Today in Gear, CES 2015 Edition: January 5, 2015

This week on Today in Gear, we’re bringing you daily, on-the-ground coverage from the Consumer Electronics Show.

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This week on Today in Gear, we’re bringing you daily, on-the-ground coverage from the Consumer Electronics Show. Expect a focused synopsis of only the most interesting highlights from the world’s biggest technology event.

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LaCie Mirror
Make no mistake: the tech industry wants you to know that the economic downturn is over. Need proof? Have a look… at yourself. LaCie has chosen Sin City to launch an external hard drive that’s both beautiful and completely full of itself. The Mirror is completely encased in scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass that’s as reflective as it is capacious, with $280 netting you the 1TB unit later this month. Notably, you’ll need a USB 3.0 port to take advantage of high-speed transfers, and the asking price includes an ebony wood display stand (naturally). $280
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Withings Activité Pop
It’s quite clear that CES 2015 will be the first that’s dominated by wearables, and we’re off to a roaring start. The Withings is perhaps best known in small circles for its Internet-connected scale, but with a design this good, the Activité Pop is going to garner serious interest. It’s among the sleekest, classiest activity trackers launched to date, tracking both activity and sleep quality (while also telling time). At $150, it’s priced well below what one might expect from its looks, but don’t rush to judge; we’ve still got four more days for every other company in the world to announce a wearable of their own. $150
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Seagate Seven
The Seagate Seven is the world’s slimmest hard drive, and its most attractive with a smooth steel casing. The shiny, ultralight 500GB drive will ship later this month for $100. It’s barely thick enough to make use of the conventional USB 3.0 connector, which begs the question of what’ll happen when things get even skinnier next year. $100
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Roku’s 4K TV Prototype
CES is a proving ground for products that aren’t quite ready for primetime, and Roku’s 4K reference set is this year’s first. Shipping their own televisions is a major leap for a company best known for its puck-sized TV streaming boxes: It’ll be going head to head with the likes of Vizio in a market where Sony has spun off its TV department due to impossible margin pressure. Details are scarce as to when Roku-branded sets will actually hit shelves — but Netflix, promisingly, has already been given the nod as a 4K content provider. theverge.com
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Acer Chromebook 15
A few years ago, pundits wondered if the world would really embrace yet another operating system, particularly one that’s effectively a supercharged Chrome browser. Turns out those Chrome OS machines are faring quite well — so well that Acer has just issued the first Chromebook with a 15.6-inch panel. To date, most Chromebooks have been awfully petite, but this one’s equipped with a 1080p display, the latest Intel Core processor, and a starting tag of just $250. $250+
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Belkin’s Expanded WeMo Line
Home automation, having been reserved for big spenders with plenty of time to oversee complicated installations, is finally finding its way into the mainstream. Belkin’s WeMo line is expanding this year at CES with the debut of motion, alarm, keychain and door/window sensors. The upside here is that they’ll all work with your existing wi-fi network: you’ll just need a Wink Hub, which acts as a translator between wi-fi and ZigBee (the sensing protocol that these things speak natively). Pricing is TBD, but most of these should cost well under $50 apiece, and you’ll be able to use as few or as many as needed to outfit your domicile. cnet.com
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Kinect-Like 3D Laptop Cameras
It was just a matter of time, really. We’ve already seen laptops with fingerprint sensors on the palm rest, and now, 3D cameras have become small enough to live inside of a laptop bezel. Acer’s V 17 Nitro laptops are equipped with RealSense 3D cameras, which will be used to interact with games, open web pages or navigate applications without ever touching a conventional trackpad or keyboard. While there’s no mention of a security element, a software update that enables facial or ocular unlocking seems like a no-brainer. acer.com
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Review: Muse Brain Sensing Headband
The Muse is a “mindfulness” tool recommended for use in a quiet place, removed from distraction for optimal results and noticeable calmness. I, being on my way home for Thanksgiving, decided the best way to test it was to wear it around my relatives and on a Black Friday trip to the mall. Read this story

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