Somehow in my nearly 29 years on this planet, I have avoided the magical land of Las Vegas, Nevada. Perhaps it's the fact that I'm from the northern land of Canada, and Vegas has never been marketted much to me (even though I have lived in the land of oil and gas moguls for ages). Either that, or Chevy Chase convinced me it's a bad idea...
Well, this month I finally have a reason to go: CES 2017 is this week!
CES 2017 runs officially from January 5th to 8th, but I will be on-scene from January 4th to 8th to provide the latest Lenovo hardware as its revealed. However, leading up to the big event requires lots of planning and scheduling! Honestly, I found myself watching CES 2016 videos to determine the dress code... (Looks to be business casual)
I wish I could say I have been planning a route around Lenovo's convention hall (amongst the many other venues), but I found myself moreso watching Vegas Vacation to figure out how to not win at Blackjack. The simple reason: I have quite literally no idea what will be revealed. It's the ultimate surprise party!
What's in the bag?
The biggest issue with these "adventures", whether it be for business or casual, is determining what gear to bring, and what to leave behind. Now, coming from a guy who prides himself in consuming a minimum 600kWh of power per month in my 1000 sq*ft condo, I love to carry far more gear than reasonable for the situation.
As much as I'd love to bring the Lenovo Y700 17 inch laptop along, I couldn't fathom hauling it around the exhibition halls for 8 hours a day (I have a thing about leaving anything valuable in hotel rooms). I would also love to bring the X1 Yoga I bought my lovely girlfriend for Christmas, but I think I'd be cancelling my return ticket if I did.
So, the question remains: What would be the ideal system to bring to CES? I am split between bringing the Yoga 3 Pro, or the new Miix 510. Both systems are extremely portable. The Miix 510 would be perfect for the convention hall, however, the Yoga 3 Pro offers the 3200x1800 display for editing photos. Honestly, I may just find myself carrying both units, since they take up the same amount of space in my bag as a bound notebook. However, I do want to keep space for goodies.
I am a little old-fashioned when it comes to photography, and that's a hard statement to say these days. With the advancement of the micro CCDs in cell phones, it is becoming harder and harder to justify bringing my DSLR. However, I find that cell phones still can't handle the depth-of-field effects you can achieve with traditional lenses. Also, I've found with years of advancement, the pixel density of DSLRs has been relatively stagnant.
I could easily ramble for hours about how my old camera does the job, but it's just that: it does the job, and does it well. If it's not shot with my phone, the photos will be courtesy of my old T2i. Creeping up on 7 years old, this old brick still produces amazing photos (with a little help from RAW post-processing) such as this:
I will admit, however, that the mobile world is catching up quickly. Will Lenovo announce a new mobile device? Will it defeat my DSLR? I'm genuinly curious, as my mobile phone is truly getting a bit older...
I wish I could say I was bringing a plethora of video equipment, but truth be told, I have practically none. In fact, most of my arsenal these days is in the audio realm. Almost all of my microphones are condenser microphones, and my sole dynamic microphone (the ART D7) would be heavier than the camera itself.
Whereas I criticized mobile devices for falling short over traditional photography devices, the mobile video space is quickly improving. Nowadays, any phone can shoot in 1080p30, including my very old (by mobile phone standards) OnePlus One. This poor trooper has been to hell and back, given all the different Android ROMs the device has been through. But it still runs Periscope which should be sufficient to get the latest from CES (You can follow me on Twitter @XBrav to see CES live, as long as I can find WiFi!).
Packaging the Deal
As I mentioned above, carrying all my gear needs to be balanced between having everything, and saving room for CES goodies. Since borrowing a rascal scooter and attaching several shopping carts is clearly not a socially-responsible action, I'm going to have to tote all my goods on my back.
Recently, I decided to jump from my traditional fabric-only backpacks and buy a backpack that also had a hardshell clam exterior. The reason for the change was my sudden increase in air travel made me fear snapping my PCs in half during a flight. Surprisingly, the selection for hardshell laptop bags seems limited, at least where I live. I decided to give the Lenovo Y Gaming Armored Backpack a try, and it has become my choice bag for carrying my laptops. I'll admit, I haven't tried to carry the DSLR in there yet, but we'll see how it goes!
The CES Shakes
Honestly, even though I've been to several trade shows in my life, I've truly never been to an event of this calibre. There are so many interesting and important people outside of the cool gear. It's truly a networking dream. Still, with an opportunity to visit one of the largest tech events of the year, I can only compare it to the excitement and anxiety of Christmas day. You have no idea what's under the hypothetical tree, but you know it's great. And on the other side, the companies know what the presents are, and the anxiety gets bigger and bigger as to whether the people will enjoy the gifts.
Because that's what it is: a surprise. Each company has no idea what the next is announcing, and the hype is real. Who will win the race of the next tech evolution? We'll know in about 5 days.
The One Question
Although I will be live on the floors of CES, until the moment of reveal, I will be asking the same questions as all of you: What's In Store for 2017? For now, all we are left with is the excitement of guessing. Being a gamer (though much more casual than I used to be), I'm hoping to see more gaming devices with nVidia's GTX 10 series GPUs. And as much as I love the 17" display on my Y700, I would love to see a higher resolution display than the FHD 1920x1080 display.
I'd also love to see some new USB-C accessories. Lenovo truly thought ahead on adding a USB-C connector to the Miix 510, and it almost felt a bit premature given the lack of accessories for such a high-speed bus. Well, I truly believe 2017 will be the year adoption of USB Type-C hits the gas.
So what do you think is in-store for CES? Throw a comment below! We'll see you in Vegas! And for Lenovo, one final comment: