CES 2011: Tradeshow Highlights and Round-Up

Felix Sold (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 01/12/2011

Mobile times. The Consumer Electronics Show, short CES, is a guarantee for innovative products from the fields of entertainment electronic and IT. This year 3D, Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors, the AMD Fusion APUs and tablets of the most various manufacturers dominate the event on the Las Vegas Strip.

This year's Consumer Electronics Show 2011 (CES 2011) is slowly but surely coming to an end. The exhibition opens its doors for the public from January 6th to 9th 2011. The first new products are however already presented on January 5th. Because of the time difference and (in the beginning) the vast amount of information, extra shifts were worked in the editorial office.

Summarizing, we would like to draw a conclusion today, underline the product highlights and provide you with a general overview. This isn't always easy in view of about 2500 exhibitors from around the world. Notebookcheck.com was able to pick up over 45 news reports and more than 80 products. Among them, all highlights from the field of notebooks, subnotebooks, netbooks and tablets.

CES 2011 Highlights: Consumer and Gaming Notebooks

Intel's new Sandy Bridge quad core processors dominate all new releases in the fields of consumer and gaming notebooks. Both MSI, with the new GT780R, and Dell, with the refreshed Alienware M17x, supply gamers with two high-end devices including a lot of power underneath the keyboard.

We could examine the MSI GT780R closer in a hands on after the official announcement. The 17.3 inch desktop replacement has a graphics card from the Nvidia GTX 500M range aside the new processor generation. More highlights are the Dynaudio sound system and the option of ordering a dual SSD combination. The opponent from Dell will be available as Alienware M17x R3 in future and is impressive with special features. Aside the new components, there is an optional 3D screen (Full HD, 1920x1080 pixels, 120 Hz). Currently, there are three models to choose from for the graphics card. However, we didn't see a system with SLI or Crossfire. Another highlight is the HDMI-in port over which, for example, a Sony Playstation 3 can be connected. In combination, you get a game console with a connected 3D screen. The device is priced starting at 1499 US dollars in the United States.

3D solutions and Sandy Bridge CPUs are also offered in the field of consumer notebooks. Sony's refreshed VAIO F series isn't exactly cheap with an entry price of 1999 euros, but a 16.4 inch 3D screen with a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels (280 Hz) is a good argument. We've already reviewed the Asus N53SV multimedia notebook with an Intel Core i7-2720QM and Nvidia GT 540M midrange graphics and rated it as good. A vast amount of models from the most various manufacturers in a price range of 1000 euros were showcased at the CES 2011. That doesn't exactly make it easy for the consumer to choose.

Alienware M17x Refresh R3
Alienware M17x Refresh R3 with Full HD-3D and HDMI-in
Sony VAIO F series
Sony VAIO F series 3D notebook for multimedia fans
Asus N53SV
Asus N53SV Mutlimedia notebook with Intel Sandy Bridge CPU
MSI GT780R
MSI GT780R Gaming-Notebook with Dynaudio sound

CES 2011 Highlights: Subnotebooks and Netbooks

In the field of ultra portable notebooks, or even subnotebooks, two devices are in tight competition to one another. For one, the new slim Samsung ZX310 from the 9 range and for the other, the new Sony VAIO Y series (YA – YB) with a magnesium case and cutting edge hardware. The ZX310 impresses with an extremely slim case made of duraluminum (short: duralumin or dural), an aluminum alloy with an especially high stability and brand new hardware. Among others, Intel's Core i5-2537M with 1.40 GHz, incorporated Intel GMA HD 3000 graphics and a 128 GB solid state drive. At a price of about 1600 US dollars, Samsung's device isn't a bargain.

Sony revives the Vaio Y series and now calls it the YA and YB series. The 11.6 inch devices are based on Intel hardware (Intel Core i3 including Intel GMA HD) or the latest AMD Fusion E-350 APU with incorporated AMD Radeon HD 6310 DirectX 11 graphics unit. The devices, with an aluminum case, only have a weight of 1.46 kilograms. Thus, Sony apparently offers a perfect solution of mobility and performance. Another bonus point is a start price of only 499 euros including value added tax. The devices are to be available in Germany at the end of January 2011 (VAIO YA, Intel), respectively at the end of February 2011 (YB, AMD).

