Header image

   --Copyright 2017, ML1 Media Services. All Rights Reserved. Terms and Conditions    

2012 Copyright by ML1 Media
Read privacy statement



Return to ML1 Home

January 14, 2017

2017 CES  

It's Not Low Tech..

..it's GO TECH !


by John Miller

images by Lee Lichtenstein

The 2017 CES ('Electronics Show') featured thousands of exhibitors showing off the latest in high-tech wares: virtual reality, quad-copters, self-driving cars---all cutting edge. ML1 Media looked not just at high-tech, but came away with some decidedly 'low' tech gear...or as we prefer, GO-TECH, for its value in portability and mobility.

In spite of the trends towards bigger--TV's, mobile phones, capacity of solid state storage-drives, even selfie-sticks, ML1 Media places a high value on small items that provide high versatility and usability. We're especially interested in gear that travels well ---spending a lot of time in cramped airplanes with the ever-shrinking carry-on bag allowances gives us an exceptional interest in all things portable. At CES 2017, we examined numerous portable/travel tech items -- the sort of gear we refer to as GO-tech.

This year we evaluated over a dozen different mobile keyboards and narrowed the choices down to two: a fantastically portable roll-up style and a 3-piece folding style (pictured at right). The roll-up earned excellent remarks for its keyboard feel and layout, and positively excelled at portability--its the size of a bratwurst when rolled up, but failed on a usability factor--no mouse/cursor control. The tri-fold keyboard is a clear winner for us. It's small, but functional, with good key feel, exceptional size when folded, and has a versatile touchpad for cursor control on Android, Windows, and Linux systems. Apple IOS does not support cursor control, but this keyboard does offer Apple specific keys for i- devices. In the week following CES, we've tested this keyboard on two Android tablets, a Windows 10 tablet, a Windows 10 laptop, and a Raspberry Pi3 system running Linux. The bluetooth connection was immediate on all systems and the key and cursor control accurate. The downside: absolutely none -- we ordered another 4 of them for staff use. They are available from numerous sources, and can be found online for as little as $25 each.   

Another GO-tech item we tested from CES: An inexpensive touchscreen stylus that doubles as a USB connector (pictures 1 & 2 at right) -- USB-C to USB-A -- the type of connection you might use to connect a tablet or smartphone to a PC or laptop (for data transfer or charging). We found this compelling for many reasons: It's a decent non-marring stylus, it has the USB connectors hidden 'inside' of it, it has a retainer clip that neatly plugs into the audio/earphone jack of most tablets, and (best of all) a retail price of approximately one dollar. Our Managing Editor gracious approved the purchase of 10!

Another GO-tech item we tested is the Gekkopod by zbam (pictured below). It's described as a flexible mount for phones and cameras. In truth, it's much more. It flexibility allows it to be used in all sorts of situations --a camera tripod, a clamp to unusual shaped surface---we clamped it to a car mirror, a tree branch, a stair rail, a ceiling fan--and it never broke loose. It even functions as a tablet stand when properly 'bent'. This will become a go-to travel item for us ---an all-in-one that can be used before, during, and after a  work assignment. The Gekkopod retails online for about $15 and comes in lots of cool colors.

One more item that isn't exactly low-tech, but we're are definitely finding to be GO-TECH is our new NuVison Windows 10 tablet (pictured below). This 8" tablet is running Windows 10, 64bit PRO and (so far), seems to offer about 90% of the functionality of our Windows 10 laptops, while weighing mere ounces instead of pounds.We liked it enough at CES to buy one outright for testing. It retails for under $100 at the Microsoft store. Combined with the folding keyboard (above) it's getting a lot of 'testing' this month.

Our last item of note from CES --- file this under GO...TECH, but its not portable. It may be an idea (and real product) that's ahead of its time. The SMART-toilet (pictured below-center) will not be a GO-to (too?) item for us--No one on the ML1 staff has yet had the courage to investigate it's (alleged) SMARTs.

WWW.ML1Media.com - Copyright 2017



Click on image for larger view