Best of CES 2013: Top Technologies That Took Home the Gold

CES is chock full of enough new products and technologies to make even the most cynical techie salivate, but as always, there are a handful of items that tend to rise to the top and stand out for being the best products of their kind or for true innovation.  We thought we'd run down a short list of the stand-out products of this year's CES and highlight them here for the HOT hardware that they are.

If you’re a gamer, you have to be pumped about this year’s CES. We know that a Steam console is in the works, and we got to feast our eyes on two terrific mobile gaming devices in the Razer Edge and NVIDIA’s Project SHIELD. SHIELD looks like a game controller enabled with a 5-inch LCD, but this ain’t your little brother’s DS; it runs on a Tegra 4 chip, offers easy access to games on Tegra Zone, and can connect to a TV for big-screen gaming. It also runs on a full version of Android Jelly Bean, with access to pretty much anything in the Google Play Store.

NVIDIA's Project SHIELD Tegra 4 Powered Android Gaming Device

Razer Edge
Razer's Razer Edge Intel Core i7 Powered Windows 8 Gaming Tablet

Razer’s take on a mobile gaming device, the Razer Edge, is actually a Windows 8 PC in a 10.1-inch tablet form factor. It docks neatly into a keyboard accessory if you want to pretend like it’s a run-of-the-mill Windows 8 tablet, but it wants to be nestled into the Gamepad Controller, which gives users the ability to grab hold of two controllers equipped with thumbsticks, buttons and triggers and game like mad wherever they go.
In Win H Frame
In Win H Frame Open Air Case

We have a soft spot for cases, and after ogling dozens of them, the one that caught our eye the most and held it there was In Win’s H Frame open-air chassis, which looks like one giant silver and blue heatsink. (Its companion, the D-Frame, looks like more fun to play with but probably doesn’t have the same class of design as the H-Frame.) It’s not exactly overflowing with drive bays, but there are 7 expansion slots, and the all-aluminum fin design provides cooling with minimal fans by--well, by being a giant heatsink with more than ample channels for air to pass through.

Cubify CubeX Trio
Cubify CubeX Trio 3D Printer

Speaking of having soft spots for certain tech, the Cubify CubeX 3D Printer looks to be a superb 3D printer for anyone who has the cash. The device can print objects in tri-color and with two different materials in the same object, and it can print as big as a basketball. Cubify threw in a copy of its Invent Software to make designing easier, too.
Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses
Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses, Competition for Google Glass

We’ve been tracking the development of Google Glass for a while now, but a competitor is headed to market, and soon; Vuzix showed off its M100 Smart Glasses at CES, and the specs on the specs are impressive for something that lives on your face and includes a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of onboard storage, a 720p HD camera, and more. Further, it can communicate with iOS and Android devices to seriously augment how we use our smartphones.

Sony Xperia Z
Sony Xperia Z Smartphone

Speaking of mobile, Sony--yeah, Sony--unveiled its Xperia Z smartphone, which boasts a 5-inch screen with a ridiculous 1920x1080 resolution and a 13MP camera. It runs on a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 quad-core chip and has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard flash memory, and sports numerous connectivity options including NFC, screen mirroring, HDMI, high speed USB 2.0 support, and much more. The kicker: It’s waterproof up to about three feet, so those of you (no need to raise your hands, we know you’re out there) who have ever dropped a phone in a toilet, drinking glass, or puddle, can be as butterfingered as you want.
Samsung S9
Samsung UN85S9 Ultra High-Definition TV

On the TV side of things, Samsung wowed at the show with its expansive (and expensive) 85-inch UN85S9 Ultra High-Definition TV. The slim TV looks like it’s mounted on a slender easel, which is visually striking, and it boasts a quad-core processor to handle the Samsung Smart TV workload. The TV features Samsung’s S-Recommendation with Voice Interaction system (so you can talk to your television like a crazy person), as well as the latest version of Smart Hub.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC
Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC

Finally, Lenovo introduced its IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC, and as the name implies, Lenovo’s vision is that families will lay the all-in-one flat and compute together, be it a family game or just two kids messing around with two separate apps at the same time on the same screen. Indeed, family gaming is one of the primary features of the PC, which works with nifty gaming accessories including dice and suction cup joysticks. The Horizon runs Windows 8 and can slide up into a more traditional orientation (revealing a keyboard) for when you need to get actual work done.

The concept has a ways to go--a table accessory would be a nice start--but a base configuration that costs a hair under a thousand bucks isn’t a bad deal for a 27-inch all-in-one, regardless whether or not it doubles as a coffee table.

So there you have it, folks; what were your favorites from this year's CES?