The Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin, or more simply IFA, started out as a showcase for new TV and radio technology and has debuted things like the first cassette tape and first color TV. And in the years since it began in 1926, it has grown into the largest tech exhibition in Europe. Now, we fast forward to today, where all the big players including Samsung, Sony, Microsoft and others show up to highlight their latest and greatest products...at least until CES in Las Vegas in January.
IFA is a huge event, so instead of trying to wade through the thousands of announcements and press releases, we organized all the coolest shit from IFA into one spot. Let’s go.
The LG V30
While LG’s latest flagship lost some of the personality found in earlier V-series phones, the new V30 was still the most interesting smartphone announced at IFA this year. Not only is the V30 the first phone to feature one of LG’s new POLED screens—which made that display gorgeous, it also has a main rear camera with a super wide f/1.6 aperture, a built-in 32-bit Hi-Fi digital to analog converter and a sleek glass-backed design. If this is where LG’s phones are going in the future, bring it on.
For over 40 years, Star Wars fans have been dreaming about what it would be like to have a lightsaber and the powers of the Force. But now, thanks to a partnership between Disney and Lenovo, the new augmented reality-powered Jedi Challenges headset uses the phone you already own to give you the most realistic Jedi experience yet. You’ll get training from Jedi masters including Yoda and Obi-wan before you’re forced to confront Darth Vader, Kylo Ren and others. And if you ever get tired of fighting the dark side, you can also take a break by playing a game of Holochess or two. Pre-orders for the $200 headset start on Force Friday, with delivery scheduled for sometime in November.
If you don’t want your own little R2-D2 sidekick, then we’re not sure what’s wrong with you. But apparently the people at Sphero totally get us, and have created a miniature version of Star War’s most lovable bot that can roll around, tootle and just like the guy on big screen. This mini Artoo stands at just under seven inches tall and can be paired to an app on your phone so you can drive it around like the sweetest radio controlled droid you’ve ever owned. And when the cute little astromech gets low on energy, just plug in a microUSB cable and power it up again. You can get it now for $180.
Logitech is at its best when making premium productivity devices, but until now, it never really had a keyboard good enough to pair with its flagship MX Master 2S mouse. However, the new $200 Craft keyboard changes all that thanks a gorgeous design with nearly silent low-profile keys, a practical hardware dial, and software that lets you wirelessly control multiple computers with the tap of a button. Better yet, Logitech has even partnered with companies including Adobe and Microsoft, so you can use that dial to adjust specific settings with the fine-tuned granularity of a well-seasoned pro.
Featuring what Neato calls Discovery Mode, the new Botvac D7 uses a collection of cameras and sensors to map out your home, so you can properly set boundaries on where your robo vac can, and can’t go. No longer will you have to worry about it cleaning the same place multiple times while other areas lie in squalor. On top of that, you can use the map to prevent the vac from disturbing someone’s sleep by restricting its access to certain areas during naptime. So even though the $800 Botvac D7 ain’t cheap, its smarts make it more efficient than other robotic vacuums on the market.
Sony’s $400 MDR-1000X headphones are some of the best noise canceling wireless cans on the market. But it seems Sony is planning on outdoing itself with the new WH-1000XM2s, which sound like a pure upgrade over Sony’s top-of-the-line headphones, but with a price tag that is $50 less. You still get the same stylish, minimalist design, and comprehensive app support, but with new ambient noise control thanks to Sony’s Sense Engine. Now you can selectively block out those annoying construction sounds while still letting voices pass through, so you don’t have to shout “What?!” at people when they stop you on the street.
The makers of Rock Band are back with a new game that our own Andrew Liszewski said made him feel like a DJ god. The concept behind the DropMix is that by slapping cards with embedded RFID tags onto an interactive game board, you can mix and create mashups using snippets from a wide selection of popular songs. The board comes with an initial set of 60 cards and will run you $100, with expansion sets priced between $5 for five-card mystery packs or $15 for a set of 16. Users can explore Freestyle mode to make music according to their own taste, or Party and Clash modes that can have up to four players competing to create the best mixes.
Even though we’re still waiting for the full rollout of Intel’s 8th-gen Coffee Lake chips, new Kaby Lake R processors have arrived to hold us over until then. Consisting of Core i5 and i7 U-series chips, these new CPUs pack double the cores, which means you can now get quad-core performance in a traditional ultraportable systems like on the refreshed Dell XPS 13, or the new Lenovo Yoga 920. Intel says the new chips can boost performance by up to 44 percent without impacting battery life, which should be welcome to news for anyone who regularly edits photos or videos.