24 hours at CES

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James Trew
January 9th, 2014
In this article: 24 hours, ces2014
24 hours at CES

CES, it's a thing. A big thing. For us here at Engadget, it's kind of a big deal. For you, the gadget-loving public, it's a chance to see what the year in tech will look like. But enough about you already... what about poor old us? There's so much you don't get to see: the work, the constant scrums of people surrounding products, the late nights and cold trailer food. We figured you all probably wanted to experience those joys for yourselves, albeit vicariously. We hooked up one of our editors, Michael, with a GoPro and a FuelBand, and set him off into the wild with a photographer in tow, so you can get a taste of what 24 hours at the craziest tech show on Earth feels like. Hop past the break to see for yourself.

Day One


We hook our lucky journalist Michael up with the high-tech conference-tracking technology -- namely a GoPro Hero 3+ and a Nike FuelBand SE. This is the sort of cutting-edge motion- and activity-monitoring kit we expect MIT, or NASA likely uses too.


Michael: "Does it look weird?"

Dan and James: "No, definitely not. Not at all."


The pre-event, late lunch, of cold pizza isn't going down too well. The Engadget trailer currently smells of oregano, coffee and bodies. Take a long moment to really consider what that cocktail would smell like.


Time for a little research before heading out to CES Unveiled, one of the show's earliest events. Imagine a ballroom filled with crazy inventors, eager salesmen and flustered bloggers, and you're not far off what goes on at these things.


A rare glimpse of daylight as Michael leaves the fug of the trailer behind, and heads out toward CES Unveiled. The show is not even open, and it's a Sunday, and already the parking lot is pretty much entirely occupied by trailers, tents and trucks. Walking about it means taking your life into your own hands, as forklift trucks and electric carts zip through any available gap.


While the Las Vegas Convention Center is huge, there's still not enough space to fit absolutely everything in. There are off-site events, shows and other CES-related fun held all throughout Las Vegas. Unveiled is a short drive away at the Mandalay Bay hotel.


Fellow Engadgeteer Billy Steele pulls up some details on his phone as our team makes its way to the hotel. That, or he could be looking down to avoid the intense glare reflecting of the hotel's tasteful gold mirror windows.


With so much going on, you gotta grab every moment you can to stay on top of email. An escalator ride proves the perfect moment.


While there's always something going on, you do also find yourself hanging around an awful lot. Usually with nowhere to sit, or at the back of a long line. If you're lucky, you can use the time to get some work done...


...until they let everyone in. And then it's straight back to work, you know, pounding the floor, bringing you the hottest gadget news, that kinda thing. Also, how wild is that carpet?


Sometimes finding the tables with Ethernet and power outlets is like dashing for the front row as a concert opens. Engadget's the official online news source this year though, so we're lucky enough to get a dedicated spot to work from. That doesn't mean there are enough seats, and a strict no-WiFi policy (it can interfere with exhibitors' demos) means we've got to cable up. We hate cables.


Once we're done doing that though, we spring into action and bring you things like... inanimate rod 3.0. It has an Android and iOS app (no Windows Phone support just yet) and comes in dark gray and black. Only kidding, it's actually Tobii's new sensor bar...


Just let us get these facts straight...


...and then we'll take it for a spin if that's alright with you. This is honestly still work. Honestly.


Hands-on demo in the bag, and photos taken (we often head out in pairs), it's back to the wild carpet to find a spot against the wall and write that up for you the dear reader. Repeat this up to 10 times or more.


Unveiled runs from 4 - 7 PST, so the day is far from done. Instead of going home afterwards (chance would be a fine thing), we decided to head over to a Samsung press conference. Samsung likes to keep things interesting by having the whole thing bathed in low light. Working in low light is clearly much more helpful. Sorry, we didn't mean to sound bitter.


It's even more fun working in the dark, when it's followed by a scrum of tech journalists, trying to get the first look at the huge (honestly, so very huge) curved TV that Samsung brought along to Vegas with it.


