CES 2011: Best new gadgets
The recent CES tech show in Las Vegas saw thousands of new products being unveiled, with more than 80 tablets alone making their debuts. But, what were the highlights? Team Pocket-lint makes its pick of the bunch...
While I would like to get excited about some of the tablets, with virtually no one showing off full final versions it's hard to put my name to a device that could be radically different when you get it in your hands.
However, the Olympus XZ-1 was finalised and looked cracking. Chris’ desert shots with it were stunning, and all from a camera that looks to deliver DSLR photography (albeit without the interchangeable lens) for a fraction of the price. This model really will challenge the Panasonic LX5 and the Canon S95 when it comes out in the next couple of months.
There were plenty of gadgets, TVs and technology that made me go wow, but only two that I still covet, even after the show is over. Firstly, the Motorola Atrix 4G is an amazing new device that, possibly, sits in a category all on its own. Convergence has been a buzzword too often bandied around for tech that can double up as something else (after all, my toothbrush could easily double up as a toilet cleaner... er...) but the Atrix is especially designed to be a multi-function portable computer, rather than a mere handset. And, for that, it must be applauded.
Additionally, I see more potential in Griffin's Crayola ColorStudio HD application and accessory for the iPad than as a mere child's plaything. There's something calming about colouring in animated pictures, and trying not to go over the edge. And with more apps planned in future that can be used with the stylus, there's great longevity, to boot.
I'm guessing that someone's already said the Motorola Xoom, which was probably the star tablet, TVs are bigger, better and more connected, as usual. I was pleased to see an affordable 3D camcorder in the shape of the Sony Bloggie. The catch is that it doesn't actually work at the moment but should everything come together as expected, it looks like a rather tidy device. For $250 you'll be able to record 3D action on the go and, best of all, they've included a 2.4-inch glasses-free LCD screen so you can get a decent preview of what you shot. It's not ground breaking but a) it gives pocket camcorders a genuine edge over mobile phone video and b) it's one of the first well thought out integrations of a autostereoscopic screen I've seen.
Predictably, my favourite gadget was a device that didn't have a huge stand or press conference. I got the chance to run out into the desert with the Olympus XZ-1 high-end compact and shoot some dramatic landscapes beyond the boundaries of Las Vegas. Getting away from the madness of CES may have coloured my opinion, but at the same time it is great to see Olympus flexing some of the camera muscle they do have, and launching a compact camera that can compete with the best in this category, offering control and performance that is excellent. Giving it compatibility with some of the existing Pen accessories means it will be flexible and adaptable. I can't wait to get this camera back in for a full review.
This is a bit left field but I loved the look of the Samsung TwinView Remote control. Why? Because I'm forever missing a goal or a wicket when popping out for a quick pee mid-match. Yes, I know I could pause the action - but no-one likes watching live sport behind real time. The only issue is that I'd probably end up dropping it down the loo.
Out of the two main areas of 3D and tablets it was 3D which had the edge in terms of innovation, and for me one manufacturer in particular stood out - Toshiba. Its leap into glasses-free tech signified where it believes the future of 3D is in the home and its various devices seemed to work pretty well. Although just a prototype, my favourite gadget to come out of this innovation was the Toshiba personal 3D laptop. Its built-in webcam can track the movement of your eyes, enabling it to adjust the light output; this makes it possible to see the 3D image from anywhere. A cracking bit of innovation.
I've always been more of a fan of passive 3D technology, rather than the heavy, headache-inducing active shutter technology used by most manufacturers. That's why I thought that LG's new Cinema 3D TV lineup was fantastic. Not only has the company wisely made the link between the TV tech and that which is used at the cinema, but it's also come up with a stunning array of panels that provide a clear image that's full of depth and punch, without the need for any squinting. The re-designed specs are light and comfy as well as offering a healthy dose of geek chic, rather than most of the active shutter versions that make you look like something out of Star Trek.
Another highlight was the launch of Reese Minis - a new, tiny version of the famous Peanut Butter Cups from Hershey's and supposedly the Official Candy of CES. No, I didn't understand the link either, but I was glad of the much-needed sustenance provided by the free samples.
We all liked the free food that was on offer, but Pocket-lint's Editor, Stuart Miles, was more concerned with consuming the hottest product of the day - the Asus F117 Stealth Bomber Attack USB stick.
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