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CES Hardware Round Up

Carolyn Koh Posted:
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Audio being near and dear to my heart, I could not pass by the Corsair booth where they were showing their new gamer series 2.1 speaker which boasted a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz – a lower bass response than their current offerings – a bi-amplified, ported solution with 6 Class-D amps driving an 8” woofer, 2 x 3” mid-range & 2 x 1” silk-dome tweeters with 230watts of power. The convention floor being what it is, it was not possible to demo the system.

Pro-Audio manufacturers Beyer Dynamic was present with their gaming headsets not front and center, but tucked away on the side and reps scrambling for the box to answer my questions. They had their MMX 300 Manufaktur – a $319, color customizable headset with frequency response of 5Hz to 30KHz and their $82.95 MMX 2 on display, but not demo’ed. Still, it is good to see high-end audio head phones manufacturers enter the gaming market and producing high quality headsets for gamers.

Turtle Beach made a concerted effort last year to get more product recognition and market share in the PC gaming audio sector with new offerings and demo-booths at various retailers. Their Earforce HPA2 powered Headset is their latest offering at $99.99 and boasts 8 speakers for full 5.1 surround response.

Nox Audio had a sneak-peek of their Admiral headset for multi-media life-style use as well as gaming use, with a nifty touch-screen module control. It will have 7.1 surround, using DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and true wireless with Blue tooth and Wifi. The touch-screen module uses Android and will be able to access internet radio and Skype. I got a quick look at the prototype and got to hear it as well as I watched Harry Potter evade the dragon in the first movie. No photos are available nor was I allowed to take a photo, but we’ve got a render of this headset expected in late 2011.

No trip to CES is without a visit to the Razer folks to see what they have up their sleeves, and that would be the code named Switchblade gaming device currently in prototype stage, it’s basically like a Netbook made for Gaming. It has a multi-touch screen and a full-sized LCD keyboard. Equipped with Wifi, 3G, USB 3.0, mini-HDMI and standard headphone and mic ports. The keyboard is absolute bling, yet functional. It changes with each game you load up and can switch from game interface to regular keyboard, even using different fonts for the letters if you like. Final configuration, prices, etc. are not yet available as it is still in the concept design stage.

I could not stop by Razer and not check out their collaboration with Sixense in a motion control gaming device. Unlike other motion control devices which use gyros, cameras and accelerometers, they use magnetic motion tracking. You set the magnetic field generator and sensor on the table, allow the hand held controllers to sync in-game and you’re off. This was revealed in CES 2010 and they are at refining / re-iteration mode at this point although I was allowed to take a photo this year.

After all this, what’s left? Still many, many nifty things, like new tablets, new e-readers, higher-res screens, and the Sifteo cubes – for kids. The “cubes” are 1.5 x 1.5 x .5” devices with sensors, accelerometers and full color 128 x 128 pixel display, and the entire system consists of the game software (installed on a computer), a wireless USB dongle through which the software communicates with the cubes, and the cubes themselves. Various games are available such as matching colors, creating mazes and pathways by joining and moving the cubes. The cubes are picked up, moved, shaken sometimes for interactive, hands-on play. At a price point of $149 for the starter set, which comes with 3 cubes, additional cubes can be purchased to add on to the fun.

Finally, just because I love the simple design and lines of the device, an iPad stand, the Skadoosh – made of brushed aluminum, a solid, adjustable, portable little device that holds the iPad securely – bare or with slim fitting cases like the Apple case. At a half pound of machined aluminum, it’s not a fragile little frame that will tip over. It ships with its own carry bag at $69.99 from the manufacturer, Jadu Industries.

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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.