Best of CES 2013: Computing

With Windows 8 launching less than three months ago, we weren’t quite sure how CES would look for computing releases. Leading up to the W8 launch, as well as the weeks after, we saw a slew of new Windows 8 laptops and desktops, leaving us wondering exactly how many new products we’d see at this year’s CES. It turns out, not many. Though there were a handful of new products announced, many of them were incremental updates – a touchscreen added to a non-touch computer, an upgraded HD screen, and so on. We didn’t see as many brand new products as we were hoping this year, but the ones we did see really impressed us. Here are the five products we thought really shined at CES 2013.

Check out more top picks in our best of CES 2013 rundown.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

We were especially impressed by Lenovo’s ThinkPad Helix, an 11.6-inch Ultrabook with a Core i7 processor. The catch is that all the performance is in the lid, which means that when you to detach it from its dock, you’re basically holding a Core i7 Windows 8 tablet in your hands. It has the same performance of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and a full HD 1080p screen. A lot of convertible tablets can feel cheap, but the ThinkPad Helix has a great keyboard and touchpad, and offers the same high-quality build standard of Lenovo’s ThinkPad line. Available in February starting at $1,499, we think the Helix is raising the bar for smaller convertible laptops.

For more check out Hands-on with the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix.

lenovo helix thinkpad

Samsung Series 7 Chronos

The Samsung’s Series 7 Chronos is a powerhouse. Though the 15.6-inch laptop isn’t technically an Ultrabook – it doesn’t use the specified processors to fall under Ultrabook classification – it looks like it could be a fierce competitor. Samsung told us it has an impressive battery life of 11 hours. The system is equipped with Intel Core processors and we were surprised to hear that it has optional Radeon HD 8870M GPU, a rare commodity on the thinner systems. The Chronos 7 is just 0.8 inches thick, which is much thinner than the current Samsung Seriess 7, which is over 1.5 inches thick. At just over five pounds, it’s also lighter. We think adding a graphics card that could feasibly be part of a low-end dedicated gaming laptop into a thin and light laptop is very brazen. We can’t wait to get the Series 7 Chronos in to test. Pricing is still not announced, but we should be seeing this beautiful beast mid-year.

For more check out Hands on with Samsung’s Series 7 Chronos do-it-all laptop.

samsung chronos series 7

Asus G46 gaming laptop

The problem with gaming laptops is that they’re often unaffordable, but Asus has finally broken the price barrier with the Asus G46. Though the exact price hasn’t been solidified, we were told it would have a starting price of around $1,000. Of course, it wasn’t just the price that impressed us. Gaming laptops are usually heavy bricks, but the G46 felt light. At about 5.5 pounds, this is one of the lightest gaming laptops we’ve seen. All versions will ship with Intel Core i7 processors and Nvidia GTX 660M graphics. Users can configure their model with several different hard drive capacities and can also add a 128GB solid-state drive. We think the Asus G46 could take the crown away from the Alienware M14x, which we previously considered the best small gaming laptop.

For more check out Hands-on with the ASUS G46 gaming laptop.

asus g46 gaming laptop

Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon

The unique all-in-one IdeaCentre Horizon can be used as a tabletop device when laid flat. The 27-inch computer has a 1920 x 1080 HD backlit screen with 10-finger multitouch gestures, allowing multiple users to gather around the screen and use it simultaneously. We haven’t seen anything quite like this. The screen disconnects from the dock and has two hours of battery life. The Horizon comes with peripherals such as “e-dice,” and four joysticks for playing games designed for multiple users (watch our hands-on video where we tested out the air hockey app). At $1,699, it’s a tad expensive, but it comes with a 1TB hard drive, up to Windows 8 Pro, up to NVIDIA GeForce GT 620M graphics, and up to a third-gen Intel Core i7 processor. The tabletop PC is a concept the tech press has been talking about for a while, but Lenovo is the first to actually do it right and make it available to buy.

For more check out Lenovo’s 27-inch IdeaCentre Horizon is part tablet, part table.

lenovo horizon all in one pc

MadCatz R.A.T.M.

While we were wowed by a lot of the bigger-name products, we can’t forget the little guys, and we were thoroughly impressed by gaming peripheral company MadCatz’s R.A.T. line, perfect for any gamers looking for a portable, yet accurate, mouse. The mouse has an adjustable palm rest, 12 buttons (10 programmable),  a power efficient 6400DPI twin-eye laser sensor, and can work with PCs or Macs. Using Bluetooth 4.0 low-energy, the mouse can last up to a year on one battery. Silly name aside, reviewer Matt Smith thinks the R.A.T. line is really nice, and a mobile version of a gaming mouse is great to have. There’s no other mobile mouse that offers the same adjustability.

For more check out MadCatz catches a pair of adjustable mice at CES.

madcatz ratm mouse