CES 2014: Best of Showstoppers

While many companies make their announcements at the main CES event, Showstoppers offers an...

While many companies make their announcements at the main CES event, Showstoppers offers an opportunity to get up close with some of the best tech products.

Peter Nelis, ClickOnline.com

, Last Updated: 6:07 PM ET

Every year the Lafite Ballroom at the Wynn Hotel is packed to bursting with bloggers, reports, video crews and more as some of CES's best hidden secrets are shown off.

As usual, we were there to soak up the atmosphere, great food and complimentary beverages, while also keeping an eye out for the very best products on offer, and this year was definitely our favourite to date. With plenty of variety on offer, as well as some incredibly forward thinking companies, there was definitely plenty to get excited about. It wasn't easy to narrow things down to just these selections, but we just about managed it…

Anker Astro

If you're a smartphone user you'll definitely be familiar with the complete let-down of device battery life. It seems like no matter how much you try to keep on top of handset usage, you're always finding yourself struggling to keep your phone alive towards the end of the day. There have been plenty of products to hit the market to try and solve this issue in the last few years, but without paying a small fortune, none of them offer anywhere close to enough juice to make them worthwhile.

That's where Anker's range of power packs differs.

Available in capacities ranging from 6000-15000mAh, these diminutive power-houses pack more than enough poke to keep your devices going for the long-haul. Not only are they capable of detecting the kind of device you're charging, and delivering the correct wattage to suit, but they're also among the most competitively priced devices of their kind on the market right now, with prices starting as low as $45.99. You can find out more over at www.ianker.com

MiiPC

With prices starting as low as $129.99, you might wonder what on earth could possibly be worthwhile within these Android-powered mini-PCs, but the truth is that there's a lot more than you might expect! The primary purpose of the devices is to offer parents the ability to monitor and/or restrict their kids' computer usage. By offering a device that connects easily to the living room PC, they'll not only be able to keep on top of usage while at home, but also when away, thanks to an incredibly smart remote monitoring app that allows them to see what software is being run in real-time, and even shut things down if necessary. On top of that, you'll be able to set time restrictions for just about every app on the device to ensure that homework and chores get done before fun time starts.

There's another side to the MiiPC, though, and it's definitely one that might interest many of you; it's fully capable of running XMBC out of the box, making it the ideal living room entertainment device, allowing you to stream all your media directly to your big-screen TV with minimal fuss, and in a way that's far more customizable and versatile than many media boxes costing far more!

Audiofly

When a guy like world renowned DJ Tiesto drops you an email to say he loves your headphones and would like to work with you, you know you're onto something special - and that's exactly where the guys at Audiofly found themselves recently. The audiophiles among you may already be familiar with their name, as well as their incredibly robust and well-built range of in-ear headphones, but those of you who don't yet know them had better familiarize yourselves fast, because these guys are gonna be a big deal.

Built by a team of audio experts who take their sound incredibly seriously, you're getting only the best from materials used through to sound quality. If impeccably balanced audio is your thing, and you've grown tired of the bass-heavy 'designer' headphones purporting to be the real deal, but delivering in little other than style, then Audiofly is a brand you need to check out. We'll be reviewing some of their products in the near future and will give you an in-depth low down on just why they're so bloody great, but in the meantime, head on over to their website and check them out at www.audiofly.com.

 

Xi3 Piston

It's the first Steam Machine and it's available right now! Xi3 were quick to get off the mark as the first official vendor of hardware supporting Valve's new pipe dream (pun very much intended), and it's a move that could very well pay big dividends for the company. The device itself is a surprisingly small box that'll fit in the palm of your hand (at a push) and is capable of bringing the full glory of PC gaming kicking and screaming into your living room. If you think you can probably do without another device cramping your home entertainment unit, then we've got just two words for you: Steam Sales!

 

Snakebyte Vyper

Another Android device that caught our eye at Showstoppers is the excellent Vyper from long-time peripheral manufacturers Snakebyte. It's a tablet, joypad and remote control combo that aims to bring all your media into your living room, and beyond, with minimal fuss and absolutely no headaches. When you're out and about, it's a simple tablet with HD display that's capable of doing all the normal Android tablet things, but once you get home and slot it into its dock, it becomes a whole different beast.

With all you apps, games and media available for viewing on the big screen, you've also got the added ability to play games using an incredibly comfortable controller featuring all the usual buttons, plus twin analog sticks. More surprises lurk in the motion-control capable remote, which can be used as a pointer ala the Wii Remote, or flipped over and used as a full QWERTY keyboard, making password entry a piece of cake rather than the usual struggle. The remote's gyroscope also knows when you've got it flipped to use the keyboard, and automatically disables the motion control aspect of its functionality. It's awesome and you can find out more at www.snakebyte-vyper.com!


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