World’s Most Extreme Gadgets

You’ve no doubt heard the claims from electronics manufacturers stating the world’s first this, the world’s largest that, the world’s smallest the other. Economic turmoil has only heated up this race to provide innovative products, and industry firsts. Here, we bring you 10 world’s firsts that are bigger, thinner, smaller, lighter, and faster than the competition.

Longest Built-in Zoom Camera

Consumers these days are demanding longer zoom lenses built into their digital cameras, hence the category of super-zoom cameras that are larger than your average digicam, but have a 10x zoom or greater. The “world’s longest” zoom lens honors go to Olympus, with its 12-megapixel SP-590UZ ($450), which has a 26x optical zoom lens! It’s excellent for getting close-up details on objects far away.

Olympus SP-590UZ

Olympus SP-590UZ

Smallest Projector/First Projector Phone

While we can’t play referee to which micro-projector/phone was first or is the smallest, we can comment on the uniqueness of the product. Therefore we’ll call it a tie between Logic Wireless’ Bolt projector-phone and Samsung’s Show, which can project images on screens up to 64 inches, that is when you’re not chatting on them. We’ve heard of pocket projectors, but these are among the first to truly make good on that name.

Logic Wireless Bolt Projector-Phone

Logic Wireless Bolt Projector-Phone

Thinnest HDTV

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung showed what is being touted as the world’s thinnest TV at only 6.5 mm thick, trumping competitors like JVC (7mm), Sony (9.9mm), and Philips (8mm). Don’t get too excited, however. This LCD TV is only a prototype at present.

Samsung's 6.5 mm thick TV

Samsung’s 6.5 mm thick TV

Lightest TV

You’ve no doubt witnessed the wars between manufacturers to produce the biggest (Panasonic’s 150-inch plasma and Sharp’s 108-inch LCD take home that designation) and thinnest TVs. Perhaps a lesser-known battle is that of producing the lightest TV, which makes sets more appealing to consumers who want to wall-mount them. JVC takes that title, with a 32-inch LCD TV that weighs only a hair over 11 pounds. It’s also extremely thin, at just 7mm thick. The TV debuted at CES 2009 as a preproduction model, but commercial versions should be available in Japan this year.

JVC's 11 pound TV

JVC’s 11 pound TV

Fastest Digicam

While Casio isn’t making any claims in writing, it introduced two very fast—if not the fastest—digicams this past January. Casio’s lauded high-speed burst technology has made its way into the EX-FC100 and EX-FS10. Both cameras are capable of taking 30 shots per second. It also captures movies at 1000 frames per second!

Casio's EX-FS10 and EX-FC100

Casio’s EX-FS10 and EX-FC100

Lightest Laptop

With notebooks, it’s all about how svelte they are. For road warriors and folks on the go, nothing is more welcome than a featherweight model to ease your aching shoulders. The Sony Vaio P-series “miniature” notebooks (starting at $900) weigh only 1.4 pounds. These computers are super stylish, available in several colors, and feature an 8-inch display. And for the ladies in the crowd, Sony engineered extra space between keys to accommodate for longer fingernails. Bonus.

Sony Vaio P-series

Sony Vaio P-series

Most Expensive/Biggest Speakers

The audiophile set drools over California Audio Technology’s MBX speakers, which cost half a million dollars a pair! The MBX 10.9S46 speaker weighs over a ton (each), towers 12 feet tall, and can power a 30,000-square-foot room. Of course, fit and finish are immaculate. What is most shocking of all is that people actually install these behemoths in their homes. Economic downturn? What economic downturn?

MBX 10.9S46

MBX 10.9S46

First Portable Blu-ray Player

Remember when portable DVD players dominated the market? Well, at the dawn of the high-def era, Panasonic can lay claim to the first portable Blu-ray player. The DMP-B15 has an 8.9-inch screen and up to three hours of battery life, so you can squeeze in a movie on a long flight.

Panasonic DMP-B15

Panasonic DMP-B15

Most Efficient LCD Panel

In addition to size, thinness, weight, and price, TV manufacturers are now competing over which can offer sets with the least amount of power consumption. That honor goes to LG in the LCD category for their LH30 series, which uses 80 percent less energy than the competition thanks to its Intelligent Sensor.

LG LH30

LG LH30

First 3D HDTV

Yes, 3D is back. While many manufacturers are installing 3D technology into their TV sets, only Panasonic has displayed a 3D TV that offers full 1080p high-def resolution. It first showed the set at CEATEC in Japan last year. We saw a recent demo at CES 2009 and were truly impressed. It’s just a prototype for now, but it’s still a first!

Panasonic 3D TV

Panasonic 3D TV

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