Our pick of IFA 2017
IFA 2017 still has some days to run, but it’s decision time for us. For the past three days, a handful of our intrepid journalists from Alphr and Expert Reviews have been on the ground in Berlin putting the exciting new hardware through its paces.
In our carry-on luggage, alongside sensible footwear to get us through the conference, we packed a number of awards to hand out to the best of the show. These are our picks.
Alphr award for Best Innovation:
Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges
Vaughn Highfield: Lenovo’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges may seem little more than a kids – or big kids – toy, complete with replica lightsaber. But Lenovo’s mobile-powered AR headset is a whole lot smarter than it first appears. Not only does it make innovative use of light refraction to create holographic projections over your vision with your smartphone, but it packs in inside-out fisheye sensors to map the room and allow interactions with the projections. It’s a fully fledged AR headset, powered entirely by your phone and an app – if that’s not innovative (and cool), then I don’t know what is.
Alphr award for Outstanding Product:
Vaughn Highfield: Smart speakers are quickly becoming dime-a-dozen. This year’s IFA was flooded with smart speaker devices – even our sister publication Expert Reviews gave an award out to Panasonic’s this year. But the Sony LF-S50G isn’t your ordinary Google Assistant-enabled connected speaker. Sony has clearly improved on the audio capabilities of both Google Home and Amazon Echo with the LF-S50G, but this isn’t a device intended to be just a great speaker – it’s full of thoughtful additions that take the concept of a smart speaker to new heights. Splashproof design, Bluetooth connectivity, gesture controls and smart automatic volume control all bundled into a device no bigger than a small vase. Brilliant.
Expert Reviews award for Best Household Appliance
Christopher Minasians: The Samsung PowerStick Pro won the Best Household Appliance due to its consumer-centric design. With a removable battery that allows you to continue cleaning your house, and a dual brush that doubles the speed of cleaning, the cordless vacuum cleaner brings some serious competition to Dyson’s doorstep.
Expert Reviews award for Best Entertainment Product
Christopher Minasians: “The Panasonic SC-GA10 is no ordinary wireless speaker. Unlike many voice-activated speakers on the market, such as Google Home and the Amazon Echo devices, Panasonic’s SC-GA10 is designed primarily as a speaker, which happens to have Google Assistant built in. Through its impressive drivers, the speaker delivers a fantastic sound throughout the frequency range, and for that reason deserved the Best Entertainment Product award at IFA 2017.”
Expert Reviews award for Best Laptop
Nathan Spendelow: “With a proper 4K screen, the latest eighth-generation Intel Core chip, Dolby Atmos sound, and more new features than you can shake a stick at, Lenovo’s Yoga 920 is a top notch Windows convertible. It’s super-slim and lightweight, and there’s even a selection of Star Wars-inspired paint jobs, should you be so inclined. The Yoga 920 is a design marvel, and is something I really can’t wait to get more time with.”
Expert Reviews award for Best Product
Nathan Spendelow: “We finally have a decent GoPro competitor with Sony’s RX0. This dinky-form-factor action cam incorporates a small 1in, 15-megapixel sensor with a f/4.0 aperture. It’s shockproof, waterproof and basically bullet-proof – exactly what you need to record all of your energetic adventures. Sony is also putting forward the concept of a modular system, with all sorts of attachments such as gimbals, extra waterproofing cases and even 360-degree rigs if you fancy picking up more than one. Sony’s RX0 is an incredibly versatile camera.”