Last week's IFA conference in Berlin produced a veritable smorgasbord that we'll see hit stores over the next few months. Here's everything you'll want to check out!
Sony’s gone and done it again – less than six months after the last handset we’re here looking at a new phone from the Japanese company. And sadly, once again, not much has changed.
The Sony Xperia Z5 hasn’t changed all that much upon the Xperia Z3+ that was launched back in May. But there are a few minor changes that are set to make it a real steal compared to the last phone.
Let’s be clear about this phone. It’s all about one thing: sticking a 4K screen on a smartphone. That’s all anybody will be thinking when they pick up this little bit of bling, a reflectively chrome device that manages, somehow, to not look like a NRL player’s shiny new Audi has done a poo.
There are other versions too: gold and black look pretty nifty, and don’t quite have the ‘Tin Man in a Tuxedo’ look to them – and the metallic rim, engraved with the Xperia logo adds a layer of shine to things. Metaphorically, as these things don’t need much more reflectiveness.
Sony’s smaller version of the Xperia Z3, the Xperia Z3 Compact, proved to be a great success. It was the first time we saw a major manufacturer pack all the high-end goodness of a flagship phone into a smaller form package, and we liked what we saw.
The Predator 6 is a high-def Android gaming phone with MediaTek 10-core processor, 64GB expandable storage, 4GB RAM and a 21-megapixel camera. It also has haptic feedback to feel “like a gaming controller.” Stay tuned for more on this one.
Convertibles, Laptops and PCs
Windows 10 is taking over the world, inexorably and unstoppably, slowly but surely making its way onto every half-decent PC and laptop and tablet from Windows 7 onwards. At IFA 2015, Microsoft took the opportunity to introduce new Windows 10 devices, including some fascinating new tablets, and promised even more innovations to come.
The new Lenovo Miix 700 is pretty much a straight-up clone of the Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. Same size, same weight, same idea. I don’t care. The Surface was pretty great — minus a bunch of annoying flaws — and I can’t wait for someone to perfect it.
Acer’s new Predator gaming notebooks feature Intel’s new 6th gen/Skylake Core i7-6700HQ processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX980 graphics, up to 32GB of DDR4 memory and 512GB NVMe PCIe solid state drives. The 15-inch line-up includes a 4K (3840×2160) display option, along with a bunch of nifty new cooling options.
Toshiba is not a company normally known for pushing the bounds of laptop innovation and design. But change is afoot — first, with a surprisingly good full HD Chromebook, then a cheap-and-quite-cheerful Windows convertible, and now a fantastically bonkers 12.5-inch convertible laptop with a 4K Ultra HD display.
The Satellite Radius 12 is being announced at the IFA trade show in Germany today, and while Toshiba is keeping some important details under wraps, we do know about one thing: that screen. It’s a 12.5″ touchscreen IPS display, with a resolution of 3840 x 2160, and certification from Technicolor for movie-studio accuracy.
Water-cooling?! Holy crap. Besides previewing the world’s first water-cooled laptop at IFA, Asus also unveiled heaps of new Republic of Gamers (ROG) gear — laptops, an ultra-wide curved G-Sync monitor, graphic cards, headsets and more.
Acer launched its redesigned Predator G6 design last month at GamesCom, and will now include 6th generation Intel core processors in it, and the new G3 model. The systems target gamers who want to build their own PC, but don’t necessarily want to start from scratch.
In the middle of the throng at LG’s IFA 2015 booth, one little gadget got a surprisingly large amount of tech geek attention. The compact, portable and aptly named LG Rolly Keyboard is a super-convenient contrivance for tablet and smartphone typists.
This thing is a gaming beast sent up to the front lines to battle NVIDIA's own tablet contender. The 8-inch (1920×1200) Acer Predator 8 gaming tablet (aka GT-810) runs an Intel Atom x7 processor and Android 5.1> The 8.7mm thin device includes four array front-facing speakers, extended grip pads and ‘Predator TacSense’ haptic/vibration feedback.
Samsung's round, slim Gear S2 smartwatch — an update to the definitely-less-than-conventional Gear S — has just been formally announced ahead of this week's IFA gadget expo in Berlin. If you like your watches round, your activity tracked, and your heart rate monitored, and your operating systems Tizen, well this is the smartwatch for you.
The Gear S2 is built around a 1.2-inch, circular Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 360x360ppi — making it (at least for the time being, until the possible unveiling of the Huawei Watch, new Moto 360 and new LG smartwatch) the equal most pixel-dense smartwatch on the market alongside the Apple Watch. There are two versions available — the regular metal S2 and the darker S2 Classic.
