My Top 12 Picks from CES 2013: From Speakers and Robots to Accessories and Backpacks

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month was once again a flurry of new products and as always, I felt as if I was constantly surrounded by pitches of TV flat screens, new speaker designs, casing, docking stations, chargers, dancing robots, iPhone accessories, surround sound substitutes, and more. What stood out was the increasing number of vendors participating in the Digital Health pavilion this year.

Clearly, the marriage of technology and health is increasing at alarming speeds, with products and solutions aimed at helping consumers take charge of their health by collecting and analyzing their own personal data, something that wasn’t available to us even ten years ago.

It was no surprise that Fitbit won a Best of CES award, a product which tracks your fitness and has been on the market for awhile now. It’s inevitable that the health and wellness category is primed to explode in the coming year.

As for other categories? Sure, I’m a geek, but I’m a female geek who loves great design and rich colors. I’m always a sucker for products in luscious colors – the problem with so many of these products is that they’re created and designed by men, so often our choices are limited to neon green, bright girly blues and pinks, or red, black and white.

If women designers were behind more products, I’d imagine we might actually see a high end stereo system in an eggplant purple, burgundy or an olive green, something that wouldn’t clash with our sofas, curtains and painted walls. I spoke to four speaker companies about this conflict and guess what? Weaving a color design into a living room hadn’t even occurred to them.

As a traveler and writer, most of my top picks were focused on products that would be useful for the mobile warrior, often lightweight, reasonably priced and compact.

Degauss Labs Earphones

The SPKRS Series is a line of earphones by Degauss Labs that is focused on top notch sound quality. They tout that the bass is amazing (I haven’t received them yet but did see them purr on the show floor). In its price range, SPKRS are durable and comfortable.
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The all aluminum housing absorbs vibrations and preserves the sound quality. The housing is coated with a special technique making the housing as matte and clean looking as the rest of the earphone, rarely found on metal housed earphones. They feature an enhanced acoustic design that helps music sound smoother.

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SPKRS comes in a variety of carefully selected AND fun colors. SPKRS is UNIVERSAL and works with Apple iPhone, and the latest version of Android phones from Samsung, HTC and Sony. Windows phone by Nokia is also supported.

Ranipak Backpacks & iPad Cases

I loved the slick design of Ranipak’s new Y.U.M.C. Series. Great for travelers on the go, there are tons of pockets and great colors (particularly liked the eggplant).

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Their other range of products includes messenger bags, backpacks, business cases, computer and tablet cases & sleeves, duffels, totes and luggage.
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All products are done in a great European design with a global appeal.

HyperJuice External Batteries

One of the funkiest designed products I accidentally came across were the HyperJuice external batteries for Apple MacBook, iPhone, iPad, iPod and USB products. Behind the products is Sanho Designs, which design, manufacture and market IT accessories with a focus on Apple accessories, portable power and storage.

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Their product brands include: HyperJuice – External batteries for Apple MacBook, iPhone, iPad, iPod, USB products, HyperDrive – Portable digital data storage products for Apple devices, digital cameras, memory cards, HyperShield – Cases, stylus pens and other accessories for Apple devices, and HyperThin – World’s thinnest most flexible HDMI cables.

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For travelers, their products are a Godsend, particularly for those who carry more than one digital product with them like me. Let’s just say I can’t wait to test out the HyperJuice Mini, Micro and PLUG and I have a feeling, I’ll be a prolific user. The company also is smart about design…and they offer a number of rich and fun colors.

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Switch Easy

SwitchEasy offers some stylin’ products for the iPad and iPhone as well as great compact keyboards, ideal for the digital traveler. They offer iPad cases and iPod Touch cases in a number of designs and rich colors.

Their mission is to provide more reasons for PC users to “Switch” to a better digital lifestyle through our innovative little add-ons. 

See below for the Safekey Keyboards Protection, which I plan to try out soon on the road. To the left of the keyboards is one of many beautifully styled iPad cases they offer.

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Edifier

Edifer offers a few speaker options that are perfect for those on-the-go.


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Sound To Go PLUS is all about portability – they do an all-in-one micro speaker with re-chargeable Lithium battery. Encased in a brushed aluminum chassis, it features 2 channel stereo with 2 full range 1.25″ drivers on each channel (magnetically shielded). It also features a built-in ‘Class D’ amplifier and a 3″ x 1.25″ oval passive radiator, which means someting to those in the audio world.

