CES 2014 officially closed its doors earlier this morning, but the buzz generated from the four-day trade show will set the tone for the consumer electronics industry for the rest of the year. There were some pretty amazing products announced this time round, and while the major players will want to show off all kinds of 4K OLED TVs both normal and curved, there were quite a few other products that managed to steal the limelight.
Head on after the jump for our ten picks (arranged in no particular order) of the best products announced this year at CES 2014!
1) NVIDIA Tegra K1 Mobile Processor
The first NVIDIA mobile processor to support the CUDA platform, the NVIDIA K1 also supports DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.4, tessellation and Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4. Even more impressive is the fact that the K1 has 192 Kepler-based GPU cores. As a comparison, Tegra 4′s GPU contains only 72-cores.
As for the CPU, the Tegra K1 will be available in two variants: one with 32-bit 4-Plus-1 ARM Cortex A15 cores and another with 64-bit CPU (codenamed “Denver”) with dual “Super Core” that is designed by NVIDIA themselves. The company expects that the 32-bit Tegra K1 will appear on devices within the first half of this year, followed by the 64-bit variant in the second half.
Don’t let the device’s exterior, which looks just like an average consumer camcorder, fool you. The AX100E is the first 4K Handycam to feature a large back-illuminated 1.0-type Exmor R CMOS sensor, allowing it to capture flawless 4K Ultra HD images (3840 x 2160). It’s complemented by the Sony BIONZ X image processor for a more vivid and lifelike footage, and comes with a newly-developed ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 12x optical zoom on board.
It really does sounds like overkill for a consumer camcorder, but it’s a big leap for the 4K revolution. The biggest issue with Ultra HD is with content, and with a 4K recording device accessible to aspiring filmmakers and YouTube artists, we could finally be seeing a 4K boom sooner than the eventual phasing out of 3D TVs.
Staying with Sony, the company has finally unveiled what is every tech geek’s dream since the world started loving large-screen smartphones: a flagship smartphone in a small form factor. The 4.3-inch Xperia Z1 Compact ticks all the right boxes in terms of hardware – it is essentially a shrunken Xperia Z1 with the exception of a 4.3-inch 720p display instead of a 5-inch Full HD one, as well as a 2300mAh battery replacing the 3000mAh pack on the Z1.
More importantly, Sony has finally released a device that caters to an increasingly large minority who prefer a smaller smartphone that can be comfortably used with one hand.
Looks like there finally is a decent-sized competitor to the iPhone 5s.
Arguably the sexiest premium Ultrabook around, the refreshed Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon now comes with Intel Haswell processors, a super-sharp 2560 x 1440 14-inch ColorBurst touch display while somehow being both slimmer and lighter than 2013’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch. How can one say no to a laptop made from carbon fibre – and one that Lenovo claims to be “virtually indestructible”?
However, what will split opinion is in the new Adaptive Keyboard on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Featuring the relocation of the Delete key, the removal of the Caps Lock key and the entire row of Function keys, the only thing that will divide the purists is in the argument of which of the aforementioned three is worse.
On the consumer front, Lenovo has finally branded its Y-series laptops as more than just multimedia laptops. The Y40 and Y50, which replace the Y410p and Y510p respectively, now pack entry-level gaming-grade GPUs. The Y40 sports an AMD Radeon R9 270M GPU, while the Y50 will pack the still-unannounced NVIDIA GeForce GTX860M – the first Lenovo Y-series to feature a GTX-level GPU (the previous Y510p maxes out at two GT750M SLI GPUs).
Even better, the new Y40 and Y50 can be configured to be even more powerful than ever: up to 16GB of RAM, Intel Core i7 Haswell processors, 512GB SSDs, and the Y50 can even pack a Quad HD (3840 x 2160) touch display. Excuse me while I check my finances.
6) SteelSeries Stratus Wireless Gaming Controller for iDevices
The first wireless gaming controller for Apple’s mobile devices, the SteelSeries Stratus connects to any iPad, iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 7 via Bluetooth 2.1. The Stratus is equipped with four pressure-sensitive buttons, four shoulder buttons, dual analogue sticks, a four-way D-pad and best of all, support for up to four connected controllers at a time – opening up possibilities for some intense multiplayer action at super-portable options.
You don’t have to wait long for the “beginning of the mobile gaming revolution”, either. The SteelSeries Stratus is already available for pre-order at the company’s official website for $99.99, and they start shipping from March 2.
7) Pebble Steel
Finally, a smartwatch that does looks like a regular watch. The Pebble Steel is now available with metal and even leather straps, and features all the functionality of the old Pebble with new inclusions like a larger, thinner screen as well as a RGB LED on the bottom left for notifications. It’s also now protected with Corning Gorilla Glass.
And, if you place an order before January 28, you’ll even get the Pebble Steel for $249 with free expedited shipping worldwide.
8) Razer Nabu
Now where did this come from? The fitness band that nobody expected, the Razer Nabu can be desbribed as a smartwatch in the body of a Nike FuelBand. There’s an activity tracker, a sleep tracker, and of course, the Nabu forwards notifications from your phone to your wrist.
Nabu is fitted with two tiny OLED displays, one on the top for public notifications and one underneath for reading private messages. Customizable gesture controls allow various possibilities to dismiss notifications with a shake of the wrist, or even exchange LinkedIn profiles with a handshake.
For now, there isn’t any indication of retail prices for the Nabu, but you’re in luck if you’re a developer: the Nabu Developer Program lets you purchase the Nabu for just $49 (about RM160).
Desktop PCs are the domain of the manly tech geek; the ability to purchase individual parts and successfully assembling them (and booting up perfectly) gives one the satisfaction only few would know. But what about the lesser man, those who get easily confused by the many cables and lack of instruction manuals?
Razer’s got some good news: a modular desktop PC that supports plug-and-play, allowing users to add and remove components from the PC easily without the need to use any tools or managing messy cables. The system also features a LED touchscreen display as its control centre and support quad SLI graphics cards setup as well as solid state drive and RAID 5 hard drive array. Moving forward, Razer also envisions the modules to have active liquid cooling and noise cancelation capabilities as well.
10) PlayStation Now
Welcome to the future of gaming. PlayStation Now is a new service announced at CES 2014 that will allow users to play games as they would stream, say, a YouTube video. Users can play games across multiple devices, including some 2014 Bravia TVs and even smartphones, and requires only a low-latency Internet connection. With games that are hosted in the cloud by powerful servers, you take your game with you across a variety of devices.
With PlayStation Now, you can play legacy PS3 titles on the PS4 and soon on the PS Vita – before eventually expanding to products outside the PlayStation platforms. There’ll even be a subscription-based model that allows you to rent full games or try the entire library of games on offer.
Think this revolution is still years away? Think again. PlayStation Now will roll out as a beta in the US by the end of this month, before a full rollout in the summer of this year. It will, however, prove a difficult and slow process to expand the service internationally.
What is your pick for the best product of CES 2014? Share with us in the comments below!