CE Week 2016: Portable Entertainment


CE Week kicked off in Manhattan this week, and B&H was on hand to test some of the latest and greatest products in portable entertainment. Brands big and small were there to showcase the products we’re likely to see in the hands and homes of consumers sometime in the near future. Here are some of the products that really caught our eye.

Lenovo Phab 2

Lenovo brought along its highly anticipated Phab 2 Pro, the world’s first smartphone to include Tango. For those unaware, Tango is a new technology from Google that enables augmented reality (AR) gaming and utilities on your smartphone. It uses a combination of software and sensors to map your surroundings to facilitate AR experiences. These experiences are far-ranging and include everything from redecorating your apartment to playing with a virtual pet that can sense and respond to your proximity and even chase virtual toys. In the demo we tested, I was able to superimpose furniture and new flooring onto the ground beneath me—an incredibly useful (and cool) application that should make decorating your home a much simpler and much more fun experience.

Mind-bending AR experiences aside, the Phab 2 Pro also packs some serious specs into its mammoth size. Its QHD display measures a whopping 6.4 inches. To put that into context, that’s more than half an inch larger than the Nexus 6P and the Galaxy Note 5. It’s running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor that’s been optimized for Tango, so first-generation AR apps should run seamlessly (our demo certainly did). Other notable specs include a 16MP-rear 8MP-front camera setup, 4GB of RAM with 64GB of memory, and built-in Dolby Atmos surround sound capturing. Lenovo says the Phab 2 Pro should hit U.S. shelves this summer, in a variety of colors.

JAM Wi-Fi speakers

JAM has long held a reputation for delivering innovative, high-quality sound products, and at CE Week they showed that trend would definitely continue. Proving that point, JAM brought along several of its most popular products for attendees to listen to and try. We were impressed with the entire catalogue, but what really caught our eye were the company’s two upcoming speakers: the Rhythm and the Symphony. Both speakers use built-in Wi-Fi to stream music over your network, including from apps like Spotify and Tidal. The main difference between the two speakers is intended room size. The Rhythm is meant for mid-sized spaces, while the Symphony can accommodate larger areas. We tried out both and can say with certainty that both deliver superb sound quality. The Symphony, in particular, delivered deep, booming bass that rocked the JAM booth and would be perfect for a loud party or gathering. Another innovative feature was the built-in intercom system. Using the companion app, you can speak into your phone and your voice will play through either speaker, effectively giving you your own PA system. JAM says both speakers should be available later this year.

Moshi mobile accessories

Adding some serious fashion flair to its already well-established line of products, Moshi brought along some of the most stylish accessories CE Week had to offer. Right away, the new Avanti headphones caught my eye. A clean, minimalist design made from stainless steel and featuring soft leatherette ear cups, the Avanti appears elegant and refined. Oh, and it sounds great, as well. I tried the Avanti with two distinctly different styles of song and was impressed with the range on both. The sound was more full-bodied than I’d expected, considering its sleek design, and the bass, in particular, was nice and punchy. Currently, the Avanti is available only in a wired format, but according to Moshi, a Bluetooth version is on its way.

Equally handsome was the IonBank 3K. A compact vegan leather case in a stylish burgundy color, I wanted one even before I knew what it was. A quick investigation revealed that it was a portable battery pack with a built-in Lighting cable to charge and sync your iOS device. As the name suggests, the IonBank packs more than 3000mAh of juice (3200mAh to be exact), which is enough to give your iPhone 6s 120% more battery life. As mentioned, it comes in a compact case that’s easy to carry in your pocket, but aesthetically pleasing enough that you may just keep it out for everyone to see.   

SanDisk expands its catalogue

Adding to its popular iXpand line, SanDisk brought two new items along: the iXpand Memory Case and companion Battery Pack. Both the case and battery are specifically designed for the iPhone 6 and 6s. The case is essentially a protective bumper that wraps around your iPhone and connects to it via the Lightning port. It comes in four color variations, with the option of four different storage capacities, allowing you to more than double the memory of your phone. With the free companion app you can transfer content from your phone to the case and then manage it at your discretion. The add-on battery pack attaches to the back of your case and, according to SanDisk, will double the battery life of your iPhone.

iHome invasion

iHome was also present and, as ever, brought along a spate of cool new gadgets, including a brand new line of Bluetooth wireless audio products. Some of our favorites included the iBN43 FM Clock Radio, which, thanks to its Reson8 speaker chambers, looks as good as it sounds. The iBN43 gives you plenty of connectivity options, too, including an FM tuner, 3.5mm AUX line-in, and a USB charging port. The iDL44 FM Clock Radio offered similar functionality with the added bonus of a Lightning port and dock for charging your iPad or iPhone. For when you need a just few more minutes of sleep, the iM14 is a jumbo-sized snooze bar that’s easy to press. All three alarms come with the Sure Alarm battery backup that ensures you’ll wake up even if the clock loses power.

iHome also brought along plenty of Bluetooth speakers for almost every situation, including one that you can wear on your hat or clip to a visor. From the ruggedized and waterproof iBT35 to the illuminating iBT68 to the 2-in-1 iBT11, the folks at iHome seemed to have created a speaker for every occasion.