According to the show's organizers, this year's Consumer Electronics Show
was the biggest CES ever. That made it even harder for our editors to
choose only 10 products out of thousands as CNET's CES best of show. But after two days of combing the 1.2 million square feet of show floor, our CES team has narrowed the wide field down to these 10.
| ||BEST PDA/PHONE HYBRID |
| || Hitachi Multimedia Communicator Pocket PC |
A Sprint PCS exclusive, Hitachi's Multimedia Communicator Pocket PC is the first Windows-powered PDA/phone hybrid with a built-in keyboard, digital camera, and Intel 400MHz Xscale processor. When it hits stores in the next few months, it'll go up against Samsung's slick but keyboard-less Pocket PC phone hybrid, the i700. Both products are expected to retail for about $500.
| ||BEST MULTIMEDIA HANDHELD |
| || Sony CLIE PEG-NZ90 |
Can Sony build more into a multimedia handheld? How about adding a built-in 2-megapixel camera, the highest-resolution cam ever integrated into a handheld device? The PEG-NZ90 also offers a flash, a 2X digital zoom, and manual-exposure adjustments. Plus, it has built-in Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a Wi-Fi expansion slot. But this heavy PDA (10.3 ounces) also has a heavy price: $799. The PEG-NZ90 will be available in February.
| ||BEST GADGET |
| || The Fossil SPOT watch |
Fossil brings the data/fashion fusion to a new level with its wrist device based on Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology, or SPOT. In addition to its PDA functionality, users can take advantage of data services from Microsoft that send news, stock quotes, restaurant reviews, instant messages, and more to their wrists. E-mail may even be added down the line. Pricing hasn't been finalized, although Fossil predicts the service will cost approximately $10 per month. Expect to pay between $180 and $200 for the watch itself.
| ||BEST HOME-NETWORKING DEVICE |
| || Prismiq |
Nearly every big consumer electronics player showed off planned home
networking products at the show, but it was a little start-up called
Prismiq that stole the thunder with a simple, affordable device to bridge
your PC, TV, and home stereo. The $249 MediaPlayer uses an existing wired,
wireless, or power-line network to listen to MP3s, watch DVD-quality video,
view digital photo albums, and browse the Web from any room. HP announced
the similar Digital Media Receiver 5000 series, but currently, it doesn't
support streaming video.
| ||BEST FM-FRIENDLY MP3 PLAYER |
| || Digital Innovations Neuros |
More and more MP3 players include FM-recording capabilities (the Archos Ondio and iRiver iFP-180T spring to mind), but no device takes this concept further than the Neuros. Not
only does it play and record FM, the Neuros also lets you tag radio songs
for automatic identification and broadcasts your stored MP3s to any
FM radio (such as your car's or another user's). You can choose between a
flash version (128MB) and a larger hard drive version (20GB), or you can
buy both at a discount, since the control unit can be switched between the
two memory backpacks.
| ||BEST PORTABLE VIDEO PLAYER |
| || RCA Lyra Audio/Video Jukebox RD2780 |
Although the Archos Multimedia beat the big boys to the punch in the portable video player arena, major manufacturers are catching up big time. Out of these, the RCA RD2780 looks like the current front-runner. It has A/V inputs and outputs that connect directly to TV or stereo to record shows direct from TV, and a 3.5 inch color LCD for comfortable viewing. It's also digicam-friendly since it can pull images off a CompactFlash card without a computer and display them on its screen or a television. Cool.
| ||BEST BUDGET CAMCORDER |
| || Sony DCR-TRV22 camcorder |
Sony is overhauling its sub-$1,500 products, most obviously the sub-$1,000 MiniDV models. Our favorite of these is the $700 DCR-TRV22. By integrating the excellent feature set of the DCR-TRV18--plus some enhancements--with a great new compact design, this shooter looks like it might be the budget camcorder to beat in 2003. The TRV22 is slated for release in February.
| ||BEST HDTV |
| || Panasonic PT-56TWD63 |
From the looks of things, Panasonic will be the first company to market with a plug-and-play cable-ready HDTV. The 56-inch wide-screen PT-56TWD63, available in September for $2,700, looks just like any other CRT-based big screen, but around back is a POD slot. The POD-Host Interface License Agreement is the cable industry's standard for delivering HDTV, and the slot will accept a module from your cable company that plugs directly into the coaxial cable coming out of the wall.
| ||BEST NETWORK-READY DVD PLAYER |
| || Sonicblue GoVideo D2730 DVD player |
This is one of the first home network-compatible, progressive-scan DVD players we've seen. It includes a PC card slot in back and comes with an Ethernet card, so you can plug it into your home network and access JPEGs, MP3 files, and MPEG-1 and -2 movies stored on a computer. Don't fret, wireless users; you can replace the Ethernet card with a wireless card. And at $249, this player costs much less than a separate player and home network solution. The D2730 hits stores in March.
| ||BEST COMBO TIVO/SATELLITE RECEIVER |
| || Philips DSR7000 |
If $199 for a combination TiVo/satellite receiver sounds too good to be true, it gets better: if you subscribe to the Total Choice Premier package, there's no monthly charge for the TiVo service. Otherwise, you pay a mere $4.95 per month, billed with your satellite service. Plus, the DSR7000's internal hard drive has 35 hours of storage capacity and two tuners, which allow you to record two shows at once or watch live TV while recording a show. You can pick up a DSR7000 in April. The Hughes HDVR2 is basically the same product, and it's available now.
More CES coverage