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The Best of IFA 2016

IFA, which is organized in Berlin, Germany, is one of the largest consumer electronics trade shows in the world, and the largest in Europe. It is also a platform through which lots of the latest gadgets are launched – these include smart-home innovations, latest smartphones, TVs, laptops or other hugely exciting gizmos.

But with so many products being announced at the show, it’s sometimes hard to see the wood for the trees. If you look closely enough, there are plenty of gems that you should be saving up for or looking to upgrade to. And that’s our job, to bring those to the forefront for you to see and read about.

Here then are the best of IFA 2016…

 

Best Smartphones – Sony Xperia XZ and Huawei Nova Plus

Sony Xperia XZ

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Covered in sleek metal (available in blue, black, and platinum), the Xperia XZ is a traditional rectangular slab that disregards the increasing trend towards curved screens and back panels. That said, the edges of the phone are slightly rounded on the left and right. They conform to your hand and make it easy to grip. It measures 5.7-by-2.8-by-0.3 inches (HWD) and weighs 161-gms.

Huawei Nova Plus

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The Huawei nova plus smartphone features a curved surface and 5.5-inch screen. It also ones with an 8 megapixel front-facing camera, with additional features such as the Beauty Makeup 2.0 and Beautiful Skin 3.0 applications, which apply cosmetic effects and skin smoothing filters to create more flattering images. The Huawei nova plus features an outstanding 16 megapixel rear camera, enabling it to capture more light for sharper, clear and richly refined photos in any environment. The Huawei nova plus’s 3340 mAh battery delivers a long battery life. The Huawei nova plus , with 32GB ROM and 3GB RAM, will also be available in October in over 50 markets.

Best Desktop: HP Pavilion Wave

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The entertainment PC lives. HP’s Pavilion Wave is a family or kids’ room PC with a built-in speaker, eliminating an extra component, and it’s good enough looking to sit out in the open. But it’s also, securely, a PC desktop, with desktop-class components, an eminently reasonable price, and plenty of ports.

Best Gaming Laptop: The Acer Predator 21

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This one is a beast of a gaming laptop from Acer. It comes with a massive 21-inch curved screen with eye-tracking technology, weighs a massive 6kgs and will probably cost upwards of $6,000. But one glance at the spec potential and the price is no surprise: in this baby there’s space for twin Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards, plus when it arrives in the first quarter of 2017 the Predator 21 X will be loaded with the top-end X-series Intel Core i 7th Gen processors.

Best Laptop: Lenovo Yoga 910

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There was definitely a “Battle of the Ultra-Slim Laptops” here at IFA, but Lenovo’s Yoga 910 takes the prize with the classy fit and finish Lenovo is known for. The Yoga 910 has the roomy keyboard we liked on the Yoga 900, with new USB Type-C ports and 7th generation Intel Core processors. It’ll be a leading business ultraportable this year.

Best Smartwatches: Asus ZenWatch 3 and Samsung Gear S3

Asus ZenWatch 3

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For the ZenWatch 3 Asus has moved away from the square design of the previous models to create a round watch instead and means it matches topamax us rivals on the market today. It is also thin and comes in three finishes: gunmetal, silver and rose gold. Asus claims that the cold-forged steel build makes it 82 percent stronger than stainless steel equivalents.

Samsung Gear S3

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The Gear S3 has a chunkier, manlier design, and uses the extra space to add a bigger battery, bigger screen, and water resistance. Its always-on screen shows that it’s a watch first, but dig in and you’ll find a capable wrist computer.

Best TV: Philips 901F

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With its perfect blacks and rich colors, OLED is our favourite display technology right now. Philips’ first OLED entry, the 55-inch 901F, adds the company’s proprietary Ambilight 3 technology, which projects colored LEDs from the sides and back of the TV to enhance the image. When you’re watching TV, the colours appear to spill a little bit out of the sides of the set; the 901F also has modes to support music playback and room mood lighting. A built-in soundbar and Android TV software make it a complete home entertainment hub.

Best Smart Home: LG SmartThinq Hub With Alexa

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Our prediction: Amazon’s Alexa will become the common voice interface for everyone other than Samsung and Apple. (While it had a good start on phones, Google Now doesn’t seem to be taking off elsewhere.) LG is jumping on the bandwagon by integrating Alexa into its SmartThinq home hub, which we first saw at CES. It controls lighting, electrical plugs, security cameras, home entertainment, and all of the other devices you’d associate with a home hub. Hook up the right sensors, and you’ll be able to holler, “Alexa, I’m home!” so she turns on the lights and the TV when you walk in the door. That’s a leap forward for smart home usability.

Best Monitor: Samsung CF791

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Quantum dots are one of the hottest technologies in TVs right now; they’re little sprinkles of inorganic matter that make LCD TVs’ colors purer. The new Samsung CF791 is one of the first monitors, rather than TVs, to use quantum-dot technology. It’s a 34-inch, 3,440-by-1,400 curved gaming monitor with 4ms response time and a 100Hz refresh rate, and it comes with 7-watt speakers. The real advance here is in color reproduction; Samsung says this brings LCDs to the rich color levels we’re more used to from OLEDs, but without the OLED prices.

Best Audio: Sony MDR-1000X

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The Bose QuietComfort headphones have been our noise cancelling Editors’ Choice for years now. They’re almost everyone’s. But Sony could potentially unseat them. It’ll be a tough call, but Sony has piled in the audio technology in its spectacular MDR-1A headphones and added noise cancelation that’s customized to the shape of your head. Cup your hand over one ear to talk to someone, and it mutes your music until you’re done chatting.

Best VR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 VR

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Qualcomm’s untethered VR reference design fills in the missing piece with mobile VR: it can do location and position tracking, so you can walk around virtual rooms and look around objects. Previously, we’d only seen that in the PC-tethered Vive and Microsoft’s $3,000 HoloLens. But since the 820 VR is based on the common and relatively affordable Snapdragon 820 platform, it’s likely to enable fully interactive VR headsets in the $500 range early next year. That’s a big step forwards.

 

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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