Best of CES 2013
January 12, 2013 – by Per Christensson
The past few years, I have followed CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) through various news sites and blogs. This year, I had a chance to see the show firsthand in Las Vegas. While I am more of a computer techie than an electronics guy, I truly enjoyed learning about the latest innovations in electronics. Below are my favorite five products in their respective categories.
Television: Sony XBR-84X900A ($25,000)
No product represents CES better than the television. There was no shortage of jaw-dropping displays at this year's show, but in my opinion, Sony's 84" behemoth was the best. Its 4K resolution was awesome (the new standard that will be superseding HD), but the natural color of the display was what blew me away. It was like my Pioneer Elite, but better. At $25,000, the 84" TV is out of most peoples' budgets, but unlike many other 4K TVs at CES, this model is already available. Stay tuned for its 55" and 65" siblings later this year.
3D Television: LG 84LM9600 ($20,000)
While Sony's TV was my favorite, I have to at least mention LG's amazing 3D display. I have never been too impressed with 3D video, especially when it comes to home movies. However, LG's incredible 84" TV changed my opinion. Its 3D images were the most realistic I have ever seen — and it uses passive 3D glasses (the kind that don't need batteries)! LG's TV made me think I might actually enjoy watching 3D content at home.
Video Camera: Canon EOS C500 Cinema ($26,000)
While RED has been making awesome 4K video cameras for years, Canon's new 4K model offers comparable performance for less than half the price. The form and build of the C500 was the highest quality I've seen and the number of I/O options is ridiculous. Even with the $25,000 lens attached to the display model, this camera is still a bargain compared to other professional cinema cameras currently available.
Laptop: Samsung Series 7 Ultra (Price not available yet)
Laptops are definitely not the main attraction at CES, but several manufacturers still showcased some promising new models. My favorite was Samsung's Series 7 Ultra, which is super slim, but also super fast. Unlike other new PC laptops I've tried, Samsung's model made Windows 8 feel natural rather than clumsy, thanks to a super-responsive touchscreen. The display was gorgeous and the dedicated GPU really made the graphics fly.
Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Note II ($679 without contract)
This was my favorite new product at CES, and unlike most of the gadgets on display, it is already available! The Galaxy Note II is a both a smartphone and tablet, and unlike most hybrid devices, it handles both roles extremely well. The sleek design makes it small enough to fit in your pocket, but the screen is large enough to comfortably type on and draw on using the included stylus. The stylus has many practical functions, such as drawing and selecting objects, but the handwriting recognition impressed me the most. The only thing that impressed me more was the accuracy of the voice-to-text conversion, which accurately dictated my speech, even in the excessively loud showroom. The speed and functionality of the Galaxy Note II, combined with its meticulous design, made it my favorite product of the show.
Overall, CES 2013 was a great experience. I felt like a kid in a candy store as I wandered the showroom floor. Over and over again, I was amazed how engineers and creative designers combined their talents to create such incredible products. It was a good reminder that while times may change and the economy may slow, innovation never ceases.