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Introducing the Best of CES 2015 finalists!

Nicole Lee , @nicole
01.07.15
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CES 2015 is finally here and boy, have we been busy the past few days. Engadget's editors have been hard at work pounding the show floor here in Las Vegas to bring you what we think should win the coveted Best of CES awards. Now, we're ready to announce our finalists for all 15 categories, which range from best home theater product to the most innovative tech we've seen at the show. Tomorrow, we'll announce our winners of each category, along with who will win the Best of the Best award. The recipient for that will be chosen amongst the category winners.

But we want to know what you think too. So there's an additional category called People's Choice, where you can vote for your favorite product in our pool of finalists. To vote, simply head on over to this poll to make your voice heard. The product with the most votes will win a special People's Choice award, which will also be given out tomorrow at a ceremony onstage.

BEST STARTUP

Gogoro

Imagine a world where you don't have to plug in your electric vehicle to charge it. That's the vision behind Gogoro, a new startup by former HTC execs that envisions citywide networks of battery stations so that getting new batteries for your EV can be done in seconds. It also introduced a brand-new electric scooter that's as futuristic as the company's vision.

Zolt

Zolt replaces your bulky laptop power brick with something significantly smaller. And as a bonus, it can also charge two other devices while your laptop is powering up.

AmpStrip

AmpStrip packs in a heart rate sensor, step tracker and sleep tracker in a single Band-Aid-shaped sticker. Yes, a sticker.

BEST DIGITAL HEALTH & FITNESS PRODUCT

Cambridge Consultants XelfleX

Cambridge Consultants is a British R&D firm that produces wacky products from mad ideas. This year, the company has built a fitness shirt that, rather than just monitoring your heart rate, can do super-cheap motion capture with fiber optic cables.

Bragi Dash

Bragi's "The Dash" smart headphones were a big hit when they launched on Kickstarter last year, raising over $3 million. Here at CES, the waterproof, touch-controlled, media-playing, fitness-tracking, do-it-all earbuds have been shown to the public for the first time.

Garmin Vivoactive

The Garmin Vivoactive is the company's first-ever dedicated smartwatch that has a color touchscreen and the ability to get emails, texts, notifications and more. Staying true to Garmin's roots, it also has a built-in GPS radio, a waterproof design and apparently has tremendously long battery life.

Quell wearable pain reliever

Quell's new wearable pain reliever sends small electrical pulses to your pained calves. It can be worn 24/7 and promises 40 hours of pain relief in a single charge.

BEST WEARABLE

Parrot Zik Sport

Parrot's new Zik Sport headphones are noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones that offer a heart rate sensor, pedometer and a five-hour battery.

Lenovo Vibe Band VB10

Lenovo's beautiful Vibe Band VP10 gives a new spin on the standard wearable by offering Bluetooth notifications on an E Ink screen. It also tracks your steps, calories, distance traveled and sleep quality. Plus, it's waterproof and comes in an array of stylish metallic colors.

Alcatel OneTouch Watch

Alcatel OneTouch's smartwatch bucks the dominant wearables trend by skipping Android Wear in favor of its own proprietary software. What that means is that it can't run some of the more out-there apps we've seen, but do you really need a watch to be able to start your car? With stylish looks, solid features and a cheap price, it's certainly an interesting device.

Bragi Dash

Bragi's Dash smart headphones are so impressive, that they deserved to be in the wearables category, too. They're waterproof and touch-controlled and can do things like play media and track your fitness.

BEST AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Mercedes F 015 Luxury in Motion

Mercedes has taken the idea of the self-driving car to luxurious extremes with the F 015 Luxury in Motion. Since there's no need for a driver, passengers can sit face to face to chat and anyone can control the car through remote units and gestures. There are even color-coded LEDs and, yes, hardwood floors.

QNX Digital Mirrors

QNX continues to wow with its ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist Systems) improvements. New on this year's demo car are all-digital rear and side-view mirrors. These new displays eliminate blind spots and, as an added perk, light up green if the coast is clear for a lane change.

BMW 360-degree collision detection

If all vehicles came equipped with BMW's new 360-degree collision-detection technology, there might not ever be accidents on the road. It uses an array of scanners to figure out its surroundings and the equipped car will do the best it can to avoid any and all obstacles.

Audi's in-car Android tablet

Audi finally offered us a glimpse at its "retail" Audi Tablet. Scheduled to ship as an option on the 2016 Q7, this unibody aluminum tablet is quite likely the finest handheld we've ever used. Not only is the matte display beautiful to behold, but it's also been crash tested.

