Our First-Time Experience at CES; The Biggest Products Showcased at CES 2017
We at GreenBox had the amazing opportunity to take a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to be part of the annual event that showcases the best tech products the will premiere later in the year CES 2017. CES is the Consumer Electronics Showcase. For the past 50 years, CES has been the largest tech event in the world where buyers, journalists, creators, and other technology industry affiliates gather to get a first-look of spectacular technology products before they are released to consumers later in the year. It took place from Thursday, January 5 until Sunday, January 8, most of which were held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. There were tens of thousands of people there. This event was so overwhelmingly huge that there was no way anyone could possible get to see everything, even within the span of five days but we did the most we possibly could within the time frame we had.
As soon as we checked in, we knew that we needed to get a schedule of some sort so we could figure out what all we wanted to see, who we wanted to talk to, and what activities we wanted to take part in. We look in the official CES 2017 agenda and see there so many keynotes, speakers, events, showcases that we decided to just wing it this year and play it by ear. By it being our first time we had no idea which events were must-see so we figured that we would just walk around and if there was something that we saw that caught our attention, we would stop and take part in it before moving on to something else; and there were several so we stopped and experimented with different gadgets and presentations many times.
It was a dream come true!
Upon entering the LVCC, Samsung immediately caught our attention because there was a very long line of people waiting to experience the Samsung Gear VR. Instantly, we knew even before heading onto the show floor that Samsung would be huge because of how soon they were able to spark peoples’ attention. They allowed users to put on the Gear VR headset to try out sledding, Robot Wars, and Space Racing. We didn’t get in the line initially because we did not want to wait in line. Instead, we tried it out toward the end of the expo. Once the headset was put on, you are immersed into a real-life experience. It genuinely felt like we were in outer space or sledding down snowy slopes because the machines rotated and vibrated to provide real-life feedback. It was absolutely amazing!
We then walked into the main show room and we were seriously astonished. There were people everywhere. There was stuff everywhere. We did not know where to start. As we walked around the main show floor, we see that it was mixed with mostly portable gadgets including smartphones, smartphone accessories, laptops, mini pcs, cameras, headphones and bluetooth speakers. But in actuality, there was a lot more in larger booths. Manufacturers like LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Intel, Whirlpool, and Sony showcased bigger devices like smart tvs, appliances, and enhanced home theater systems. For the decade, smartphones have been the devices people look forward to seeing the most, but surprisingly, smartphones did not have a huge prevalence at CES this year.
There were only two smartphones that caught our attention. Those were the Huawei Mate 9 and the ZTE Axon 7 Max. Both of them have very unique features. The Axon 7 Max has 3d photo and video modes and the Mate 9 has only a 20-minute supercharge to obtain100% battery life.Creative pieces like mini pcs replaced smartphones this year. Dell and Intel were awarded Best of Show by Ars Technica for the Best Processor for the Intel Core i7 processor in the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and in Intel’s NUC.
Another attractive gadget was in Sony’s booth. They were noise cancelling headphones. Sony built an airplane simulator
There were plenty of fun and interactive booths on the main show floor. One that stuck out a lot was Nikon’s booth because they had a 360-degree freeze frame picture that people could try out called Nikon Project HeliX featuring the Nikon HeliX cameras. It was caged area surrounded by several HeliX cameras. They allowed people to go to the middle of the floor and jump in the air and all of the cameras would take a photo simultaneously outputting a single freeze frame, 360- degree mid-air image. It was cool to see so many people doing goofy poses in the it and going back to the screen to see how it came out. We tried it as well and it was very fascinating.
What was the most prevalent at CES?
It literally took us the entire first day to see most of the tech in the main show room. The next day, we ventured back to the LVCC but this time we went to the other show floor in the LVCC lobby. This room was quite different from the gadgets the day before. This room featured more cars, car accessories, and drones.
There were a bunch of cars. These cars were very interesting because they were not anything like the average cars that we see on the roads everyday. When we saw these cars, the first thing that came to mind was “The Jetsons”. Not because they could fly (at least not for another couple of generations) but because most of them were completely electric and featured self-driving modes.
The Volkswagen I.D. Electric Concept was definitely one of the most attractive cars at the expo because just by looking at it, it screams “future”. This car is beautiful. We had to stop and stare for a little while. The car’s battery resides in its floor, similar to Tesla. It has a 168hp electric motor and can go up to 373 miles on a full charge. Although the vehicle is not autonomous, the fact is that electric cars are the future because they save money and they’re better for the environment, and Volkswagen took a giant leap closer to the future by showcasing this car. Volkswagen says that by 2025 we should expect a fully autonomous version. There were several other car manufacturers present at CES, and a few who have already produced autonomous cars including Honda presenting their autonomous Honda NeuV (New Electric Urban Vehicle), and Toyota presenting their Concept-i, but the VW I.D. Electric Concept was our favorite because of its elegant, futuristic appearance.
Besides the cars, drones were literally everywhere else in this room. Drones have risen in popularity over the past couple years because they are now more affordable than they once were. Once upon a time, you had to be a ‘Casey Neistat’ if you wanted to own a drone. Nowadays you can get a decent drone for less than $500. It was very cool to see the up close and functioning so easily. Most of the drones we saw were actually controlled through a smartphone instead of the typical remote controller. The thing is with apps, developers have to take into consideration the phones that they will be used on because some phones are more sensitive to touch while others are less accurate. We just wish we were able to see how high or far they could go.
VR was by far the most common device at CES 2017. It was as if every company made some sort of VR headset because they know that it’s a hot thing and people will buy whatever is hot until something hotter comes out. They are definitely wise to get into VR because it makes gameplay so much better. Its so immense and realistic, it almost feels as though you are actually there. For example, ZTE also showcased their VR headset, and allowed users to attempt to cross a long bridge in the snowy mountains. Majority of the VR was just average. Many of those companies just made some cheap headset to accompany their smartphones. The best VR experience was definitely the Samsung Gear VR, but there were a couple more that we enjoyed as well. Huawei has VR as well and theirs is also very good. They have cool games and pointers to accompany the headset, while the Gear VR only has the touchpad which can be difficult to use during gameplay. What we did not see was the Google Daydream. Google definitely should have had a booth to explain how Huawei and ZTE phones have been integrated into their Daydream VR. We did not get a chance to see experiment with the Oculus Rift, which has been said to be the best overall VR experience. Guess we’ll just have to try them out next year.
Being at CES was definitely a dream come true. We had always talked about going and being the first people to interact with the products the best products, but to actually get to do it and be there feels like a college football player who was just drafted into the NFL. It was so surreal! We even got the chance to meet some very influential figures like Linus Sebastian from Linus Tech Tips, Austin Evans, and Casey Neistat. We got the chance to network and meet some true professionals in the technology industry. This is definitely something that we want to keep doing.