The newly presented netbooks are dominated by AMD's new processors. Because mobility is the center of attention, mainly AMD APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit) of the C range (TDP: 9 watts) are used. The NB550D from Toshiba is a very interesting device. It is based on the AMD Ontario C-50 dual core APU with a clock rate of 1 GHz. Graphic matters are managed by the incorporated AMD Radeon HD 6250 (core rate: 280 MHz). A further highlight is the installed speaker system from Harman/Kardon.

The definite netbook flops at this year's CES 2011 are netbooks with Intel Atom processors (e.g.: Lenovo IdeaPad S100). The new Intel Atom N570 with 1.66 GHz (dual core) was hardly given notice. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if the AMD APUs can assert themselves and when Intel will counter. Possible candidates are the upcoming Intel Oak Trail and Cedar Trail platforms.

Samsung Series 9
Samsung Series 9 a duraluminium case
Sony VAIO Y series
Sony VAIO Y series (VPC-YA1V9E/B & VPC-YB1S1E/S)
Toshiba NB550D
Toshiba NB550D netbook with Harman/Kardon speakers
Lenovo IdeaPad S100
Lenovo IdeaPad S100 netbook with Intel Atom N570

CES 2011 Highlights: Tablets

Among the pure tablets, Asus' Eee Slate EP121 tablet with a 12.1 inch touchscreen became our favorite in Las Vegas. The performance should be right with Microsoft's Windows 7 due to a relatively strong Intel Core i5-470UM (dual core). Another benefit is the functionality of a desktop operating system that the Android or iOS from Apple doesn't provide. The latest communication options, USB and a mini HDMI are further bonus points. The entry price is about 999 US dollars (USA).

Samsung launches a very interesting hybrid of netbook and tablet called Sliding PC 7. The installed 10.1 inch touchscreen bids a native resolution of 1366x768 pixels and allegedly has good 340 cd/m2 (luminosity). The device was convincing in the first hands on due to Intel's Atom Z670 processor. Microsoft's Windows 7's performance and the specially developed TouchLauncher make a smooth impression. Dell has an immediate opponent with the Inspiron Duo Convertible. It has a somewhat different screen concept that proved to have a few drawbacks in our review. Samsung's hybrid is supposed to be available as of March 2011 with a price starting at 699 US dollars in the USA.

As usual, Apple is more restrained and doesn't participate in the international exhibition. Nevertheless, first covers and a realistic mock-up of the upcoming Apple iPad 2 turned up at the CES 2011. The case apparently has a slimmer design. New features, for example, a front and rear camera seem reasonable. According to rumors, to be released on February 1st 2011?

Asus Eee Slate EP121 tablet
Asus Eee Slate EP121 tablet with Intel Core i5 processor.
Samsung Sliding PC 7 hybrid
Samsung Sliding PC 7 netbook and tablet hybrid.
Apple iPad 2 tablet mock-up
Apple iPad 2 tablet realistic-looking mock-up.

CES 2011 Verdict: An exciting year has begun

After gripping days in Las Vegas, the technology highlights for the first half of 2011 are set. The new Intel Sandy Bridge quad core processors dominate the consumer and gaming notebooks and AMD can only attain fame in smaller systems. Its own Fusion APUs appear to be a successful change for manufacturers. Consequently many subnotebooks and netbooks were presented. The tablet market is also still growing rapidly. Aside new Android devices, there are strong Windows tablets and interesting hybrid systems. Overall the various manufacturers present impressive line-ups. Their true qualities first have to be demonstrated. We are looking forward to the CeBIT 2011 in Hannover.

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Author: Felix Sold, 2011-01-12 (Update: 2012-05-26)