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CES 2009: Digital Experience Impressions

Posted by: John at 1/8/2009 7:42 AM
It's CES 2009 and as with every CES I've been to the first day saw the GN group at Digital Experience. For those that don't know, it's really a gathering of vendors in a large ballroom and you can quickly hit them in a small environment compared to CES. I had a plan of stopping by three booths from the list as there weren't as many game specific ones at the event.

I'll let Dan and Sean talk about Nyko but they had on hand Wii accessories. Dan and Sean have an appointment with them later on in the week so they will have a greater detailed account of their products. I did hold the new wireless Kama design in my hand and even with my small hands I found it to be a little smaller than I liked. The lower front button had a plastic lip to rest your finger on but I found it to be a little in the way. In all honesty it was a quick look so maybe Dan and Sean will have a better feel of it when they look at the product more closely later on in the week.

There were two products at Logitech's setup I really wanted to get my hands on. First up was the Harmony 1100 remote control. The successor to the Harmony 1000, the Harmony 1100 has some nice improvements. For starters the Logitech rep was really touting the customizability of the screen. Setup the buttons to your liking and make the remote display what you want and when. I was rather impressed with the responsiveness of the capacitive touch screen and the picture was nice and bright. On each side of the screen are some small plastic ridges that correspond with a sidebar button on the screen. They aren't real buttons but they are very helpful in giving a tactile feel of where the LCD button was just by sliding your finger over from the ridge to the screen. The Harmony 1100 felt great in the hand and I think I might have my replacement for my Harmony One.

The other big product was the G19 keyboard. The new gaming keyboard from Logitech has 12 programmable keys and lets you record macros on the fly. Like the G13, you can alter the color of the backlit keys as the product features the same multi-color LED as the G13. In fact you can combine this with the G13 and the new G9x mouse and have an entire setup with matching colors that are to your specification. The major feature though is the 320x240 color LCD display on the top. It's a vivid LCD panel that was displaying a YouTube video when I was looking at it. The video looked mostly smooth but I can't tell if it's because of the video or the panel that didn't make it completely smooth. I'll be able to run some tests once we get it in though to see how well it really performs. I have to say the LCD is quite impressive up close and it will be an open source API to develop plug-ins for it. Due out in March, the G19 looks like it has the chops to become THE gaming keyboard to pick up.

NVIDIA was a quick stop for me as I will be meeting them Saturday but they were on hand to show off their 3D glasses technology. Now the system is like those 3D movies you view in the theater with powered polarized glasses and they were running it off the up and coming Samsung 22" LCD monitor that had a 120Hz refresh rate. Dan can offer up more details on the monitor but the powered NVIDIA glasses would produce an impressive 3D effect on videos and games. They had my current favorite, Left 4 Dead as the demo. I'll have more details on it after Saturday but this might be a good seller for those wanting a new experience in gaming. It does need specialized hardware in the form of the monitor to work though and I heard the way they are going to sell it was in a bundle. Look for more after Saturday.

On an unrelated gaming note, I did stop by the HTC booth which makes my Touch Pro phone. Scanning the table, I told one of the reps it's too bad he didn't have the Touch HD out to look at. With that said, he pulled one out of his pocket saying that they did for those that asked for it. The phone felt really nice in my hand and it's certainly an appeal for those who want an iPhone physical format but want the flexibility of Windows Mobile. I don't know if I could do without a hard keyboard though but the Touch HD had me drooling.