We find the top gear at this year’s International CES
Thousands of developers and hardware makers attend the Consumer Electronics Show every year, bringing thousands more products with them. Our editors staked out the sprawling show floor to find the best that CES had to offer. Here are the ten products that caught our eye at this year’s show.
Best Car Tech: 2015 Hyundai Genesis
Apps are the thing for cars at CES this year, and the 2015 Hyundai Genesis takes the trend further than anyone else. The car will sport the latest version of Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system, and its basic functions will be accessible via a browser, a smartphone, or the central display.
As rumored recently, the car will also hook into Google to provide an app for controlling the car to, say, lock or unlock the doors.
But what I really love is how the Blue Link system can dig into local sources like your phone and calendar, and external sources like traffic reports, to recommend the best departure time for your next errand. Now that’s service.—Melissa Riofrio
Best Entertainment Product: Samsung U9000 Curved UHD TV
When Samsung wheeled out its curved UHD (or Ultra HD, aka 4K—and hey, can we all decide on one name, please?) during its Monday press conference, we thought it was a show-off gimmick at best. Then we saw the U9000 Series of curved UHD LCD TVs on the show floor, and had to admit: They’re ridiculously cool. With a curved screen, each point is equidistant from your eyes, and the field of view seems wider than with a similarly sized flat panel. The 4K resolution is stunning and the colors are intense.
It comes in 78-, 65-, and 55-inch sizes—we prefer the 55-incher since it’s a more practical size for most people’s homes. And while prices—and release dates—haven’t been announced yet, obviously it’ll be the cheapest of the three. Better yet, Samsung’s UHD Evolution Kit future-proofs these TVs. You can pull off the TV's One Connect Box and swap in a new one that upgrades the processor and other key components, to keep up with evolving 4K standards, without having to buy a new TV. Now that’s smart—and of course it has impressive smart TV features as well.—Susie Ochs
Best Mobile Product: Filip
If a phone was merely a communication device, you might feel better about giving one to your kid. Filip is a wristband for kids that contains a SIM card so you can program in five numbers that kids can call, but that’s it: No games, no Internet, no nonsense.
Parents can locate their children thanks to the location services, a blend of assisted GPS and triangulation of GSM towers and Wi-Fi hotspots. And in case of an emergency, the watch sends a location beacon, records whatever sounds it picks up, and keeps calling the five numbers until someone picks up. Parents can keep tabs on kids from the Android/iOS app, and even send one-way text messages like “Time for dinner” or “Turn it down!”—Susie Ochs
Best Home Tech Product: Revolv
Connected home appliances were all the rage at CES this year, but having separate apps for all your smart gadgets is a First World problem of the highest degree. Revolv offers hardware—the Revolv Hub—and software to connect all those intelligent home devices.
Plug in the Hub to connect devices within the Hub’s range to the Revolv app. From Sonos speakers and Philips Hue lightbulbs to Nest thermometers and Yale locks, Revolv sees them all. The Hub and its app recognize your location and can activate specific settings—lights on, temperature comfortable—when you come home, and then reverse those settings when you leave.
Having smart appliances is convenient, but making all of them speak the same language is even better. The Hub includes seven wireless radios so as to be truly device agnostic. Revolv will be available at Home Depot at the end of January for $299, which includes the service’s hardware and a lifetime subscription to the app.—Caitlin McGarry
Best Laptop: Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch
Lenovo offered one of the best laptops of 2013 with the X1 Carbon Touch, and we’re equally infatuated with that machine’s successor. Like its predecessor, the new X1 Carbon Touch is fabricated from a magnesium chassis wrapped in carbon fiber.
But this new model is thinner and lighter than the 2013 edition, has a higher-resolution display (a 2560-by-1440-pixel IPS panel), and promises much better battery life thanks in large measure to an Intel Haswell–class CPU. But the coup de grace is the strip of touch-sensitive keys that change function—and appearance—according to the application you’re running.—Michael Brown
Best Gaming Product: Origin Chronos Steam Machine
Each of the 13 Steam Machines unveiled on Monday is exciting is its own right, but for PC power gamers accustomed to upgrading their own rigs when new, more demanding games—and new, more powerful hardware to run them on—are released, Origin’s fully customizable Chronos appears to be the machine to buy.
While it will look right at home inside your entertainment center, this beast can pack one—or even two—of the most powerful video cards on the market. Plus, it can dual boot into either Valve’s SteamOS or Windows, so you get the best of both worlds.—Michael Brown
Best Prototype: Razer’s Project Christine
Razer has a well-earned reputation for showing off audacious prototypes, but Project Christine might be the most radical expression of the PC form factor since, well, since the PC was invented. We would predict that this prototype will never see the light of day as a marketable product, but Razer has a surprisingly good track record for following through.
Project Christine is a completely modular PC that’s based on standard PC components and I/O ports, but nearly everything else about it is proprietary. A pump in the base circulates mineral oil through each module to cool the CPU, video card, and other components you might want to overclock. While most of these modules are based on the familiar PCIe bus, they have proprietary connectors for docking to the base. Self-sealing gaskets prevent the coolant from leaking when a module is docked or undocked. Razer has not revealed pricing or availability.—Michael Brown
Best Gaming Product: Nvidia Tegra K1
AMD and Nvidia squared off at CES again this year, pitting AMD’s Kaveri architecture against what was expected to be the next version of the Nvidia mobile chip architecture, the Tegra 5. Instead, Nvidia jumped forward with a complex 192-core chip, renaming it the Tegra K1.
As the K suggests, AMD’s Tegra now shares the “Kepler” architecture that its desktop chips use. It’s no surprise, then, that Epic’s next-generation Unreal graphics engine will be ported to the K1 architecture. The bottom line: Graphics found on tablets and other mobile devices are rapidly approaching their desktop counterparts in quality, thanks to chips like the Tegra K1.—Mark Hachman
Best Fit-Tech Device: Basis Carbon Steel Edition
Activity-tracking wristbands have overwhelmed CES. Apparently they’re so simple to make, we suspect they’ll soon be given away free, like kitschy USB keys. Your company logo can appear here!
But the new Basis Carbon Steel Edition is anything but commodity hardware. Marrying smart design aesthetics with a deep battery of sensors, the latest Basis wristband can reveal both accurate heart-rate data and telling details on your light, deep, and even REM sleep. A win for Basis is a win for science. This is the direction the fit-tech industry needs to take.—Jon Phillips
Best Wearable: Voyce Wellness Monitor For Dogs
By the time you’ve seen your umpteenth smartwatch, fitness tracker, or nonfunctional smartglasses demo, you begin to yearn for a wearable that doesn’t make you feel aligned with the hype machine. And so we turn to the warm, fuzzy comfort of dogs.
By sharing insights about our dogs’ activity levels, sleep patterns, and heart and respiratory rates, the Voyce monitor gives a voice to animals that can’t directly tell us how they’re feeling. We’re already obsessed with our own quantifiable data (hence fitness trackers), and now we can turn our attention to some of our best friends. It’s simply the most intriguing wearable of the show.—Jon Phillips
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