IFA gets bigger every year. It was once a quiet show full of European washing machines, but these days the Berlin-based electronics extravaganza has become Europe’s CES, where the world’s electronics companies come to reveal their global Christmas line-ups.
This year’s IFA had something for almost everyone. Do you like TVs? There were some really big ones from Samsung, LG and Sony. Fortunately, nobody’s talking about 3D any more – curved TVs seem to be the new thing. Prefer to get work done? IFA had laptops galore from Asus, Acer, Sony, Toshiba and others.
Are all of those gadgets too big? Strap a Galaxy Gear to your wrist, take notes on a Galaxy Note 3, or make calls on the new line of Alcatel One Touch smartphones.
From the show floor, we could definitely spot some trends. Microsoft and PC makers are committed to full Windows 8 touchscreen laptops, desktops and tablets, with some price points low enough to compete with the iPad and Android tablets; Windows RT is nowhere to be seen.
Chinese smartphone makers like Lenovo and Alcatel One Touch are trying hard to compete with the Korean leaders not just on price, but on luxurious high-end smartphones.
As for the best of the show – well, that’s what we’re rounding up here. These are our top 10 picks for the best gadgets from IFA 2013. Read on and find out what we were most impressed by…
Sony Xperia Z1
The new Xperia Z1 is a 20.7-megapixel, water-resistant, Android-powered smartphone with a range of new camera features. To read up more on the phone, see our hands-on article.
Sony lens-style cameras
Sony’s QX10 and QX100 are full-featured cameras that can work without pairing with a phone – but neither has a live-view LCD, so you’ll be taking pictures blind. To get the most out of these, you’ll want to connect them to your phone via Wi-Fi. NFC is also supported for pairing devices that have it, but iPhone users and others with non-NFC smartphones will still be able to connect via traditional Wi-Fi. They cost £179 and £379, and they’re set to ship in very shortly.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The new Samsung Galaxy Note 3 sports a 5.7in, 1,920 x 1,080 display, up from 5.5in, and gets a spec upgrade to a 2.3GHz quad-core processor. The camera also comes in at 13-megapixels, up from 8-megapixels in the Galaxy Note 2, and includes a 2-megapixel front-facing shooter. New multitasking and pen support features let you get even more done at once on the big screen. The Note 3 arrives at the end of the month.
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is a companion device for Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. At launch, it will work with the new Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, but support will expand as more devices are upgraded to Android 4.3. The Gear features a 1.63in Super AMOLED 320 x 320 display that’s surrounded by a metal frame. A rubbery band straps to your wrist, while a metal clasp holds things in place. There will be an array of colour options – from sporty orange to the more fashionable rose gold with oatmeal accents. We’ve got a hands-on with the Gear right here.
The Toshiba Encore uses the latest version of Intel’s Atom processor and comes with an 8in IPS screen for better viewing angles and brightness. It’s one of the cheapest Windows 8.1 tablets we’ve ever seen – it should be around £250 in the UK – rendering Windows RT irrelevant and competing with the iPad mini. It will be available in November.
Asus Gorilla Glass Zenbook UX301
The new Zenbook UX301 and UX302 touchscreen Windows 8 laptops include the signature Zenbook metallic “spun” metal, but also add a layer of scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3 for a heavy duty high-gloss finish. The Zenbooks will come in what Asus calls Moonstone White or Sapphire Blue. Pricing and availability were not released.
Samsung 98in TV
Samsung first showed off an 85in S9 ultra-high-definition TV at this year’s CES, and started taking pre-orders for the $40,000 (£25,000) set in March. Now it’s going even bigger with a massive 98in version – which is otherwise similar to the 85in model – although details about a possible release or pricing were scant.
LG Curved OLED TV
LG’s latest foray into the TV size wars came with a curved 77in OLED Ultra HD TV. This one’s only a concept product, and if it’s released it’ll certainly come out well over $20,000 (£13,000). The 77in panel is the largest OLED TV in the world, according to LG.
Sony Curved LED TV
Sony claims the KDL-65S990A is the world’s first curved LED HDTV, which according to Sony adds depth and immersion to the viewing experience. The KDL-65S990A features a four-channel speaker system with two arrays of four speakers on either side of the screen. All eight speakers are angled differently, with six presenting the forward audio channels and two presenting the surround audio channels. The KDL-65S990A will retail for $3,999 (£2,560) when it ships later this autumn, about a quarter of the price of Samsung and LG’s curved OLED screens.
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 2 Pro
Following last year’s Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, the Yoga 2 Pro is an evolution of the Yoga concept with a sharper QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 resolution screen, blowing away the previous model’s 1,600 x 900 resolution display. The new Yoga 2 Pro’s IPS screen features a 178-degree wide viewing angle and is rated at 350-nits of brightness. The Yoga 2 Pro is also smaller than the previous model, with a 15.5mm thick chassis, and chip options go up to a fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor. The Yoga 2 Pro will be available in October, and will start at just over the £1,000 mark.Leave a comment on this article