As nerds, we are constantly beset by an insatiable technolust; one that can be fed but never satisfied. There’s always a cooler TV, a better console, a crisper speaker; and then the next best thing hits a month later. Nowhere is this lust harder to subdue than on the floor of CES, where I was surrounded on all sides by an unimaginable collection of the coolest new technologies imaginable. So like any good nerd, I began fantasizing about which electronics I would put in my game room at home and before long I had built the perfect gaming room. You know, for a month or two.
Samsung UNES8000 – The Big Picture
I’ve long been a fan of Samsung TVs, and am grateful to see they are committed to constantly improving their design. Their newest TV revealed at CES 2012, the UNES8000 is as sleek and sexy as many of their current lineup but with some major changes. The TV comes with a standard LED screen that will support 3D viewing. The screen is gorgeous and comes almost all the way to the end—with only a paper thin border around the outside.
But by far the most promising feature is the Kinect-esque camera subtly placed on the top of the TV. I was told the camera reads faces and hand motions in order to carry out functions. Essentially it will be a Kinect for every moment you don’t have your Xbox on—and it will allow for one less controller cluttering up your coffee table. As the centerpiece of the perfect living room, the TV is obviously the one thing you can’t screw up. And Samsung apparently knows it.
Monitor Audio Shadow – For Those Who Need Their Space
There’s a reason TVs keep getting thinner. We want space in our living rooms. So there’s no reason to keep our imposingly large speakers around when there’s a solution. Monitor Audio, known for their spectacular—if a bit imposing—sound systems has released a solution for people like me who need as much living room space for Twister as possible. Monitor’s Shadow speakers are only one and a half inches thick each which means they can go just about anywhere you want.
For such a small speaker, however, the sound is surprisingly clean and crisp. And the best part is that they’ll look great mounted flush next to a TV on the wall.
Texas Instruments Wireless Charge Pad – There’s Easy, Then There’s This
Many of us quickly grew tired of paying for the AA batteries the Xbox controller devours or sitting three feet away from our PlayStation 3’s when our controller ran out of juice. The solutions have been various and mildly useful. From plugging the PS3 controller into another frequently used USB port (like, say, your Xbox) to buying pretty neat controller docks, gamers have limped by.
But now—or soon—we have a great and surprisingly suave solution. Texas Instruments has been working on their wireless charging technology for some time now, and had a display of their adapters for PS3 and 360 controllers at CES this year. Complete with a wood charging rest, they would look at home in the Playboy Mansion or a Dos Equis commercial. With a simple battery or attachment, all you have to do after a long gaming session is place the controller anywhere on the charge pad and forget about it. It’s just that easy.
Turtle Beach XP400 – Let Your Roommates Sleep
Whether you’re gaming into the wee hours of the night or just want to drown out…everything, you need this headset. Hooking wirelessly into your 360 or PS3, the XP400 uses a unique technology to select its own frequency between 2.4GHz and 5GHz. This may sound Greek, but to put it in perspective; on the insanely crowded show floor of CES—amidst thousands of wireless devices—I played a dead silent game of Modern Warfare with zero interruption or outside noise. Imagine that in the comfort of a relatively quiet living room.
The XP400 features a slew of features just as cool, making me wonder how they managed to cram it all in. The mike features playback so you can hear if you’re yelling like an idiot. It also adjusts mike volume when the game gets louder. Oh, and the mike is removable if you can’t part with them but don’t want to look like a weirdo on the train. They of course feature top of the line Dolby surround sound and a rechargeable battery with a ten-hour lifespan. Even the best speakers in the world can’t replicate the surround sound feeling of a good headset. And the XP400 is a fantastic headset.
iMainGo X -- If You Ever Want To Actually Leave Your House
Even if you put together the greatest living room ever, there's a slim chance you'll actually want to leave your house at some point. Should this happen, you ought to bring an iMainGo X with you. This device functions as both an iPhone case and a portable speaker system. It's wireless, featuring a rechargeable battery, and the sound quality from the tiny device is remarkable. It's not going to rock a huge party or anything, but for a trip to the beach or some intimate background music, the iMainGo X is a must-have.Plus, it features dual headphone inputs so you and your pal can listen to an iPhone simultaneously.