Best of IFA 2014: The devices to get excited about

IFA 2014 is done and dusted for the year, seeing some big mobile launches, exciting TV developments and some great smart home advancements.

We're pulling together those devices or gadgets that have us really excited. There has been a lot being launched, but we're separating the wheat from the chaff, so you'll know where to focus your attentions.

Nokia Lumia 735

Microsoft Devices, previously Nokia, has continued to expand the Lumia range, this time with the Lumia 730 and Lumia 735, the later of which is a 4G offering. The new Windows Phone 8.1 device will come with a bundle of new features (thanks to a new Denim update) as well as a focus on taking the ultimate selfie - a wide-angle front facing camera. 

If you are after a Windows Phone, but don't have much budget to play with the Lumia 735 provides a huge out of the box experience without you needing to head straight to the app store to download more app to make your phone more useful. 

READ MORE: Nokia Lumia 735: Can I get a selfie? (hands-on)

LG G Watch R

LG isn't standing still with Android Wear devices and the original G Watch has barely had time to touch the ground before the G Watch R made an appearance. That's a good thing, because it moves LG's smartwatch offering a step forward, and we love the results.

The R, of course, is for round, and it's the display that impresses. The way that the G Watch R fills the screen all the way to the bezel is great, as this looks more like a watch, and less like a toy than some of the previous efforts. First impressions are that the display looks a little better than the Moto 360 too. There's a leather strap and that diving watch style bezel. 

READ MORE LG G Watch R hands-on

Moto X (2014)

Leather, that's the big new selling point here, well leather, faster processor, and bigger screen if you are being picky. Updated to coincide with the launch of Moto Maker in the UK the 2014 Moto X really starts to make it the flagship device it should be, and all a lot cheaper than the Sony Z3 for example. 

The phone is solid, looks great, and should appeal to many when it goes on sale later in September. Especially given the multitude of design options available meaning your version is unlikely to be like any other. 

READ MORE: New Motorola Moto X hands-on: A leather flagship to lust after

Philips Hue Beyond

It might seem like an oddity, as this is just lighting after all, but the Hue Beyond really impressed us.

Hue Beyond, rather than just being bulbs, are complete lamps. The nice thing about them is that they will create two-tone light colour effects, bringing something distinct and unique to your room. There will be a table lamp, ceiling light and pendant light and they all look really good.

READ MORE Philips Hue Beyond hands-on

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

The Xperia Z3 faces a serious challenger from the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 however. We knew it was coming and it didn't disappoint. The design is much the same as the Note 3, but with new powerful internals and a QHD display, this is a handset that turns heads.

Samsung has refined the software experience from the SGS5, bringing with it more multi-tasking and more clever features to put the enhanced S Pen to work. If you're a fan of the stylus, it's hard not to be lusting after the Galaxy Note 4.

READ MORE Samsung Galaxy Note 4 hands-on

Dyson 360 Eye

Dyson has been slow to get into the robotic vacuum cleaner game, but that is because it has been developing a system that works, well that's what it says. 

The difference over all its competitors is that the cleaner features a 360 degree camera on the top that can see where it is going rather than relying on infrared sensors. It should mean the system is much more efficient. 

With the same sucking power as its cordless DC59 and the promise of being able to control it all via an app, the 360 Eye has a lot going for it. 

READ MORE Dyson 360 Eye: Robotic vacuum cleaner coming to the UK 2015

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

This biggest surprise from Samsung's Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 event came from the Note Edge. Whilst the Note 4 was pretty much what we expected, the Edge came out of the blue, demonstrating that Samsung isn't scared to try new things.

The Edge name comes down to the fact that there's a curved edge to the display, giving you an additional area to fill with customisable shortcuts or useful information. You can be watching a movie and have Twitter notifications on the side. Perhaps that's why people are so fascinated by the Note Edge, because everyone loves a little bit on the side?

READ MORE Samsung Galaxy Note Edge hands-on

Sony Xperia Z3

This could be the Xperia that will swing the naysayers around to Sony's way of doing Android.

It's slimmer and lighter than the Z2 before it - and launched just 6 months ago. The new handset's biggest change is in design, which suits us, as it's now a nicer device to hold than ever before.