BEST HOME THEATER PRODUCT

Sling TV

Dish's Sling TV is a cord-cutter's dream. Expected to launch next month, it's pulled together channels like ESPN, CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Travel Channel, Food Network, ABC Family, HGTV, Disney Channel basic -- and that's just for $20-per-month package.

Samsung 'ring' speakers

With a compact design drawn straight out of science fiction, Samsung's pair of new speakers have a ring radiator that pumps music in every direction.

TiVo OnePass

Maybe you remember TiVo Season Pass. Well, now it pulls in episodes not just from what has or will be broadcast, but also puts any episodes available already on internet sources on the same screen. Old binge-viewing habits meet new.

BEST (CONNECTED) HOME PRODUCT

Energous WattUp

A wireless router that can charge your devices too? It sounds crazy, but that's exactly what Energous' new WattUp system does. Using a blend of RF, Bluetooth and patent-pending tech, WattUp could finally make true wireless charging a reality.

Parrot Pot

The Parrot Pot is a smart ceramic pot that'll dispense the exact amount of water that your plant needs. That, combined with its 8,000-plant database, means you don't need a green thumb to have a beautiful, thriving house plant in your home.

Misfit Bolt

The Misfit Bolt is a smart lightbulb that can change to different colors at your whim. You can pair it to Misfit's own Shine wearable or the Beddit sleep tracker to wake you up with a simulated sunrise. Best of all: You can get started with just a single $50 WiFi-connected bulb.

BEST SOFTWARE / APP

Sling TV

Sling TV is a new service from Dish designed especially for cord-cutters -- at last, you don't need a cable subscription to watch cable content. To go along with that, there'll also be Sling TV apps for set-top boxes like the Roku, as well as Android and iOS.

Lenovo WriteIt

Handwriting recognition on tablets has always been a tough nut to crack, but Lenovo might have finally done it. WriteIt is a new Windows app developed by the company that could actually understand and translate complex written scrawls into text.

BEST INNOVATION (DISRUPTIVE TECH)

Mercedes F 015 Luxury in Motion

Mercedes' luscious Luxury in Motion concept is a self-driving car that lets passengers face each other. Since there's no need for a driver, anyone can control the car with remote units and gestures. It's so fancy that it even has color-coded LEDs and hardwood floors.

Energous WattUp

We've nominated this as a Best Connected Home product, but Energous' WattUp wireless charging system deserves to be on this list too. Not only does it broadcast WiFi through the home, but it'll also charge devices -- no wires necessary.

Intel's RealSense Technology

Intel first showed off its RealSense 3D camera last year, but it's only now becoming ubiquitous; the technology can be found in many flagships announced this week at CES, from tablets to laptops to all-in-one desktops. The use cases run the gamut too: So far, we've seen RealSense used for gaming, green-screening conference calls, building 3D models and adjusting the focus in pictures.

Gogoro

Gogoro's introduction of its SmartScooter and battery-swapping infrastructure is so innovative that it needed to be in this category too. The ability to easily swap out old batteries for new ones could make electric vehicles much more mainstream and, in turn, transform urban transport as we know it.

BEST MOBILE DEVICE

Dell Venue 8 7000 series tablet

Dell's Venue 8 7000 is an 8.4-inch Android tablet with a super-high-res 2,560 x 1,600 screen and a depth-sensing camera. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera plus two 720p ancillary ones that can capture different variations of each shot.

LG G Flex 2

LG's curved phone gets upgraded in all the best ways. A higher-resolution screen that's consciously smaller, higher-quality design and internals that include a top-of-the-range mobile processor from Qualcomm. Oh, and there's also a beautiful red color option.

NVIDIA Tegra X1

Your next smartphone could come loaded with the newly announced NVIDIA Tegra X1 chip, a next-gen mobile chipset that's the first to offer a teraflop of processing power.

BEST TV PRODUCT

LG Art Slim 4K OLED

LG usually introduces beautiful televisions at CES, and this year is no different. The new "Floating Art Slim" OLED TVs are gorgeous and are available in both flat and curved shapes.

Sharp 'Beyond 4K' LCD

Sharp's new 4K TVs showcase an interesting pixel-splitting trick that apparently results in a near-8K picture. It also promises better upscaling and an improved LED backlight.

Samsung 65-inch SUHD TV

It's not CES without a Samsung television, and this year the company has come out with a gorgeous curved model that uses nanocrystal semiconductors for a crisper, more colorful image.

