The 5 things we’d actually buy at CES 2016


It is the world’s largest consumer electronics show. And narrowing down a list of the best items on display is virtually impossible. Out of the thousands of products we saw, these are the 5 that we’d actually buy.

5. Keurig Kold ($369, plus about $1 per pod)

We are all about products that make our lives easier and more convenient. And items like this also make the mundane more interesting.

The Keurig Kold is the latest in the lines of instant dispense beverage systems from Keurig Green Mountain. Grab a pod, tear off the seal, pop it into the machine and press a button. Every drink poured by this machine — from soda to tea to cocktails — is chilled and dispensed in about 30 seconds. The best part about the soda? It requires no separate carbonation tank; the bubbles are built in to each pod. How they got the carbonated water to dispense first– and the syrup to come down second to naturally mix– is a modern marvel.

4. Fisher-Price Code-A-Pillar ($50)
This creation from one of the giants in children’s toys is designed to teach children how to code. Each segment of the “Code-A-Pillar” is a separate instruction. When they are sequenced together– say “move straight, turn left, turn right, play music”– the child is taught the impact of stringing together instructions.

And, quite simply, the Code-A-Pillar works. The blocks are big enough to let children easily get a grip on them (and to avoid them disappearing under the sofa). The product is sold with 8 segments, making the $50 price tag seem like a great deal to us.

3. TCL X1 curved UHD TV (cost TBD)

We like this product not only for its performance, but also because of the fascinating trend it represents.

This 65-inch television features a 4K UHD screen designed by Dolby Vision. The spec sheet packs all of the buzz words– from “quantum dot” to “high dynamic range” to “local dimming zones.” Translation: the picture is incredible. What really sets this one apart, though, is the audio. TCL packed in speakers designed by Harmon Kardon, one of the global leaders in acoustics. At the presentation to media, the television projected clear and rich music through the entire conference hall.

The fact that this television is coming from TCL— a Chinese brand perhaps best known for its bargain prices– makes the offering even more fascinating.

2. ALLie Go ($599)

The amount of technology creator IC Real Tech is able to pack into this baseball-size device is stunning. It features two specially designed camera lenses which together capture full 360-degree video. But it doesn’t stop there. It has the capability to live stream via Wi-Fi and its companion app enables the user to watch the feed remotely from anywhere.

ALLie’s first offering was called “Home.” It is designed as a home monitoring solution to, say, check in on the dog during the day. What’s different about “Go” is that it is portable. It is battery powered and can be mounted to just about anything– from a boat to a bike helmet (as was displayed in Las Vegas).

There are also companion devices such as headsets. But, the smartphone app was our favorite. It even lets users post the videos and images to social media like Facebook.

1. Somabar ($429)

The makers call Somabar “the world’s smartest bartender.” And we agree. It debuted last year at CES and a successful Kickstarter campaign ensued. Now, the company is just about ready to begin shipping units.

The Somabar is the perfect mix of practical, cool and futuristic. There are six water bottle-sized tubes that each contain a liquid you would use in a drink, plus a small tank built in to the top for bitters. The user fills these bottles with any brand of alcohol or juice. From the companion smartphone app, the user simply selects a recipe (there are 300 pre-loaded) and the machine mixes the drink and dispenses. This happens in seconds. In between drinks, the machine flushes out its system with water.

Out of everything at CES, it is best we’ve found in terms of price, ease of use, innovation and practicality.