Gear Diary’s Best of IFA 2019 Awards

 

Berlin’s annual IFA show is the largest consumer electronics event in Europe with “more digital lifestyle products in one place than any other show worldwide.” After walking the show floor, sitting in on private pre-briefings, standing inside packed press conferences, and attending media-only showcase events, these are the items we’ve chosen for Gear Diary’s Best of IFA 2019 Awards.

Honor 20 Pro in Icelandic Frost

The new Honor 20 Pro is sleek, smart, and powerful. Featuring a 6.26″ FullView display, 8GB RAM and 256GB user memory, along with a 4,000mAh battery, 32-megapixel AI-assisted selfie cam, and four AI-assisted rear cameras including a dedicated macro camera lens for extreme closeups, the 20 Pro gives flagship phone features for just €599.90.

On top of having excellent specs and fantastic cameras, the Honor 20 Pro is also one of the most beautiful phones available. Its glass back has a vivid gradient color that catches light in ever-attractive ways. Originally available in Phantom Blue (which shimmers teal) and Phantom Black (which shimmers purple), Honor released the 20 Pro in Icelandic Frost for IFA which is one of the most gorgeous colors I’ve ever seen on a phone; it shimmers between light green, baby blue, and fuschia. It would almost seem like a crime to hide the 20 Pro in a case!

JBL Pulse 4

You can wirelessly connect up to 100 JBL PartyBoost speakers together — here’s what a massive wall of lights and sound look like!

As the name suggests, The Pulse 4 is the fourth generation of the JBL’s Pulse speaker; it delivers the clean, crisp sound we have come to expect from JBL. What makes the Pulse 4 a “Pulse” is the high-resolution LED light show that can turn this speaker into a 360º audio-visual feast.

The light show is adjustable so you can get soothing lights or lights that make you want to get up and dance. With the free JBL Connect app, you can scan objects and match the light show’s colors for a custom style. The JBL Pulse 4 delivers 12 hours of battery life, is IPX7 rated, and it will have an MSRP of $199.95 when it arrives later this fall. The JBL Pulse 4 will come in pristine white or snazzy black. Check out our post for more details.

Sonos Move

A number of Gear Diary staff members have Sonos systems in their homes. They and many other Sonos fans have long wanted a portable speaker that had Sonos smarts; that speaker has finally arrived. The Sonos Move is “the first Sonos speaker that can go where you go.” Inside the house, the Sonos Move functions as another Sonos speaker. It has the familiar minimalist industrial design we’ve come to expect. When the speaker is connected to WiFi, you can use it to access Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant to control your music, check the news, set reminders, and more. What makes the Move different from previous Sonos speakers is the inclusion of Bluetooth and a battery. Bluetooth lets you stream music from your phone or tablet when you’re outside your WiFi zone, and the user-replaceable battery will give you up to 10 hours of playback.

The speaker is IP56 rated, has a battery that will last three years or nine hundred charge cycles and, best of all, it’s a Sonos speaker. The Sonos Move will be $399 when it arrives September 24th. Check out our post for more details.

Fossil Puma Smartwatch

Fitness icon Puma has entered into a partnership with Fossil to create the company’s first smartwatch. Packed with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset and Wear OS, Google’s Android operating system for wearables. The new watch comes in black, white, and yellow; it includes features like heart rate monitoring, GPS tracking, and Google’s virtual assistant. The watch is primarily aimed at athletes, so Puma opted for a nylon and aluminum case and a silicone strap. This helps keep down the weight while also making it sweat-proof.

If you are looking for a smartwatch that doesn’t look like every other smartwatch on the market, you’ll want to check out Puma’s first smartwatch offering. It will be available in November for $275.

Huawei FreeBuds 3

Huawei is gunning for Apple with a direct competitor to Apple’s Airpods. The Huawei FreeBuds 3 isn’t the company’s first foray into true wireless earbuds, but they take things to new heights. They have brand new silicon that can offer a dual-channel Bluetooth connection. They promise 30-percent lower latency and 50% lower power consumption. That, however, is not what makes the FreeBuds 3 standout, nor is it why we’re giving it a “Gear Diary’s Best of IFA” moniker.

No, what makes the FreeBuds 3 stand out is the inclusion of active noise cancellation. The FreeBuds 3 will offer wireless charging and they will cost less than Apple’s AirPods with the wireless charging case when they lunch in Europe next month.

Yale Access Module

Smart locks are a great way to secure your home while having control over who enters and when. Yale smart locks are already great but, thanks to the “Connected by August module” aka “Yale Access module” they are about to get even better. The new module lets users:

  • Control and monitor their door from anywhere. They’ll be able to lock and unlock their door, control access and monitor who comes and goes, all from their phone, from anywhere in the world.
  • Manage access for anyone. Grant access for a few weeks, a few hours, or a few minutes.
  • Always know who is coming and going. Track activity at their doorstep with a 24/7 Activity Feed.
  • Unlock when they arrive. Auto-Unlock detects their arrival and unlocks the door automatically.
  • Lock automatically. Never worry if their door is locked again.
  • Know they’re secure with DoorSense, a sensor that tells the Yale Access app if their door is securely closed or left ajar.
  • Verbally lock the door through Alexa, Siri or the Google Assistant.
  • Integrate with top hosting platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway to make guest check-in and check-out a breeze.
    Connect with leading home security systems like SimpliSafe and Alarm.com to ensure complete home security.

