LG and Samsung 55” OLED TV,
At CES, both LG and Samsung have committed to commercialize large-size OLED televisions by the end of the year. While no pricing has been announced yet, the rumored price is said to be hovering around $8000. We don’t know how close this is to reality, but it’s fair to assume that most people won’t be able to afford one the first models. Fortunately, OLED TVs are likely going to follow the same path their LCD counterparts did: falling prices.
HP ENVY 14 Spectre
CES 2012 was the year of the Ultrabook, and HP delivered one of the most beautiful computer of the show: the HP ENVY 14 Spectre. HP was never famous for its design tastes, its historical value was reliability and enterprise services for business laptops. However, for the past three years, the computer giant has put significant efforts into the design of high end consumer notebooks, and each year, the results have been visible. The HP Spectre is the pinnacle of the company’s design journey, and to date, it is one of the most beautifully crafted notebook we have seen. Covered with scratch-resistant black glass on the top, the device is only 1-inch thick (20 mm) and boasts the latest Intel Core processors and Intel Rapid Start Technology, 128 gigabytes (GB) of Solid State Drive (SSD) storage and 9 hours of battery life.
Dell XPS 13
CES 2012 was the year of the Ultrabook and design excellence came from everywhere. One beautifully crafted Ultrabook surprisingly came from Dell, a company usually best known for its affordable and IT-friendly laptops. To continue to honor Dell’s tradition, the XPS 13 has a sweet price: the basic configuration featuring an Intel Core i5 processor, 128GB SSD hard drive, 13.3” HD WLED, 300-nit (1366×768) 720p display, and 4GB memory will be available at the end of February for only $999!
In that category, we also liked a lot the new Samsung Series 9, the 13-inch version is only 0.5-inch thin packaged in a beautiful compact body while the 15-inch is 0.6 inch thin. However, the pricing is very different: the basic 13-inch configuration featuring an Intel Core i5 processor, 128GB SSD hard drive, and a 13.3” 1600 x 900 display will retail for $1399,99. The 13-inch Series 9 is 60% more expensive than the XPS 13 for similar specifications, except for the display and the thinness, the Dell is quite good on that side as well: 0.24-0.71” (6-18mm). Keep in mind that we need to test both units to compare performance in real life.
Toshiba Excite X10 Super Thin Tablet
Although Ultrabooks stole the show, CES 2012 was still the year of the tablet and the year of ultimate designs coming from companies which are not usually the top of the class in that subject matter. Knowing that the Toshiba Thrive tablet was bulky and thick, we were very surprised to see Toshiba launching a beautifully designed 10-inch Android tablet, the thinnest in the world on top of it. The Toshiba Excite X10 is 0.3 inch thin (7.7 mm) and weighs only 1.2 pounds (535g), a full 11% less than its Apple competitor. And, you still get the standard connectivity including a micro-USB, a HDMI out port and a micro-SD card slot, a “tour de force” given the ultra-slim form factor.
Handycam HDR-PJ760v with Balanced Optical SteadyShot and Projector
Coming up with innovative new features for consumer camcorders is not easy, knowing that people are not that interested in 3D and like to shoot videos from their smartphones. Sony managed to deliver great enhancements in its high-end lineup including the new Balanced Optical SteadyShot, a feature that delivers 13 times better image stabilization than the regular Optical SteadyShot (according to the manufacturer). Three camcorders offer the new image stabilization technology, the HDR-CX760v, the HDR-PJ760v and the HDR-PJ710v. The PJ760v and the PJ710v come with a built-in projector, letting people watch their movies directly on the wall. The device can project up to a 100-inch wide image at a distance of 5 meters, and an optional 360 degree detachable speaker provides a good audio experience during the projection.
Sony Xperia S
Although the star of the show was the Nokia Lumia 900, the Windows Phone 7 handset (my preferred mobile OS, except for the relative lack of apps) does not offer anything special on the design side. I was more impressed by the Sony Xperia S, an Android 2.3 smartphone that features a 4.3-inch 720p HD display powered by the Mobile Bravia image processing engine, and a great 12-megapixel camera with good low -light shooting performance, thanks to the Sony Exmor R sensor. The clear bar located below the buttons gives a unique style to the device and conveys an elegance that I have not found in any of the most recent high-end smartphones. Please note that the Xperia S will be upgradable to Ice Cream Sandwich.
Lenovo K800 smartphone
This is the smartphone that can make or break the reputation of Intel’s new Medfield chip for smartphones and tablets. So far, we like what we see: the smartphone is light and very responsive. Our own benchmarks for Intel’s Medfield chip do look very promising, so are there is left at this point is a serious (commercial) device review.
RAZER Project Fiona prototype
Despite claims of “console-quality” gaming on tablets, the truth is that mobile devices still lag PCs by a mile when it comes to gaming. PC games are more polished, deeper and have better graphics. RAZR intends to bring all these qualities in a mobile platform designed exclusively for gaming. Project Fiona is a tablet that has real, solid, controllers on either side for the best possible handling. I kept the best for the end: it works with any PC game that supports classic controllers.
Skype may be enjoying a huge success, and we know that many users would love to video-chat from their TV set because the image is big, and more life-like. However, using Skype on a big TV is not so easy. Smart TVs can do it, but they often require a proprietary camera, and using a PC is an expansive proposition. TelyHD is a self-enclosed Skype computer that is powered by Android and a Tegra 2 processor. It connects to the screen via HDMI, so it should work with any modern TV.
B&O Play – Beolit 12
Bang and Olufsen is well known for its ultimate gadgets with extreme pricing, however, this year, the Danish manufacturer has decided to launch a new brand, B&O Play, that will carry more affordable high-end products targeted to the younger crowd. The CEO himself presented the Beolit 12 at CES, a beautiful portable Airplay speaker that deliver a surprisingly powerful and crisp sound given its compact size.
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