Behind the Scenes at CES 2012
Gaming & PC displays
Unfortunately, we did not have more than two days at CES and most of the time, we were behind the scenes meeting with companies at CES meeting rooms and in nearby hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. Gaming is very big at CES and there is a huge area set aside specifically for it.
We visited the Genius booth to take a look at their new gaming peripheral mouse, keyboard and gamer-oriented audio products, and of course Intel, Nvidia, AMD, and their partners support PC gaming. We also visited Kingston, Thermaltake and Cooler Master who manufacturer gaming-oriented cases and cooling as well as gaming keyboards, headphones, accessories and mice.
Genius is a company from Taiwan that is making a real push into the US market with unique and innovative products. They feel they have great products at excellent prices and will be able to compete here. Here is their Kids Designer II Tablet.
Here is the Genius FPS mouse (right) next to the Mauris RTS mouse (left); the Genius gaming keyboard is programmable. Genius also makes a gamer-oriented 5.1 audio system with great bass.
Genius gave us their new and completely unique Ring presenter which combines a laser pointer and mouse function in a ring that allows one to browse the web or use it in a presentation. From their website:
You receive full access to control power point slides, Play (F5)/Exit, Last/Next Page, Left button and Laser pointer anywhere in the room when doing a presentation. In addition, Ring Presenter also comes with the in-air mouse function so you can use actual mouse functions like cursor movement, left/middle/right buttons, dragging and 4-way scrolling. Ring Presenter is a great tool for browsing Internet pages and documents in locations such as a bus, plane, train or school lectures.
Ring Presenter is a cutting-edge technology innovation, powered by the slimmest Li-ion rechargeable battery design to protect the environment while you enjoy the fun you always wanted. Also the smart battery-low detector flashes in blue when it is time to recharge. The Ring Presenter worry-free 2.4GHz technology provides a reliable working performance and the laser pointer can work at a distance up to 10 meters.
It sounds interesting and we will check this out for you in a mini-review. We also received their Noise Isolation in-ear headset and although it is made specifically for iPhone/iPad, we will check it out on other playback devices.
Cases, Cooling, Storage and Displays
We were invited to Cooler Master’s hotel suite on the Las Vegas Strip for their 20th Anniversary. They gave us some very nice practical gifts and we do have to comment on the Cooler Master ladies who are extraordinary in every way.
It is hard to believe that PC cooling started in those nondescript closed beige boxes, progressed to black and black with accents, and now (probably thanks to Apple), we are seeing white again with black accents and it looks very stylish for 2012. Here in the next image is their flagship case, the Cosmos II, in black.
Cooler Master showed us their current line up which included their stands, their peripherals including mini-UPS and PSUs. Here is an innovative notebook cooler with a fan that may be moved to cool the hot spots directly.
Cooler Master had a special room where we got to see products that are currently under NDA that will be released later on this year. After looking at them, we can’t wait to reveal them in the coming year. Cooler Master also makes power supply units (PSUs).
We are also reminded that Cooler Master makes great gaming accessories and we saw their new mouse, keyboards and headphones that we hope to review for our readers. We gratefully accepted the limo ride back to CES which got us back just in time for another meeting. After that meeting, we were off to visit another cool company. Thermaltake was set up in another hotel’s clubhouse on the Strip.
Thermaltake is also a gamer-oriented company with a great variety of cases, CPU coolers, fans and PSUs. They also own LUXA and eSports which caters to gamers with a great selection of mouses, keyboards, and headphones, all of which were on display.
Here is the new Thermaltake full-tower Armor Riva case. In black or white, it it quite handsome. We are currently evaluating the Thermaltake Chaser MK II full tower for ABT readers and our review should be published this week. It’s internals are set up quite similarly to the Chaser MK II tower. We’ll tell you now that we love this case and one of the most useful features we found to be is the HDD/SSD docking station right on top of the case. Using USB 3.0 it is has turned out to be one of the most useful new features in a case that we have encountered. We also see the Theron gaming mouse featured which is a compliment to the Tt Saphira mouse.The popular and stylish Level 10 full tower now has a new Level Ten GTS in a mid tower with the same great features including internal USB 3.0 and unique easy-swap HDD bays – in black or white.
We have the Frio and the Frio OCK also at ABT headquarters which are awaiting evaluation and publication this month. They are quite impressive in their ability to cool the CPU quietly and you can expect a “cases and cooling” week shortly at ABT. Thermaltake also recently announced their newest Frio Extreme – their new flagship cooler.
ABT is also going to be evaluating watercooling and we have just set up our Thermaltake Chaser MK II full tower to evaluate it – stay tuned for our Cooling & Case Week this month! Of course, Thermaltake also has a full range of completely modular PSUs – now available in the Toughpower XT Platinum Snow edition.
Thermaltake also makes a full line of smaller PSUs, chargers and surge protectors for travel and mobile products.
We recently evaluated Thermaltake’s Compact MEKA Gaming Keyboard for ABT readers and concluded that the Cherry Black MX switches really do make a difference for faster and more accurate gaming. Here is their new MEKA G1 Combat White gaming keyboard.
