The Consumer Electronics Show is always difficult for those covering the Tech industry with (literally) hundreds of thousands of companies vying for attention. Whereas most products are OK to meh, there are those that standout from the crowd. Whether it’s the latest upgrade of an existing technology or a whole new technology that no one has thought of, here is Techindustriya’s Top 10 Picks from CES 2012.
10 Lenovo Ideapad K2110
The Ideapad K2110 running Android is the first in my top 10 list not because of the product itself but what is running it. The K2110 is the first device announced to have Intel’s Medfield processor in it. Medfield is Intel’s answer to the dominance of ARM-based processors in the mobile market. Based on the Atom processor, Medfield is using its x86 know-how to compete chip-for-chip with ARM. From initial benchmarks, Medfield is more than a match for any of the ARM-based processors. However, it still is undetermined if Medfield can compete in terms of thermal dissipation and more importantly, battery life.
9 Dell XPS 13
Most tech pundits are saying that ultrabooks are the next netbooks in that they are just fads and will eventually disappear soon after. However, I am one of the few that see the potential of having a small and light laptop with exceptional performance and long battery life. (Although, the name Ultrabook is still something of a contention.)
Unveiled at CES is Dell’s ultrabook offering, the XPS 13. You get ultrabook specs such s an Intel core i5 or i7 processor, at least 4GBs of RAM, and SSD storage. Dell is touting the XPS 13’s design especially its 13” display with its edge-to-edge glass. The XPS 13’s design allows it to appear like a 12” laptop with a 13” display. It is also light starting at 2.99lbs. It is also the first ultrabook that features a backlit keyboard which is great for working at night or in a dark environment such as a long transit airline flight.
8 Lenovo Yoga
Is it a laptop? A tablet? A tent? According to Lenovo the Yoga is all of the above. Previous convertible laptops makes you turn and twist the display to convert it into a tablet, the Yoga is different. There is no twist. The display just turns all the way to the back with Lenovo’s unique hinge design. Whereas previous convertibles are heavy and short battery life, the Yoga’s ultrabook design and high specs makes it arguably the first viable convertible laptop. The display is also a touch screen display that is able to detect up to 10 fingers.
While Lenovo says that it will sell the Yoga with Windows 7, the laptop is specifically designed with the Metro interface of Microsoft’s Windows 8.
7 Canon Powershot G1X
Point-and-shoots are not dead. At least that’s what Canon is implying with the launch of its point-and-shoot cameras at CES.
The Powershot G1X camera features a 1.5” 14.3MP CMOS sensor. Not only is it the largest sensor Canon has placed in its Powershot series, its size is a smidge smaller than the APS-C sensor in Canon’s EOS DSLR cameras. The size helps in delivering incredible depth of field and sharp images especially in low-light conditions. The G1X also uses the company’s latest DIGIC 5 image processor which, again, in its more expensive DSLR cameras for improved color accuracy and better image quality in low light. Photography enthusiasts will also love that the G1X can capture RAW images and its Mode Dial will be familiar to DSLR users. Aside from stills, the G1X will record full 1080 video.
The 4x zoom lens in the G1X has an aperture of f/2.8 to f/16 that can take wide-angle photos starting at 28mm. The G1X’s feature a 3” LCD that is can be tilted to get the best possible angle while still being able to see what you are capturing.
6 Nikon D4
Nikon’s latest and greatest. Nikon DSLRs, especially the higher-end ones, are known for their speed and low-light capabilities. The new D4 takes things a bit further as the highest ISO for the D4 is at 204,800 at Hi-4. In terms of speed, the D4 can snap RAW photos up to 10fps.
As with most cameras, the D4 can also record video. It will record Full HD 1080p24 and 1080p30. If you lower the resolution to 720p, it can record video at 60fps.
The D4 is also the first camera that incorporates Sony’s QXD storage technology that not only offers speed (125MB/s) and higher capacities but durability as well. You won’t need to worry about bending pins from the older compact flash card. On the other hand, if you still don’t want to switch to QXD, the Nikon D4 still has a compact flash slot for your CF cards.
5 Victorinox Swiss Army SSD
Maybe it’s just the Boy Scout in me (or my inner-MacGyver) that loves Swiss Army Knives but a Swiss Army Knife with a 1TB SSD? I’m still wiping the drool off the floor. What’s more, the drive will interface with eSATA II/III and USB 2.0 and 3.0 using just one plug. No need to have an adaptor or dongle along. This means that you can expect up to 220MB/s reads and 150MB/s writes. The drive has a monochrome display. In terms of security, the SSD can be encrypted with AES 256. Storage comes in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and a whopping 1TB.
