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Published on January 25th, 2012 | by Greg

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CES Wrap-Up: 2012 Looks Warm, Crisp, And Snug

Each year, we had to sun­ny Las Ve­gas, Neva­da in search of the lat­est and great­est. Some of the stuff we see will nev­er be re­leased- some of the cars are on­ly con­cepts, some of the tablets will be shelved, and some of the com­pa­nies will dis­ap­pear be­fore they can get their prod­uct to mar­ket. But along with the oth­er 150,000 peo­ple who vis­it­ed this year’s show, we stroll the show floor and the as­so­ci­at­ed par­ties and me­dia events, en­joy­ing the free­bies and press kits and fill­ing ev­ery inch of our car­ry-on with schwag and sam­ples.

Last year, we ragged on the press con­fer­ences but had fun with celebri­ties. In­deed, 50 Cent was back this year, ex­tend­ing his con­sumer elec­tron­ics cred, but fac­ing an on­slaught of oth­ers, in­clud­ing even Justin Bieber. And while we saw just as many smart­phone cas­es this year, there wasn’t a lot new in the cat­e­go­ry. And in terms of schwag, last year brought us some pret­ty nifty giz­mos, in­clud­ing Star Wars head­phones from Coloud (they’ve dropped the line), and a strong en­try for the world’s ugli­est tie.

This year, we aimed high­er, and have three com­pa­nies to spot­light. While oth­er jour­nal­ists post their sto­ries weeks ago, when CES cov­er­age is time­ly, we de­cid­ed to wait and ac­tu­al­ly re­al­ly use this gear. With that in mind, re­al world test­ing in both Sin City and the City That Nev­er Sleeps proved that these three items are well worth a look.

Agloves are the eas­i­est sell here, at least for those who have smart­phones and a need for gloves. You’ve prob­a­bly seen some by now- mit­tens made from spe­cial ma­te­ri­als that al­low you to use a touch­screen with­out need­ing to ex­pose your ten­der flesh to the per­ils of na­ture. We’ve tried oth­ers, in­clud­ing some where on­ly cer­tain fin­gers, or parts of the glove, ac­tu­al­ly work- but the nifty thing about these is that you can use your whole hand (if you so de­sire). Agloves just work, plain and sim­ple. Plus, the folks be­hind the com­pa­ny are in­cred­i­bly friend­ly. The moth­er/daugh­ter team showed up at the Fash­ion­Ware Fash­ion Show, which turned out to be per­haps the high­light evening of the en­tire week. Agloves are avail­able on­line in three ver­sions, run­ning $18-$24 in­clud­ing bam­boo and a snug, warmer sport mod­el. What can we say: we’re in love.

Next up, we’ve got two sets of head­phones. They are ac­tu­al­ly very dif­fer­ent prod­ucts, aimed at to­tal­ly sep­a­rate seg­ments, but both still rat­ed high­ly among testers. First up, the Yur­buds In­spire Pro se­ries were ac­tu­al­ly in­spir­ing, at least par­tial­ly be­cause of the demon­stra­tions. Fea­tur­ing a life­time war­ran­ty and a “dry mic”, these are square­ly aimed at ac­tive users. And they showed off the best fea­ture, liv­ing up to the “by ath­letes for ath­letes” mot­to, by hav­ing some users spin, flip, and park­our around while still wear­ing these ear­phones. The unique twist lock sys­tem meant that we, too, were able to run and jump and skip and hop with­out los­ing our mu­sic or hav­ing our ear­buds thrown about. Mu­si­cal­ly, these weren’t par­tic­u­lar­ly im­pres­sive, sim­i­lar if a lit­tle more flat than the pre-pack­aged Ap­ple stan­dards- but the three-but­ton sys­tem and built-in mi­cro­phone work well, and the price shocked us. Sol­id, well-built, the Yur­buds In­spire Pro make for a classy gift and are easy on the wal­let at $50.

Fi­nal­ly, the Clar­i­ty­One EB110 ear­buds of­fer some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent. Billed as of­fer­ing a built-in “Pure­sound” pro­ces­sor, and us­ing less en­er­gy, we con­fess to find­ing them in­trigu­ing if con­fus­ing. They look more or less nor­mal, but the re­al trick is in­side: six patents com­bine to make these sound fair­ly im­pres­sive. Three sizes of tips are in­clud­ed, and though we pre­fer Et­y­mot­ic-style tips, these were good enough and pret­ty sound-iso­lat­ing. The buds are al­so pret­ty light, and the ca­bling cov­ered with an an­ti-fric­tion coat­ing. We found our­selves nod­ding our head in ap­pre­ci­a­tion when we put these on- from clas­si­cal to acous­tic, they held up well to most any­thing, with on­ly the bass be­ing per­haps a lit­tle less “boost­ed” than some lis­ten­ers were used to. The touch sen­si­tive re­mote was mixed- some staff loved it, while oth­ers found it a bit hard to con­trol. They al­so claim that the 8 ohm impedance lev­el will con­serve pow­er- and we did no­tice a small in­crease in bat­tery life, though not sub­stan­tial. At $130, though, they def­i­nite­ly are an in­ter­est­ing con­tender in a crowd­ed space.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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