The Top 25 Products From CES 2015

The Best Of CES

CES 2015 was the biggest show the Las Vegas tech convention has had in years. Some of the biggest trends were innovations in home automation and the Internet of Things, a slew of more wearables, new smartphones and tablets, thinner and better laptops, 4K TVs and even self-driving cars.

CRN explored the show floor, hit the big-time press events and went through all the coolest gadgets, big and small, to give you the list of what made the biggest splash at CES 2015.

Here are CRN's picks for the best 25 products on display at CES 2015.

Sling TV

For those who have a strong disdain for their cable bill, Sling TV could be the answer. This Dish platform is the solution many cord-cutters have been longing for. With Sling TV, users can stream major networks over the Internet for just $20 a month. Without a subscription, users can watch sports on ESPN, TNT or TBS, breaking news on CNN, or their favorite TV series on AMC, FX, The Disney Channel and more. There are even some on-demand movie options. The one big drawback is that there is still no option for live NFL games. Sling TV is coming later this month with a 30-day trial offer.

Nest Gets Better

Nest kicked off CES with a slew of partnerships to broaden the capabilities of its smart thermostat, including ones with Dropcam, Whirlpool, Jawbone, Automatic and more.

Now that Nest is partnered with Dropcam, the devices can communicate with each other. If a smoke alarm goes off, Dropcam will start recording so users can later view the issue. By partnering with Automatic's Internet of Cars product, Nest will know when a user's vehicle is on its way home and start warming up the house.

Through the Jawbone partnership, the company's UP24 band will let Nest know if a user is awake in the middle of the night, and Nest will warm up the home if needed.

Fitness Gadget: Garmin Vivofit 2 Active

Garmin unveiled two wrist-worn wearables at CES to go along with its rugged smartwatch, the Phoenix Watch.

The Vivofit 2 activity tracker counts users' steps and has a red bar on the side of the display that gets longer the more they stay inactive. The fitness band can be set up to beep if users have been inactive for an extensive amount of time. The band has one year of battery life and can work under water up to 50 meters. It also has an extensive array of interchangeable bands. The Vivo Active GPS Smartwatch can track activity whether users are golfing, biking, running or swimming.

Toshiba Encore 2 Write

Budget tablets have suffered in the productivity department because many of the entry-level tablets have lacked advanced hardware and software features that allow users to do more with them. Toshiba is hoping to change expectations by juicing its entry-level tablet line with premium pen technology in partnership with Wacom.

Toshiba introduced two Encore 2 Write Windows-based tablets at CES that come with a Wacom digitizer pen. The pen corresponds to Toshiba apps such as TruNote that supports note-taking, archiving and searching along with handwriting recognition.

The tablets come in 10.1-inch and 8-inch models with Intel Atom processors, 2 GB of RAM, 11 hours of battery life and Windows 8.1.

LG G Flex 2

LG's second generation of its curved smartphone was one of the biggest smartphone announcements at the show.

LG said it has worked out the kinks of last year’s G Flex model and offers a phone with a 5.5-inch curved 1,080p OLED display. The company said the curved screen is a strengthened form of Gorilla Glass 3 and better absorbs contact from drops up to 30 percent. The G Flex 2 also features an improved "self-healing" back panel, meaning scuffs and marks from drops and bumps will disappear on their own in seconds. LG also said the phone's larger battery has fast-charging capabilities and is the only phone that can get 50 percent juice in less than 40 minutes of charging.

World's Thinnest Tablet: Dell Venue 8 7000

At just 6mm thin, the Dell Venue 8 7000 is the thinnest tablet in the world, even thinner than some of the most popular new smartphones on the market. The tablet has a durable aluminum casing, so the thin measurements don’t add concern about drops or bumps. The screen is a durable 8.4-inch 2,560 x 1,600 edge-to-edge OLED infinity display. The new Dell tablet is also the first consumer device to feature the Intel RealSense Snapshot Depth Camera, which incorporates a depth map in every picture taken.

Samsung Portable SSD T1

Samsung unveiled its first portable SSD drive in the Samsung Portable SSD T1. The device is a portable drive that supports USB 3.0 and is based on the Samsung 850 Evo. The device packs security encryption software and supports AES 256-bit data encryption. The drive will be released Jan. 20 and will come in 250-GB, 500-GB and 1-TB models for $179, $299 and $599, respectively.