GeoPalz

GeoPalz, creators of the first decorative pedometer for kids, introduced the ibitz PowerKey for children and ibitz Unity for parents to its suite of products. With ibitz, a family’s electronics are powered by physical activity. Each ibitz connects wirelessly to select Bluetooth 4.0 phones, tablets and laptops to track physical activity. For kids, the ibitz PowerKey converts physical activity into “keys” that unlock rewards, while the ibitz Unity for parents tracks the overall progress of family health goals.

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The ibitz PowerKey for kids not only
unlocks access to games and apps, but also allows each user to maintain the
health of their own GeoBotz virtual pet character within their app.

Foldable Rubber Keyboards by Chin Fai

Chin Fai has a host of incredibly useful rubber roll up keyboards which are bluetooth enabled, a seriously must-have companion for any traveler.

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They also have a host of brightly colorful rubber products which encase iPhones, iPads and other devices to help protect them against wear and tear – you can even drop your product encased by one of these and it protects the outer layer and edges of the device.

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HAPIfork

HAPIfork, the world’s first connected fork that slows down how fast you eat received a substantial amount of attention, so much so that the booth was always full of broadcast cameras, producers, doctors, health afficiandos and people who have lost weight or were looking to…among other eager enthusiasts.

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While (full disclosure), I am involved in the company, it is on my picks list because it is a product I was excited about even before their launch and a reason I decided to jump on board. There is no other product like it on the market and for someone like me, who travels incessantly and never seems to have time for a ‘slow’ meal, it makes for a perfect “throw-it-in-your-bag” utensil which not only will help me slow down how fast I eat on the road, but track it on my desktop and mobile phone as well.

HAPIfork received so much buzz, we had to turn away opportunities knocking on our doorstep because we were limited with only 3 prototypes on the show floor.

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I think the “smart” HAPIfork struck a chord with people because it’s such a device that can modify your behavior, prompting you to slow things down, thereby eating less, which is better for your overall health and well-being in the short and long term.

Action Camcorders by Astak

For under $300, you can get one of Astak’s action camcorders, which comes with a 170 ultra-wide angle lens that supports 1080p HD video recording. You can shoot 8 megapixel photos hands-free and there’s a built-in LCD screen, which includes real time display and video playback. The nice thing for adventure travelers, is that there’s waterproof housing which goes down to 197 feet or 60 meters. I could have used this handy device when I was swimming with baluga whales this summer in northern Canada.

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It also comes with a rechargeable lithium battery and has four recording modes: 1080p 30fps, 720P 60fps, 720P 30fps or WVGA 60fps. It connects via a USB 2.0 and has a built-in microphone. Additional sports accessories are also available. I haven’t tested it yet but hope to do a more extensive review if and when I get product in hand.

House of Marley Headphones

I was running to get to an appointment and House of Marley’s booth stopped me dead in my tracks. Creative, compelling, and loaded with well-designed noise-canceling headphones in fabulous colors with a deep, rich sound. Their headsets are the culmination of natural materials and technology coming together to make beautiful music.

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Stainless steel, leather and high-quality recycled aluminum blend to create a striking, sophisticated look. And the performance meets that look. With battery powered noise-canceling headphones, it reproduces an intimate, authentic sound that lets you truly feel the music.

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I can’t wait to test these out!

Mizco’s iPad, iPod, iPhone Accessories

From Mizco, I came across the iEssentials products. For around $30, they have a 2-in-1 Car and Wall Charger that lets you charge two devices simultaneously, whether you’re on the road, in your office or at your home.

I also loved their Diamond Cases for iPhone 5. Their cases are form fitting, so they fit snugly around your phone and includes embedded rhinestones for additional style. Unlike so many products of this ilk, they come in richer non-pastel colors. What I loved most was how durable they felt in my hands.

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Moneual Robot Cleaner

Another product I’d love to test out and use is the Robot Cleaner by Moneual, which I saw a demo of on the show floor. A high performance BLDC Motor outputs stronger suction, and is powered by the latest long lasting Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery.

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Great for both hard floor and carpeted floor surfaces, the vacuum’s mop attachment can be attached for hard floors, allowing for vacuuming and mopping to function at the same time. Twin side brushes allow for a wider, effective cleaning width to brush debris towards the main brush for collecting.

The vacuum can cover up to 1,200 square feet on one charge, depending on clutter, as maneuvering around clutter may impact cleaning time. Additional specialized cleaning modes include corner, shadow, and scheduled cleaning. It even has the ability to return to the charging dock after a cleaning session!

For more product suggestions, check out our Products section.