We cringed through the flamboyant press conferences, fought our way through the show floor, and handled the hardware. Rest assured, parsing through gadgets from 3,000 companies spread across the indoor equivalent of a small city is no easy task, but it has its own rewards. For example, we can now tell our insanely rich friends with confidence that Samsung’s massive 85-inch 4K Ultra HD is totally worth however many thousands of dollars it will cost. And we had the opportunity to be genuinely inspired by, of all people, a pop star and a cell company CEO. And, when we squinted our eyes just right, we’re pretty sure we caught a few glimpses of the future.
We rounded up the most impressive, the most innovative, and the most can’t-wait-to-get-our-hands-back on of the coming year for our best of CES 2013 list.
Google isn’t the only high-profile name in the self-driving car game these days. Lexus drew a lot of attention at CES this week by showcasing its Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle, attempting to prove to the world that it’s at the vanguard of autonomous vehicle technology. Nevertheless, Lexus’ kitted-out LS will face stiff competition from Audi, which also showed off an autonomous vehicle of its own this week. Of course, before we all go rushing to the dealers for a car that can chauffeur us around, details regarding legislation and refining bulky sensor tech must be addressed.
Make sure to check out Best of CES 2013: Cars for the rest of our picks.
Razer loves to use CES as a launchpad for new products, and this year’s show is no different. After a year of feedback from its gaming community, Razer showed off the Edge, its PC tablet made for, and by, gamers. It’s a portable PC gaming device capable of playing most PC games without issue, plus it is designed to access services like Steam, which you can then connect to a TV via Steam’s Big Picture feature, and a docking station. For PC gamers, this device is filled with amazing. It’s also a rock-solid, incredibly powerful tablet that runs Windows 8. The price is a bit steep, as it starts at $999 and goes up, but compared to a true gaming laptop or a desktop, it is a steal, and one of the best new products at CES.
Make sure to check out Best of CES 2013: Gaming for the rest of our picks.
BlackBerry 10 wasn’t formally a part of CES this year, but RIM was in town anyway, showing off the latest, near final version of BlackBerry 10, which launches on January 30. What we saw was impressive. BB 10 doesn’t completely reinvent the wheel, but it combines a lot of winning interface ideas from WebOS, Android, and iOS. In our short time with the device, we were impressed by how well its universal inbox managed everything from email to social notifications, how easy it was to manage open apps, and how well the entire interface flowed together. Like Ubuntu and Firefox OS, BB 10 plans to challenge the duopoly of Android and iPhone. With an interface that’s more appealing than Windows Phone, we think it has a chance. Read our full BlackBerry 10 hands on.
Make sure to check out Best of CES 2013: Mobile for the rest of our picks.
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.
Make sure to check out Best of CES 2013: Computing for the rest of our picks.
Samsung has become a major force in the digicam industry in a short period of time. The NX300 demonstrates why Samsung seems to understand better than the competition on what consumers want in a digital camera: a fully connected shooter that’s feature rich, easy to use, and takes great photos. But the buzz about this mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera is its ability to shoot beautiful high-definition videos in 3D, and 3D that actually doesn’t suck! Check out our first look on the Samsung NX300.
Make sure to check out Best of CES 2013: Photography for the rest of our picks.
Sony 4K OLED TV
Picking this year’s best TV was a no-brainer. While the arrival of Sony’s 4K OLED TV came as a surprise, that it put out the most amazing picture we’ve ever seen was not. The images we saw were so vibrant, realistic and just flat-out delicious, we wanted to eat them. We’ve always believed that the day 4K resolution (Ultra HD if you ask anyone else) got married to OLED display technology would mark the arrival of the holy grail in television; we just didn’t expect to see it so soon. Well played, Sony.
Make sure to check out Best of CES 2013: Home Theater for the rest of our picks.