Our best of CES round-up is dominated by ‘ultrabooks’ this year as PC manufacturers scramble to match the Apple MacBook Air. See our best ultrabooks at CES 2012 post for more on those. TVs and cameras also feature prominently, though, including a camera that sits at the top of our best CES 2012 list…
Best of CES 2012 video
1) Canon PowerShot G1X – compact camera, SLR quality…
…or at least that’s the idea. In the last few years we’ve seen dozens of cameras aiming to offer DSLR levels of image quality in compact camera bodies – what have become known as Compact System Cameras (CSC).
After Nikon came out with the Nikon 1 range earlier this year, Canon was the only major camera brand not to jump on this particular bandwagon.
Enter the G1X, the latest entry in the long-running PowerShot G-Series of cameras. This compact bridge camera features a sensor that’s the same size as an SLR, which should lead to similar quality photos, but in a compact body. Where it differs from the competition is the lack of changeable lenses — it instead opts for built-in zoom lens like a normal compact. Camera buffs Rich Parris and Ben Stevens are already enamoured with Canon’s latest – do you agree?
Decide for yourself from our Canon PowerShot G1 X first look video
2) LG & Samsung OLED TVs – the (joint) largest OLED TVs ever
Samsung and LG have to share this award for doing the same thing: launching 55-inch OLED TVs. OLED TV technology has been bubbling away for a few years, but has been limited to very small and very expensive TVs and the occasional demo model.
But at CES 2012 both companies unveiled 55-inch OLED sets that will go on sale this year. Both look stunning – not only do the pictures dazzle, the sets themselves are incredibly thin. They’re bound to be too expensive for mere mortals, but we have to admire them all the same.
3) Samsung Series 9 Ultrabooks – making the very good, even better
Samsung unveiled the Series 9 laptop last year to decent acclaim. It was thin, reasonably fast and exceedingly light — it also looked good, which always helps. But it wasn’t perfect, so Samsung’s second version makes several improvements.
It’s now all aluminium – no plastic in sight — and the ports are more accessible. Laptops expert, Catherine West, was seriously impressed and Samsung has added a 15-inch for those who want slim and light and a bigger screen.
Get a closer look in our full Samsung Series 9 ultrabook first look video
4) Dell XPS 13 – an ultrabook that doesn’t look like a MacBook
It was inevitable that Dell would join the growing members of the ‘ultrabook’ club.
Its first entrant, the Dell XPS 13, is refreshing in so much as it doesn’t flagrantly ape the design tropes of Apple’s MacBook range.
It combines aluminium and carbon fibre to good effect – a carbon fibre base reduces weight and, so thinks Dell, will make it cooler to the touch.
See how it compares in our Dell XPS 13 first look video
5) Samsung ES8000 – the future proof TV
In recent months we’ve been observing a disturbing trend – old Smart TVs have ceased functioning properly. You’ve been telling us how manufacturers have stopped ‘supporting’ older sets, withdrawing the ability to use features such as built-in BBC iPlayer.
It’s a poor show and adds more grist to the mill of uncertainty over Smart TVs general. But Samsung offered a small crumb of comfort at CES 2012 – a TV that can be upgraded to future versions of Smart TV.
The idea, says Samsung, is that when it makes its Smart TVs more powerful – using new processors for better graphics, for example – owners of older TVs will be able to buy an adapter to plug in and get the same features as new TVs.
It probably won’t come cheap, but it’s a step in the right direction.
See the TV in action in our full Samsung ES8000 first look video
6) HP Envy 14 Spectre – the ultrabook with ultra-powerful speakers
Who said these lists could only feature five products? HP’s take on the ultrabook only just sneaks into our list, but sneak in it does.
Unlike other skinny laptops, HP has chosen to make audio quality a key feature through its partnership with specialists Beats Audio.
It’s as luxurious an ultrabook as we’ve seen – witness the glass lid, screen and palm rest for evidence of that – but at 1.8kg it’s a little on the hefty side.
Is it too heavy? Make your own mind up from our full HP Envy 14 Spectre first look video.
Not impressed by anything in our list? Visit our CES 2012 portal to see all the products we’ve covered at CES 2012 and pick your favourite.