Less than 24 hours after announcing the H9080 wireless headphones, Rapoo’s let it be known that its CES 2013 repertoire also includes a little something for the living room (or bedroom, depending on where you prefer to enjoy your downtime). With its Rapoo TV, the company’s touting the ability to turn any HDTV into one with intelligent features — essentially, though, it is a wireless receiver that allows iOS and Android devices to connect to it, allowing them to mirror mostly any content on the bigger screen. Of course, there might be some better options for iOS users (and Android soon, we imagine) in the market already, but the company’s still hoping some folks may have room for yet another set-top-like unit in their home. The company says the Rapoo TV will be available sometime in Q1 of this year, however there’s no word on pricing just yet.
Sammy’s transparent OLED displays may not be the freshest piece of tech at CES, but its still pretty dang awesome. We first saw Samsung’s 46-inch 1920 x 1080 digitally augmented window back in March, but dropped by its CES booth for a second look. Although the touchscreen window still teases to fulfill our fevered sci-fi dreams, not much has changed — it’s still clear, it’s still loaded with widgets, and it’s still not anywhere near being installed in your home. Samsung told us this was still a concept device, although they did mention that the technology could be scaled down for use in military visors and heads up displays. Hit the break to see a video demo of a few new apps, including a rather slick set of digital blinds.
Turtle Beach announced a duo of new XBOX 360 and PS3 gaming headsets on day one of CES, and we were able to spend a bit of time with one of them, the XP400, on the show floor. It’s Turtle Beach’s flagship gaming headset, featuring adjustable Dolby 5.1 virtual surround sound, a non-AD2P dual-pairing Bluetooth radio for picking up phone calls during gaming sessions, a 15 hour rechargeable battery and dual-band 2.4/5GHZ built-in WiFi.
The actual over-the-ear pieces have a much better layout from previous models, though there are almost as many buttons as there are on the controller you’d be wielding — with volume up / down, chat volume up / down, mute, Bluetooth pairing, limiter button and tone buttons. The included dual-band WiFi adapter that connects to your gaming console of choice is small and pretty minimalistic in design. The adjustable surround angles feature seems useful but we can’t help but to feel it’s a bit gimmicky — we have a hard time figuring out which setting is better. One feature that we really like is the new Limiter function, which allows you to keep the volume relatively high to listen for those footsteps (lower in volume) but won’t blow your ear drums out when a RPG rocket (explosion-like volume levels) hits you in the face. The sound was also crisp and loud as we completed our spec-op mission at the Turtle Beach gaming booth, where the headset’s noise-blocking abilities proved to be particularly handy. Hit up the gallery below for a close look at the $220 gaming headset set to be available this quarter.
We knew CES would bring a slew of Ultrabooks, but who could have predicted 2012 would be the year of the franken-gadget? So far this week, we’ve seen Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga, two hybrids from Gigabyte and a pair of 13- and 5.5-inch tablet prototypes from Toshiba. And that’s saying nothing of Intel’s Nikiski prototype and its promise of accelerometer-based gaming on Ultrabooks. With that as our backdrop, we have the Compal QAV20, a reference design sitting in Intel’s booth, alongside all the plain, months-old laptops we’ve already reviewed. From afar, it looks like the Samsung Series 7 Slate, but up close you’ll see it has a larger, 13.3-inch, 1366 x 768 display, along with a keyboard dock. On the inside, meanwhile, it packs a Core i5 ULV CPU — the same guts you’ll find inside other Ultrabooks.
In our brief hands-on, we were stunned by how light the fiber glass device feels — certainly, it’s much less dense than the similarly sized Yoga. The dock itself is home to various ports, including Ethernet, dual USB 2.0 sockets, HDMI and a headphone jack. And though it’s no Transformer Prime dock, it’s still light enough that you shouldn’t have problem stuffing it in your bag. No word on what, if any, OEMs will re-badge this, but no matter — we’ve gotten video and photos for you to peruse even if this thing never makes it to market. And no, we didn’t film this in the Batcave; Intel just loves it some blue mood lighting.
