Wrap-up: Engadget editors sound off on CES 2013

This was our biggest CES group of all time, by a long shot. As we pack our bags and return to our home cities around the country and beyond, our team of ace editors took some time to share their final impressions of the show. Scroll down below to hear from Tim Stevens and Darren Murph, who helped to provide invaluable direction and motivation here in Vegas, then click past the break for some brief reports from the rest of the team.

Tim Stevens, Editor-in-chief
For me, the story of CES 2013 was the massive shift of focus from mega-announcements by mega-corporations to the micro-innovations pitched by the crowd-funded. This, to me, is far more exciting than the usual iterative advancements we fixate upon in Las Vegas every year. I don't know what that means for the future of CES as a mega-show, but I can't wait for 2014's iteration.

Darren Murph, Managing Editor
Here's the problem with CES 2013: nothing is shipping soon, and nothing is affordable. But that's also what made CES awesome. I'll one day be able to afford a 4K HDTV, and the new Tegra 4 / Snapdragon gear will one day be in an Android phone I'll crave. Now that the dust has settled, I'm actually pretty amazed that envelopes are still being pushed in a world where people are increasingly content with existing technologies. Onward and upward.

Brian Heater, Senior Associate Editor
There's been a taking back of CES by smaller companies. It might be the massive hole opened up by the absence of Microsoft, or maybe it's crowdsourcing empowering small startups. Whatever the case, more and more small companies are showing off exciting and innovative products. The real treat was companies like Sifteo, MakerBot and Oculus -- the little guys with the big ideas.

Zach Honig, Senior Associate Editor
CES was one of the first trade shows I ever attended, and my first two trips were inspiring -- there was excitement at every turn, and I couldn't wait to come back. Now, the novelty has worn off a bit. IFA and MWC are the CES of the future, and while this mega-event continues to draw hundreds of thousands of attendees and exhibitors, the shift is difficult to ignore. See you next month from Barcelona!

Richard Lai, Senior Associate Editor
With mobile devices becoming more significant than ever, I can't help but feel that many of the tech giants are holding back their announcements for MWC next month. That said, Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and TCL still went ahead with the unveiling of their new flagship phones. I was also impressed by the sweet 4K OLED TVs from Sony and Panasonic, as well as WiTricity's wireless electric power technology.

Terrence O'Brien, Senior Associate Editor
I didn't get to see much of CES in person, but from the comfort of our mobile compound (a double-wide in the parking lot) things seemed to be crazy as ever. Maybe smartphone news was scant and Microsoft was prominently absent, but there were still plenty of companies showing off exciting goods. Be they small (3D Systems) or large (Sony), CES 2013 was not quite the let down many were anticipating.

Ben Gilbert, Senior Associate Editor
This was my first CES and it's littered with gaming news -- lucky me! Between Project Shield, Razer Edge and Valve's Steambox prototypes, CES 2013 was dominated by major gaming news from everyone except the big three incumbent players. Beyond just surprising, it's setting the mood for a year where we'll likely see next-gen consoles. Quite a way to get things started.

Joseph Volpe, Senior Associate Editor
When "Ultra HD" is scooping up the headlines, you know the show is slow. And such has been the story of CES 2013, although I suppose a deserved nod should also be given to the unexpected rise of Android gaming. Really though, the industry's trending towards niche showcases (like MWC) and in some cases, standalone events. Is CES on its deathbed? Not entirely, but I'm fairly convinced it chose to eat the wrong cake with Alice.

Daniel Cooper, Associate European Editor
If CES really is the tech industry's bellwether, then 2013's shaping up to be a long and arduous year. Low-power Ultrabooks we won't see until autumn, 4K TVs that cost the same as the GDP of a failed state and, naturally, more iPhone cases and celebrity headphones than the human race conceivably needs. I just hope everyone's keeping their powder dry for MWC, I really do.

Mat Smith, Associate European Editor
It was tough to pick between Panasonic's 4K tablet and Samsung's early prototype that we saw briefly here at CES. So why pick the handheld? Well, Samsung's teased its flexible screens for so long that it was almost surprising to see something that finally bordered on a consumer device. Will there be a legitimate device by CES 2014? Possibly, or Samsung might just launch it on its own steam.

Steve Dent, Contributing European Editor
We've heard "4K, Shmore-K, what's the point if there's no UHD TV content?" a lot this CES, but hang on. Sure, HDTV's pace of adoption was an atrocity, but so far, players have glommed 4K with great speed. Why? Because of the money. Theaters and gadget makers alike need to fan buyer ardor, so, naturally, content providers will tag along. But most of all: 4K is genuinely cool tech you have to see to believe.

Jamie Rigg, Contributing European Editor
My first CES has been surreal. The scale of it is hard to describe, and I've watched the team go from excited to catatonic, and everything in between. I'm pleasantly surprised at all the gaming news that's peppered our pages, and glad there were a few posts without 4K in the title. My retinas are burnt, my legs sore and my fingers bloody. But, if I could do it all again, I wouldn't change a thing.

