I’ve just returned from Berlin and a hectic week at IFA; it was my first time to attend. Perhaps because I went in with zero expectations, I left thinking the show was larger than expected, and I feel pretty comfortable saying that it was a great consumer electronics expo, and I’m glad that I was there.
Here are three categories of devices that I saw at IFA this week that I think were very representative, and a few items in particular for each category that I think really shined …
It seemed like almost every smartphone maker had a smartwatch, but these were the ones that stood out for me.
• Samsung Gear S
I’ve covered the Samsung Gear S previously; it is a big watch — almost too big — but perhaps some leeway can be given because it does contain its own 3G antenna. This is the closest thing we have ever had to a true ‘Dick Tracy’ watch, though!
• ASUS ZenWatch
Substantially smaller, thinner, and lighter than the Samsung Gear S, the ASUS ZenWatch is fashionable, responsive, and it will better fit on a smaller man’s or a woman’s wrist.
• LG G Watch R
I like round watches, and the LG was that with personality (and lots of watch faces) to spare; it also looks great on a woman’s wrist!
Ultra-Portable Laptops and 2 in 1 Computers
It’s not enough to make a laptop or tablet anymore; your device has to have features that stand out; these were the ones that I thought had something special. Both of them feature the new Intel Core M Processor which was just announced. I wrote about the Intel Core M Processor while at IFA, and what you need to know is that it will make these mobile devices thinner, lighter, faster, and longer-lasting!
• The ASUS Zenbook UX 305
Extremely thin with a better than retina screen (3,200 x 1,800), the ASUS Zenbook is a gorgeous laptop that is light and easy to carry when traveling, yet it is powerful enough to handle being your main computer. The words “thinner than Air” were used several times during the presentation, and at just 2.64 pounds and at just over 1/2″ thick, they aren’t kidding. It will come with the new Intel Core M Processor, which is a good thing. With such a thin body and such a high-resolution screen, that laptop is going to need all the help it can get for decent battery life! And make no mistake about it, if the numbers are good, I want one!
• The New Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
It’s an 11.6″ tablet, it’s a laptop, it’s … a whole new breed of 2 in 1 that can offer five different modes for productivity! It can be a tablet, a tent, a stand, a laptop, and a desktop. It even has a digitizer pen for those who like to take handwritten notes, and 3G/4G LTE means you won’t ever miss an email or important chat. Best of all, it’s powered by the new Intel Core M Processor, so it will be fast and battery efficient.
Hat tip to Ali for the Helix photos
Smartphones That Are Rethinking the Genre
• Alcatel Hero 2
The Hero 2 is a 5.x” Android phone that has various smartcovers that can be snapped on to add functions to the phone. Perhaps the coolest is the new DJ cover; when it’s on, the phone becomes a true DJ tool! You can mix, scratch, fade, do all the things that it usually takes special equipment to do — from your phone with the addition of its protective touch cover!
• Samsung Note Edge
This may just be my next smartphone; the Samsung Note Edge adds an extra viewing angle to its right side, and we gain an extra ticker that can show the weather, tweets, texts, and other things we want to be kept updated on. I love this idea! I think it is disruptive, and I hope that it is eventually worked into all screen designs.
• Nokia Lumia 830
An affordable flagship phone that offers a brilliant camera, excellent specifications, expandable memory, an excellent build? There is so much to like regarding the Nokia Lumia 830, it is hard to believe that it will be priced far below the Samsung and Apple flagship models at €330, or roughly $425 before any subsidies or refunds; compare that to $649.99 for the Samsung S5 and $649.99 for the 16GB Apple 5S. Way to go, Microsoft and Nokia!
IFA 2014 is over, but we’ll be seeing the products shown as they trickle into the market place over the next six months or so. What are you excited about? Will you be getting one of the new smartwatches? Are you interested in a new smartphone? Or will you be getting an upgraded laptop or 2 in 1?
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