And then there were three. The first time we saw Samsung’s Series 7 Chronos, we knew it was going to be offered in two mainstream sizes — 14 and 15.6 inches — but now we know the line’s going to include a desktop replacement as well. The company’s soon to ship a 17-inch model with a matte, 300-nit, 1080p display, next-gen Core i7 processor, JBL speakers and some unspecified ATI graphics card with 2GB of video memory. As you’d imagine, the industrial design is what you’ll find on the 15-inch version we reviewed, and the laptop incorporates the same SuperBright display used on the Series 5 Chromebook and Ultrabooks. Which is to say it’s bright with decent viewing angles, though not quite as sunny as the screens used on Samsung’s Series 9 laptops. No word yet on when and where it’ll go on sale, but we’re hearing it’ll run for $1,499 when it does arrive in the US. In the meantime, we’ve got some requisite hands-on photos below for your viewing pleasure.
Despite all the product rivalry at CES, a little romance was inevitable — and not just in the Engadget trailer. WOWee, purveyor of the ONE portable speaker, has paired up with MicroVision and its dashing PicoP laser projectortechnology (shown above) to create a “marriage of sight and sound.” It looks like the two companies will start out by simply bundling their respective wares, which will be available together in 120 countries from this quarter, rather than rushing to announce a hybrid device straight away. A wise decision, no doubt.
After spotting a powered-off Series 9 display at a CES press event earlier this week, we told you we’d revisit it if we could actually show you that 27-inch, 2560 x 1440 panel in all its billion-color glory. Well, folks, here she is. Samsung’s first PLS display for the consumer market is arriving in March or April for $1,199, and is arriving with a refreshed design that trades last year’s slick surfaces for an aluminum base. We’ll let those hands-on photos speak for themselves, but hopefully from where you’re sitting you can still appreciate those wide viewing angles, deep blacks and rich colors.
And what of last year’s Series 9 monitor? Samsung recycled the glossy, asymmetrical design, added a slot-loading Blu-ray drive and turned it into a high-end all-in-one. The 27-inch display has 1080p resolution, and the same kind of Ultra Clear panel Samsung uses in its televisions to make sure that glossy finish isn’t too reflective. And though Samsung doesn’t have too many specs to share, we know it has a quad-core Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a TV tuner and an unspecified AMD graphics card with 1GB of video memory. As you’d expect, it also comes with a wireless mouse and keyboard, the latter of which has some surprisingly cushy keys, given the island layout and all. No word on pricing or availability, though a Samsung rep told us the company has no plans to bring this stateside.
Texas Instruments demos first OMAP 5, Android 4.0-based reference design, promises it in laptops next year (video)
Texas Instruments promised us a new helping of OMAP right around a year ago, and sure enough, OMAP 5 processors will be sampling to partners as early as next week. Texas Instruments’ Remi El-Ouazzane (VP of OMAP) just debuted an OMAP 5-based reference design (or “development platform,” if you will) on our CES stage, a solid four years after OMAP 3 debuted on a nondescript Archos tablet. OMAP 5 brings along a pair of cores and plenty of power savings, a dual-GPU architecture and more raw horsepower than the average simpleton is used to handling in a single palm. We saw quite a bit of swiping through Android 4.0.1, and as you’d expect, everything looked decidedly snappy. 720p video at 30 frames per second is no real chore, with the platform capable of pushing 1080p material at 64 frames per second (130 frames per second without screen refresh limitations). Of course, with everything being hardware accelerated, we can’t feign surprise about its future on netbooks and laptops. To quote Remi:
Synaptics is a touchscreen-interface company that has around 30 customers, but since that list includes the top 15 smartphone makers and the top 15 tablet manufacturers, it does okay for itself. The company rented a quiet booth at the back of CES to show off its impressive new ten-finger touchscreen tech. The Clearpad 7300 is a significantly smaller unit: to demonstrate the company pulled apart a HP touchpad and swapped out the 15-chip daughter board with a single chip — still recognizing ten inputs at a refresh rate of 100Hz. The company also had a Windows 8 demo unit (it’s partnered with Redmond) that allows five-finger touch. It’ll allow you to depress a software shift key without toggling and play piano with five fingers at once. We also saw a calibration unit just acting on a piece of glass (held mid-air) that could still register ten interactions. The technology will be arriving towards the end of the year and will be an integral part of all the Windows 8 tablet launch. Head on past the break to see us take the unit for a ride.