Are you sensing a theme yet? After getting a look at the 105-inch behemoth we'd really prefer to stand around chatting about it, but the people (that's you) need to know. And so it is, back onto the laptop. This time, at least, there are some comfy chairs and no wild carpet (unless we can't see it because of the dark). With that black light, it almost looks like a nightclub doesn't it? It isn't a nightclub.


Now that the crowd has finally dispersed, we get to take a second look. It's huge. And curved. Huge and curved, that's what the TV fans can expect this year at CES. And yes, that is the Eiffel tower in the background. #vegas.


After filing our eyes-on, there's another brief window to check our email while someone films a hula-hoop performer. Fairly standard for a Vegas press conference. Also, our last external work commitment for the night, we can finally head back to the trailer. Once back, we can look forward to dry, boxed food to replenish our reserves, before -- if we're lucky -- knocking off around midnight.

SLEEP (not much).

Day Two


Gorman gets his early face on...


...and moments later, shares it with America.


One interview in the bag means a little time to freshen up before heading out again.


Judging by the smile on Billy's face as he waits for Michael in the lobby, he got more sleep.


Time to jump in a cab and head over to Mandalay Bay (again) for, you guessed it, more press conferences.


One positive thing about being in the desert is that the sun is usually out providing much-needed vitamin D between dimly lit, body-filled presentations.


Like this one, causing us to reach straight back into those vitamin D reserves. THANKS LG.


Exhibit A: Mat Smith went in with a full tan. He apparently now needs either some time in the sun, or some water. Probably both.


While our guys head out to dose up on sol again, they spot one of CES' lesser-expected exhibitors... Hilti?


Vegas hotels aren't known for their reserved decor, but is it art?


A quick dash over to CNBC Studios, and it appears they have a... body shop?


Before you know it, we're back in front of the camera again. Look how excited Michael looks to be addressing the nation again.


The real business of the show won't wait in our absence, so it's straight back to the trailer for a quick battery change in the GoPro, courtesy of Ben and Todd, our video guys.


While Michael's been out "working," some of the team have been stuck indoors doing the heavy lifting.


No time to stop for long of course; it's back off over to the North hall where the Engadget stage is.


Here is a sneaky look at the backstage area/green room. Some of the biggest names in tech will pass through here over the week. As well as Michael Gorman.


Today is technically day "0" of the show. Everything kicks off properly tomorrow, so some of the stands (well, most of them, actually), are still setting up.


...and because of that, security is tight.


We guess it's some lucky person's job to peel the covers off all of those triangular tiles?


If you're wondering why we're just aimlessly walking around at this point, it's because Engadget is hosting some tours of CES for a few select partners. A couple of the team wanted to get to know the lay of the land in advance. Shrewd thinking, as this place is -- as they say in Spanish -- enorme.


And, unsurprisingly, it doesn't take them long to get lost.


Getting lost means our reporters regroup at the trailer for directions, earning them a welcome-back kiss from Jamie. Which is reason enough on its own not to bother coming back at all.


The next stop back out on the ground floor trek is a booth tour from LG. Once again, that tight security makes an appearance.


The good news is, all this walking means we smash through our daily goal, reaching it by early afternoon.


Back at the LG booth we're given a full-spec rundown of some of the many new products the firm released. Mostly those that weren't 77-inch curved OLED TVs.


They seem happy with it, though we're not entirely sure about their taste in movies.

At this point, our 24 hours come to an end. This means Michael can remove his chest-mounted GoPro, and finally go to the bathroom. But of course, as they say, the show goes on, and the work continues. Many of us landed here around the 2nd or 3rd of January, and won't leave until the 12th. That's a long time to be in Vegas, but we do it with pride and a sense of purpose. We hope you enjoy the coverage just as much as we do making it -- despite all our moaning to the contrary.

Some photos provided by Will Lipman.

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