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TheBolt

The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Posts Tagged ‘CES 2013’

Canon Powershot N: It’s Hip to Be Square

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Canon Powershot N offers a new form factor, Creative Mode filters and Wi-Fi connectivity

CES 2013—Our guys went hands-on at the Canon booth to bring us a look at the radical new Canon Powershot N pocket camera. Canon bucked tradition and dropped the traditional rectangular, right-handed design that nearly all modern cameras employ, and instead created an all-new symmetrical, ambidextrous form factor.

The first thing we noticed about the Canon Powershot N, besides the unique shape, is the startling lack of buttons. You’ll find just four of them on the entire body, with none of them being a normal shutter release button. That task is handled by one of the large silver rings that surround the lens. Press the ring halfway down to focus, fully to snap a photo. An innovative idea for sure, but what makes it really cool is the ability to trigger from either the top or bottom of the camera. Why would you want to trigger from the bottom? We’ll get to that shortly. A second silver ring is used to zoom the 28-224mm equivalent, f/3-5.9 lens.

The rear of the camera is taken up by a top-hinged 461k dot, 2.8-inch touch-sensitive LCD that tilts out up to 90°. This tilting screen, in conjunction with the unique shutter and zoom controls, create what Canon calls “Any Way Up” operation. Fold the screen out and put the camera down low to capture a photo of an insect, without getting your knees dirty. At a concert, flip the camera upside down and hold it over your head for stage shots over the crowd. Because of the symmetrical design of both the body and the shutter release ring, there’s literally no wrong way to hold this camera. Canon encourages users to wear the N around their necks; studs on each side of the body will accommodate a lanyard.

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Samsung Smart Window Display Case

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Samsung Smart Window Display Case Gives Retailers a Futuristic Way to Display Products

CES 2013—When flat panel HDTVs  first started appearing in large sizes, I often joked that I’d like to replace all of the windows in my house with them, so I could see whatever scene I’d like outside. No more cloudy, rainy days or long winter nights. While modern 4K TVs can create a scene almost indistinguishable from real life, the obvious problem with my harebrained scheme was that occasionally, I would like to see outside. We found a solution to that problem last year, with the Samsung Smart Window, which can display graphics on an otherwise clear screen.

At CES 2013, we saw an interesting and practical implementation of my idea: the smart display case. Samsung equipped a traditional-looking retail display case with a smart window, allowing exhibitors the ability to showcase a product safely under wraps while enhancing the viewer’s experience with additional info via the display. The Samsung smart window display is an effective concept due not just to its practicality, but also its visual brilliance. This is something people stop to look at.

Illuminated rear and bottom panels keep both the items and the information on the smart window itself perfectly viewable at all times. Samsung’s Magicinfo system provides full PC control, so the window can be programmed to display just about any information the user desires: Spec lists, Where to Buy info, QR Codes, etc. It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing some cool augmented-reality implementations.

Samsung Smart window

We wouldn’t mind getting our hands on a few of these cases; with a showroom as large as ours, we’ll put them to good use.

i’m Watch: Dick Tracy’s Wrist Watch Phone

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

The i’m Watch puts the power of an Android smartphone right on your wrist.

CES 2013— So far, a recurring theme to products at CES 2013 has been “bigger is better.” Larger TVs, higher megapixel cameras, smartphones that approach tablet size; we are consuming higher-quality media and more of it than ever, so the trend makes sense. However, one of the gadgets we’ve seen so far that really set our geek hearts aflutter took the opposite approach: the i’m Watch, an Android-based smart watch.

The smart watch is an idea that’s been dreamt about since Dick Tracy’s 2-Way Radio Watch first debuted in 1946. The i’m Watch is one of the best implementations of that concept that we’ve seen yet. It runs a custom version of Android called “i’m Droid 2,” which its creators claim is “the world’s most advanced smartwatch operating system.” A variety of custom apps are available, including Facebook, Twitter, and a music service.

 

 

By tethering to your phone via Bluetooth, the i’m Watch eliminates the need to include cellular radios or a SIM card in its body, hosting just the dialer and contact list locally. This “Smart Tethering” system connects to your phone only when necessary, with the phone relying on Wi-Fi connects whenever available.

