IFA 2015: The story so far
IFA 2015 has arrived. A ton of tech heavyweights are showing off their wares in Berlin, at one of the biggest consumer electronics shows on Earth.
There was a time when CES was the only tech show worth talking about. IFA was little more than an excuse for the tech brands to lay out their current product lineups in one huge space. It was like a gigantic Currys store. No new launches, and only Philips seeming to make an effort by showing off cool concepts that inevitably turned into vaporware.
How times have changed.
Here are all the headline stories – and there are plenty of them – coming out of the halls of IFA 2015. We’ll be keeping this page updated, so make sure you head back to catch up on the latest news.
The IFA 2015 Video Playlist
Got a spare 10 minutes or so? Here are all the video highlights from IFA 2015 this year.
Hands-on with the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium and its 4K screen
Does a phone really need a 4K screen? Sony seems convinced, but here’s what we made of Sony’s new Z5 range.
Enter the Samsung Gear S2 – is this the smartwatch you’ve been looking for?
The big news here is Samsung is sticking with Tizen, rather than Android Wear. Is this a good or a bad thing?
Is Asus zooming to the top of phone wars?
Probably not, but its new ZenPhone Zoom has an 3x optical zoom lens, just like your old compact camera. Nifty.
The Moto 360 2 (aka “the flat tire”) is here and it’s still round, sort of
Last year’s Android Wear darling gets a refresh.
We’ve played with the Galaxy Note 5
It’s not coming to the UK or Europe, but we still managed to find one. Here’s what we made of it.
Guess who else made a phone? Marshall… yes that one!
Because nothing says smartphone like a a guitar amp.
We’ve tried Samsung Pay…
Can Samsung steal Apple and Google’s lunch with its payments system?
Asus has a Deluxe phone as well
Not content with its Zoom model, Asus also announced the ZenPhone 2 Deluxe. Here’s what we made of it.
Acer pulled a bit of an early shock in its IFA press conference by revealing a modular PC, the Acer Revo Build. If the idea of tinkering around inside PC cases strikes a little fear into you, Acer’s simplified Lego-like approach might appeal more. Swappable components inclide a wireless power bank and a graphics chip.
Related: Acer Revo Build hands-on
As if that wasn’t interesting enough for what’s traditionally been a conservative company, Acer unveiled the Jade Primo smartphone, which it describes as the “world’s first PC phone.” Aside from a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 808 chip and 21-megapixel camera, it comes with a keyboard, mouse and docking station. Not the first time we’ve seen a hybrid computer-phone – remember the Asus Padfone or the Motorola Atrix? – but perhaps Windows 10 will help make the transition more successful.
There was also a heavy leaning toward gaming for Acer, with the V Nitro gaming laptop and a new ultra-short-throw projector – cheesily named the Predator Projector – designed specifically for gamers. A gaming-oriented smartphone, the Acer Predator 6 – details of which are pretty sparse – completed the new lineup.
Asus is never shy of busting out some showstoppers, and sure enough it unveiled more than expected at its press conference. Most prominent was a new range of Zenfones.
Joining the Zenfone 2 Deluxe is the Zenfone Max, with a staggeringly huge 5000mAh battery; the Zenfone Selfie, which has 13-megapixel cameras front and rear; and the Zenfone Zoom, which is claimed to be the world’s thinnest phone with 3x optical zoom.
Also part of Asus’s mobile offering was the Zenpad, which Asus reckons is the world’s first customisable tablet, thanks to swappable rear covers. We seem to remember Alcatel offering something similar in the past, but hey-ho. It still looks pretty swish and has an HDTV image processor, DTS-HD sound and 4GB of RAM.
On the less portable front was the Asus Zen AiO S desktop computer, which has an eye-popping 4K 23.8-inch display. The internal specs are pretty impressive, too.
Huawei surprised everyone by trumping Apple, showing off a phone offering a Force Touch display at its IFA 2015 press conference. It’s called the Mate S, and its 5.7-inch Full HD screen will react differently depending how hard you press it. Just like the Apple Watch and the latest MacBook trackpads.
