CES 2013 is well behind us, and despite the avalanche of devices, demos and news, there are a small group of products that caught our attention more than others. They may soon be in your living room, on your head, in your hands, your bag or your pockets: here are the 11 Ubergizmo Best of CES 2013, in no particular order…
LG EA9800 Curved OLED TV
The LG EA9800 is an absolute thing of beauty: with its elegant and subtle curvature, this 55″ OLED TV is supposed to remove subtle image distortions that are due to the fact that pixels at the screen’s center are closer to the eyes than the ones on the edges. To be honest, we’ve never complained about that particular issue on current TVs, but what we love without reserve about the LG EA9800 OLED TV is the beauty of its design, the amazing image quality and the stunning translucent TV stand. This time, LG takes the lead in TV design.
Sony Xperia Z
When we saw the Sony Xperia Z for the first time at CES last week, we were immediately impressed by the beautiful design and the great build quality: the purple model is really unique. The new flagship Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) smartphone from Sony packs a long list of state-of-the-art features including a 5-inch Full HD 1080p (443 ppi) Reality Display powered by the new Sony Bravia Mobile 2 engine, a powerful 1.5 Ghz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and a 13 MP Exmor RS sensor that records HDR videos. Last but not least, the chassis covered with scratch resistant tempered glass is water-resistant and dust-resistant: you can place a call while being submerged for 30mn, says Sony.
Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset
We’ve both worked in the videogame industry and we have seen virtual reality (VR) gears come and go. They all had the same issues: the lag was terrible, the field of view much narrower than the human vision and they were “2D”. Oculus Rift by Oculusvr addresses both the field of view and the stereo 3D aspect of VR, leaving the lag and screen resolution to be the final frontiers. Yet, this is the best VR headset that we’ve ever seen and played with, and the immersion is surprisingly great. Stay tuned for the final product: Skyrim or World of Warcraft could become more addictive than ever.
ViewSonic VSD240 24” Smart Display With Android 4.1
We have always predicted that there would be a lot more devices running with Android than “just” phones and tablet, so we were very happy to see ViewSonic launching its second Android display at CES, the VSD240, a 24” dual point touch display Powered by a 1.7 Ghz NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and running on Android JellyBean 4.1. When the device is plugged to a PC, it displays Windows as any other monitor would, and you can switch back to Android very easily using the physical button located at the bottom of the screen. With no computer plugged to the ViewSonic VSD240, you can simply use it with Android, it is like operating a giant tablet. The ViewSonic 24” VSD240 will be available in North America in April for $499.
Lenovo Yoga 11S
The Lenovo Yoga 11S is affordable, but also has great qualities: unlike many laptops in the $800 range, it has a high-resolution display, a great design and pretty decent internal hardware. Of course, the most notable design feature is its ability to bend backwards in “tablet” mode, hence the Yoga name. Thanks to that, it can be comfortably used in any situation: in bed, on a desk, as a sharing device and as a reading tablet.
Bang & Olufsen built-in sound system – BeoLab 15, BeoLab 16
Bang & Olufsen always comes to CES with new and unique designs for its state of the art audio and video devices. At Ubergizmo, we pay an extra attention to well designed and well crafted technological objects, that is why we awarded the new Bang & Olufsen built-in sound system – BeoLab 15, BeoLab 16 and Amplifier 1 – with a Best of CES 2013. Basically the pair of two-way active speakers, and the active subwoofer just do not look like speakers at all: they are really part of the decoration of the living room. The new sound system is comprised of a pair of two-way active speakers (BeoLab 15), an active subwoofer (BeoLab 16) and a rack-ready amplifier (Amplifier 1), all designed for in-wall or in-ceiling placement. It is available at selected Bang & Olufsen stores for $4595. You can check pictures and the video demo in our article.
Samsung F8000 LED TV With Quad-Core Processor
When Samsung envisioned a rapid Smart TV evolution a few years ago, they meant it and the Samsung F8000 shows perfectly how determined the company is: it has vastly more processing power (3X in fact) than its predecessor from 2012, and this enables a remarkably nice and fluid user interface. It is also ready for the next-generation of HDVC video format that will be used to stream video more efficiently in the near future. As usual, Samsung has been pushing the boundaries of industrial design, with an ever-thinner bezel and a stand that makes the screen “float” in the air. The Samsung F8000 is a rare blend of design, hardware and software.
NVIDIA Shield Portable Game Console
Although we expected NVIDIA to release its Tegra 4 mobile chip, it’s fair to say that nobody was waiting for an NVIDIA-branded portable game console using it. The NVIDIA Shield is a “pure Android” device that can run virtually every Android software and games, but also PC games – via streaming from a PC. That’s where the genius is: only NVIDIA has all the technologies on both PC and Android to make this happen. NVIDIA Shield is the most powerful Android portable gaming platform and the smallest PC gaming platform at the same time — a dream for the hardcore mobile gamer. Read our first impressions of the Shield.
Olympus STYLUS TOUGH TG-2 iHS
With the rise of the smartphones as our primary point-and-shoot devices, camera manufacturers are having a tough time coming to CES with extraordinary compact cameras. The unique features of the Olympus STYLUS TOUGH TG2-iHS, besides its ruggedness, is its fast lens (large aperture), its n-body Super Macro Zoom technology allows to zoom (up to 7x to 14x) and shoot photos from as close as 1cm, and an expanded lineup of system lenses and accessories including the MACRO LED adapter. The Olympus TOUGH TG2-iHS sports a fast f2.0-f4.9. 25-100 mm (equivalent) lens, a 3.0” high definition 610K OLED display and the iHS technology that combines a 12 MP BSI CMOS sensor and the Truepic VI image processor for super fast autofocus. The Olympus STYLUS TOUGH TG-2 iHS will be available in March in 2 flavors, red and black, for $379.99.
Kingston 1TB Flash Drive
This 1TB flash drive is a wonderful example of Moore’s law at work: with capacity doubling every 18 months or so, it is now possible to backup most computers, laptops or desktops, on such a single flash drive which is the size of your thumb. The only downside of those devices is that when you lose them, 1TB of data just went “poof”. Although we love the idea of having 1TB in such a small drive, not everyone is going to like the price when it will be announced. You’ve been warned.
Tobii, a company specialized in eye tracking technology, launched the Tobii REX, touted to be the world’s first gaze interaction computer peripheral for the consumer market. Tobii REX is based on Tobii Gaze, which is a revolutionary and award-winning eye-tracking-based interface that was introduced in 2012, where users are able to control the computer simply by using their eye gaze alongside other controls like touch, mouse and keyboard. We tried the new Tobii REX device at CES Unveiled last week and were impressed by its accuracy. The Tobii REX basically functions as another computer peripheral device and is simply placed at the bottom of any computer screen, desktop or laptop (in the demo photo), where it is then plugged into a Windows 8-powered computer via USB. Tobii REX will be available for consumers this fall, developers can buy it now.