorbike, JBL is launching a weatherproof, handlebar-mounted Bluetooth speaker/radio at CES 2022. Here we hope people using the hands-free audio system all the time can survive the rigors of cycling in the fresh air. The speaker itself is small, but it features an IP67 weatherproof rating, microSD card slot, 3.5mm input, FM radio, and Bluetooth connectivity.
We’re not terribly crazy about making our roads noisier, but the rigors of long bike trips and trail rides could be a better fit for something like this. It may not be the case for us, but it certainly fulfills the desires of some.
Monster DNA Valid
Among the first earbuds to hit the market to support aptX Lossless, Monster’s DNA Fit true wireless headphones come with 12 different pairs of ear sleeves and an earhook design that makes them suitable for workouts.
While we haven’t tested a Monster product in quite a while, having the latest Qualcomm silicone inside tells us there’s enough here to keep these products on consumers’ minds for a while.