Yota Phone 2

One of the biggest innovations in the mobile industry is the Yota Phone 2, which was first unveiled just four weeks ago. The Yota Phone impressed tech fans with its back-panel e-ink display. The phone's back display looks just like that of a Nook or Kindle and can stay on at all times, even when the phone's battery dies. With the world’s first double-screen smartphone, users can do pretty much everything on the e-ink screen that they can on the main one, including check email, get bar codes in apps scanned, use social media and more. As cool as it looks in pictures, the phone is even more impressive in person.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active is a ruggedized, business-focused tablet that Samsung unveiled just last month. It comes with a bundle of Samsung-made enterprise apps and Samsung Knox, the company's mobile security platform. The Galaxy Tab Active features an 8-inch LCD screen and a large, easy-to-replace battery as the back panel easily slides right off. The Samsung tablet features the C-Pen, allowing users to write with the device and take notes.

Making The Weight: Lenovo LaVie Z

Lenovo wowed CES attendees with a sneak peek at its upcoming featherweight laptop called LaVie Z it said is the "world's lightest" laptop at 1.72 pounds. The Broadwell-based laptop is designed in partnership with NEC and achieves impressive low weight because of its use of a lithium-magnesium alloy case, NEC representatives said.

Lenovo said the laptop will be available later this year in a 13-inch clamshell and convertible model that uses Lenovo's Yoga hinge and weighs 2.04 pounds.

Intel’s RealSense Technology

Intel used CES as a coming out part for its RealSense technology that enables a PC's sensors to "see" objects in 3-D and recognize hand gestures so users can navigate and use their PC without touching it.

Pictured above is an Intel demonstration of what the Intel RealSense sensor "sees."

The RealSense technology, Intel said, will be inside a swath of consumer and business laptops and tablets. Dell's newest Venue 8 7000 tablet that uses the RealSense technology debuted at CES along with its Inspiron 15 5000 laptop.

Dell Claims Thinnest Bezel Laptop Screen On A 13-Inch XPS

Dell introduced a tiny and mighty XPS 13-inch laptop it said has the smallest notebook bezel among its competitors. According to Dell, that razor-thin bezel allows it to pack a 13-inch display on a body of a laptop that normally ships with an 11-inch screen.

Dell is able to accomplish this with a thin 5.2mm bezel. The laptop has 15 hours of battery life, which Dell said is the longest of any 13-inch notebook. The XPS can also be configured with an UltraSharp Quad HD+ infinity display for $800.

Intel's Button-Size Curie Computer

Intel unveiled a button-size wearable computer called Curie that it said would be available later in 2015. Curie, Intel hopes, will drive the wearable computer market and be integrated with a bevy of Bluetooth low-energy radio, motion sensors, and task-specific components for consumer electronics and manufacturing. The tiny computer, by comparison, is significantly smaller than Intel's postage-stamp-size computer, called Edison.

Barely There Bezels On HDTVs, Laptops And Phones

Bezels are shrinking dramatically on a whole range of screens.

Dell introduced a tiny and mighty XPS 13-inch laptop it claims has the smallest notebook bezel among its competitors. Sharp unveiled a frameless smartphone named Aquos Crystal that will be available in the U.S. market later this year. LG unveiled a new line of 4K TVs for 2015 that are not only thin but boast lifelike color and have barely there bezels.

Nixie Makes Flying 'Selfie' Bracelet

Nixie is a wearable selfie drone that can take a picture or video when a standard smartphone selfie is just not good enough. Here is how Nixie works.

Nixie starts off as a bulky (OK, ugly) bracelet and unfolds in a palm-size drone. After gently tossing Nixie into the air, Nixie can tell exactly where users are standing, snap a photo or video, and then come back like a boomerang.

Adding a level of coolness was the fact the quad-copter was 3-D printed. No word on when a more polished and better looking Nixie will be generally available.

New Intel Broadwell SKUs

Laptops roared at CES 2015 thanks to Intel, which juiced its line of Broadwell processors with 17 SKUs, each optimized for notebooks, 2-in-1 PCs and tablets. Every major laptop OEM updated their lineup of laptops and showed them off here at CES 2015. Nearly all the laptops CRN spotted take advantage of Intel's Broadwell CPUs that first and foremost allow OEMs to extended their laptops' battery life.

For a look at the best laptops from Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, MSI and Toshiba, follow this link.

Sengled Smart Lightbulbs

Sengled showed off its family of smart light bulbs for connected homes. Its Pulse light bulb has a JBL speaker built in that can be used to play music from an iOS or Android app. The Pulse bulbs screw into any standard light socket and can network with up to eight other Pulse speaker bulbs.

