Three of my favorite things from CES Week that you can buy now.
With CES in my rear-view mirror, I’m taking some time to put all of those gadgets and gizmos into some type of perspective. Sure there were $10,000 headphones and $30,000 TVs but besides the oohs and ahhs, those products won’t resonate with many people.
A few gadgets did catch my eye that are not only on the market but things you may actually want to purchase.
My favorite product all week is the Super X-fi from Creative Labs. Tucked away in a private showroom where invitations were required, was the popular Creative Labs company showing off some of its latest technology. Creative Labs specializes in digital audio, but I was not expecting its newest creation.
The Super X-fi is a dongle or app that connects between a device like a smartphone and headphones. Now I’ve never seen anything like it before and I certainly haven’t heard the difference a device as this could make on music and game or movie soundtracks, but Holy Smokes! Most new headphones claim to be better than the last, but some of those are just louder than the ones before them. The Super X-fi is on a whole other level.
Rather than being louder, the dongle makes any pair of headphones sound better. By better, I mean the music has a warmer sound. Actually, warmer is not the right word. Real. That’s as close as I can describe it. Listening to a video on YouTube and it sounds like you were in the room where it was recorded. I listened to “Old Enough” by Rickey Skaggs, Jack White, and Ashleigh Monroe, recorded in a studio. Not only did it sound better than without the X-fi, but it also sounded like I was sitting in the studio. My daughter and her friend, who’ve never been much of an audiophile were even blown away by the difference.
Before using the X-fi, an app asks that you take a picture of your ears and head, after which it will map how you listen to music. Creative Labs calls it “holographic audio” and that’s a good description. It’s like the sound doesn’t just exist, but it has a life of its own. You can also tell the app which set of headphones you are using and it will further individualize how it presents the audio.
The winner of 10 awards at CES, I’m putting the Creative Labs Super X-fi at the top of my “gotta have” list. btw, I don’t see it listed at Amazon, but you can find it here on the Creative Labs site.
Another gadget I love is the Lume Cube Air that debuted at this year’s show. Lume has been around for a little while, developing lighting that can be used on cameras and smartphones. The Lume Cube Air is a smaller version of its best lighting devices. The Air is small enough to fit onto a smartphone without looking like it doesn’t belong there. It’ll connect to a smartphone or tablet either with a magnet (for those cases that clip on a magnetic mount) or with a suction cup.
The Lume Air made a big difference when I tried it during an interview with a smartphone. Selfies will never (or should never) look dim or dark again. It must be popular already, when I checked there were only 14 left in stock on Amazon.
Finally, the Belkin Boost Up charging dock that charges an iPhone and Apple Watch. Place the devices on the dock and it’ll charge both quickly and at the same time. I especially like the minimalistic style. Very clean looking. It’ll also charge Android phones with the same technology, and there’s a USB port on the backside that’ll charge another device like an iPad.
There were thousands and thousands of interesting gadgets and gizmos at CES. These are my favorites that I’ll actually use.
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