Jon Fingas, Associate Editor
What thrived at CES for me was under-the-hood technology, rather than anything on the surface. NVIDIA's Tegra 4 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 and 800 are major leaps in performance that should define the mobile landscape in 2013. And while I likely wouldn't spring for Panasonic's 4K tablet myself, the display technology is likely to change how we look at PC displays. Forget 4K TV: I want 4K on my desk.

Nicole Lee, Associate Editor
Maybe it's my increasingly disturbing domestic tendencies, but I'm always fascinated by items that point toward the promise of the connected home. A fridge with Evernote so you can create a shopping list on the fly? An Android-powered oven that not only provides a cooking guide and recipes but cooks the food for you? Sign me up, future.

Mark Hearn, Associate Editor
While I enjoyed seeing a showroom floor packed with Ultra HD TVs, it kind of made me weep knowing that I can't afford to buy a single one of them. Aside from that, it was great spending time trading war stories with the Engadget clan from the comfort of our awesome double-wide trailer. It's bittersweet to see it all come to an end, but in reality the final days of the show are nothing more than a countdown to CES 2014 -- the year of 3D-printed HD flying robots.

Billy Steele, Associate Editor
I was situated in the front row when Panasonic trotted out its 20-inch 4K tablet. Of course it wasn't a production model, but that didn't matter. I was immediately smitten with a tablet that could serve designers well. Even from about 20 feet away, the display is brilliant and it only gets better up close. The device may never make it to market, so for now, I'll hold off on splurging on a larger rucksack.

Edgar Alvarez, Associate Editor
CES 2013 felt a bit underwhelming. But why? The answer, to me, is simple: the big companies have shifted focus to taking future products to more specific events. Still, I'm not saying there weren't plenty of exciting announcements, though many were either too predictable or in an early production stage. What moved me, however, was the fact that 4K is now clearly upon us -- because, hey, the more (res) the merrier.

Joe Pollicino, Associate Editor
Being one of a few editors who stayed clear of the LVCC this year to keep Engadget running outside of CES, it's been an interesting few days. While I missed the crew insanely, no news from the show really enamored me. Sure, there was more UHD news and some surprise gaming announcements, but nothing had my eyes glazed. A fairly evolutionary sea of gadgets to me -- did I miss the "it" factor of it all?

Sean Buckley, Associate Editor
CES is often a modest show when it comes to gaming hardware, but what we saw this year blew me away. I expected to see to see Project Fiona -- now the Razer Edge -- return, but Project Shield seemed to come out of nowhere. It's the last thing I expected from NVIDIA, and the most compelling Android gaming device I've seen yet. Suffice to say, 2013 is going to be hard on my pocketbook.

Myriam Joire, Senior Mobile Editor
With big names focusing on shows like MWC and special events, CES 2013 shifted its attention towards smaller, lesser-known companies. In mobile, Sony's lovely Xperia ZL stole my heart and Qualcomm's beastly Snapdragon 800 blew my mind. But it's Kickstarter rock stars like the phenomenal Pebble watch and adorable Romo robot that I was most impressed with. Oh and did I mention those gorgeous 4K OLED TVs? See y'all in Barcelona.

Sean Cooper, Associate Mobile Editor
This marks my sixth CES and while the focus has shifted wildly year to year on what will be the "next big thing" I can't think of an occasion where it rang true. I witnessed Blu-ray become the de facto standard, Palm rise and fall and crazy tech come and go. What CES has always been about is amazing ideas by brave, smart souls and even if the show is losing momentum, those people will always be around.

Brad Molen, Associate Mobile Editor
The mobile highlight of CES involves 1080p displays and 6.1-inch screens. Beyond that, it was pretty quiet; smaller companies got a chance to make a name for themselves, and ZTE, Huawei and Alcatel showed up. My favorite phones: the Pantech Discover, thanks to its higher-end features for low cost, and the comfortable and feature-heavy Sony Xperia ZL. Surprise showing: 20-inch Panasonic tablet.

Richard Lawler, Senior HD Editor
Yes, 4K was inescapable at this year's CES, but to be honest, I wasn't trying very hard to get away. Sony's OLED prototype led the pack, and though high prices are still a hurdle, waiting for 4K native content won't be as hard as some have suggested based on the upscaling demos I saw. Add in the compression ability of the HEVC codec, and an Ultra HD future looks both clearer and closer than I'd previously thought.

Ben Drawbaugh, Associate HD Editor
It's the year of Ultra HD at CES, but it won't be for you and me -- it'll take a few years before it's affordable. Sony and Panasonic caught my eye with 4K OLED, but in second place are all the solutions to deliver content I want, on any screen. Verizon Media Server, new Hopper, new DirecTV Genie and the use of DLNA to deliver premium TV to more devices, all give hope that the future of TV won't be apps.