For those that fly frequently, Victorinox has models without the knives so that you can get by the airport security without hassle.
4 Razer Project Fiona
Razer has been hinting on the next generation of PC gaming before CES with Project Fiona. And now that the 2012 CES has come and gone, we now know that Project Fiona is.
At a glance, Fiona is a tablet with two analog sticks placed at each side. While they say that Project Fiona will play any PC game, it’s hard to see games that are designed for a keyboard and mouse configuration will work well with it.
Inside, all Razer is saying is that it has an Intel Core i7 processor. There are no mentions of GPU, storage, and RAM. However, there is a video of it running Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in Ultra Settings. As most PC gamers know, Skyrim is a particularly resource hungry game to play. Seeing Fiona run Skyrim at Ultra settings certainly isn’t something to take lightly.
While still a concept, there is no word if what we saw at CES is the final name and design or availability, but Razer has promised that the Fiona should be around $1,000.
3 Zagg HzO
My first pick for Top 3 is not a physical product but, if Zagg, the company that developed HzO, had their way, would be in every mobile device created. HzO, a play on H2O, aims to render the excuse, “I dropped my (insert electronic device here) in the water”, obsolete.
Now, you might ask, “There are a number of cases that does water-proofing, what makes HzO different?” If you read my first sentence, HzO is not a product. HzO performs a process that coats the inside electronics of any mobile device resistant to grounding due to water or any liquid. The company is careful to say that HzO is not water-proofing the device but simply making it resistant to water grounding. This means that without any specific protection, you mobile phone or tablet, or even laptop will still be usable after water spillage or even as deadly as falling into a fish tank.
Unfortunately, the company says that the manufacturer has to implement the process into their manufacturing for it to be viable. So I say, “Guys! Get on with it!”
2 Parrot Zik Headphones
Parrot is known for their A.R. Drone, a flying device that is controlled by an iOS device (and now, Android devices). The latest product, unveiled at CES is the Zik headphones.
The Zik is a striking pair of headphones. It’s no surprise that it has been designed by renowned designer, Philippe Starck. The headphones themselves do not have any physical buttons to speak of. Turning the headphones On is a simple matter of placing it in your head and removing them to turn it Off. It can even detect if you place the Zik around your neck which it then stays Off. Volume adjustment and Previous/Next Track are gesture-based by swiping your finger up or down and left and right respectively on the side of the Zik. Using Bluetooth, you can connect to your mobile phone or Bluetooth-enabled media device. And if you have an NFC-enabled phone, you can just tap it to the Zik and both devices will automatically pair with each other. It can also be used as a wireless headset with built-in microphone on the headset itself as well as jaw bone microphone technology. This eliminates a boom microphone. The Zik also has active noise cancelation built-in. For those that don’t want to bother with wireless, there is an option to plug in a wire to connect the headphones to your listening device physically.
Parrot is promising excellent audio quality with the Zik. It also comes with an app (iOS/Android) that adjusts effects such as sound stage and more. The ultimate wireless headset? Maybe, that’s why it’s my number 2.
1 LG/Samsung OLED 55” OLED TV
My number 1 pick from the whole show is actually one product from two brands using, essentially, the same technology.
Announced just days before CES, the LG 55” OLED TV offers incredible black levels. This is due to OLED technology which doesn’t use a backlight, instead the individual sub-pixels emit their own light. So when displaying when the TV is displaying black, the OLED pixels in that area of the screen are turned off unlike traditional LCD TVs. With LG, their OLED TV also includes a 4th (white) sub-pixel which is used to add more vibrancy to the video. The LG OLED TV also supports passive 3D technology. This means that the 3D glasses for the TV are not active shutter which requires a power source (battery) to run.
If you’ve seen the Super AMOLED displays in Samsung’s mobile phones, then you know the crispness and vibrance those screens can display. Now, imagine that screen quality at a 55” TV, then you have some idea of what to expect with Samsung’s Super OLED TV. While LG’s technology uses a 4th sub-pixel, Samsung makes do with the traditional RGB subpixels on their Super OLED TVs.
Both LG and Samsung’s OLED TVs are incredibly thin with LG boasting its display is just 4mm thin. Each also have their own platform that integrates apps into their TVs so that you can essentially surf the Internet using third party apps.
Samsung, on the other hand, has one advantage over LG in that, their 2012 TVs (including the Super OLED TV) will have a proprietary port that can essentially upgrade the TV with new features thus prolonging the longevity of the TV while still getting the latest and greatest features.
Both companies are promising availability of their OLED TVs before the year ends. (At least some people will get to enjoy their OLED TVs just before the Mayan Apocalypse hits.)