The new app and features look great, but what makes this announcement stand out is the fact that the company has made sure the Yale Access module will work with every European Yale Smart Lock going back to the very first one released six years ago. Now that’s how a company can show their customers some love! Check out our post for more details.

Lenovo C940

The 14″ Lenovo Yoga C940 is a 2-in-1 that blurs lines in ways that let the future come into focus. It’s one of the first Project Athena devices that are finally making it to market; with it, you can expect better performance, a longer battery life, better connectivity and a quick wake from sleep. You’ll also get all of the Lenovo Yoga flagship goodness with thinner display bezels, a docking pen that’s always charged and ready to go, and the Dolby Atmos soundbar built into the laptop’s hinge.

15″ Linedock

Under this MacBook is the Linedock 13″, which allows you to add an a 20,000mAh external battery (a full laptop charge), up to 1TB extra memory, and 9 extra ports to your MacBook. For IFA, they announced a brand-new 15″ version, too!

Prices for the 13″ version start at $399 and go to $749 for the 1TB version. The 13″ Linedock weighs about as much as my 12″ MacBook, which isn’t bad; you can expect the Linedock 15″ to be a bit heavier, but it’s a must have if you want to make your MacBookk wven more functional at home or on the go. Best of all, the Linedock looks like it was designed by Apple as an official MacBook accessory!

LG G8X and Dual Screen Case

The first dual-screen phones were fascinating but expensive and flawed; one famously developed issues with the screen failing at the point where it folds. That’s where the LG G8X and Dual Screen case come in. The LG G8X ThinQ will have a 6.4″ OLED FHD+ screen running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile platform, and it will ship with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. The G8X ThinQ even has a microSD slot for those who need more memory. The G8X ThinQ has two cameras on the back: a 12-megapixel standard camera with optical image stabilization and a 13-megapixel super wide-angle camera; on the front, there is a 32-megapixel standard angle camera. The specs alone make this a compelling phone, but there’s more …

It is the Dual Screen case, however, that makes this phone truly stand out. Pop the G8X ThinQ into the LG Dual Screen case, and you get not one but two 6.4″ OLED FHD+ screens. It may sound a bit cumbersome, but it really works. And, because the second screen is part of the case, if you need to travel light, you can pull the phone out of the Dual Screen case and throw it in your pocket or purse. Until we see true dual-screen phones that can survive life in the real world (and that won’t cost you an arm and a leg), this is a great option. Check out our post for more details.

Huami Amazfit GTS

If you are tired of having to recharge your smartwatch each and every night, Huami has great news for you. The fashionable Amazfit GTS has a metal body, is only 9.44mm thick, and it has a 1.65-inch AMOLED display. It will deliver up to two weeks of life on a single charge or, if you use the GPS constantly, a still-impressive 25 hours of use.

In addition, the watch offers step, activity, heart rate, and most importantly — sleep tracking. That’s a feature Apple Watches can’t practically offer right now since they need to spend time on the charger each night. The Huami Amazfit GTS will sell for about $130.

Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab

Lenovo was on a roll at IFA. In addition to some compelling laptops, they announced their Yoga Smart Tab and Smart Tab M8 Android tablets. Both tablets feature Google Assistant so you can control your smart home with your voice or, if you want to go old school, by using the tablet’s touchscreen.

The Yoga Smart Tab is the slightly higher-end tablet of the two, but the SmartTab M8 is no slouch. The 10.1” Yoga Smart Tab has a screen resolution of 1920 by 1080, an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor, 3GB memory and 32GB of storage. The Yoga Smart Tab also has an integrated kickstand and display technology to help reduce eye fatigue. The Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab will sell for $250.

Adidas RPT-01 Wireless Over-Ear Headphone

While it seems that every audio company is going all-in with true wireless earbuds, Adidas decided to cover all their bases by announcing new true wireless earbuds and the RPT-01 over-the-ear headphones. The RPT-01 have Bluetooth 5.0, promise to deliver up to 40 hours of playback per charge and offer fast recharging via their USB-C port (yay for USB-C!). The RPt-01 are designed for use during strenuous activities so of course, they have an IPX4 rating. That means all your sweat won’t stop the tunes from playing.

At an MSRP of $169, these headphones are reasonably priced. You can preorder yours at adidasheadphones.com; they’ll begin shipping on September 25.

Huawei Kirin 990 Flagship Chips

Huawei has baked better performance, better energy efficiency, faster speeds, improved AI capabilities with photography, as well as a better overall experience with your smartphone into their new Kirin 990. There are two versions of the Kirin 990 available, one with and one without the world’s first built-in 5G modem. According to Huawei, the use of a single chip rather than a processor and separate modem should make its phones much more power-efficient.

 

 

You’ll be able to give it a try on the brand new Huawei Mate 30; the Huawei Mate 30 with the new Kirin 990 series chip will be announced officially on September 19th.

 

 


About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-professed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area — or not.