Even Bill Gates couldn’t afford to buy every new gadget at CES, the world’s biggest tech show. But the CES Hot Stuff Awards aren’t for him. They’re for the hordes of gadget fans who want to know what the ten most promising gadget needles in this vast technological haystack are.
The Stuff team has swept the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Centre for the most drool-inspiring innovations.
Here, then, are the ten winners of the CES Hot Stuff Awards.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
Our love for Lenovo's hybrid Ultrabook/tablet hinges almost entirely on, well, its 360 degree hinge. Masquerading as a run-of-the-mill laptop, the Yoga makes the most of the forthcoming (and very finger-friendly) Windows 8 with a gorgeous 13.1in touchscreen, but without scrimping on the keyboard. So there's no compromise and we get a gadget that'll (literally) bend over backwards for us.
Zik Parrot by Starck
Gorgeous they may be, but Parrot’s Zik over-ear headphones have more tricks up their sculpted aluminium sleeves than a kleptomaniac magician. There’s triple-mic noise cancelling, a proximity sensor to automatically play tunes when you put them on and – the piece de resistance – touch-sensitive swipe volume and track controls. Bluetooth fitted as standard.
Fujifilm X-Pro 1
It was a matter of time before Fujifilm joined the compact system camera crew, and it’s done so in serious style. Combining a tactile aluminium body with a large 16MP sensor and an innovative hybrid optical/digital viewfinder, and with three beautiful prime lenses in its launch line-up, it’s sure to capture great snaps – and you’ll look the part taking them.
Samsung 55in Super OLED Smart TV
We’ve seen OLED TVs before, but only minuscule ones. Now Samsung and LG are going head-to-head with ludicrously slim, amazingly bright and devilishly clever OLEDs at a lounge-tastic 55in across. The Samsung just edges it, though, as it also has facial recognition and is one of the first TVs with upgradeable innards. Vital, because this TV will not be cheap.
LG Blast Chiller
Finally, an end to finding a frozen beer explosion in your freezer the day after attempting to chill a beer on the quick. LG’s Blast Chiller uses a Jet Flow system tucked inside one of its French doors to chill a can of beer in five minutes, or a bottle of wine in eight. Bottoms up.
Sony Xperia S
While we’re taken with the transparent bar that magically separates this Android smartphone’s base from its body, and equally so with its 4.3in hi-def screen, 12MP camera and mighty dual-core processor, it’s the NFC technology that has us most excited. Stick its SmartTags around and about and you can customise its settings just by tapping it to them – so you can put it into airplane mode when Wonders of the Universe is about to start.
Blue Spark Digital
A cut above the masses of iPad accessories on show at CES, Blue’s Spark Digital microphone lets you play old-school disc jockey with not so retro features like GarageBand compatibility and on-board volume and gain controls. More than just a vintage looker, then, and it connects to PCs and Macs if you're not of the tablet persuasion.
HP Envy 14 Spectre
Remember when laptops were metal and plastic? Those days are over if HP gets its way – the Envy 14 Spectre’s top panel is a solid slice of glass with the silica theme continuing on the ultrabook’s wrist rest. Elsewhere, there’s a more traditional build, meaning you can still crank up the Beats Audio-enhanced tunes with a machined aluminium volume rocker. Mmm, jazz.
ION LP 2 Go
The vinyl revival continues apace, and ION’s here to make sure you can enjoy your cherished slabs of music anywhere with the LP 2 GO. Running off four AA batteries this US$70 device will chuck out sweet, sweet analogue through its built-in speaker or headphones, and can rip records to a USB-connected computer.
Razer Project Fiona
Yes, people game on tablets, but it’s not proper gaming. Proper gaming requires serious power, which is why Razer has crammed a Core i7 processor and PC architecture into a tablet shell. Two analogue stick-toting controllers provide precise, console-style controls, but you can also multi-touch Fiona’s screen. Nice.
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