Top 5 Gadgets from CES 2011

While CES 2011 didn’t have as many Wow factors as last year, there was still plenty of innovative technology on display that would have made any technophile drool. Picking a top 5 is subjective, and will not meet with everyone’s approval. While e are by no means the final authority on ‘the’ gadgets of 2011, we’ve picked a selection that we think will make an impact on the  market this year – whether it be in practical terms, or just the cool factor – we’ll let you decide. If you think there was a piece of premium tech we missed, please feel free to add a comment.

Samsung Series 8 LED TV
We predict that this year will be the year of Smart TVs. Last year 3D TV and tablets grabbed the headlines, but this year television vendors are taking things that one step further, which is of no surprise as they have been promising such for a while now. At the top of the list is Samsung’s latest Series 8 LED offering. So what is so special about it? Well, it has a 200Hz referesh rate, and a 2 millisecond motion picture response time (ie, very crisp, very clear, superb pictures). Without getting too technical, it offers very deep blacks and pure whites, which again, lends itself to brilliant pictures. Where the smart technology comes in is its Bluetooth connectivity, built-in wifi, 3D capability, and a touch control TV remote that also can stream a television programme on the remote’s built-in 3-inch LCD. In other words; desperate to make that cup of coffee, but don’t want to miss anything on the tellie? Take the remote with you and watch the programme. Although this technology was hinted at last year, it is now heading for the mainstream.

Zeal Optics’ Ski Goggles With GPS
Ok, so Australia’s not the first place on the international jet-set’s list when they think of skiing holidays, nor is Threadbo the first destination on the Olympic committee’s linup when deciding on a venue for the Winter Olympics. However, we do have a skiing industry, and this cute little gadget caught our eye due to its GPS capabilities. Developed in America by Zeal Optics and Recon Instruments, the Transcend Ski Goggles not only keeps out the glare and wind chill, but also tracks your progress via GPS. You can get your altitude, speed and location at the touch of a button. It also has an accelerometer, air-pressure sensor and thermometer, with the data shown on the corner of the goggle’s frame. Maybe a bit OTT for some ski bunnies, but still has that cool factor that is sure to attract plenty of attention on the slopes.

Garmin GTU 10 Tracker
Garmin specialises in GPS devices, however this time they have introduced something that is a little bit different.  This is an excellent device to keep track of kids that parents feel are old enough to have a little bit of independence, but not old enough to run their own lives completely. Where its genius lies is in its GeoFences feature. These ‘fences’ are virtual boundaries that can be created on the unit that allows a parent to keep track of your kids by setting regions they can be in at certain times of the day. For example, one such boundary could include the route to school and the school itself. You will be sent a text or email telling you that they are outside the school grounds when the shouldn’t be. It can also be attached to your dog’s collar if your canine companion has  penchant for wandering off when they should be at home. Some might think it smacks of Big Brother, but then again, who doesn’t want their kids in a safe environment? It also comes with a Li-ion battery, which can last up to four weeks.

Sony 3D Goggles With Built-in OLED Screen
No, you don’t watch your 3D TV with these futuristic looking set of specs, you actually watch the screen displayed within the goggles. People were queuing for ages to get a gander at this latest bit of tech from the struggling CE giant. How good are they? Not bad considering they were at concept stage. The aforementioned OLED screen has 1280 x 720 resolution, and the colour reproduction was top notch. However, while they looked good, there was a slight hitch in the practicality department – you have to hold the glasses in place. We are hoping the R&D department at Sony are sorting out a solution when working models start coming off the production line.

Acer’s  Iconia Windows 7 Laptop
This gets the nod for a couple of reasons. First, it has a dual LCD multi-touch screens – one of which is located where the keyboard should be. However, never fear. If you do need the keyboard, a ‘virtual’ version can be made to appear where the traditional keyboard usually sits, so you can get the best of both worlds. Second, as well as being powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and having the Windows 7 operating system, we found the touchscreen aspects of the unit – especially the Acer ‘Ring’ that lets you move between the different onscreen protocols – very user friendly. Finally, it just looks cool. Others may argue there are a lot more practical and better featured laptops out there at the moment, but there’s something intriguing about a piece of technology that moves our perceptions of what a laptop should look like. And going by the crowds hankering around the device at CES, it fit that bill with ease.