15 best bits of tech to come out of CES 2014

Technology that grabs you by the eyeballs and doesn't let go

The modular design is a neat approach (although pluggable upgrades would obviously be more expensive). Motorola has been playing around with the same idea for smartphones, and we should see its intriguing Project Ara hardware later this year.

CES 2014
Digging in the guts of your PC is half the fun...

7. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

It may be small but this doesn't stop it being any less impressive. The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact was the standout phone at CES 2014 with its 20.7MP G Lens sensor, a Snapdragon 800 quad-core chipset and the same metallic surround and waterproofing found on the full-fat Z1. Deciding to announce the Z1 Compact now and not at MWC 2014 was a shrewd move by Sony, given the lack of phones shown off at CES. But, even if it was released in February's handset glut, it would still standout.

Article continues below

8. Flexible OLED

While LG's flexible OLED technology appeared in a TV at CES, it's not the TV that's important. Once manufacturers have cracked flexible display technology and reduced the cost of producing it in volume, there's the potential for wraparound displays, foldable displays, rollable displays and all of the futuristic devices that these screens will enable.

If bendable TVs are your thing, though, then the non-OLED Samsung 105-inch curved Ultra HD 4K is definitely one to look out for - it's so good, it made Michael Bay lost for words.

CES 2014
Perhaps one day these will be car windscreens

9. Sony Bravia X9

Gimmick? We don't need no stinking gimmick! That is what we imagined Sony told itself when it outed the Sony Bravia X9. While Samsung and LG (see above) were bending televisions like some sort of Uri Geller tribute act, Sony eschewed class and sophistication (as well as a whiff of cheese) with its wedge-shaped 4K television. 4K is the future of TV and what the wedge styling does is allow for a better sound system in the television.

10. LG Lifeband Touch

Wearables are surely the undisputed stars of this year's show, with wrist-friendly technology that ranges from from the Pebble Steel smartwatch (more on this below) to the Garmin Vivofit and the Sony Core. The LG Lifeband Touch is one of the more advanced examples of wearable tech at CES 2014, featuring a full-touch OLED display on the outside, a three-axis accelerometer and an altimeter on the inside. Use it to track your fitness (steps walked, stairs climbed, cream cakes scoffed...) and to receive phone/text message alerts via Bluetooth.

CES 2014
Wearable computing makes a play for the Next Big Thing

11. Pebble Steel

The Pebble smartwatch has been the darling of the wearable tech game for some time now but its plastic looks have put some people off buying it. Pebble knew this and the Pebble Steel was born: a smartwatch that looks, well, like a watch. The Steel is a Pebble for grown-ups, offering both leather and metal straps. It still has the same E-ink screen but the control system has improved, making it one of TechRadar's favorite gadgets at CES.

Pebble Steel

12. AMD Project Discovery

One of the most annoying aspects of any CES is seeing a gadget that you're wildly excited by, only to find out that you'll never have a chance to buy it (no matter how much you harangue the PR lady). In this case, the conceptual tech in question is AMD's Project Discovery Tablet - a smart, 11-inch slate nestled in a gaming controller cradle (much like the Razer Edge Pro), and powered by the company's new Mullins mobile processor.

CES 2014
This may never make it to market

13. Intel Edison

Intel might be a CES veteran, but its previous concepts have been hit (Ultrabooks) and miss (Ultra Mobile PCs). Yet, its new Edison product looks genuinely exciting - a full Pentium class PC the size of an SD card, built using the company's 22nm tri-gate transistor tech. No doubt inspired by the runaway success of Raspberry Pi, Edison will run Linux and Intel hopes that the technology will be incorporated into all sorts of devices, each one a step on the long road to the 'Internet of all things', where every gadget and appliance is smart and net-connected.

CES 2014
Literally the size of an SD card

14. PlayStation Now

We knew game streaming from Sony was coming - buying up Gaikai was a brilliant move by the gaming giant - but its announcement of PlayStation Now was still very impressive. The idea that you can stream PSOne, PS2 and PS3 games from any Sony infused smartphone, tablet of TV, without the need of a console, is great. But the whole announcement points to the future of gaming, beyond the PS4 and on to the PlayStation 5. If the streaming tech takes off, and we are in no doubt that it won't, expect Sony's next next-gen console to be one of the cheapest ever.

PlayStation Now

15. Toyota FCV

Toyota has a history of changing the car game. It brought hybrid cars to the mainstream with the Prius and now it is doing the same with the first mass-produced (but not the first) hydrogen powered car. How does it work? Well, a fuel-cell is used to blend stored hydrogen with oxygen from the atmosphere to generate electricity. When the magic happens, the only other product of the reaction is water, so the car only emits water and not lung-crippling carcinogenics. The first Toyota FCV's should be on the production line in 2015.

Toyota FCV

So what can we take away from this year's show?

  • 8K is the new 4K
  • Bendy is the new flat
  • Computing is coming to cars (as are laser beam headlights)
  • Screw the Xbox One and PS4 - we want a Tegra K1 gaming tablet
  • Choosing a Steam Machine won't be as straightforward as we thought
  • You'll soon be wearing a smart wristband
  • You'll soon be cursing the poor battery life of your smart wristband
  • In tablet terms, 'pro' simply means 'bigger'
  • Despite what he says, Michael Bay can't wing it in a press conference