Curating the Best of CES Awards as an official CEA partner is not a responsibility we take lightly. Finding plenty of worthy contenders was easy, but narrowing down each category to just one winner? Not so much. Nevertheless, we spent two nights in the Engadget trailer considering products against our criteria and arguing the list down to 14 killer, innovative picks. Congrats to all our winners -- head past the break to check them out!
Virtual reality has captured the imagination of developers, consumers, and businesses for decades, but all VR headsets produced so far have been notable more for their limitations than their capabilities. With its latest prototype, Oculus VR has taken a huge leap forward, eliminating the stomach-churning motion blur that has plagued previous generations of VR headsets, and adding sensors and a camera to track the position of both your head and body and provide more accurate simulated movement. With the Rift, Oculus has created a device that may usher in in an era of truly immersive gaming and entertainment, and even create new opportunities for businesses to use virtual reality in everything from manufacturing to medical environments. Of all the exciting, innovative products we've seen at CES this year, the Oculus Rift "Crystal Cove" prototype is unquestionably the best of the best. -- Marc Perton, Executive Editor
No close call here: Razer's Nabu wearable accounted for nearly 50 percent of the 54,511 reader votes. We'd venture to say that Razer's promotion of its finalist selection had something to do with the overwhelming turnout, but the company couldn't pull off such a landslide victory without an extremely enthusiastic fan base. Though it didn't snag our award for Best Digital Health and Fitness Product, the Nabu is pretty cool; it sports two OLED displays rather than the standard one, and Razer's planning to add some of its gaming roots to the activity tracker with augmented-reality applications. Congratulations, Razer, and enjoy your 3D-printed trophy!
The Airtame is a surprisingly intuitive and refreshing solution for PC screen wireless mirroring. It's easy to set up and responsive, and the software (available for Linux, Windows and OS X) even supports beaming one PC to multiple screens. It's a Miracast dongle on steroids. -- Richard Lai, Senior Editor
An MIT spin-off with 17 employees, FINsix has one of the smallest AC adapters on the market -- we're talking about four times smaller and six times lighter. Its 65W brick comes with a USB port in addition to a laptop plug, and a MacBook-compatible MagSafe version is in the works, too.
In a sea of activity-tracking wearables, the Jaybird Reign stood out not only for its attractive design, but also its innovative software. Android and iOS apps log your movements and display related stats, like calories burned and duration, then offer up suggestions based on your physical history. If you've spent your days exploring the convention center halls and your nights at Vegas clubs, for example, Reign will suggest that you add a few hours of sleep. Meanwhile, the morning after Super Bowl Sunday, the device may offer up some firm guidance to head to the gym.-- Zach Honig, Deputy Managing Editor
We've seen plenty of activity trackers, yet LG's Life Band Touch still manages to stand out for its smartwatch-style features. Its OLED display shows activity info such as calories burned, but it also pairs with your smartphone to notify you of incoming calls and texts.
Essentially, it's an activity tracker in bed form, with sensors built in to monitor your heart rate and sleeping habits. Best of all: a Partner Snore feature lets you raise your significant other's headrest to (hopefully) quiet him or her down.
Like the Life Band Touch, the Nabu combines the features of an activity tracker and a smartwatch. Unlike LG's device, though, this guy sports two OLED screens: a small one to display notification icons and a larger one to show you texts, emails and other more in-depth personal data.
The original Stingray Corvette is a legendary car, revered for its stunning (if aerodynamically dangerous) design. After a long hiatus, Chevrolet has once again begun building Stingray Corvettes, and the 2015 model (though still a looker) may be legendary for a whole new reason: the Performance Data Recorder (PDR). For track day aficionados, the PDR is the holy grail, a way to both record video of their racing exploits and have their driving telemetry overlaid on top of it. We're talking the kind of experience that was previously reserved only for pro racing drivers and those playing video games like Forza or Gran Turismo. -- Michael Gorman, Senior Editor
Bavarian Motor Works has taken accident-prevention to a new level. If you're hydroplaning, for example, the system will bring the car back under control by braking individual wheels and adjusting steering -- no driver input required.
How lucky are we to live in a world where you can jump-start your car with a tiny (think hardcover-sized) power pack? The JumPack has enough power to give your auto a few jumps, and a USB port lets you charge up your gadgets as well. Not a bad value for $130.
