You can't cover the latest tech without having some tried-and-true gear of your own, and we've done CES enough times to have our formula down pat. For sustenance: every brand of chips imaginable, beef jerky, Oreos and black tea for our Brits. For gear: (at least) one laptop and camera per editor, and enough Ethernet connections to keep Engadget Classic, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish up and running. Jump past the break for a closer look at our CES tool kit.
Our hands-on videos are brought to you courtesy of the Elgato turbo.264 hardware-accelerated encoder, and that means there's a whole lot of Apple in our trailer. Almost everyone on our team is packing a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro -- and, in a few cases, both -- though there was one holdout who couldn't part with his ThinkPad. While connectivity always poses a challenge during this extra-busy week, our hardware held up during 20-hour days and constant shuffling to and from the convention center. And we can't mention our laptops without singing the praises of our two HyperMacs, which kept us going when power outlets were hard to come by.
SMARTPHONES AND INTERNET
As much as we hate to admit it, we can't control the connectivity situation at press conferences with 1,000-plus attendees. We can, however, make sure our trailer headquarters are fully tricked out with both wired and wireless options. An Ethernet connection, along with a pair of Netgear R6300 routers, kept dozens of editors (and even a few BBC producers) on the grid throughout the week. And when the Mandalay Bay's free WiFi didn't cut it, Verizon MiFi LTE hotspots saved the day.
Straight Talk provided us with several SIM cards, which our foreign editors used to get connected through their unlocked smartphones. Once online, we all pushed our handsets to the limits with round-the-clock emails and urgent texts. There was a healthy mix of iOS and Android in our trailer, with more than a few Galaxy S IIIs and Note IIs splayed across our work tables. As you can imagine, signals quickly got weaker as we headed deeper into the LVCC; we saw an unsavory amount of AT&T EDGE.
Most of our team carried a Sony NEX-C3 last year, and we didn't ditch those shooters for CES 2013. Of course, we were also armed with external shotgun mics to battle the din of journalists and buyers on the convention center floor. Almost every editor used a SanDisk Extreme SD card -- with up to a 128GB capacity -- and we'll be keeping those close to our heart for the foreseeable future.
Of course, that setup doesn't cut it for liveblogs, which require significantly more power, and a USB tether. Zach Honig shot a handful of press conferences with the tried-and-true Canon 5D Mark III with an incredibly versatile 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS lens. The rest of our editors took to Nikon gear, including a D3s, D700 and D600, each paired with a 70-200mm f/2.8 ED VR II lens. We used MacBook Pros to resize and watermark each shot in realtime, before uploading hundreds of compressed shots to each liveblog.
This CES may have been a notch tamer than last year's madness, but by no means was this a quiet show. A week after our arrival in Vegas, the Engadget trailer was an explosion of power strips, WiFi extenders and empty cups-- not to mention two already-wilting palm plants and a Honey Badger Don't Care poster. The Engadget stage, on the other hand, remaine as pristine as ever, even after hosting everyone from Gary Shapiro to Gallagher. As soon as our bags are packed, the countdown to 2014's show will begin. But for now, we're still processing all the 4K TVs, smartwatches and Windows 8 devices that made this week such an eventful one.