Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The Top 10 Best Gadgets of Ces 2010
by: Nick Mokey
Fresh off the CES 2010 show floor, we look at the top 10 best gadgets that stole our attention more than any others this year.
best-of-cesCES lives on. Despite slashed budgets, lower attendee numbers, and the lack of one show-dominating product, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has been one to remember. After returning home, recouping about 34 hours of sleep debt, and reviewing our experiences, we’ve rounded up the top ten items from this show that stand out as the best manufacturers have to offer. From 3D TVs to next-generation e-readers, these were the products that we can’t wait to see on store shelves in 2010.
We never would have predicted that the perpetually budget-minded crew at Asus would team up with the no-expenses-spared audiophiles at Bang & Olufsen, but the lovechild of their oddball relationship is one to be admired. The 18-inch notebook features an extra-long form factor with side speakers that totally overlap the keyboard, a clean metallic design, and – for some reason – duals touch pads. Don’t laugh – they’re more fun and practical than you think, and Asus claims that eventually software will allow you to use them as turntables.
Toshiba Cell TVs
We knew from the first day of press conferences that this would be the TV to see at CES 2010. Besides using the same type of processor used in the PlayStation 3 and offering native 3D capability, Toshiba has packed it full of every feature we ever could have dreamed of (and some we probably wouldn’t have). A side-by-side video demonstration making last year’s stellar SV670 look weak pretty much sealed the deal for us on the series, although we’re still braced for prices that could suck the magic right out of our early infatuation.
Samsung LED 9000 Series
Just when we thought Toshiba’s “Touch of Color” design was getting a little stale, the company threw it away and produced this beauty, which has to be about the slickest HDTV we’ve ever seen. The set is as thin as a number two pencil, the bezel has been clad entirely in brushed metal, and the criss-crossed spider legs remind us of something from a museum. Oh yea, and like every high-end set this year, it will do 3D right out of the box.
Plastic Logic Que E-Reader
Ignoring the $649 price tag ($799 if you want lifetime data connectivity from AT&T), this will be the e-reader to own in 2010. The flat body reaches almost sci-fi-like thinness, and because the 11.6-inch screen has touch capability, the bezel is entirely free of buttons except for “home,” just like an iPhone or iPod Touch. Plastic Logic has also forged partnerships with over 300 newspapers and magazines to have their content specially formatted for the device to preserve the print-like formatting – an important aspect of those publications that is largely lost on other e-readers.
Panasonic 3D Camcorder
Panasonic’s 3D plasma sets get just as much credit as the other 3D TVs at the show, but we chose their 3D camcorder for our Best of CES round up simple because nobody else has shown one yet. While production-quality 3D cameras have been around for a while (see: Avatar), Panasonic will be one of the first to bring 3D video to the consumer level when this camcorder launches in fall 2010 for $21.000.
Spring Design Alex E-Reader
The Kindle-sized e-ink screen on the Alex may not scream of innovation, but the full-color touch screen below running Android certainly does, blurring the line between mini computer and e-reader. The Alex offers all the benefits of e-ink (smooth text, low power consumption), with most of the benefits of a smartphone (e-mail, Web browsing, calendar functions) as well. The size of the LCD screen also puts to the Barnes & Noble Nook to shame, and unlike our first Nook review unit, it actually worked!
The second Android-powered device on the list gets major props for its innovative design – the keyboard is actually on the rear, and flips over backwards for typing while facing the screen. Motorola also gives this potentially-flimsy design the build quality to feel rock solid, and some clever uses like table-top mode, which turns the phone into a makeshift alarm clock when you Motorola BackFlip
The second Android-powered device on the list gets major props for its innovative design – the keyboard is actually on the rear, and flips over backwards for typing while facing the screen. Motorola also gives this potentially-flimsy design the build quality to feel rock solid, and some clever uses like table-top mode, which turns the phone into a makeshift alarm clock when you position the screen 90 degrees to the base.
D-Link Boxee Box
The powerful HTPC software we cherished when it was in alpha is finally all grown up. We could take or leave the mirrored cube design of the Box, but the real innovation might be the remote: super-simple directional pad and media controls up top, full QWERTY keyboard on the bottom. How did no one think of this sooner?
Lenovo’s earliest netbooks seemed more or less like rebadged versions of equally flimsy competitors, but the X100e actually feels solid enough to wear the ThinkPad name. Lenovo also reached for AMD’s Neo processor over the anemic Intel Atom, a high-res 11.6-inch screen, and a full-size keyboard that feels every bit as ThinkPad as the old X61 we compared it to. In fact, we might not pin it as a netbook at all, except for that glorious $449 price tag.
It should be no secret that we’re fans of Kodak’s Zi8 – in fact, we shot every last minute of our CES 2010 video coverage on them. The PlaySport uses the same proven guts and optics, but wraps them in a more durable, drop-resistant, waterproof case for dragging to all corners of the Earth without worry. We also think they’ve improved the interface this time around, and while durability has shot skyward, price has somehow plummeted even further to a wallet-friendly $149.