READ MORE Sony Xperia Z3 hands-on

Asus ZenWatch

It's not got a circular screen, but that doesn't stop the ZenWatch from looking great mainly in thanks to a curved glass display on top of a standard square 1.63-inch AMOLED screen.

 

Combine that with Android Wear, some nifty add-on features by Asus and a heart rate monitor hidden on the front and for those that want a smartwatch with a few little extra tricks this is lovely. At £199 it's unlikely to break the bank either. 

READ MORE Hands-on: Asus ZenWatch review: A curved glass Android Wear smartwatch that takes a stylish approach

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

But if size is your complaint with the Z3, then the Z3 Compact will draw your eye. Great design is partnered with plenty of power to give you a handset that sits easily in your pocket, but doesn't scrimp on the internals.

All the new Z3 devices offer PS4 Remote Play, so you'll even be able to play PlayStation whilst in the bath, as they're waterproof too.

READ MORE Sony Xperia Z3 Compact hands-on

Moto G

At £144.99 the Moto G offers plenty for your money. Dual SIM, a big 5-inch screen, the promise of being upgraded to the new version of Android L when it comes out, and dual speakers. 

The processor stays the same as before so upgraders aren't going to notice a speed increase in performance, but we are sure they are going to enjoy the rest of it very much. 

READ MORE: New Motorola Moto G hands-on: Ain't nothing but a G thang, baby

Sony Smart EyeGlass

Although its still just a work-in-progress prototype product at present it's nice to see a company taking on Google in the augmented reality sector.

Sony's Smart EyeGlass spectacles might look like 3D glasses the company would ship with one of its TVs, but the current build have true heads-up display and overlays graphics onto the real world 

READ MORE: Watch out Google, Sony's coming at'cha with its Smart EyeGlass AR specs (hands-on)

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Although it was technically launched before IFA, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha made its public debut at the show, giving visitors the chance to check out the fun, cute device.

Its screen might not be highest spec, considering its resolution is 1280 x 720 not Full HD, but the phone goes like the clappers and has everything on there that you would want for a mid-range device that won't break the bank.

READ MORE: Samsung Galaxy Alpha is less like the iPhone than previously thought (hands-on)

Sony QX1

Sony's QX series of camera lenses that enhance smartphone photography significantly have been perhaps even more successful than the company itself predicted.

The latest, the QX1, takes the concept up a level by not only providing a 20.1-megapixel APS-C sensor that's more commonly found in DSLRs, but it is the first in the range that offers an interchangeable lens mount. That means you can attached any Sony E-Mount or A-Mount lens to the snapper to give some quite stunning shots. You can even attached lenses from other brands, such as Canon and Nikon through a third-party adapter.

READ MORE: Sony QX1 and QX30: Bringing real and interchangeable lenses to your smartphone (hands-on)

Kobo Aura H2O

Kobo's latest eBook reader is one of the largest on the market, with a 6.8-inch screen, and has E Ink's latest technology to give some of the best contrast levels we've seen on such a device, but its biggest party trick is that it is waterproof so can be read when floating on a swimming pool or at the beach without fear.

The IP67 proofing allows it to stay up to one metre deep in water for up to 30 minutes. So if you drop it in the bath when reading while having a soak, you need not worry about it being spoiled. Far from it.

READ MORE: Kobo Aura H2O eBook reader survives our water test, perfect for the bath

Saeco GranBaristo Avanti

Not just a versatile coffee maker, the Philips-owned Saeco GranBaristo Avanti hooks up to a tablet through Bluetooth and comes with its own application to help create the perfect brew every time.

The app allows you to create over 6,000 combinations of espresso, cappuccino and Americano coffees, with sliders determining things such as strength and temperature. We tried it at the show and were blown away with how simple it was to use and the taste of the coffee at the end of it.

READ MORE: Saeco GranBaristo Avanti: The app-controlled coffee maker that makes a perfect cup every time

Philips TV powered by Android

Not only are Philips new TVs all 4K Ultra High Definition sets but they come with the new user experience certified by Google.

The Android operating system adds tonnes of new Smart TV features but the biggest draw perhaps is that it also gives access to the Google Play Store to download Android apps. Only apps that are specified for use on massive, non-touchscreen displays will be available, but that still means over 200 are available from the off.

READ MORE: Philips TV powered by Android: Why these could be the smartest 4K UHD TVs yet

 



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