Gadget overload begins: Best of CES 2013 so far

We patrolled the press conferences to find the best gear and gadgets that could be seen in Las Vegas before the CES 2013 show floor opens. Here's what we found.

Here we go!

LAS VEGAS—While the CES 2013 show floor doesn't officially open until Tuesday, we've already seen a goodly mix of cool new technologies, gadgets, and gizmos.

Examples? A phone the size of a tablet? Check. TVs that pack more pixels than you can lay an eye on? Ditto. Print your own iPhone case? Yeah, even that.

Let's start with the Asus Qube.

Asus Qube

It may look like something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it means you no harm. In fact, the Asus Qube will enhance your TV-watching experience with the help of Google TV.

With the Qube, you'll get more than 100,000 TV shows and movies, which includes Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, and a lot more. Of course, there are loads of games and apps as well.

The Qube also comes with a remote with a QWERTY keyboard that can perform gesture controls and voice commands, as well as 50GB of web storage and a mobile app that turns your Android phone or tablet into a remote.

More Info | Price not set

Lego Mindstorms' EV3

Legos with smartphone capabilities? Sign us up.

The Lego Mindstorms' EV3 Intelligent brick includes some new features, like an infrared sensor, new Linux-based firmware, a USB port, and an SD card slot.

So why should you care? Well, it works with iOS and Android, so you can use your smartphone to remotely control your Mindstorms EV3 creations. The programming software kit itself works on both Windows and Mac OS X.

The new brick also comes with Bluetooth support and you can program it without having to connect the brick to your PC thanks to improved on-brick programming capabilities.

More Info | $349

Huawei’s Ascend Mate

Bigger is always better, and the Chinese phone maker Huawei would have to agree. Its phone announced Monday at CES, the Ascend Mate, manages to dwarf even the Samsung Galaxy Note II in size with its 6.1-inch, 720p display—the largest on any smartphone to date.

Unfortunately, it'll be a while before you at home get a chance to experience this behemoth of a phone. Huawei plans to launch the Ascend Mate in China next month.

However, the phone maker didn't discuss anything about the handset making its way stateside.

More info | Price not set

Nvidia Project Shield

A mobile gaming device dedicated for the road trip that lasts for 10 hours with full-fledged buttons and without the boring phone extras. What more do you need to be excited about?

The device, called "Project Shield," resembles an oversized gaming controller with a fold-up flat-panel display on top and works in combination with software in a client device.

Project Shield holds the promise of delivering high-quality computer graphics and gaming on devices with relatively modest graphics processing ability, according to Nvidia.

More info | Price not set

Fitbug Orb

With all those New Year's resolutions, the Fitbug Orb manages to pique some interests. And, at only $50, you can't really go wrong.

Fitbug aims to bring the cost of fitness trackers down with its Fitbug Orb tracker. The tiny little pill-shaped device uses an accelerometer to track steps and “aerobic steps” (steps where you’re taking a more intense stride, like when you’re running).

It will even track your sleep if you wear it to bed, letting you see when and how often you wake up overnight.

More info | $50

Samsung S9 UHD TV--85 inches of 4K HDTV

The “big game” never looked so good on such a big screen. At 85 inches, the S9 manages to beat the competition by a whole inch (which is hard to tell at that size). What’s more interesting is this giant HDTV's new “Timeless Gallery” frame design.

The frame is simple, yet elegant, and still removable in case you wanted to mount this movie-screen wannabe to a wall. This may be the Ultra HD (4K) resolution TV we’ve been waiting for. Unfortunately it’s tough to tell how long we will have to save our pennies without a price tag.

More info | Price not set

LG Smart Appliances

Tech lovers rarely even glance at appliances, but that may be about to change. LG's line of smart appliances ramps up Internet connectivity for ovens, refrigerators, washing machines, and a robotic vacuum.

Each appliance in the company’s 2013 lineup is equipped with an NFC tag you scan with your smartphone to connect to the devices. After your refrigerator (or washing machine, robotic vacuum, or oven) is synced to your phone, you can control the appliance remotely.

You'll never need to be home again!

More info | Price not set

Netgear NeoTV

More TV options always put a hop in our step and a sparkle in our dry, unblinking eyes, but adding in some extra security functionality is just plain smart. This media streamer is also a night-vision security camera.

In addition to its see-in-the-dark technology, the Netgear VueZone Add-On Night Vision Camera also boasts motion-detection technology that can trigger recordings, adding to its usefulness as a tool for monitoring homes and offices in low-light conditions.

More info | $130

Goal Zero Yeti 150

Every time a devastating natural disaster ravages some part of the world, we are reminded how important it is to be prepared. Goal Zero’s Yeti 150 wants to be your one-stop place for all your power needs during those trying times.

The Yeti 150 will store 150 watt-hours of juice, enough to charge your laptop several times or run your tablet for a week. You charge it from a wall outlet, but for $200 more, the company’s 15-watt solar panel will fill it up in about 15 hours of bright sunlight.

Take that, superstorms…

More Info | $400 or $600 with solar panels

Sony Handycam TD30V

Look out James Cameron, now anyone can be a 3D movie maker with the Sony Handycam TD30V and luckily, it’s much smaller and more affordable than previous years' models.

You can view 3D directly on this camcorder's 3.5-inch LCD (no need for 3D glasses). The Handycam TD30V does lack the manual parallax controls and the internal memory of previous 3D Handycam models.

More Info | $1000

Sculpteo's 3D Printing iPhone Cases

Phone owners love customization. Picking the color, style and functionality of a case is like a rite of passage when buying a new phone. So why not take it to the extreme?

Sculpteo’s 3DP Case creation tool lets you design, print, and order your own iPhone case directly through the free Sculpteo app for iOS. With it, you can select the image or design you want, pick a color, pick a material, add additional detail, and then have the case printed and shipped anywhere worldwide.

More info | $24

Toyota and Lexus autonomous cars

When you first get your license, hitting the open road is a dream come true. As you get older, though, the thought of rush hour traffic gives you nightmares. Toyota and Lexus’ research into self-driving cars may help with that.

Toyota plans to test its new research vehicle in its Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) proving grounds. The 8.6-acre area is designed to mimic an urban driving environment, complete with roads, traffic signals, simulated real-life driving situations such as other vehicles, and pedestrians. We can't wait.

More info | Price not set

Parrot Flower Power

Our houseplants end up as crispy, dead stems all too often. It’s probably because we’re always so busy fixating on our latest gadgets.

Fear not. Parrot's Flower Power is a fork-like gadget that you stick in your plant’s soil to monitor its most important vital signs. If your plant needs attention, you’ll get alerts on the corresponding iOS app, which also begins to build a personalized health profile over time to help you anticipate plant needs and proactively become a better gardener.

More info | Price not set

House of Marley’s Bag of Riddim Bluetooth Audio System

Made from recycled hemp to carry your, ah, stuff, the Marley bag of audio equipment is perfect for vacations in Colorado, Washington, Canada, and other places ending in –amaica.

The bag also features an auxiliary port for connecting non-wireless audio sources and has a built-in USB port to charge your devices.

More info | $400


You ever notice how loud that copy machine is in the corner? And there’s always someone coughing in the office down the hall. You need to look into Focus@Will.

Focus@Will plays music that keeps your mind from wandering. At about 20 minutes, as your brain gets used to the music and starts to tune things out—a process Focus@Will calls “habituation”—adaptive audio techniques kick in to help maximize your concentration.

More info | Prices not set

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