The Gotta Be Mobile team presents our top picks from CES 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are hundreds of top-notch products and accessories here in Sin City, but there are only a handful that stand out among the pack. Those are the devices that have received one of our CES Excellence awards for 2015.
Over the course of a week, our editors combed through hundreds of products and services on the showroom floor before putting together a list of products the deserve recognition for their excellence. These are hand-picked products that we recommend without hesitation. The list includes products that not only have the potential to become best sellers but also deliver a ton of value to consumers.
While CES 2015 did produce a number of new smartphones and tablets, they weren’t the focus of this year’s event. Instead, we saw wearables, notebooks and the usual array of accessories and smart home gadgets dominate the landscape out here in the desert. It was an interesting mix of technology that saw companies continuing to push the boundaries of design. So it should come as no surprise that our Most Outstanding of CES award went to a product that we think delivers one of the best product designs we’ve seen in years.
CES 2015 was not without smartphones and tablets, and we saw two devices in particular catch our eye. These two devices deliver a ton of firepower, but they also come with designs that push the bar forward. We’ve also recognized other products that offer excellence in other product categories including gaming, sound, smart home, and more.
The team here at Gotta Be Mobile recognizes the recipients of these CES Excellence awards for 2015. Congratulations to the teams behind these products for delivering products that will significantly impact the lives of consumers around the world in 2015 and in the years to come.
Sling TV – Most Outstanding of CES 2015
Dish Sling TV is the most outstanding product at CES 2015. Sling TV is a $20 a month subscription service that lets you watch a number of primetime channels, including ESPN, on your Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android and more without a traditional cable subscription.
The device wins the award for the Gotta Be Mobile Most Outstanding product at CES 2015 because it allows consumers to cut the cord and gain access to premium stations without the cost. Dish’s new “over the top” internet TV service launches in January 2015 and does not require a standard Dish subscription to use.
For more on the Dish Sling TV, check out our coverage from the showroom floor.
The new Chamberlain Notifi makes setting up a home monitoring and home security solution extremely simple and includes WiFi lightbulb, smart doorbell and a camera that virtually anyone can install.
The Chamberlain Notifi wins a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award because it removes those pain points from the installation process and because it offers several different solutions to help consumers keep their home or apartment, safe, secure and smart. The Notifi will cost $199 when it arrives in Q3 2015 but it’s a camera, a doorbell and LED light all in one.
For more on the Chamberlain Notifi, take a look at our extended coverage of the device from our week on the show floor.
Dell Venue 8 7000 Tablet
Dell’s new Venue 8 7000 tablet is a serious competitor to Apple’s brand new iPad mini 3. The $399 Venue 8 7000 series represents the best tablet at CES 2015 and it’s a device that we highly recommend as an alternative to Apple’s 7.9-inch solution.
The Venue 8 7000 features everything you’d want from a media tablet. A gorgeous display, a speedy processor and a beautiful metal design that measures just 6mm thin. The company’s brand new tablet is currently on sale through Dell’s website and it wins a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award for being one of the most outstanding pieces of mobile technology at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
For more information about Dell’s iPad mini 3 competitor, be sure to check out our hands-on.
LG G Flex 2
We didn’t see a ton of new smartphones emerge out of the halls of CES 2015 but one in particular caught our eye. LG’s new G Flex 2 improves on the faults of the earlier model and delivers a solid all-around package that will interest the average consumer. It’s essentially a curved version of the LG G3, one of 2014’s best Android smartphones, and wins a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.
The LG G Flex is far and away the most interesting smartphone to come out of CES 2015 and it’s a device that consumers should have on their radar in the weeks ahead. LG still hasn’t announced a release date but it will hit top mobile carriers in the United States sometime in the next few months. For more on LG’s new curved smartphone, take a look at our early hands-on.
The Zagg Pocket is a small, foldable keyboard that you can connect to a number of mobile devices to up your typing game while on the go, winning a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.
Perhaps its best feature is how it folds. The keyboard doesn’t fold short-ways in the middle (thus usually breaking up the layout of the keys), but instead is folded long-ways like a hot dog bun into a nice portable form factor.
Simple Matters Ditto
There were tons of wearables at CES 2015 Las Vegas, but one in particular stood out to us at the show. SimpleMatters’ Ditto wearable is an extremely simple gadget but it has great purpose. The Ditto ensures that you never miss an important call or text, and it will even alert you if you’re about to leave your smartphone behind, say at a restaurant or concert venue.
This simple little notification device, which only needs to be charged once every couple of months, could ultimately save you a ton of money, and time, down the road, which is why it wins a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award. The Ditto is $40 and it’s available for pre-order now. It will begin shipping in the near future. For more on SimpleMatters’ impressive wearable, have a look at our hands-on.
