IFA 2016 has wrapped up in Berlin, but we’re still reeling from some of the stuff we’ve seen. From new phones to hybrid laptop-tablets and everything in between, here’s our list of the top tech we laid eyes on at Germany’s biggest tech convention.
1. Sony Xperia XZ
Lo and behold, Sony unveiled its actual flagship X-series device at IFA 2016, the Xperia XZ. Compared to the Sony Xperia X, the XZ has a refined design, and puts a serious focus on photography.
Here’s a snippet from our hands-on review:
“The 23MP sensor also comes with new white balance technology to help enhance the color of your photographs and improve fine detail (a common problem with Sony’s sensors). In a smartphone first the XZ also uses 5-axis stabilization tech to ensure your video doesn’t come out blurry.“
Sony’s latest waterproof smartphone will be upgraded to Android Nougat soon enough, and overall seems like a culmination of the best found in both the X and Z series.
2. Asus ZenWatch 3
Asus surprised us with its round ZenWatch 3 at IFA 2016, and that was before we knew that it contains the new, battery-saving Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset.
What the new innards, along with the soon-to-arrive Android Wear 2.0 will do to invigorate the smartwatch industry remains to be seen. But that uncertainty doesn’t negate the gorgeous styling of the ZenWatch 3.
If anything, the new model elevates Asus’ Android Wear smartwatch to the status of other popular circular models, like the Huawei Watch and the Moto 360. This is one to keep an eye out for.
3. TomTom Touch
The TomTom Touch may not look like much more than your basic fitness tracker. And to an extent, that’s exactly what it is. But there’s one big feature that sets it apart from the rest: body fat calculations.
One simple press to the touch-sensitive button can send a harmless current through your body to determine the balance between muscle mass and fat. There’s doubt that it’s the most accurate reading you’ll find, but it’s the first time it has been implemented on the wrist.
TomTom has a reputation for dashboard GPS systems, but its knack for unique wearables has earned it a spot on the best gadgets that we saw at IFA 2016.
4. BeoSound 1
You can always count on Band & Olufsen’s speakers to look a bit like alien monoliths, but in a good way. Thankfully, the Scandinavian audio company has a knack for making products that sound as amazing as they appear.
Our hands-on digs into the design a bit more:
“The reason for the cylindrical design is the 360 degrees of sound it offers, which means that wherever you sit around the speaker you should still be able to enjoy your music in all its glory.”
The B&O BeoSound 1 is a standalone wireless speaker that’s compatible with Google Cast, Bluetooth, AirPlay and DLNA protocols. It won’t be cheap, but who cares? Just look at it.
5. Samsung Gear S3 Frontier
The oft-teased Samsung Gear S3 finally made its debut at IFA 2016, and it came in two models: the Samsung Gear S3 Classic and the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.
To be perfectly honest, not a whole lot has changed since its excellent Samsung Gear S2. The bezel still rotates, Samsung’s Tizen OS looks to operate in a similar way.
But the Gear S3 is larger, the battery life will last even longer – even with its Always-On Display (AOD) that can, by way of pure magic, display up to 16 million colors without completely chugging the battery.
We’ll have to see how Apple answers with its next Apple Watch, and how the Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches mature, but this looks to be fantastic option for your wrist.
6. Acer Predator 21 X
This monster laptop almost needs no introduction. Acer’s Predator 21 X is a 21-inch laptop, complete with a curved (!) screen and dual Nvidia GeForce 1080 desktop graphics cards inside….just let that sink in.
Of course, desktop-spanking performance in a laptop form-factor won’t come cheap. It never does. And while we still don’t know the actual price tag for this twisted machine, expect it to cost a small fortune.
The Acer Predator 21 X makes a statement that, once and for all, “can it run Crysis?” is no longer a valid question for a gaming laptop.
7. Withings Steel HR
Add this onto the list of things you didn’t know you needed until now. The Withings Steel HR, like Withings’ other watches, is analog. But there are some smarts hiding behind the clock hands.
Specifically, the new circular digital screen, which can display smartphone notifications and other info, like the weather and your heart beat. Yep, this unassuming watch is the first of its kind to include a heart rate sensor.
The Withings Steel HR might pale in comparison to the smarts found in an Android Wear smartwatch or the Apple Watch, but this is the best-looking and smartest analog watch out there.
8. Philips OLED 901F
Philips’ first-ever OLED TV is gorgeous. But that’s pretty much a given. What sets it apart (and what helped it gain a spot on this list) is its unique Ambilight technology, which splashes light behind the television to match the mood of what’s happening on the screen.
If the camera plunges into the blue depth of the ocean, your wall will then match the hue and you will become immersed. You WILL become immersed. Added onto that, it’s an Android TV, which is to say that it has Smart TV features out the wazoo.
Needless to say, we look forward to taking a deeper look into this one.
9. Asus ZenBook 3
Apple’s revised MacBook made a surprise debut at IFA 2016…wait, that’s an Asus laptop. The Asus ZenBook 3, which – c’mon – looks exactly like a MacBook, raised some eyebrows this week.
I could try, but our hands-on will still sum it up better:
“Weighing in at a scant 2 pounds and 11.9mm (0.46-inches) thick, it’s both thinner and lighter than 0.51-inches (13.1mm) and 2.03 pounds (0.92kg) Apple MacBook. And while Apple had to sacrifice key travel and performance components to make its laptop as thin as possible, Asus says nay to all of that and goes with the full might of Intel Core i7 processors and a lower price to boot.”
If you have your eyes set on an Ultrabook, stay tuned for our full review of the Asus ZenBook 3 later in the year.
10. Lenovo YogaBook
Ah – last but certainly not the least by any metric, we have Lenovo’s Yoga Book. It’s part laptop, part tablet, part drawing tablet. It’s so many different things that we’re honestly surprised that Lenovo nailed it so completely.
If you’ve used Lenovo’s Yoga laptops, you’ll recognize the watch hinges and smooth matte finish on its exterior. But once you pop it open, that’s when you’ll be impressed.
Here’s an excerpt of our hands-on:
“A computing device that can operate as a laptop, a full blown tablet and a digital art tool without so much as a button press between them. It sounds like one of those too-good-to-be-true scenarios, doesn’t it?”
We’ll have to wait to find out, but we’re so excited to give the Yoga Book the full review treatment.
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