Sporting a 1.54″ color TFT display with a 240×240 resolution, in a 10mm thick case measuring 40mm X 53mm, the i’m Watch is large enough to offer practical functions, without being annoyingly bulky. A 450 mAh Li-Po battery powers the IMX223 CPU, allowing for a claimed 48 hours of standby without Bluetooth connection, and up to 24 hours when connected. You’ll be able to get up to 3 hours of talk time out of the i’m Watch. (more…)

Samsung OLED TVs and the World’s Largest 4K TV

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Samsung OLED TVs and More at CES

 

Samsung OLED TVs

Entrance to the Samsung CES Booth

CES 2013— Samsung swung for the fences at CES this year, showcasing an assortment of very impressive HDTVs, among other things. Attendees entering the Samsung booth were first greeted by a trio of the company’s new 85-inch 4K HDTV. Besting the competition’s 4K TVs by an inch of screen real estate, the Samsung S9 is now the world’s largest 4K TV. The ultramodern “Timeless Gallery” frame of the S9 seems to reinforce its identity as a truly luxury item. Samsung has not yet announced price or release date.

Samsung OLED TVs

Samsung OLED TV with “World’s First” curved screen

Another futuristic, if sparsely-detailed, TV we saw was the Samsung OLED TV with the “world’s first” curved screen. The large-radius curve is noticeable from the sides of the set, and less so from the front. Samsung claims the design mimics that of an IMAX Theater, enveloping a viewer’s field of view. OLED technology allows the curvature, but has a primary benefit of better color and contrast, and lower power consumption than traditional LED tech.

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Samsung T9000, A Chilling Machine Sent From the Future

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The Samsung T9000 brings massive storage and network connectivity to your kitchen

SAMSUNG T9000

The Samsung T9000 opens up for us.

 

CES 2013— Most of the spotlight at a show like CES 2013 is on entertainment technologies like HDTVs, computers and cameras, while home appliances fly under the tech-blogging radar. One such product that did manage to catch our eye was the Samsung T9000 Four-Door Refrigerator, which features internet connectivity and enough storage space to swallow lesser fridges whole.

At first glance, the Samsung simply looks like a very large refrigerator. With a 32 cubic-foot capacity, it is among the most spacious free-standing fridges on the market. However, this cooling colossus crams a bevy of advanced features under its sleek stainless steel skin.

The first thing that struck us was the unique four-door design. The French Door upper half of the unit is a 19.4 cubic-foot capacity refrigerator, and the lower left compartment is a 6.1 cubic-foot freezer. But,  the 6.1 cubic-foot lower right section can operate as either a refrigerator or a freezer. We hear the complaint often: “when I need freezer space, the fridge is empty. When I need fridge space, the freezer is empty.” The Samsung T9000 solves that inconvenience with its clever transforming design. Samsung’s Triple Cooling system, which uses commercial grade humidity control, promises to keep foods fresh longer.

Samsung didn’t stop innovating there, though. Above the water and ice dispensers, you’ll find a 10-inch integrated touchscreen display running a Linux-based OS. Intended for more than just a place to write messages, the display offers connectivity to your home network, and to mobile devices via the Evernote app. So, you can bring up a recipe on the screen, then write a shopping list while checking for necessary ingredients in the fridge. Evernote will sync the new list to the app on your smartphone. If someone’s already out grocery shopping, they’ll see additions to the list as it’s updated from the kitchen.

SAMSUNG T9000 FRIDGE

Samsung has not yet announced pricing or availability for the T9000, but we’ll post back here as soon as we find out.

Sony Tap 20: Tablet or a desktop computer?

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Sony Tap 20 Mobile Desktop Blurs the Line Between Tablet and Desktop Computer

SONY TAP 20

CES 2013— Sony’s CES booth provided no shortage of wows, but one of the more unusual products we spotted was the new 20-inch Sony Vaio Tap 20 Mobile Desktop. Yep, you read that right: 20 inches. While designed to be an easily movable desktop computer, the Sony Tap 20 also functions exactly like an oversized tablet. Whether or not you choose to use it that way depends on how you feel about lugging around 11 pounds of fragile glass and metal. But if you’re up for it, the touchscreen and fold-flat integrated stand let the Tap 20 function on a flat surface as well as it does in desktop mode.