You need a bluetooth keyboard, and you wish you had a tablet or at least a phone with a larger screen. Perhaps you need to give presentations or just want to watch movies. What’s a person to do? LightPad has a very unique and clever idea: why not stick a pico projector and superthin 11-inch plastic rear projection screen onto a bluetooth keyboard case? By simply connecting your smartphone to the lightweight pad via MHL or HDMI-out, your phone gets transformed into a virtual laptop, albeit with a significantly lower-res display. It works just fine, however, if all you need is a larger screen that you can use for email or simple web browsing. But wait, there’s more — flip the projector around, point it at a wall, and now your screen blows up to a max of 60 inches. The dock, which is super light and can be easily folded into itself, should be available in Q2 for an undetermined price. Peruse the gallery and watch the video below to get a better idea of how it all works.
Acer unveiled so much hardware this week that it’s easy to forget it also teased a cloud-based storage service. In brief, AcerCloud, allows you to remotely access whatever’s on your Acer laptop, even if it’s asleep or in hibernation mode, and even if you’re not connected to the same WiFi network. Storage is unlimited, and you can upload music, photos, videos and documents. Also, it’s free.
So how does this work, if not over WiFi? Whenever possible, AcerCloud will try to create a peer-to-peer connection between your laptop and phone, but when that fails a security token inside the laptop allows the cloud service to play matchmaker between the notebook and the app, which is of course tied to your account. At launch, there will be separate mobile applications for music, photos, et cetera. It will be Android-only, though Acer reps tell us they intend to to create versions for Windows Phone and even iOS (assuming Apple approves it). They also say they’re considering developing a file manager where you can access all your content, and not just music or pictures. For now, at least, the discrete apps are intuitively designed, and the best part is that you can play back media inside of them. Good news for anyone not satisfied with their Android phone’s native music player.
Expect this to start rolling out in North America and China in the second quarter, followed by a worldwide release sometime in Q4. It’ll also become an eventual staple on Acer PCs, including things like all-in-ones, but in the beginning it will be exclusive to Acer’s Ultrabooks. Until Q2 rolls around, though, you can head past the break for a short demo of the music app. We hope you’re not too sick of Lady Gaga
At Panasonic’s press event here at CES 2012, the company announced and briefly showed off a device it called a Skype tablet, then promptly whisked it away before we could get our hands on it. Well, we swung by the Panny booth to see it up close and some more info on the thing. As you can see in the gallery below, it’s got what appears to be a webcam and a 7-inch LCD on the front, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD slot round back. Unfortunately, our attempts to gather more info about the device were rebuffed, but feel free to peek at our pictures and pontificate on what lies beneath its silver facade.
Samsung revealed some of its 2012 HDTVs would include a built in camera and mic to enable a feature it calls Smart Interaction, which is just a brand name for voice and gesture control. We stopped by the company’s massive CES booth today and squeezed between all of those 55-inch OLEDs to get a quick demo, and found it mirrored the suddenly common Kinect functionality we’ve become accustomed to closely. Like Microsoft’s add-on, Samsung’s setup has a keyword that activates it (Hi TV) and like the recently upgraded Xbox 360 dashboard, there has been a lot of work done to make sure it recognizes many real words. A key difference from the Kinect however, is that Samsung has also developed a Bluetooth-connected IR blaster that can sit in front of your cable box and extend the control to other devices that way. As you can see in our video of the presentation the control was generally tight and responsive, however it still lacks truly natural communication and the test volunteer had some trouble turning the TV off. Check out the video after the break and see if a future of talking to the TV is for you — we’ll be on the couch with our remotes.
Until now we’ve only seen the Golden-i shown off as a concept, but now it’s actually shipping. The wearable computer (manufactured by Motorola, using technology licensed from Kopin, running software created by Ikanos) has 512MB of RAM and a TI OMAP under the hood. Currently it’s a series 3 with a maximum clock speed of 1GHz, but the next iteration should move to a 1.2GHz 4 series CPU. Instead of relying on a touch screen, keyboard or mouse you control the Windows CE machine using voice commands and by moving your head, thanks to the six axis accelerometer and dual mics which provide rather impressive noise cancellation. (Neither of the two demo units had any trouble understanding us on the crowded show floor.) It also packs WiFi N and Bluetooth radios, and there’s talk of a forthcoming 4G dongle from Verizon.