It's definitely coming to Australia, and we can't wait.
You wanted more Moto 360, and Motorola definitely listened. Instead of releasing a single update to the iconic, round Android Wear smartwatch, Moto has released three, and they’re all amazing.
Where companies are tinkering with how to make the best phone possible for the very least, like the new Moto X or the OnePlus 2, smartwatches are generally aiming for pricier and more luxurious.
Manufacturers are slapping plated gold and machined silver onto watch cases to make your wearable more formal. Apple has its $US10,000 beauties and Android Wear will soon have a few luxury options from Tag Heuer and others.
Huawei Watch is gunning for that latter category — not ludicrously expensive but not exactly walking around money either. Ranging from $US350 to $US800 (see the gold one below), Huawei wants to be the more high-end option for Android Wear, and these watches do look the part.
Android Wear watches are cool and all, but none of them are especially fancy. (Even the new Moto 360, with its flat tyre.) Until now, at least. An alligator leather wristband, 23-karat gold plating, and a $1000-plus price tag mean the LG Watch Urbane Luxe is a particularly niche geek accessory.
There’s not one ZenWatch 2, but two: a 49.6 x 40.7 mm model and a 45.2 x 37.2 mm model. So you get your choice between big and small, just like with the Apple Watch. The big model has a 400 mAh battery, compared to 300mAh on the smaller version. Asus promises 2.5 days and 2 days of battery life in “ambient mode” respectively. We’ll believe it when we see it. For battery life supremacy, please see the latest models by Pebble. The two watches use the same Qualcomm chipsit and sport 4 GB of flash storage — this is more than enough firepower for what amounts to a pretty simple device.
What else? The watches are booth certified for IPX 67 durability. The 6 means dustproof, and the 7 means they’re good for a quick dip in the pool or a shower — but they’re still not waterproof enough for your diving adventure. This is slight improvement from the original ZenWatch’s ruggedness.
The new models add Wi-Fi as a connectivity option, which means that you’ll no longer be on a Bluetooth leash. As long as you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your phone, the watch’s connected features will work.
TomTom’s first running watch was a great first step two years ago. Last year it got even better, with an integrated heart rate monitor. For this year’s watches, TomTom is adding full activity tracker capabilities and the ability to stream music to Bluetooth headphones, all for a pretty reasonable price.
There are three versions of the TomTom Spark. The Spark GPS Fitness Watch, The Spark Music GPS Fitness Watch (which adds 3GB of storage for your audio), and the flagship Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch, which is almost definitely the one you want because it adds the integrated heart rate monitor.
Track your fitness — while you’re running from zombies. Track your sleep — while you’re hiding from zombies. See your notifications — probably not coming from zombies. Noticing a trend? Razer’s newly redesigned Nabu smart bracelet looks like a pretty straightforward energy tracker, but its marketing has a decidedly postapocalyptic flavour.
Onkyo is best known for its strong tradition of audiophile-grade home theatre gear. But the legendary Japanese hi-fi company is branching out, and just unveiled a massive-looking set of completely wireless earbuds at IFA in Berlin. They probably sound great, but like home theatre components, you probably couldn’t go jogging with them.
The new TX-65CZ950 is a curved 65-inch affair, which is supposedly stamped and sealed by bonafide Hollywood types as a legit. Panasonic has a fancy sounding “4K Studio Master Processor” engine in there, which will make or break the picture quality. We’ll have to wait and see whether Panny’s move to OLED technology is a boon for your eyes, or just an empty fade to black.
Sleep tracking gadgets and apps can be invaluable, health-boosting tools. The trouble is that you need to remember to use them, which often involves wearing a wristable to bed. Samsung’s new Sleepsense tracker helps fix this problem by hiding the tracker under your mattress.
The Philips AmbiLux UHD grabs your eyeballs by the… er… balls and puts them through some sort of kaleidoscopic inter-dimensional warp hole.
Haier’s been teasing its Smart Window Refrigerator for a couple of years now, but it will finally hit stores in Europe and Asia next year. It’s a crazy invention. You walk up to the fridge, and lights powered by motion sensors illuminate the inside of the inside, which you can see through the translucent door.
They’re more eco-friendly than top-loading machines, but front-loading washers don’t let you add forgotten garments once the wash cycle has started. With the addition of a second smaller door though, Samsung’s new WW8500 AddWash lets you toss in that missing sock you just found.