We didn’t see a white mouse – yet. However, we did see the latest Tt eSports headsets designed for gamers. Here is just one of DRACCO’s 6 designs – they are quite comfortable and yet make a fashion statement.
We have just given a very brief overview of the new Thermaltake products and you can expect to see some of them evaluated for you shortly at ABT. We said goodbye to Thermaltake and headed for the Kingston suite.
Kingston is the memory and flash storage people. They have their HyperX brand proudly on display and it has now come to encompass much more than RAM. The fastest SSDs that Kingston makes are now HyperX branded and they are much faster than the Vnow and V+now series that we reviewed for you last year. We have a 240GB HyperX SSD from Kingston in our review queue that we will evaluate for you in early February and we now have USB 3.0 on our platform so we can fully test out its potential.
Kingston always looks for ways to utilize their highest speed HyperX system memory to make your tasks faster and easier. They also feature their super-fast HyperX 64GB USB 3.0 Data Traveler for portable fast storage.
Kingston made several announcements at CES. One was about their new HyperX Red Limited Edition Memory and a new look for HyperX LoVo low-voltage modules. The other involved releasing an array of portable Flash memory based solutions designed for the growing number of thin notebook, tablet and smartphone users. Kingston’s light and thin USB Flash drives (as in the blue and silver drives above, left corner) focus on small and stylish designs that expand storage capacities of small form factor computing devices
We also received a Kingston 16GB Wi-Drive for review. The Kingston Wi-Drive offers wireless memory expansion for tablets and smartphones such as Kindle Fire, Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
Kingston’s Wi-Drive is portable, wireless storage for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Wi-Drive lets you store and share your favorite content with your favorite people. It gives you up to 32GB of added storage for your Apple device and lets you share photos, videos, music and more with three users on their own iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Download the free Wi-Drive App from the App StoreSM to access and and easily share the content on your Wi-Drive with Apple devices. Best of all, Wi-Drive is backed by legendary Kingston reliability, 24/7 tech support and a one-year warranty.
- Portable, wireless storage
- Works with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
- Share your data with 3 users simultaneously
- Integrated Wi-Fi 802.11g/n; 30-foot range
We said goodbye to Kingston and headed back to CES for a final look at display technology and a meeting with ViewSonic
We stopped by DisplayPort’s booth.
DisplayPort is getting more popular and it is the connector of choice for AMD Radeon Graphics cards which allows for their multi-display Eyefinity to handle 6 displays from a single card or DP hub. We are on our way to our last meeting at CES with ViewSonic and we got lost and were a few minutes late for our appointment. Looking up, we saw the familiar ViewSonic logo to our relief.
This editor is convinced that stereoscopic 3D (S3D) is the future of gaming and television. We have devoted a series of articles to Nvidia’s 3D Vision and we are currently evaluating passive S3D using ViewSonic’s VD231 23″ display and we will also evaluate AMD’s HD3D over HDMI 1.4a. You can expect a full product evaluation of the ViewSonic V3D231 later on this month.
This is a good display and inexpensive for entry-level passive 3D as the glasses are dirt-cheap – compared to 3D Vision’s $150 a pair active shutter glasses. This monitor works in 3D by using the supplied TriDef software – supporting over 400 PC games – and can use AMD or Nvidia video cards. The only issue is that the vertical resolution to each eye is cut in half much like in this 3D image below.
Above is the 27″ ViewSonic 3D 1080P display. There is also a 24″ Viewsonic display that comes with the active shutter glasses and which can display the full no-compromise 1080p resolution to each eye as shown below.
ViewSonic shared with us that they are also looking at creating new higher resolution (than 1080) displays and they reminded us that they were among the first to have the really high-resolution displays. We look forward to evaluating ViewSonic displays and products for ABT readers.
Before we left CES we just had to meet up again with Andy Marken at OWC’s booth. Andy is a weekly ABT guest contributor of his insightful Content Insider, one of the latest of which was devoted to trade shows, Holiday + Shows + The Internet + Publicists = lethal mixture.
Andy Marken was recently interviewed about “Marketing at CES” and it is well worth listening to. The first link is to the entire interview and is about 16 minutes long and the second link is a 3 minute condensed version of the interview:
Andy gives the real reason that companies, attendees and the media go to CES year after year. It is almost ironic. With all of the latest and greatest communication-related technology on the planet gathered in one place, people go specifically to connect face to face with each other.
CES shows us that there are 20,000 new products being showcased at one giant show – some get a lot of attention, some products do not; others are big and many are tiny. Many of them are quite useful and Andy surprised us with an evaluation unit of the NewerTech Power2U AC/USB wall outlet in a DiY kit that solves the ugly power-brick issue. Andy actually got it featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America” during CES!
Well, it was time for us to head home at 7 PM. We headed outside of CES and to our rental car for the nearly hour-long crawl in mass traffic just to get out of the downtown Las Vegas area and onto the Interstate for the less than 4 hour drive home.