Last week at CES was intense, and after roaming the floor for a week, here are what we deem were the Best of CES. These are the uber-gizmos that you’ll want to see, and possibly own. We tried our best to see as much as we could, and report as best as we could, but CES is full of hidden gems, so we’ll try to do even more next year. In the meantime, if you want to tell us which ones are your personal favorites, please leave us a comment! Here is our list, in no particular order:
4.9mm thin Sony XBR 4K TVs
CES is the best TV trade show of the year, and that’s exactly why they tend to be well represented in our “Best of CES” over the years. Sony’s new XBR Series shined with its ultra-thin design and image quality. Very few brands in the world can push this level of TV quality, and Sony is definitely among them. In addition to its television qualities, the new XBR Series is also powered by Android TV, Google’s latest branch of Android dedicated to the big screen.
Lenovo LaVie Z uber-light laptop
The Lenovo LaVie Z isn’t a tablet/notebook hybrid, meaning its display can’t be detached from the keyboard so that it can be used as a tablet, rather its a convertible with a 360-degree hinge that allows users to flip it all the way back. It has a 13.3-inch display set in a magnesium-lithium alloy case. With an Intel 5th Gen core processor and 128GB SSD the LaVie Z from Lenovo weighs just 1.72lbs. People freak out when you show this to them for the first time. Many ask if there’s actually something inside the computer. It’s that light.
Samsung S-UHD Televisions
With S-UHD, Samsung rebrands its own version of the quantum-dots display technology, and brings OLED-like image qualities of LCD technology, which is much less expensive and therefore (relatively) affordable for consumers. Samsung isn’t not the only one to use this kind of tech, in fact Sony started some time ago, and LG has just announced its own version as well. However, Samsung’s overall image quality and design and the sheer manufacturing power of its TV business will likely S-UHD the leader when it comes to actually getting this display tech into the hands of consumers. I already regret having updated my TV…
LG G Flex 2 Smartphone
The original LG G Flex captured the imagination with its unique curved and flexible design, along with its self-healing back cover. Many people were stunned by it, but some pointed out that the phone was quite large, and its display was 720p instead of 1080p. LG improved all of this with the G FLex 2, which is more compact (like a G3) and the self-healing performs even better than previously, and remains a unique feature among smartphones. This second-generation should appeal to a much larger audience. It is a beauty.
Very few people have experienced the sound quality that a $15,000 audio setup can bring: a sound that is pure and powerful at the same time. DEVIALET has challenged itself to bringing this level of quality in the DEVIALET Phantom sub $2000 compact speaker, which is many times smaller than any of its competitors at this level of sound quality – you have to hear it to believe it. That’s exactly what we did at CES, and we were very impressed. Additionally, it is possible to use more than one to build a wireless surround sound system for your home theater. Start drooling now.
Razer Forge Android TV Console
Smart boxes bring a much better user experience than the built-in Smart TV system, thanks to their higher performance hardware. Yet, this is mainly true because TV compute power is pretty wimpy, so Smart boxes can use average-level hardware to beat them. Razer goes high-end with the RAZER Forge, using the same processor system that is currently in the most expensive smartphones. This allows not only access to great online video content, but to the best Android games as well. Sure, it’s not as fast as stuff like Tegra SHIELD, but it’s close, and it costs the same $99 that lesser box is selling at.
ASUS Transformer Book Chi
ASUS is known to be a prolific PC maker, but the Transformer Book Chi stands above the crowd, thanks to its excellent thin design. With a 12.5 inch screen, the Book Chi allows for real productivity with regular Windows applications, a fact that is reinforced by the snap-on keyboard with which users can type at full speed. This is a stunning 2-in-1 Windows 8 computer that will turn heads since it is thinner than the MacBook Air. At $799 with a high-DPI screen, this seems pretty tempting.
Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion
The Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury In Motion is a concept car that the German automaker showed off at CES 2015. It has a “lounge-like” cabin with four rotating seats and multiple displays in the cockpit with which passengers can access controls and entertainment features, with support for eye-tracking and gestures present on-board. There are LEDs at the front and rear which change color depending on the car’s driving mode, blue when its self-driving and white when a human is in charge. This hydrogen powered car is crafted from carbon fiber reinforced plastic down to the very Drivetrain and hydrogen tanks, meaning that its strong without being too heavy. Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury In Motion is just a concept right now, but some of its features could very well make their way into the company’s future models.
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Moment
When it comes to music systems, it’s fair to say that the user interface is typically boring and/or ugly to watch. But it doesn’t have to be that way: Bang & Olufsen’s BeoSound Moment is an audio system that can stream music from your favorite services. Over time, the system learns about your musical tastes and selects the best music by itself. However, if you have to use the device, B&O has created the world’s first wood touch interface which allows for a minimalistic tactile and visual experience. On the other side, there’s a more modern touchscreen, and the whole control system can be detached and used like a tablet-style remote.
ORA-X are headphones/smartglasses powered by the Android operating system. The headphones feature noise cancellation, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS. Since they double as smartglasses, there is a retractable display which users can lift up or down as the need be, a front-facing camera, a trackpad, 9-axis motion sensor and even a microphone for executing voice commands and making calls. The aim here is to promote hands free mobile computing without looking like a cyborg, so says Kayvan Mirza, the CEO of the company that makes these headphones. ORA-X will be released at some point later this year and the company hasn’t revealed as yet how much they will cost. This is a prototype, and it won’t become a product anytime soon, but although CES is mainly a big brands show, we want tip our hats to a startup as well.