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5 cool computing devices from CES 2013 that you can actually buy

CES, like any trade show, focuses on the future. The “C” in CES still stands for consumer, and the items shown at the show are usually products consumers can buy. 

Though most of the devices on display eventually hit stores shelves, those release dates can stretch out, and some never even become available. The Lenovo Yoga 13 debuted at 2012’s CES, but it wasn’t until October of that year – nine months later – that it was released alongside the Windows 8 launch. Anyone who waited for that computer probably became frustrated, and the same will no doubt occur with many PCs shown at CES 2013. So, of the products we saw at CES, what can you buy within the next month? Let’s take a look.

Asus Taichi

The Taichi is the perfect example of a product trotted out at multiple shows but never actually released. Asus showed the Taichi multiple times in 2012, hinting that it’d be coming soon. Now, Asus promises this dual-screen wonder will launch sometime in January.

Yes, we said “dual-screen.” This laptop’s trick is the use of a display on both the inside and outside of the top cover. You can use it as a normal computer and then, with the push of a button, you can shut the lid and use it as a tablet.

Asus will be offering 11-inch and 13-inch versions with a selection of Intel Core processor and solid-state hard drives. Though the laptops are slated for release this month, the company has yet to finalize pricing. 

Dell XPS 13 with 1080p display

Check out our review of the Dell XPS 13 ultrabook. 

Dell announced the XPS 13 at last year’s CES. It was one of the best early Ultrabooks, yet it had a serious flaw: the display. The only choice we were given was 1366 x 768, and competitors with more pixels soon arrived, making the XPS look obsolete. 

Fortunately, the laptop’s New Year’s resolution is resolution. Dell will ship a refresh later this month with a 1080p panel that also serves up IPS technology and a brighter backlight.

We had the chance to see the 720p and 1080p models side-by-side, and the new panel is bright, clear, and colorful. It’s a shame Dell didn’t ship this in the middle of 2012. If it had, the XPS 13 might have been our favorite Ultrabook. The refresh will be shipping later this month at an MSRP of $1,299.

Toshiba Qosmio X875

Toshiba Qosmio X875

We didn’t see many gaming laptops at CES this year. Toshiba, one of the few companies to bring such hardware to the show, had no problem running away with the lion’s share of attention.

Even though Toshiba’s X875 is a refresh rather than an update, the laptop’s new 1TB hybrid hard drive is where the update really shines. Combining a small amount of solid-state memory with a large mechanical drive, the X875 attempts to offer the best of both worlds. In practice, this technology is slower overall than a pure solid-state drive, though that disadvantage is offset by higher storage capacity.

Pricing also deserves attention. Toshiba says it will ship the X875 with a GTX 670M and Core i7 quad at an entry price of $1,480. That’s a bargain for a gaming laptop with capable hardware. Most competitors, like Samsung’s Series 7 Gamer and the ASUS G-Series, are at least a couple hundred more when similarly equipped. 

Seagate Wireless Plus

Seagate’s Wireless Plus is without a doubt the coolest computing gadget we didn’t find time to write about. The concept is simple. Take a hard drive and add WiFi. This has been done before by Seagate and others, yet the Wireless Plus offers a bit more.

The Seagate Wireless Plus is not just a hard drive; it’s also a wireless access point, allowing the drive to extend a wireless network it’s currently connected to. Travelers forced to pay for WiFi will only have to plunk down cash once and can then extend that connection to mobile devices.

Mobile devices can also connect to the drive via an app. Owners of an Android or iOS devices can install it freely to gain access to media on the drive via an intuitive library interface.

You can pre-order the drive for $199 today and receive it on February 1.

Xi3 Computers

The biggest little story at CES was Xi3. After suffering a failed Kickstater campaign in late 2012, the company brushed itself off (with help from Valve) and launched two new computers: the diminutive Z3RO, and the tiny 7-Series.

The Z3RO can be pre-ordered today, though it won’t be out until mid-year. Release of the version of the 7-Series is also vague – but the exact same enclosure with slower hardware can be purchased right now on Xi3’s site.

If you’re fine with Linux, you can spend as little as $499. Throw in a few upgrades, like a larger hard drive and Windows 7, and the price goes up to about $750.

If you’re not interested in a slightly faster processor with Radeon integrated graphics (the primary upgrades the 7A will bring with a $999 price tag), don’t hesitate to buy now. 

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