Digital Trends’ Best of CES 2011 Awards

Digital Trends best of ces 2011 awardsWe came, we saw, we dozed nonstop after stumbling back home in a sleep-deprived haze. And after emerging from our hibernation, we looked back at a blur of circuits, silicon and screens that hail the beginning of the 2011 tech blitz. With more than 2,700 companies in attendance and 80 launches of tablets alone, CES 2011 brought plenty of hum-drum tech debris, but a select few companies also managed to rise above the din and make themselves heard with extraordinary products worthy of another look. Here are the products and concepts that made headlines at CES 2011, and will define the year to come.

Digital Trends best of ces 2011 awards motorola atrix 4gMotorola Atrix 4G

Is it a phone or a laptop? The fact that we can honestly answer “both” is what makes Motorola’s Atrix 4G an extraordinary product. Rather than compromising the portability of a smartphone and the power of a laptop with a tablet form factor, the Atrix 4G preserves the best of both worlds by keeping them distinct, but easily combinable. The Android-powered 4G smartphone works like any other, until you snap it into Motorola’s laptop dock, at which point it essentially functions as an 11.6-inch notebook. A multimedia dock and vehicle dock will even further expand its capabilities, making it one of the most flexible devices we can’t wait to get our hands on.

Digital Trends best of ces 2011 awards rim playbookRIM PlayBook

In the thick spread of tablets that littered the show floor CES 2011, RIM’s PlayBook stood out more than any other. RIM’s fresh approach to a tablet includes an original OS built from scratch with no ties to its smartphone platform, a dual-core processor that makes multitasking a breeze and Web browsing snappy, and a form factor that weighs less than a pound. Only numbers will tell whether RIM can carve out an appreciable share of the market at launch – and whether it can stand up to whatever the iPad 2 has in store – but for the moment it’s one of the best bets for anyone looking for a tablet without an Apple on it.

Digital Trends best of ces 2011 awards razer switchbladeRazer Switchblade

For the first time, Razer has stepped away from making computer peripherals and started making computers, and we can’t believe the maestros of the mouse didn’t start earlier. The Switchblade concept is basically a miniature gaming notebook with a touch screen and, more impressively, an Optimus-style keyboard with keys that change function – and look – depending on the game you play. For the moment, it remains purely a concept, but Razer hints that it may partner with another company to provide a production notebook with the same concepts in the future.

Digital Trends best of ces 2011 awards motorola xoomMotorola Xoom

The first tablet to tap Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system is, not surprisingly, worthy of the honor. Motorola’s long-rumored supertablet features a hotrod Tegra 2 processor, sturdy iPad-like build quality, a buttonless front bezel, plus all the trappings of Honeycomb, like a revamped home screen, Google eBooks preinstalled, and all sorts of tablet optimizations. It will even be upgradeable to use Verizon’s 4G LTE network in the future, has more screen resolution than the iPad, and Motorola has included oddities like a barometer, which can be used to detect altitude and weather changes. Come on, Motorola, we know you’ve got a killer tablet in you.

Digital Trends best of ces 2011 awards nvidia tegra 2Nvidia Tegra 2

When a smartphone can pull tricks that would have been impressive on a laptop from a few years ago – like fluid 1080p decoding – you’ve got to tip your hat. Nvidia’s dual-core Tegra 2 will be found in everything from the latest tablets, like the aforementioned Motorola Xoom, to smartphones like LG’s Optimus 2x. Every piece of hardware we tried with a Tegra 2 inside moved along effortlessly, game demos met and surpassed what can be done on consoles like the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, and 1080p playback had us dreaming of casually hooking up a phone in a friend’s house to play back Blu-ray quality video from a pocket-sized block.

Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Book 2 is a Surface Pro alternative with one big advantage

The 2-in-1 form factor is clearly a big deciding factor for anyone looking to buy a new device, which is why Samsung is again getting in the action this year with the new Galaxy Book 2.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Computing

A ThinkPad tablet with a foldable screen could be in Lenovo’s future

Lenovo may be working on its own version of Project Andromeda. The company is reportedly working on a 13-inch tablet that can fold down to just nine inches for travel by leveraging LG Display's foldable screen technology.
Home Theater

Put your home theater to the test with these spectacular Blu-ray releases

What's the point of having all of that awesome home theater gear if you can't breed a little jealousy in your friends and family? We've put together this list of fantastic Blu-rays that have the goods to drop a few jaws.
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Computing

Consider an extended warranty plan if you buy a Surface Pro 6

Though Microsoft offers a standard one-year warranty on the Surface Pro 6, consumers may want to purchase an extended warranty plan if they intend on keeping their tablet longer due to the device's low repairability score.
Computing

'World's best gaming processor'? We put Intel's new i9 through the ringer

Intel has launched the first Core i9 for the average gamer. Despite some controversies around its release, it’s the fastest gaming processor we’ve yet tested.
Computing

Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 vs. Google Pixelbook

Samsung's Chromebook Plus V2 attempts to answer the question: can you spend around half as much as on the premium Google Pixelbook and be happy that you saved some serious cash?
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step by step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Computing

Google Chrome 70 is finally getting a picture-in-picture mode

Picture-in-picture mode is finally coming to Google Chrome 70 on Mac, Linux, and Windows. The feature not only applies to YouTube but also any other website where developers have chosen to implement it.
Computing

Intel's 9th-gen chips could power your next rig. Here's what you need to know

The Intel Core i9-9900K processor was the star of the show for consumers, but a powerful 28-core Xeon processor also led announcements. Here's everything you need to know about the latest Intel chipsets.
Computing

Core i9s and Threadrippers are all powerful, but should you go AMD or Intel?

The battle for the top prosumer CPUs in the world is on. In this head to head, we pit the Core i9 versus the Threadripper to see which is the best when it comes to maximizing multi-core performance on a single chip.
Computing

Despite serious security flaws, D-Link will (again) not patch some routers

D-Link revealed that it won't patch six router models despite warnings raised by a security researcher. The manufacturer, for the second time in a span of about a year, cited end-of-life policies for its decision to not act.
Computing

Apple’s latest feature ensures MacOS apps are safer than ever

MacOS is mythically known for being more immune to viruses than Windows, but that doesn't mean there isn't room to make it safer. Apple is using an app notarization feature to protect users from downloading malicious apps.
1 of 2