The annual Consumer Electronics Show—better known as CES— is an often overwhelming showcase of technology, gadgets and cool new gear. There are a lot of prototypes thrown in the mix and camera-friendly products that may never make it to store shelves. Where’s that 110-inch 8K TV with glasses-free 3D they were showing off at CES 2015?
However, there are many new product debuts at the Consumer Electronics Show that do end up in stores. So it’s well worth keeping an eye on the announcements for CES 2016 because some of the gear you see over the next week or so could very well be in your hands later this year. Here are just a few examples of the computer-related gear that made a splash at last year’s CES and actually arrived at Best Buy in 2015.
Intel Broadwell Processors
Intel gave one of the keynotes at CES 2015 and a star of the company’s displays at the show was the Broadwell line of processors. Broadwell was Intel’s 5th generation of Core CPUs. Smaller, faster and more powerful than any previous processors, these new chips were particularly exciting because of their promise of superior graphic support and better battery life for portable PCs. And we’ve seen the results in 2015, with a growing number of laptops at Best Buy that are powered by Broadwell chips.
A great example of what that combination of power, performance and compact size helps make possible is Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4—an 8.45 mm thick convertible tablet/laptop that runs Windows 10 Pro, drives a 2736 x 1824 pixel display and runs for 9 hours of video playback on a charge.
ASUS Transformer Book T300
ASUS launched its Transformer Book T300 2-in-1 at CES 2015, and the device received considerable attention for its ultra-slim form factor, full complement of USB ports and a display that looked great from any angle.
CES-goers were particularly excited about the solid keyboard (with detachable screen mounted securely via a magnetic hinge) that made this device a real alternative to the Surface line. No more keyboard flex! The ASUS T-300 was soon available for purchase at Best Buy.
Samsung T1 Portable Solid State Drive
Samsung was turning heads with the T1 Portable SSD at CES 2015. For one thing, portable SSDs were still a relative rarity, so the prospect of a portable drive that move data at speeds of 450MB/s through a USB 3.0 port was enough to get attention. That is extremely fast, to the point where copying a 1080p HD movie file is a matter of 10 seconds or less. But the Samsung T1 combined that speed with attractive industrial design that offered premium looks and a tiny, business-card sized (22.5g) form factor. It was also rugged and offered high capacity storage for easy transport of huge files.
The Samsung T1 Portable SSD ended up winning awards at CES 2015, and it was also soon available at Best Buy.
Dell XPS 13
If there was a standout PC at CES 2015, there’s little arguing with the fact that it was Dell’s XPS 13.
This Ultrabook featured an Infinity Display that had practically no bezels, allowing Dell to somehow fit a high resolution 13.3-inch display into a laptop that was smaller than many 12-inch or even 11-inch models. This laptop measures just 15mm at its thinnest point when closed and weighs just 1.26 kg. The new Dell was visually stunning, constructed from a chunk of machined aluminum with carbon fibre trim, top of the class hardware (including intel Core CPUs and fast SSD storage) and battery life that lasted a day or more. It was quickly dubbed the ultimate Windows 10 machine and went on to gather an impressive collection of hardware at the Consumer Electronics Show.
As Digital Trends—one of many publications that gave the XPS 13 a “best of” award at CES 2015—put it:
“While nothing is perfect, Dell’s new XPS 13 comes as close to the ideal Windows experience as any notebook we’ve seen. It’s attractive, durable, has a beautiful thin-bezel display and lasts well over a work day on a single charge,” going on to point out that despite the premium design and killer features what really set the XPS 13 apart from the other high end laptops on display was its affordability.
Naturally, the Dell XPS 13 has been available at Best Buy for much of 2015 and the sleek little laptop has been the focus of multiple Plug-in features, including Gadjo’s recent comparison to the MacBook Air.
Lenovo Flex 3
Lenovo is one of those companies that goes all out at the Consumer Electronics Show and at CES 2015 they were showing off eight new PC models, including the Flex 3.
Compared to the previous generation Flex 2, the Flex 3 gained the full 360-degree hinge pioneered in the more expensive Yoga line, making it a true convertible laptop.
The nice thing about this particular convertible laptop is that it offered all the flexibility of other more expensive models (including Laptop, Stand, Tent and Tablet modes), a decent Intel CPU combined with a multitouch HD display and added premium touches like Dolby Home Theatre Audio. But the the Flex 3 remained affordable. And you guessed it, the Flex 3—announced as “coming soon” at CES by Lenovo—was indeed soon available at Best Buy.
The 2016 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show officially runs from January 6 to January 9 in Las Vegas. As we do every year, Plug-in writers will be tracking the developments closely and posting daily updates about what’s new and exciting. Keep an eye on those daily updates because as I’ve just shown, the cool gear that makes headlines at CES isn’t always one-off prototypes or hyper expensive products that look great for the camera. Many of the PCs, laptops and accessories you see featured in our CES 2016 coverage will be available at Best Buy in 2016.