Dana Wollman, Senior Reviews Editor
This was my fourth CES and also my sleepiest. Lots of TVs I can't afford, laptops with middling specs and phones whose names I've already forgotten. Next week I'll only really be talking about Audi's self-parking car and Tobii's eye-tracking tech for PCs. Oh, and the fork that judges you for eating too fast. I expect some high-profile products will be revealed at MWC but even then, I'm counting on more of the same.

Sarah Silbert, Reviews Editor
How many times do you need to hear that the 4K revolution is upon us? It's getting old, I know, but that's my real takeaway from this year's show. Still, while the stunning TVs we've seen this week aren't yet attainable for the masses, Kickstarter successes like the Pebble smartwatch have drummed up just as much hype. Cool gadgets are cool gadgets; no sticker shock required.

Kevin Wong, Contributing Editor
It seems that many of the big showstoppers of CES 2013 won't be relative in my life until at least CES 2015; mainly big OLED 4K televisions. Indeed, 4K stole the show, and it's a shame the average consumer won't be able to afford these titans of resolution at launch. The paradigm of consumer electronics has shifted, and we should all be glad that there's movement at all. I'm calling it now, CES 2014, the year of 4K tablets.

Alexis Santos, Contributing Editor
Kicking off the next b'ak'tun in the Mayan calendar and 2013 with my very first CES has been a blast. Sure, 4K OLED displays, gaming hardware from NVIDIA and other reveals have been impressive in an otherwise quiet year, but the sheer size of the show floor might just take the cake in my book. Now, I'll be taking a breather... if I can find my way out of this maze of booths.

Andy Bowen, Editorial Assistant
Without a doubt, the future scope of CES is shifting into something that's being dominated by smaller companies and Kickstarted innovations, which came as a personal surprise. Seeing products like the Pebble smartwatch "bring it" at one of the world's largest electronic spectaculars is completely refreshing. Though I didn't personally hit the show floor much, I've thoroughly enjoyed my sophomore CES experience.

Daniel Orren, CES Contest Winner
Since this was my first CES, it was quite overwhelming simply because there's just so much stuff to see and so little time to see it. There was a big push for 4K on the floor. Valve made a splash with its mysterious Steambox -- anything Gabe Newell touches has the potential to be gold. In short, CES was amazing, and if you ever get the chance to enter a contest to go for free and hang out with the Engadget crew I'd highly advise you do so!

Alberto Ballestin, Editor-in-chief, Spanish
This is my sixth year covering CES and it must have been the fastest one yet. Maybe because it's hard to keep track of time when every important launch is either related to the stream of 4K displays or phablets with better screens than most people's tellies. As usual, it's the quirkiest products that make CES such an enjoyable event, and thank heavens there's no shortage of them.

Alexandra Guerrero ("Drita"), Managing Editor, Spanish
I've confirmed two things at this year's CES: first, in the next few months we'll see 4K everywhere, though many devices won't have prices or release dates. Second, even more 5-inch smartphones continue to be announced, and most likely the trend will continue. Is 2013 a promising year? Well... we'll see after MWC.

Elena Henriquez, Senior Editor, Spanish
This is my first CES and it has been a mind-blowing experience. I'll probably forget about the sleep deprivation and stress by tomorrow, but being able to share this adventure with the rest of the team has been epic. As a bookworm, I'm stoked for the Yota Phone, although I have to admit I expected so much more than a plethora of UHD TVs and phablets. Hopefully we'll be able to fix that next month in Barcelona!

Carlos Martinez, Senior Editor, Spanish
Once again CES has been useful to teach us about future technologies that could eventually show up in our homes. Besides that, this is also a great opportunity to see the Engadget family in one place. We hope you've been reading the site and are ready for the amazing technologies which will be present this year. Next stop... MWC in Barcelona!

Jose Andrade, Senior Editor, Spanish
I really enjoy seeing the results of previous Kickstarter projects becoming reality, like in the case of the Pebble watch. It is just as exciting to see companies in the startups section of CES planning to use similar services to measure the level of excitement about their products. At this CES there may be a bigger number of smaller booths, and that's a good thing for small companies with innovative products.

Andy Yang, Senior Editor, Chinese
This is the sixth CES for me, and things seemed to blow by faster than ever. Aside from the usual phones, cameras and computing devices that define CES, I can't help but notice how the iLounge (where all the Apple peripherals are) has become bigger and bigger each year. It really shows how dynamic and evolved the Apple ecosystem has become.

Danny Mak, Associate Editor, Chinese
This is my first CES, and unfortunately I was hit by a car on my second day in Vegas (my ankle still hurts). As a result, I missed the Sony Xperia Z announcement, which is a phone that I'm longing for. I still made it to the LVCC, and saw new products and concepts everywhere -- not only phones, but also many smart appliances for the home. I'll definitely return the next year I have the chance.

Stone Ip, Associate Editor, Chinese
This is my first CES. We saw a lot of 4K and flexible TVs this year, and they really look amazing. However, after having a chance to check out Sharp's 8K prototype, I was very impressed. Sharp, please bring us more 8K in 2014. See you next year, Vegas!