CES: Favourite gadgets of the show so far

Las Vegas: Some 20,000 products are being shown at CES this year.

I spent a fairly chaotic day getting acquainted with a tiny fraction of them and here are my top five favourites so far…

1. The Parrot AR Drone

This thing is amazing – its a carbon and plastic “quadricopter” that you can steer and fly using controls on an iPhone. The thing is amazingly easy to learn how to control – you tilt the iPhone to steer, raise it or lower it to change elevation. If you take your hands off the controls, the AR Drone stabilises and goes into autopilot mode – just watching it do that is fascinating. The four rotors whir like horizontal fans. If someone calls you onyour iPhone while you are flying, it will gently land the drone so you can take the call!

The AR Drone creates its own mesh network between the iPhone and the flying device and the wireless is tremendously responsive. I flew the drone in a dog flight against another player. When you line up at the right altitude and lock your sensors onto your competitor, lasers are triggered and you get a kill. I nearly took the head off a couple of show attendees getting used to the AR Drone, but in no time I was a competent dog fighter! I’m seriously considering bringing one of these home with me – it is endless fun. Price US$299

The AR Drone
The AR Drone

2. Samsung 75 inch 3D LED LCD flat screen TV

This is the most beautiful TV I’ve ever seen. It’s the largest high-definition LED TV in the world, is incredibly thin and if you really want to, you can run 3D content on it. That last feature is the least appealing for me. I just stood there staring at the screen as a series of cityscapes flashed by. The image-quality is breath-taking.It is also internet-enabled. The brushed-steel finish gives the TV an elegenat look. It doesn’t really get better than this at the moment – no price details at this stage, but it won’t be cheap!

The 75 inch Samsung LED 3DTV
The 75 inch Samsung LED 3DTV

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab

I was sceptical about the 7 inch screen on the Tab, Samsung’s Google Android-powered iPad rival. But having had a decent play with one, its incredibly versatile and the screen size isn’t too much of a compromise when it comes to web surfing and viewing applications. More details and all the specifications here. Price: US$299 on a 2 year Sprint mobile contract.$549 with no contract).

4. Maxell 64 GB SD card

The only really innovative thing about this little sliver of silicon is the memory capacity. Think about it – 64GB of storage on a postage stamp sized memory card. That is epic! Price: US$350

Maxell 64GB SD card
Maxell 64GB SD card

5. Panasonic 3D camcorder adapter

Now that we have 3D TVs and laptops that can display 3D video, there’s an impetus to enable consumers to generate their own 3D content. Imagine it – your home movie of that marlin coming aboard is going to really leap out at you when the fish is flapping around in 3D. To do this Panasonic has come up with a lens attachment for its camcorders.

Here’s a review of the camera:

3D conversion lens that records right-eye and left-eye images simultaneously through its two lenses. The right/left images (each with 960 x 1080 pixels) that enter through the lenses are recorded using the side-by-side method. By attaching the lens, and connecting it to a TV that is capable of side-by-side method 3D playback, vividly colorful 3D images can be viewed at home.

Price: US$1,148

Panasonic camcorder with 3D attachment
Panasonic camcorder with 3D attachment

Gimmick of the show

The amazing sand carvings on the Panasonic stand…


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