We reporters got the usual sneak peak at some of the gadgets on display at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, a couple days before the official start on Thursday.  Nothing struck us as terribly exciting or revolutionary, but there were a number of things that caught our eye. Just because they were cute, earth-friendly or designed to make life — or rather, downloads — a little easier. Here’s a selection of what we’ve seen so far:

Netbooks: OK, they’re not for making Photoshop collages or watching high-res movies (and the tiny keyboard can give you hand cramps after a while), but netbooks are light to carry and easy on the eye. We checked out the Asus netbooks, the smallest of which has a 7-inch screen. They have a new tablet PC model too, complete with a swivel screen and stylus. Lenovo also had netbooks on display.

Universal remote control: Not a big deal, but Logitech’s newest one is a sleek little gadget, with a 3.5-inch touch screen that fits easily in the palm of your hand. It’s an improvement on their previous universal remote, which had both a touch-based user interface and keys, the exhibitor told us. But it’s not cheap — she said it would retail for $499.95 from end-February onwards.

USB 3.0: The era of USB 3.0 is here, the folks from the USB Implementers Forum announced at CES. Data transfer speeds will get a lot faster once gadget makers begin making devices with the news standards. So, for example, you can download a 27 gigabyte high-definition movie in a little over a minute, or 8 gigabytes of photos from your camera in just 20 seconds. It will still all be compatible with USB 2.0 platforms, of course. Made me wonder for a minute about USB 1.0 compatibility… my work laptop still runs that standard.

Fuji’s green batteries: What’s green about these new AA and AAA batteries from Fuji apart from their color? They’re actually 94 percent recyclable. As the demo guy told us: “You could throw these into your backyard and it would be fine.” The batteries are made through a green manufacturing process and contain no mercury, but that doesn’t make them any pricier than your regular cells. ETA: around Earth Day.