LG wasn’t very forthcoming with details when it announced its new AirPlay speaker dock back in November, so here at CES 2012 we decided we’d stop by LG’s booth to dig deeper and see it for ourselves. It looks like a foot square black Rubik’s cube, with glossy and matte exterior squares alternating around the outside, along with two mesh speaker grilles on the front corners. Up top is a dock that fits any iDevice and the power button, while a Smart Square screen resides on the front that’ll have touch controls when the dock ships in Q2 or Q3 of this year. A 3.5mm input jack and a USB port are on the back, and we’re pretty sure that the dongle plugged there is where the AirPlay chip currently resides, though it’ll be baked in before it gets to market. It was hard to evaluate the thing’s sound on the show floor, but with an 8-inch subwoofer inside, the low end came through loud and clear and overall it sounded good. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you how much it’ll cost when it becomes available, but we can give you the gallery of pics below. Enjoy.
Ready to give your right thumb a workout? We just tested our hand stamina with the recently-outed Razer Naga Hex Gaming Mouse. The programmable, six-button side panel also sports a thumb rest in the center of the control set — something we found to be a nice touch. If the stock feel of the buttons doesn’t exactly suit your gaming style, you can switch them out for two other heights for a better grasp of things. Shipping this spring, it’ll set you back $80. So is the Naga Hex a sound investment? Read on to find out.
The first thing we noticed about the Naga Hex was how lighting fast it was. We didn’t experience any lag in the movement, something we’ve come to count on from Razer peripherals. There was the slightest bit of travel with button set on the right side, though, which is something that could change once you pop on those interchangeable heights. Those side buttons also boast speeds of up to 250 clicks per second, making those all-too-important macros keep pace with your MW3 tactics. Naga Hex is the first Razer device to sport Synapse 2.0, a cloud-based service that manages all of your custom settings even when you head over to mates house. Scroll wheel and buttons up top work like a charm as well, making it a nice piece of kit to add to your gaming rig.
Back in September, we got our hands on the 17-inch gaming behemoth from Razer. There was only one snag: the trackpad wasn’t fully functional yet. There were screens in place, but we weren’t able to test out all of the controls. Here at CES, we were able to get a quick hands-on with a final consumer model, ready to start dominating your next Skyrim marathon. As you may recall, the trackpad is offset to the right side of the keyboard so as not to interfere with your access to the essential in-game controls. Serving up quite a few functions, the tech includes a miniature web browser, access to control settings, macro key set-up, YouTube viewer, a number pad and a regular ol’ laptop touchpad. Another difference between the model pictured here and the one we spent some time with is the inclusion of a 256GB SSD instead of a 320GB HDD which pushed the launch date back to mid January. The kit will still set you back $2,799 and is slated to ship later this month.
Black, bezeled and rectangular? That’s pretty much the go-to design for tablets nowadays. But lately Sony’s been straying from the pack and taking a different aesthetic tack, which it recently showcased with the Tablet S and P. On the showroom floor at CES, however, the company had two newer models secured behind glass to give consumers a sense of future form factors. These prototypes — known prospectively as the Hybrid and Slate — fall under the Vaio brand and clearly highlight an exciting direction for the Japanese electronics giant’s impending offerings.
The Hybrid’s most distinctive feature is its marriage of laptop functionality with tablet portability. Sliding the unit up and locking it into place reveals a keyboard in front (shown with a dedicated Windows button) and an expansive speaker grill behind. The company wouldn’t elaborate on the materials used in the enclosure, but that sparkly, copper color manages to toe the line between cheap and space age — a definite contradiction, for sure. At the base of the 11-inch unit is a dock that fits an included stylus, as this tablet is being designed to support touch pen input, in addition to the typical capacitive touch. None of the ports on the device are final, but when and if it ever ships, you can expect the usual array.
For a true glimpse into the next generation of tablet manufacturing, you need only look to Sony’s tablet Slate — the real stunner of this conceptual duo. With its use of a smart, soft touch flexible material — the company refused to elaborate on just what — that extends from the unit’s back for easy table top mounting, it’s easy to see a product like this setting consumers’ interest on fire and nabbing that lust-worthy tech crown. Unfortunately, this particular scifi casing is more than likely a few years off, but it’s good to see the company innovating and attempting to break free from the shackles of ordinary builds. The Slate is also designed to work with a wireless keyboard that shares the same intelligent material and appears to incorporate a touch interface. Click on through the galleries below for a tour of these two proof of concepts and make sure to click on past the break for a brief video tour.