Under the hood, the Sony Tap 20 is built like a fully-featured desktop, offering a choice of i3, i5 or i7 Intel Core processors, and running Windows 8. Traditional hard disk drives give it up to 1TB of storage, but add to the unit’s heft. A DC-in port, Gigabit Ethernet jack and two USB 3.0 jacks give it better connectivity than a tablet. The 20-inch display has a native resolution of 1600×900 and is powered by Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip. Notable absences include an optical drive and HDMI input, which does slightly limit the Tap 20′s multimedia usefulness.

Sony is targeting the multiple-user audience, like families, where the Tap 20 can be assigned to desktop homework duty one minute, and be transformed into a table-top multi-player gaming tablet the next. While many take Sony’s description of “portability” with a grain of salt,  there’s no doubt that it’s an interesting design, one we imagine people will find innovative ways to utilize. Just don’t expect to see anyone reading an eBook on the subway using it. The Tap 20 will cost between $899 and $1199, and is available now.

W Series Walkman: Sony’s New Waterproof MP3 Player

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

W Series Walkman From Sony Brings Waterproof, Wireless Music To Your Workout

W Series Walkman

Sony’s W Series Walkman features a waterproof, one-piece design.

CES 2013— Swimmers and wet-weather workout warriors, rejoice! At Sony’s CES booth, the electronics giant displayed their new W Series Walkman Waterprof MP3 Player. The Sony NWZ-w273 features a unique, one-piece design that integrates the battery and MP3 player into the ear-bud units, for a truly wireless listening solution. Completely waterproof, the W Series Walkman can be submerged indefinitely at depths of 2 meters or less.

While the lightweight player will likely find favor with the water-sport crowd, anyone who works out enough to break a sweat will appreciate the design. I’ve had an MP3 player act up after sweat seeped into the headphone jack during a particularly grueling run, and Sony’s waterproof design will alleviate issues like that, not to mention running in the rain.

Sony did not cut corners when designing the waterproof, minimalist headset; the NWZ-W273 holds its own against traditional MP3 players. MP3, WMA, AAC-LC and L-PCM formats are supported; 4GB of integrated memory should hold about 1,000 normal-length songs (128kbps). A full charge will get you up to eight hours of continuous playback, making this a perfect player for marathon runners looking for a hassle-free music setup. One useful feature of the W273 is its quick-charge ability: just a 3 minute charge will get you an hour of playback time.

The earbuds utilize 13.5mm dome drivers to put out impressive sound with respectable bass levels for such a small size. Three sizes of buds are included to insure a proper fit, and the integrated adjustment band keeps everything snug.

We think the W Series Walkman will be a great complement to our selection of fitness equipment, and we’re eagerly anticipating its arrival.

4K TVs at CES: Abt Checks Out Sony’s UHDTV Sets

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

4K TVs at CES

4K TVs at CES

Sony’s Bravia 4K TVs at CES 2013. Stunning picture quality and sound to match.

CES 2013— 4K TVs are out in force at CES 2013. The tech that everyone in the audio/visual world has been buzzing about, and we spotlighted recently, is moving beyond the introductory stage. CES 2013 saw manufacturers release details for multiple models utilizing the ultra high resolution format, which uses 4 times the pixels as a standard 1080p HDTV. Leading the charge is Sony, whose 84″ 4K 3D Bravia TV is a wonder to behold. However, the company realizes that, at $25k, it’s still well out of reach for the majority of interested consumers. In response, they’ve announced 55 and 65-inch models that will feature the same stunning picture at prices that Sony describes as “attainable.”

sony-4k-65inch_v2

We had a look at the new 4K Bravias, and came away very impressed. The picture quality is just as amazing as the flagship 84″ Bravia TV, at a size (and hopefully price) that will be more appealing to the average consumer. One of the biggest surprises, though, was the excellent sound quality coming from the integrated speakers. Flat Panel TVs are notorious for producing sub-par sound because of the size and power restraints of the speaker drivers in such a thin enclosure. Sony developed a speaker tech that utilizes magnetic fluid to suspend voice coils, decreasing energy consumption and distortion and creating a speaker with unrivaled clarity for its size.

According to Sony, the two smaller sets will be available for purchase in late Spring, though exact pricing has not yet been announced. We’re definitely looking forward to getting them into our showroom, so you can get them into your family room. Stay tuned to our Blog for more info from CES 2013, and check out the video from Sony explaining the new 4K Tvs after the break. (more…)