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CES Hardware Round Up

Carolyn Koh Posted:
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The bling and the drool-worthy

This year is the year of 3-D devices and iPad accessories at CES. I kicked it off as usual with the Pepcom Digital Experience, a media event grouping a number of consumer electronics vendors in a congenial space. There, I had time with the following:

Toshiba’s personal 3-D technology on their Qosmio line of laptops. With a three-layer screen to create the 3-D effects, eye tracking software using a built-in web cam, those of us with eye-glasses-like-the-bottom-of-coke-bottle types will soon be able to enjoy 3-D gaming and movies without clunky glasses over glasses. Due to the lights at the show reflecting off my glasses, it took a few seconds longer for it to properly sync up, but once it did, I was watching the demo images, game footage and movie footage in 3-D. I tested it by moving around but the image never faltered. Gorgeous 3-D. Currently only a tech demo, Toshiba expects the laptops with the 3-D feature to be available at the end of 2011.

Mophie makes some nifty accessories for the Apple iPhone/iPod/iPad and the gizmo that caught my eye was the Mophie Pulse for the iPod Touch. It comes with its own battery so it does not drain the battery of the iPod Touch, has a rubberized hand grip, forward facing speakers and when you’re in a noisy environment that even additional speakers doesn’t help, vibrates for that additional tactile enhancement for your mobile gaming. The Mophie Pulse will be available mid to late February and will be priced in the $79 to $99 range.

Victorinox was showing off their latest line of USB drives, some made in the Swiss Army Knife fashion with plenty of other gadgets and detachable data drive blade, some as stand-alone portable secure data solutions in Flash as well as SSD options. The bling part is how they light up. The drool-worthy part is that the 256GB SSD drive has up to a 100MB/s read speed and 35MB/s write speed on USB 2.0, and the Flash drive has capacities from 32GB to 64GB, comes in six colors and boasts 33/18 read/write. Best of all, the 32GB drive has a price point of $39.99. All come pre-installed with a security application suite.

The Joy Factory first caught my eye with their email subject which boasted “digital companions” for the iPad and made me wonder if I dared open the email. They make iPhone/iPad mounts and stands. That alone wouldn’t warrant a mention but for the Joy Arc – an iPad case and stand with built-in screen protector that I didn’t at first realize was there, thinking I was touching the iPad screen itself. I gave it a lengthy test, swiping, tapping, doing all the gestures you’d normally use and finally, playing a couple of games to check the response. I am impressed. The price point for the Arc is $99.99 and comes with a micro-fiber dust bag that doubles as a screen cleaner as well as a unique ID that can be registered, so if you ever leave your iPad behind in the plane, Joy Factory will return it to you if contacted.

A shout-out for Speck Products which has functional and stylish products for all the electronic products in our lives, from the Kindle to the GPS. I loved the A-Line notebook bag for the ladies pictured here which received attention throughout the show when I carried it around. Large enough for regular 8.5 x 11 papers in the back pocket, my netbook in an inside pocket, cell-phone and iPod in their own pockets and all the paraphernalia usually carried by ladies.

The next days at CES 2011 included set appointments and hall wanderings. Custom Gaming PC builder iBuy Power had teamed up with NZXT cases to show off their latest products, a touch-screen gaming laptop, the Battalion Touch, with multi-touch software gaming interface to map various gestures to game controls available late Q1 starting at $999. I also got a sneak peek at the Erebus – the biggest, baddest gaming rig they’ve built coming in late February, with triple video cards, 10 x 120mm fans and custom liquid cooling.

Remember the Kor-FX from Immerz? The gizmo is like headphones for your chest and makes use of the principles of neural science, using game audio to excite your chest cavity, similar to how your vocal cords work when you speak, or when you feel that loud pounding bass. It is actually coming to retail with a partnership with Play n Trade and will be available for in-store demo March 30.

Old Flight-Sim players will be very well acquainted with Thrustmaster flight stick and throttle products. This is their latest and greatest, the HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick) Warthog. A replica US airforce A-10C replica that feels as solid as it looks, currently available at $499.

For the racing game player who has everything, Play Seat had some really comfy seating solutions. Yeah, I have a foot stool and a dining tray that I place my driving wheel and pedals on. These Game Racing Seats are solid, comfortable and adjustable. Starting at $399, that’s definitely going on my present-to-myself list.

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Carolyn Koh

Carolyn Koh / Carolyn Koh has been writing for MMORPG.com since 2004 and about the MMO genre since 1999. These days she plays mobile RTS games more, but MMOs will always remain near and dear to her heart.