Hyundai's in-car tech lets you remotely unlock your vehicle, navigate via both specific locations and general search terms and more, with Verizon providing the cell signal. One downside: it'll cost you $100 per year for navigation services.
The Clio from ClearView is a Bluetooth speaker with a difference: it's almost invisible. Audio is generated using a patented "Edge Motion" system to "activate" a transparent piece of acrylic and produce full stereo sound. The Clio's combination of innovative ideas and practical application make it our standout audio product from this year's CES. -- James Trew, Senior Editor
Meet the Vertu of PMPs. Sure, it's pretty much the definition of "aspirational," but the AK240 is the quintessential media player for the serious (and loaded) audiophile.
It's one of the best-looking soundbars we've seen to date, and it has a 3D Blu-ray player built in. Need we say more?
It can't compete with LG's option on the Blu-ray player front, but Samsung's HW-H600 is pretty much the sleekest soundbar ever.
For years we've come to CES and heard about technology that would let us watch TV without a box directly connected, and Dish has finally delivered on that promise. Its Virtual Joey app is coming first to LG smart TVs and PlayStation consoles, and is expected to reach other platforms soon. Subscribers will still need the main Hopper DVR set-top box, but multi-room access to live TV or recordings is possible just by connecting to your network and then installing the app. We thought the experience was exceptionally well-designed, with control possible via the device's remote/gamepad, or by using a Dish RF remote to operate the DVR from another room. -- Richard Lawler, Senior HD Editor
Sharp's new Aquos Quattron line includes sets from 60 to 80 inches, all of which include Active 3D tech and the company's new Revelation technology for higher picture quality. The biggest draw: It starts at $3,000, much lower than the company's 4K products.
LG's 77-inch OLED beauty morphs between flat-screen and curved modes with the press of a button. We don't want to even guess the price, but a future filled with flexible living-room sets is certainly enticing.
This 78-inch curved TV packs an impressive feature set: it's UHD, outfitted with a quad-core core processor to support the hi-def visuals and it supports gesture controls for switching channels and adjusting volume.
This is how your PlayStation will look in five years. It's not a box -- it's just out there. With a connectivity speed that's possible on the majority of broadband connections, and entire PS3 games coming at launch in Summer 2014 (PS4 content and older titles are also coming in good time), it's the future of console gaming. -- Mat Smith, Senior Editor
LG's ported webOS to the big screen, and what a good idea that was. The UI puts content front and center, with discovery options and Hulu and Roku integration on board.
It wasn't too long ago that virtual reality headsets were nothing more than a punchline (remember the Virtual Boy?). But thanks to wundkerkind Palmer Luckey, the wearable tech has resumed its place as a promising technology of tomorrow. The Crystal Cove prototype shown off at this year's CES adds depth sensing via an external camera, a 1080p OLED display for improved clarity and shucks off possibly one of its worst cons: motion blur. With Crystal Cove, Oculus is bringing VR that much closer to reality. -- Joseph Volpe, Senior Editor
Wearables are here to stay, and Intel has the guts to power them. Edison is a mini-computer with built-in WiFi and its own app store. The company even has a small collection of "Nursery 2.0" devices on hand at CES to demonstrate the possibilities.
Here's another take on next-gen headsets: gear that projects images directly onto your retina. It's less for gamers and more for movie-watching -- it even has a fancy pair of headphones built in.
The vast majority of small Android smartphones are merely stripped-down versions of their flagship counterparts, which means that if you don't like large devices you typically have to settle for something that's lower quality. Sony's addressing this pain point with the Xperia Z1 Compact, a smaller version of the company's flagship device that features most of the same powerful components in a 4.3-inch waterproof chassis: you'll get a 20.7MP camera, a top-of-the-class quad-core processor, high-resolution Triluminos display and a variety of color options. -- Brad Molen, Senior Mobile Editor
Samsung's largest Android-powered tablet to date sports productivity features to make the best of the 12.2-inch screen, including a four-window view and remote PC access. We're also fans of the new Magazine UX, which divides your screen into three customizable panels.
It's Lenovo's second 8-inch Windows tablet, and it's definitely a winner, thanks to a brilliant display, a well-made aluminum body and a capable quad-core processor.
