IFA 2017: The best phones, gadgets and appliances from this year’s Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin
At almost a hundred years old, IFA is not only Europe’s oldest tech trade show, but it’s grown to become the biggest. Welcoming half a million visitors at the end of every summer, IFA, (the official name is Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin), is now one of the world’s largest consumer electronics exhibitions.
IFA 2017 kicked off on 30 August for press and is running from 1-6 September for the public. This year’s event is expected to be no different than previous shows and it’s very likely we’ll see some of the tech industry’s biggest names including Samsung, Sony and Microsoft, showing off their hottest consumer gadgets.
Up until recently, Samsung used IFA as a platform to reveal its latest Note devices. However, over the past few years, the South Korean tech giant has announced its latest phablet (in this case the Galaxy Note 8) at a pre-event.
READ NEXT: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review
Nevertheless, the Korean firm most definitely has a substantial presence at IFA 2017, and has announced fresh smartwatches, as well as its usual fare of connected home appliances.
WW8800M washing machine with QuickDrive technology
Ahead of its press release, Samsung announced a washing machine technology called QuickDrive that has been built into its new WW8800M washing machine. According to Samsung, QuickDrive halves the time it takes to wash clothes, with its Super Speed setting completing a daily load of laundry in 39 minutes. It is also said to cut energy use by 20%.
QuickDrive in the WW8800M works by using a large, main drum and a plate in the back that rotates separately. Standard washing machines move clothes repeatedly up and down over the course of a cycle. By comparison, the WW8800M moves clothes from top to bottom in the drum, and the plate in the back of the drum adds a back and forth movement. This speeds up the removal of dirt for what Samsung calls “an intense and complete wash cycle”.
Samsung Gear watches and wearables
At IFA 2017, Samsung unveiled three new wearables: the Gear Sport, Gear Fit2 Pro and the Gear IconX.
The Gear Sport, as the name suggests, is a smart sports watch which Samsung says is for people “who see no boundary between their life and their wellness”.
READ NEXT: Gear Sport review
It comes with built-in GPS, run-pacing features and helps you track what you’re eating. The Gear Sport can additionally control Samsung IoT devices, act as a remote control for a PowerPoint presentation or Samsung Gear VR, and pay for goods via Samsung Pay (NFC only).
READ NEXT: What is the Internet of Things?
The Gear Fit2 Pro is an advanced GPS fitness band with a 1.5in Super AMOLED display and tracks activity on and land and in water. For its new swimming features, Samsung partnered with Speedo for the Speedo On app. This tracks the number of strokes or lap times, to which stroke the user is doing. Both devices also come with Under Armour’s fitness apps including Under Armour Record, MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun andGear IconX (2018) cord-free earbuds complete the line-up of wearable devices launched by Samsung at IFA 2017.
READ NEXT: Gear Fit2 Pro hands-on review
Elsewhere, the Gear IconX (2018) are cord-free earbuds. They look almost identical to the previous model and come in black, grey and pink.
They additionally come with Bixby support, Samsung’s smart AI assistant, so you can use your voice to control your music – as long as you have a Bixby-enabled phone such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8. The Gear IconX comes with 4GB of storage per earbud, but can only be used with Android phones.
Samsung POWERstick PRO
This cordless vacuum cleaner is said to have 150 watts of suction power and 40-minutes of battery time, which Samsung claims is twice as long as traditional batteries. This battery should also last for five years before needing to be replaced. Other features include the Flex Handle that folds up to 50 degrees.
READ NEXT: Hands on with the Samsung POWERstick PRO
IFA 2017: Lenovo
At IFA 2017 Lenovo went above and beyond to show it’s trying to innovate in a space that’s starting to grow stagnant.
Tablets and laptops
It announced the Yoga 920, an 8th Gen Intel Core-powered ultra-thin notebook, alongside the more affordable Yoga 720 for those who don’t have £1,400 to spare. It also provided a yearly update to its MIIX 2-in-1 tablet with the MIIX 540.
Smart speaker and headsets
Where Lenovo really pulled out the stops was with the announcement of its Home Assistant for the Tab 4. This Alexa-powered smart speaker attachment turns the Tab 4 into a fully fledged Amazon Echo Show for a fraction of the price. We also saw the announcement of Lenovo Explorer, a Windows Mixed Reality headset, and a partnership with Disney to bring AR experiences to mobile via the Lenovo Mirage headset.
IFA 2017: Dell
The most exciting product announced by Dell was its Dell Visor. A cross between the HoloLens and Oculus Rift but at a vastly reduced price.
The £350 Dell Visor has inside-out tracking cameras, like the £3,000 HoloLens and ASUS’s new Windows Mixed Reality Headset. This means the headset can scan the room you’re in and drop it in a virtual world, meaning it can overlay useful information or objects into the room to interact with.
