Although CES in Las Vegas gets all the buzz in the United States, the Computex technology showcase in Taipei, Taiwan, is the place to see what's next. This year's show, which wraps up Saturday, was all about wearables (think Google Glass, but smarter), crazy new hybrid gadgets and the debut of an Intel tablet prototype that's thinner than the iPad Air. We also saw a 3-D printer that doubles as a scanner. Of the hundreds of products introduced, these were the best in their categories, according to the editors at Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Best Wearable: ChipSiP SiME Smart Glass
Google Glass has nothing on the SiME (pronounced "see-me") Smart Glass, which runs full Android and packs finger-gesture recognition. The system boasts picture-in-picture movie playing and augmented-reality functions. Unlike on Google Glass, you'll be able to download apps such as Hangouts and Angry Birds to the SiME and access the onboard camera to hold video calls. The makers intend to upgrade the SiME's software to Android 4.4 KitKat by July, and a developer version will be ready in Q3 of this year.
Best Innovation: da Vinci 2.1 Duo AIO (All-in-One 3D Printer/Scanner)
All-in-one 3-D printers that also scan have been in Kickstarter limbo for a while, or they cost thousands of dollars. XYZ Printing promises that the da Vinci 2.1 all-in-one will actually ship by the end of the year. The da Vinci's dual laser sensors are positioned diagonally opposite each other, so the printer can get the most comprehensive scan possible from all angles. The device will cost less than $1,000 and come with software to make 3-D scanning and printing easy for the average Joe.
Best Hybrid: ASUS Transformer Book V
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The world's first 5-in-1 computer, ASUS' Transformer Book V, comes with a 5-inch Android smartphone that docks with a Windows tablet. There's also a keyboard so you can use the device as a laptop, which you can run in either Windows or Android mode. Though ASUS' prior attempt at a dual-OS device ran afoul of the licensing restrictions at Google and Microsoft, the Transformer Book V ingeniously solves the problem by having the entire Android environment live on the phone, and appear in a window or full screen when docked to the tablet. With this combination of functions and environments, you can fulfill all your mobile needs with just one system.
When we first saw the Acer Iconia Tab 8 on display, we thought its Zero Air Gap and IPS display was a sticker meant to mimic the Android desktop, because it looks more like a vibrant painting than a tablet screen. However, the 8-inch tablet has more going for it than just a gorgeous full-HD display. The slate's quad-core, 1.86-GHz Intel Atom Z3745 CPU provides plenty of pop, and its 0.79-pound aluminum body is extremely light and attractive.
Best Accessory: View Phone Technology PhoneStation
Forget the PlayStation. This Project Morpheus look-alike could give you the immersive multimedia experience you never expected, using just your smartphone and a $35 headset. By using a side-by-side video player or converter app that splits your device's screen into two windows showing the same image, the PhoneStation turns 2-D content on your smartphone into 3-D.
Whether you're a gamer looking for the ultimate frag or a touch typist trying to be more productive, Rosewill's RGB80 is compact enough to bring the mechanical keyboard experience on the road. As on the most expensive gaming laptops, the backlit keys are capable of displaying up to 16.7 million different colors, while software provides a virtually limitless set of macros.
Best Gaming Laptop: Gigabyte Aorus X3 Plus
Gigabyte’s highly portable 13.9-inch Aorus X3 Plus stands out by combining a high-end gaming experience and a sharp 3K (3200 x 1800 pixel) display. At just 4.12 pounds, the X3 Plus weighs less than any other serious gaming notebook, but packs a heavy punch with a 2.5-GHz Core i7 processor, Nvidia GTX 870M graphics and dual SSDs that provide a transfer rate of 1,500 MBps. Throw in a set of programmable macro keys and a sleek stealth-fighter–inspired chassis, and you have a laptop that's light enough to carry everywhere and powerful enough that you'll want to bring it along.
Your next tablet could be thinner than an iPad and as powerful as a desktop PC, thanks to Intel's Core M processor. Unveiled at Computex, Core M is based on the chipmaker's new 14nm production process, which provides higher performance at lower power and cooler temperatures. Because Core M works at a 60 percent lower TDP (Thermal Design Point) than previous-generation Intel chips, systems equipped with this processor can offer up to 40 percent longer performance without the need for a fan.