Sony XBR-X940C

Sony's latest Bravia televisions are some of the thinnest we've seen yet, measuring out to only 4.9mm thick. They also have a new X1 4K processor that apparently upgrades the picture quality of any 4K source.

BEST GAMING PRODUCT

Razer Forge TV

Razer's Forge TV is an Android TV box. But unlike the rest, it can stream PC games. With Android onboard it also folds in access to Spotify, Netflix and all the rest. A dedicated gamer TV box.

Skechers Game Kicks

It's the Simon memory game, but this time it's on the side of a sneaker -- wearable gaming, of a sort. Unfortunately, they only come in kids' sizes.

NVIDIA X1 chip

NVIDIA's X1 chip is its most powerful mobile processor yet. Expect to see it in NVIDIA hardware (say, the next Shield) as well as a whole range of devices beyond just gaming.

BEST OFFBEAT PRODUCT

ReST Smart Bed

The ReST bed is pretty smart. It auto adjusts by deflating and inflating as you turn around at night, with 18 air sensors monitoring the pressure of the mattress. The future of beds still isn't cheap, but perhaps a perfect night's rest is priceless.

Belty smart belt

Belty is an activity and fitness tracker in a slightly different form factor, with the added ability to monitor changes in waist size. Cooler yet, it features a motorized buckle that loosens and tightens, maintaining a consistent level of comfort, based on your seating position and how much you've managed to put away at lunch.

Fogo flashlight

Smart everything. This time, smart flashlights. The Fogo does the fundamental flashlight things, but also adds in GPS, a walkie-talkie and auto-adjusting brightness -- because it can. All this, and the creators told us that this is just the start.

Skechers Game Kicks

It's the Simon memory game, but this time it's on the side of a sneaker -- wearable gaming, of a sort. Unfortunately, they only come in kids' sizes.

BEST MAKER-FRIENDLY TECHNOLOGY

MakerBot composite filaments

Combining the elements of plastic printing with other materials has been done before, but with the gravitas of MakerBot, it's more exciting. With iron composite filaments, you can even magnetize your products. Use maplewood filaments, and there's a faint scent of the wood still there. Your homemade prototypes got an upgrade.

3Doodler 2.0

The 3Doodler sequel improves on the original substantially. More control, substantially smaller and less power hungry, it looks less like a prototype and more like a viable present for the artist you know.

CocoJet

Chocolate printing, combining the 3D-printing knowledge 3D Systems with, love it or hate it, Hershey chocolate. The machine can use white, milk and dark chocolate, heating a special mix and printing shapes in an environmentally controlled 3D printer.

BEST PC

Lenovo LaVie HZ550

At 1.7 pounds, Lenovo's LaVie HZ550 is now the lightest 13-inch laptop in the world. But what does that mean, exactly? Put it this way: When we first got hands-on, we thought we were handling a dummy unit with no components inside. In fact, though, this thing is very real, with a full-fledged fifth-gen Intel Core processor thrumming inside. So far as we can tell, the only trade-off is the lack of a touchscreen, but even then Lenovo has a solution: Its just-announced LaVie HZ750 is the lightest convertible 13-inch laptop.

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook

Dell's redesigned XPS 13 Ultrabook might not be the lightest 13-inch laptop in the world (that honor goes to Lenovo), but it might well be the smallest. Thanks to some nearly invisible bezels that measure just 5mm wide, Dell was able to cram a 13-inch display into an 11-inch laptop. The result is a 2.6-pound machine that's more than a third of a pound lighter than the MacBook Air, with a smaller footprint, to boot.

ASUS 'Chi' detachable laptop

We've seen detachable laptops, but ASUS' 12.5-inch Chi hybrid still manages to impress. At 0.3 inch thick for just the tablet (or 0.65 inch with the keyboard dock), it's even thinner than the similarly sized Surface Pro 3. Making all this possible is Intel's low-power Core M chip, which allows for not just skinny designs, but fanless ones too. Best of all, perhaps, is the price: Even with a 2,560 x 1,440 screen option, it'll ring in at just $799 -- not bad at all for what's essentially a flagship Ultrabook with a detachable keyboard.

BEST ROBOT OR DRONE

AirDog

We've seen plenty of camera-friendly drones at CES this year, but AirDog's is unique. Like others, it's designed to follow you, but with a waterproof, wrist-worn controller, and sonar to prevent ground collisions, this one's a true action-sport hero.

Zano

Zano is a tiny drone that can launch from your wrist. Kickstarter made the prototype happen, and now it's a very real proposition.

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