Sleep Number Sleep IQ for Kids
The Sleep Number Sleep IQ bed for kids is a smart bed that will ensure that kids, and parents, get a good night’s sleep. Sleep Number’s new bed is loaded with technology that allows parents to track their kids sleep and make adjustments to suit their child’s needs. The Sleep Number Sleep IQ for Kids also includes app support to show kids there is no monster under the bed and even track heart rate and when kids get out of bed, earning a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.
Sleep IQ smart bed is expensive, it will cost around $1000, but it’s a sound investment for parents who want peace of mind with their child’s sleeping habits moving forward. When the Sleep IQ for Kids becomes available, it will come in twin, full and queen sizes.
Sony Bravia 4K Android TV Line
This past summer, Google once again took steps to ensure its dominance in the living room. Twice, with the Nexus Q and Google TV, the company tried to put its apps and services on user’s television sets. Both were an epic failure. Android TV is Google’s third time trying to seriously take over the living room and Sony has been wise enough to include it in all of its Bravia 2015 smart TVs.
Including Android TV on Bravia smart TVs is good for everyone involved. Users of Android smartphones will find their game purchases and save carry over to their television. There they can play them from exactly where they left off – provided the game is compatible with a Bluetooth controller. The included One Flick remote control makes browsing the Android TV interface easy with a touchpad and voice control. With great image quality, and access to the Google Play Store, the new Sony Bravia 4K TVs with Android TV win a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.
Sony plans to launch more than 30 different Bravia smart TVs running Android TV during 2015.
Mophie Juice Pack Air Plus
Mophie wowed us again this year at CES with an update to its Juice Pack line for iPhone, taking home a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The cases feature batteries of 2,750mAh and 3,300mAh, respectively.
The Juice Pack Air and Juice Pack Plus, as they’re called, also feature pass-through Lightning connector support, allowing users to plug-in and sync their iPhone 6 without needing to take off the battery case, which is an extremely important feature that lets users travel with only one cable and use the case on an iPhone in cars.
For more on the Mophie Juice Pack cases for iPhone, check out our full length coverage from the show.
Lenovo had another big presence this year at CES, and its new Stack accessory lineup has turned some heads, as a first-of-its-kind product to enter the market. The Lenovo Stack is an appealing device that wins a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.
Through an interlocking design using magnets, mobile accessories like bluetooth speakers, battery packs, USB charging hubs, extra storage, and an even a wireless access point can be stacked and organized into one complete single system, taking up less surface area on your desk and use less cables than what would otherwise be required.
The ThinkPad Stack will be available at some point in April, and each of the accessories will be sold separately, with prices starting at $49 and going as high as $199. Our hands-on with Lenovo’s new accessories will tell you more.
Dell XPS 13
The new Dell XPS 13 is everything a Windows user could possibly want in an ultrabook. Essentially, it’s a MacBook Air with 15 hours of battery life, an optional touchscreen and, some would argue, a better design.
The best thing about the new XPS 13 is the price point. Essentially, Windows lovers are getting a high-end, premium machine that runs all of their apps and can last an entire work session, for just $799 before any discounts. That’s an amazing price when compared to other notebooks in its class.
Pioneer Nex Second-Gen Auto
Pioneer’s new NEX in-dash receivers bring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to any driver that can replace their head unit. For $700, you can upgrade a traditional stereo to a touch screen stereo solution that ties into the solutions provided by Apple and Google — earning a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.
These second-gen receivers are optimized for touch, are SiriusXM ready and include Advanced Bluetooth for better sound. Four of the five units include HD Radio and all support FLAC playback. They are excellent investments for those that want to upgrade their vehicle with a connected car experience. For more on the Pioneer Nex, have a look at our hands-on.
Playstation Now Subscription
Sony’s PlayStation Now cloud gaming service is unlike anything the gaming world has ever seen. The company revealed it at CES 2014, promising users that they’d be able to play PS3 games on their PS4 seamlessly. PlayStation Now worked flawlessly, but suffered from a pricing issue. For most people, paying $6.99 for rental time of a few hours just wasn’t feasible.
This year Sony rectified that issue with PlayStation Now subscriptions. For as little as $15.99 a month users get access to 100 different games all available from Sony and its partners. They can play these games for as long as they keep paying for the service. By comparison, GameFly charges users $15.95 per month to rent a single game. Adding cloud gaming last year was impressive, making it affordable and a must-have that takes it to an entirely different level.
Razer Forge TV
The Razer Forge TV is a new Android TV micro-console that allows you to play Android games, as well as stream games from a gaming PC to your living room TV using the Forge thanks to Razer Stream: Cortex which earns a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award for the complete package of gaming and entertainment.
At just $99, it takes on a huge market of set-top boxes, but it aims to separate itself from the competition with super-fast performance and a tight focus on gaming in the living room. For more on Razer’s new Forge TV, have a look at our extended coverage.