Sengled also showed off a Snap IP camera bulb, which can function as a rudimentary home security system. A Boost lightbulb, as its name suggests, doubles as a Wi-Fi repeater.

Sony Camcorder Challenges GoPro With 4K FDR-X1000V

Sony added 4K support to its Action Cam line of camcorders with the help of celebrity skate boarder Tony Hawk. Sony's new X1000V Action Cam has the same shape and design as its earlier action cameras, but now supports 3,840 x 2,160 pixel video at 30 frames per second.

The X1000V Action Cam starts at $500 and can be upgraded with a live view remote for an extra $100. The camera's specs include a 170-degree wide-angle lens, built-in optical image stabilization, and the option to shoot 1,080p video at 120 frames per second or 720p video at 240 frames per second for slow-motion effects.

Affordable Drones With Premium HD Imaging Features

Typical pricing for drones is sky high. But this palm-size drone called Zano breaks the mold, offering a down-to-earth price ($250) coupled with premium features such as military-grade wireless connectivity and the ability to control its own flight, and a 5-megapixel HD camera that can shoot clips up to 60 frames per second.

The quadcopter is controlled using a smartphone and can be set to "avoid obstacles, hold its position and know exactly where it is in conjunction with your smart device."

Toshiba Laptop Boasts Strong Battery Life

Toshiba unveiled a Portege z20t 2-in-1 PC at CES that can run for 17 hours under normal use between charges. It achieves this milestone by embedding a battery in the PC's detachable keyboard. Battery longevity is also aided by the fact the 2-in-1 is running Intel's latest power-sipping Core M Broadwell processor.

Toshiba said the PC will come in three configurations with the base configuration starting at $1,400 and a fully loaded version with new Broadwell Core M 5Y71 chip priced at $1,700.

HP Zvr Virtual Reality Display

Hewlett-Packard took its first leap into virtual reality with its Zvr Virtual Reality Display that allows users to use a special stylus to rotate, manipulate and navigate 3-D images via tracking sensors embedded in the display's bezel. Users will need 3-D glasses to manipulate content, but thanks to a second 2-D LCD display onlookers will be able to follow along.

The secret behind the "blended reality" device, as HP calls it, is a partnership with firm zSpace which pioneered the 3-D technology behind the display. HP said the product is ideal for education, medical and design professionals.

The Zvr will ship this spring for an undisclosed price, according to HP.

3- D Printer: XYZprinting da Vinci Junior

Measuring 16.5 x 15 x 16.9 inches, this 26-pound 3-D printer, called XYZprinting da Vinci Junior, not only stands out from the pack because of its aggressive price point of $350, but also because of its ease of use.

No PC is required when printing from this 3-D printer. All users need to do is put their creation schematics onto an SD card, plug it into the printer, and sit back and watch as the XYZ printer does its thing. The printer design allows users to skip fussing around with things such as calibrating the printer and leveling it off. A non-heated bed provides a safe printing environment whether it be in the classroom, around the house or in the office.

Mercedes-Benz F015 Concept Car

Google's self-driving cars are cool, but they lack design sense. That's why our hearts skipped a beat when we spotted the Mercedes-Benz F 015 at CES. This gorgeous luxury car of the future is Mercedes-Benz's concept, which transforms the car into a spacecraft-like body that allows users to relax, socialize and be entertained as the car drives them around.

Car-Tech Meets Smartwatch With This BMW Watch That Can Park Your Car

Luxury automobile maker BMW showed its recent advances within its autonomous vehicle research divisions called Remote Valet Parking Assistant. This smartwatch-operated feature -- in theory -- parks and retrieves a car via a smartphone from a parking garage.

According to BMW, the technology utilizes the car's 360-degree collision-avoidance system baked into its BMW i3 vehicles. The car uses laser scanners to record and identify objects surrounding the car. BMW will use this data in conjunction with a digital site plan of a parking garage to enable the BMW i3 to park and retrieve itself to a driver autonomously.

Blue Spark Technologies Disposable Heat Monitor

Blue Spark Technologies hopes to help worried parent keep tabs on a sick infant's temperature with a disposable heat monitor. The TempTraq monitor is a small battery-powered adhesive pad that is placed below the armpit and monitors body temperature and sends the information to a nearby iOS device.

Blue Spark representatives say they are waiting for FDA approval before they can start selling the product. But the company said it's priced "reasonably" so worried parents of sick kids can easily afford to monitor their child's temperature without breaking the family diaper budget. Each adhesive lasts for 24 hours, broadcasting body heat information every 10 seconds.