As Google is to Android, Steam Machines are to PC gaming. Valve's initiative is bold and innovative, and it stands to impact several industries: gaming, computing, television, and who knows what else. It offers an open standard for moving the gaming PC from offices of the world into the living room, and it comes from the folks behind Steam -- by far the most important digital storefront in the game industry. It's still early days for Steam Machines, but the future is very bright. -- Ben Gilbert, Senior Editor
It's a contender in software, but it's obviously set to revolutionize gaming as well. PlayStation Now eliminates the need for a dedicated gaming console, bringing the titles you want to almost any device you have.
The Oculus Rift is a completely new gaming experience, with a bevy of sensors on board to bring you into the world of the title you're playing. It's something you really have to try to understand -- and we can't wait until it hits the market.
Project Christine even looks like the future; the modular-computing prototype consists of pods that can be used in several setups depending on your gaming needs. It's customization 3.0.
Mother's product description includes the phrase "the internet of things" and its soulless visage gives us a serious case of the willies, but it still handily took home top honors in our offbeat category. Why? Because the smart, wireless nesting doll base station and sensor-laden cookies are surprisingly versatile and user-friendly. Rather than picking up multiple modules for different tasks, you can repurpose those tags to monitor everything from distance walked to how many cappuccinos you make in a day. Are there systems like Mother out there? Sure. But most are confusing and really meant for the DIY enthusiast, not your average consumer. -- Terrence O'Brien, Deputy Managing Editor
It can't fly, but it can jump more than two feet in the air, and that's an awesome party trick if you ask us. The Sumo is controlled by your smartphone or tablet, though it currently only supports Apple devices.
Most of us can agree that on-screen keyboards will never be as good as the real thing. Dock your phone into the TrewGrip's curved, grippable body, and you have a set of hardware keys in the familiar QWERTY layout.
It's a smart baby onesie -- what else do you need to know? In all seriousness, the Mimo Baby (made by Rest Devices with Intel tech inside) is quite innovative; it's essentially a wearable baby monitor. It's not kid-friendly in the sense that they'll get a ton of enjoyment out of wearing it -- though maybe the company should consider a built-in binky -- but it lets parents know a baby's vital stats, such as activity level and skin temperature. And in the grand scheme of things, what's more kid-friendly than safety? -- Sarah Silbert, Senior Editor
Fuhu partnered with DreamWorks to make an Android tablet with original art-focused apps. The included stylus works with built-in software to teach kids how to draw Kung Fu Panda and other familiar characters.
The Kolibree toothbrush lets your little ones know how well they're cleaning those pearly whites. You'll even get stats like stroke count -- and an evaluation of how well teeth have been cleaned -- on your smartphone.
While we've had a love affair with 3D printers for some time, consumer models haven't quite reached the level of polish and sophistication that we expect from most of our gadgets. With MakerBot's third Replicator, however, it's clear that things have changed. With a nearly automated setup, easily replaceable cartridges and a sleek design, this marks the beginning of truly consumer-friendly 3D printing. -- Christopher Trout, Managing Editor
It's the chance to print yourself and the ones you love in edible, sugary form. Enough said!
The iSense is a 3D scanner that clips onto your iPad -- a welcome product for DIY types who couldn't use the Windows-only Sense.
With a field that mostly included refreshes of existing models, it was tough to get excited about PCs at this year's CES. But Razer's Project Christine is an important exception: It's so innovative, in fact, that it doesn't even look like a computer. In addition to its futuristic digs, we were instantly smitten with its modular design, which makes replacing the GPU as simple as inserting a pod into one of the many, many expansion bays. Project Christine could mark the beginning of plug-and-play PC upgrades for gaming machines and, with time, it could change the way OEMs design regular computers, too. -- Dana Wollman, Managing Editor
Samsung updated its already-excellent ATIV Book 9 to include lossless audio and a higher-res screen. For those reasons alone, this Ultrabook is at the top of our list.
With an "adaptive" keyboard that includes context-specific controls and up to a 2,560 x 1,400 display, Lenovo's business Ultrabook is looking better than ever.
LG brings ChromeOS to the desktop in a sleek, but simple 21.5-inch package. We imagine it finding a comfy place on your kitchen counter, for following along with recipes or streaming some Netflix while you cook.