Needless to say, this year's CES was unlike any other as it was entirely digital. Traditionally, the week-long event gave press, customers, influencers, techies, and everyone in between the chance to test out products firsthand well before they reached store shelves. Each booth would be manned by experts and sometimes even engineers ready to answer any question thrown at them without the usual PR filter. Users' personal impressions and hands-on videos would inundate social media for everyone to see. The live experience would be irreplaceable when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of the latest technology and for independently reporting on the limitations of the devices.
All those reasons mentioned above are arguably mandatory when creating "Best Of CES" lists because they give credibility to editors' top picks. CES 2021 had essentially zero personal experiences, zero influencer videos, and zero data that wasn't directly fed to press by the manufacturers. How some tech websites can call the 2021 Razer Blade 15 "Best Gaming Laptop of CES 2021" or the Lenovo ThinkReality A3 smart glasses the "Best Wearable of CES 2021" without ever even testing them firsthand is beyond us and it reeks of pure advertisement masquerading as a convenient list.
Of course, it's entirely possible that the Blade 15 and ThinkReality A3 deserve their awards, but until we can get a few minutes with them at least, then all these "Best Of CES 2021" awards will be nothing more than just a wish list based entirely off of manufacturer-prepared PR material and specifications.