13 “Off the Beaten Path” CES Gadgets You’re Going to Love

January 9, 2014

3:00 pm

The 2014 International CES is composed of six main showrooms at the Las Vegas Convention Center alone, and this year there are over 3,200 exhibitors in attendance. Needless to say, that’s a lot of tech, gizmos, and gadgets to go through in just a few days; it took me one whole day to go through the south showrooms alone.

Of course you get drawn into the resplendent nature of the big names like Intel, LG, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Haier with their beautiful lights, poignant guest panels, and big announcements. However it pays dividends if you can hone your focus and evaluate the smaller, surrounding booths; there lay buried the real gems of CES.

I made an effort to explore as many hidden corners of CES as I could; I wanted to find gadgets you might not be familiar with but still enjoy. Some of the technology I found was from small companies and some of it was from bigger names, but it was all awesome.

Here are 13 gadgets from CES you might actually find useful and fun:

Celestron: From their most base model all the way up to the gargantuan star gazers, Celestron’s telescopes are built with robotic controls integrated into them. They specifically help to map out and automatically track portions of the sky while the telescope itself delivers crisp, high resolution imaging.


Marley Headphones: There were headphones everywhere, but Marley grabbed me for two big reasons. First, their sound quality is on par with Bose and Skull Candy – I own pairs of each, and I tested them in the booth. Second, they build all of their headphones out of recycled bottles, organic cotton, and reclaimed hemp. Look for their new executive line launching this summer (pictured).


Crosley Radio: Vinyl albums are far from dead, but the options for modern and up to date players are few and far between. Crosely has redesigned the vinyl player while holding the classic look firmly intact. Most of their beautifully crafted options feature USB connectivity, built in CD players, and the ability to cross-record vinyl tracks to CDs.


Polaroid: Although two of their hottest new models are still in prototype phases, Polaroid didn’t fail to impress. The Socialmatic is the first camera in their ranks powered by Android, and shooting pictures yields a classic print out paired with digital image sharing via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or app. The C3 action sports video camera is much smaller, 35mm, but has a big 120 degree lens. The major difference, beyond the size, is that the C3 will require manual porting of photos to a computer via micro SD.


iFit: The iFit name is very well known, but their fitness products are breathtaking none the less. All of their treadmills, cycles, and elliptical gliders have built in Google Map functionality that lets you trace routs in any part of the world and then follow them on your connected tablet. They also have automatic stat tracking across platforms and downloadable workout routes.


HAL: This gesture-based remote control is still in development phase but planning a launch in fall of 2014. It turns any normal TV into a smart TV with an interface that offers capabilities like apps, phone calls, and music. The other side of the equation is that HAL allows you to control your TV without a remote; use your hands to change channels or simply tell it to switch with voice commands.


Sphero: These little robots were zooming around a custom built skatepark, jumping onto rails and jumping off mini vert ramps. The original Sphero robots are already commercially available, totally waterproofed, and controlled by your smartphone. The company is also in the process of finalizing the Sphero 2B which goes twice as fast and looks like it could tackle tough terrain.


Nvidia Shield: Get the power of Nvidia graphics in the palm of your hands with The Shield. You can also connect the portable gaming unit to a TV via HDMI and stream your PC games to the unit via cloud services. The device is fully powered by Android, has a touch screen, and can access a library of content from the Grand Theft Auto pantheon to Skyrim and beyond.


E-Ink Smartwatch: E-Ink displays are famous for their appearances on the Amazon Kindle, but the company also sells their displays to countless other companies. Specifically, Sonostar developed a smartwatch that utilizes the E-Ink display in conjunction with all your favorite functions like notifications, calendars, and email.


Rugged Wireless BoomBox: Outdoor Tech designed this hearty boom box to stack up against the elements and any action you throw its way. It pairs with your devices via Bluetooth up to 33 feet and offers 10 hours of Hi-Fi sound with booming bass. It’s surprisingly light, and the coolest part about these speakers is that you can take them in the shower with you.


Piston Gaming Console: Xi3 has built a modular gaming computer that packs an insane punch for its small size. It ships with 8 GB of RAM, a 128 GB Solid State HD, a 3.2 GHz AMD Trinity Processor, and a Radeon 7000-Seires GPU. The Piston also works in any setting you want to use it in; connect it to your smaller computer monitor, your massive HDTV, or a shiny new virtual reality headpiece.


Parrot Jumping Sumo: Controlled by a smartphone of tablet the Jumping Sumo can turn on a dime at high speeds and jump 2.5 feet clean into the air. It also has a built in camera so you can see where you are driving at all times, and it’s a great partner robot to Parrot’s mini drone; the fun will never end.


Tech Cocktail is an official media partner of the 2014 International CES.

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Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America's Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he's off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing...or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach. Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988

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