READ NEXT: Dell Visor hands-on review
IFA 2017: Panasonic
Panasonic was one of the first brands out of the blocks at IFA 2017. The company covers a wide range of products and home appliances so its announcements were equally varied. Here is a selection of what it unveiled:
GA10 Google Assist Speaker
The GA10 is a smart speaker with Google’s voice assistant built in, putting it in (sort of) in competition with Google’s own Home device, albeit with far fewer features. The GA10 will go on sale in early 2018, although the exact release date is not known.
READ NEXT: GA10 hands-on review
Panasonic unveiled the biggest update to its TV range ever IFA 2017, including the EZ1002. At 77in, it is the largest 4K Ultra HD OLED TV on the market and is expected go on sale in Autumn. No pricing information has been announced but you can read Expert Reviews‘ first impressions here.
READ NEXT: 4K TV technology explained
IFA 2017: Acer
Having launched the Predator 21X gaming laptop at last year’s IFA, we were expecting big news from the gaming-focused hardware arm of Acer this year. Here is what it announced.
Acer Holo360 and Vision 360
The Acer Holo360 is a LTE-connected, 360-degree camera used to capture everyday activities and sports. It runs Android 7.1 and photos and videos can be uploaded straight to social networks.
Meanwhile, the Vision360 is an in-car camera that captures driving, is LTE-enabled and connects to the cloud.
The Acer Holo360 connected camera will be available in North America in November for $429, which includes a water-resistant case. It will roll out more widely later in the year, with prices starting at €349. Exact specifications, prices, and availability will vary by region.
New Predator gaming range
The Acer Predator Orion 9000 series gaming desktops support over 8K UHD and run on Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition processors with 18 cores and 36 threads. It runs on Windows 10 and is said to be the most powerful Acer Predator to date. The Predator G9 Series gaming desktops will be available in EMEA from November with prices starting at €1,999.
The Acer Predator X35 curved monitor has a NVIDIA G-SYNCTM offering a 200Hz refresh rate. It goes on sale early next year.
The Predator Galea gaming headset uses Acer Soundscape technology to make gaming more immersive, while the Predator Cestus gaming mice have what Acer calls a “dual-switch design” letting gamers adjust the click resistance according to the game type they are playing. The Predator Galea 500 goes on sale in November for €299.99 while the Predator Cestus 500 costs €89.99 and goes on sale at the same time.
Acer Aspire S24
Acer’s “slimmest-ever all-in-one desktop PC” has a 23.8-inch screen with a 5.97mm borderless display with what Acer calls Champagne-gold accents. It is powered by an 8th Generation Intel Core, runs Windows 10 and comes with wireless charging area on the base for charging Qi-enabled devices.
The Acer Aspire S24 will be available in November, starting at €999. Exact specifications, prices, and availability will vary by region.
Acer Chromebook 15
This 15.6-inch full new Chromebook is said to offer 12 hours of battery life. It has an aluminum top cover and palm rest and a fanless design to make it near silent. The keyboard is surrounded by upward-facing speakers.
When the Acer Chromebook 15 goes on sale there will be two models: one with a touchscreen (the CB515-1HT) or one without (CB515-1H). It will be available in EMEA in October starting at €499 and will launch in North America around the same time, starting at $399.
The Pawbo iPuppyGo smart tracker monitors a dog’s activity levels while the Pawbo WagTag tracks their here.Pawbo Munch is a smart treat-dispenser that works with the Pawbo+ letting owners interact with their pets remotely. More details can be found
IFA 2017: TomTom
At this year’s IFA, TomTom announced a software update for the last two generations of its watches (Runner 2, Runner 3, Adventurer, Spark 2 and Spark 3) designed to “demystify the sports science” through the use of Fitness Age. This feature offers what the company calls “a notion of your fitness level” by tracking VO2 max via the heart rate monitor and presenting your fitness age as a single number.
IFA 2017: Nest
The Google-owned company used IFA 2017 to showcase its Nest Thermostat E. Its significantly cheaper than previous models ($169/£130 compared to the third-generation $250/£220 Nest) – by learning to match the temperature to people’s schedules and preferences. Its smart heating system makes sure the home is warm when people need it to be, and cool when they don’t, theoretically cutting heating bills. The sacrifices you make for the cheaper model boil down to its design. Gone is the metal frame, replaced by white plastic which Nest says “feels ceramic” while blending in better with people’s paintwork.
IFA 2017: ASUS
At ASUS’s The Edge of Beyond press event at IFA 2017 it unveiled a mixed reality Headset, the ZenBook Flip 14 and ZenBook Flip 15 as well as the VivoBook Flip 14.
ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset
The ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset (think HoloLens) uses Microsoft technology to “bring immersive real-world and virtual experiences to users”. It tracks head movements using two built-in front-facing cameras. Unlike other headsets, ASUS says its headset doesn’t need external sensors or additional software, making it easy to setup.
READ NEXT: AR, VR and MR: What’s the difference?
ZenBook Flip 14
ZenBook Flip 14 (UX461) is a 2-in-1 laptop which is just 13.9mm thick and weighs 1.4kg, It has a 360°-flippable touchscreen and ASUS Pen support. Inside is an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics, a 512GB PCIe x4 SSD, and a Harman Kardon audio system. It will be available in Icicle Gold and Slate Grey.
Beyond laptops, ASUS announced a new Wi-Fi router called the ASUS RT-AC86U designed with gamers in mind. It comes with RangeBoost to “eliminate game-interrupting Wi‑Fi dead spots” and uses so-called Adaptive QoS to prioritise game traffic on a network. Meanwhile, its ASUS RT-AX88Urouter supports more traffic than standard 802.11ac MU-MIMO routers, meaning more devices can be connected without drops in speed.
IFA 2017: Sony
Xperia XZ1, XZ1 Compact and Xperia A1 Plus
Sony used its IFA 2017 conference to unveil three new models: the Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact in its flagship range, and the mid-range Xperia XA1 Plus.
The Xperia XZ1 has a 5.2in Full HD Display, a Motion Eye camera system and Hi-Res Audio. It additionally comes with Sony’s new 3D Creator feature, Sony Mobile’s proprietary software used for fast and easy scanning of 3D objects.
READ NEXT: Hands on with the Sony Xperia XZ1
The Xperia XZ1 Compact “packs the power of Xperia” into a smaller handset, with a 4.6in display. It has the same Motion Eye camera, Hi-Res Audio, and 3D Creator of its larger sibling plus a super wide-angle front camera which extends the field of view to 120 degrees. Both Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835.
The Xperia XA1 Plus comes with a 23MP rear camera, 5.5in Full HD screen and an “all-day 3430mAh battery”. All of Sony’s new phones will be available globally from Autumn 2017.
Sony announced three new types of headphone models at IFA 2017: the headband style WH-1000XM2, the behind-the-neck WI-1000X, and the wireless WF-1000X. Each of these three 1000X series models come with noise-cancelling technology built in alongside “Adaptive Sound Control”, which can recognise what the user is do and adjust the sound accordingly.
Not to be outdone by Panasonic, Sony has similarly unveiled a 77-inch 4K OLED BRAVIA TV for European customers. It runs on Sony’s 4K HDR processor and has Acoustic Surface technology that vibrates the display so sound comes from the screen itself, as well as the speakers.
Sony is also demonstrating its 4K LCD BRAVIA XE94/XE93 series, together with PS4 Pro and other 4K HDR products at the event.
READ NEXT: PS4 Pro review
Sony LF-S50G smart speaker
Sony is jumping on the smart speaker bandwagon with its first wireless speaker, the LF-S50G. Powered by Google Assistant, the LF-S50G will go on sale in the United States, UK, Germany, France and comes with gesture controls and 360-degree sound. The “Gesture Control” feature will let you adjust the volume or skip to the next track without touching the speaker, for example. The speaker is additionally splash-proof for kitchens and bathrooms and will automatically adjust its volume based on its environment. This makes it one of the more interesting products on show this year.
Continuing this Google Assistant integration, later this year Sony will add the AI tool to BRAVIA TVs.
READ NEXT: Google Assistant is coming to more devices
IFA 2017: Huawei
Chinese smartphone firm Huawei has a long history of IFA press events and this year is expected to be no different, with the company likely to show off its Mate 10 phablet and mid-range Nova additions.
Past IFA events have also seen Huawei launching its latest wrist-worn wearable tech so we are expecting an update to the Huawei Watch line, too.
Huawei’s IFA 2017 press conference will kick off at 1pm BST, a little later than the rest, on 2 September.
IFA 2017: LG
It’s an LG tradition to tell everyone exactly what it will be launching at IFA prior to the event, so we already knew about its upcoming smartphone releases: the LG V30 and V30+. IFA, however, was the first time the press got to see these almost bezel-free smartphones up close and personal.
The LG V30 is a 6in Android phone with a F1.6 aperture camera lens and Google Assistant built-in. It measures 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.4 mm (5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 in), weighs 158g, and its screen’s resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels gives it a PPI of 537. LG is pushing the cameras on the phone quite hard in its press releases and claims the LG V30 is a “leader in the era of smartphone videography”. The main camera on the rear of the V30 lets in more light than previous models for “brighter, more dynamic shots” and comes with a Crystal Clear Lens to make colours appear clearer.
This dual camera setup features a 16MP standard angle camera and a 13MP wide angle camera.