Other highlights of the Mate S include a fingerprint scanner, dual 4G SIM support and a microSD slot.
Related: Huawei Mate S hands-on
The Huawei G8 may not have the pizzazz of the Mate S, but it could be a force to reckon with at the budget end of the phone market. A 5.5-inch FHD display, curved Gorilla Glass and a 13-megapixel camera should help it stand out.
Related: Huawei G8 hands-on
Intel kicked off IFA 2015 with a pretty bold claim: “This is a once-every-decade moment.” It was talking about the shift to hybrid devices, ditching laptops and tablets and concentrating on two-in-ones. Three upgraded Core M processors, the M3, M5 and M7, were announced.
Watch our hands-on video of Intel’s Project Tango
The big news from Lenovo at IFA 2015 was that there’s going to be a new Moto 360. In fact, more than one. There will be three distinct models: the Moto 360 Fashion for Men, Moto 360 Fashion for Women, and the Moto 360 Sport with a silcone strap and GPS. With the Moto Maker customisation tool thrown into that mix, there’ll be just shy of 300 style combinations.
Related: Moto 360 2 hands-on
Lenovo announced an absolute torrent of new Windows 10 laptops, but the more interesting reveal was a pair of desktop gaming PCs, the Ideacentre Y900 and Ideacentre Y700, as well as a gaming laptop, the Ideapad Y700. The deskbound models come busting sixth-gen Intel quad-core i7 processors and can squeeze in a full ATX motherboard. The Y900 has support for two graphics cards, both of which can be made available with the flick of a lever.
Lastly were the Yoga Tab 3 Pro and Yoga Tab 3 hinged hybrids, as well as a massive phablet, the gargantuan 6.8-inch Lenovo Phab Plus.
We got our hair permed and our patch-laden denim jackets out of storage especially for a hands-on with the Marshall London smartphone.
The highlight of Panasonic’s IFA 2015 press conference was surely the announcement of its first 4K OLED TV, the Panasonic CZ950. And it’s HDR Ready. The range will be on sale in October, but don’t expect them to come cheap.
Related: Panasonic TX-65CZ950 4K OLED TV first look
Also of interest was Nubo, the world’s first 4G home security camera, for when Wi-Fi just isn’t practical.
The biggest buzz, however, came from a sneaky peek at a new Technics turntable in the works.
Samsung’s play at IFA 2015 is very much home-focused. Its press conference saw the launch of a new Samsung SmartThings, an Internet of Things hub that can be connected to wireless cameras for home monitoring from anywhere in the world via the new Smart Home Monitor app. It can also be set up to detect smoke and leaks.
Related: Samsung SmartThings hands-on
Samsung Sleepsense is another IoT device, which slips under your mattress and can measure heart rate, breathing and movement in real time to deliver daily (nightly?) sleep reports through an app.
Ever put the washing on and realised you dropped a dirty sock on the stairs? Happens to the best of us. Samsung’s latest washing machine features new AddWash tech that means you can stop a wash in mid-cycle and pop some more clothes in through a special door. So clever.
Heading to the lounge, Samsung wants to kit you out with a UHD Blu-ray player. If you’ve been holding off investing in a 4K TV because of a lack of next-gen discs, early next year is when you’ll be able to spin physical media in this new deck.
Don’t leave the sofa yet; there’s Gamefly, which lets you stream games directly to a Samsung TV. Batman: Arkham Origins and LEGO Lord of the Rings are among the titles to be offered.
Related: Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch hands-on
Boom! And in comes Sony with the big guns. Not one new Xperia flagship shown off at Sony’s press conference, but a trio: the Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Premium and Xperia Z5 Compact. The Z5 Premium grabbed most of the headlines, thanks to its 4K display, but on first impressions we’re big fans of the teensy Z5 Compact. We’ve already had our hands on all of them:
…or watch our hands-on video of Sony’s new phones
Sony also made a lotta noise about its new Hear headphone range, suitable for Hi-Res Audio. There’s an on-ear pair and a couple of in-ears, which Sony claims are the first in-ear headphones capable of serving up Hi-Res Audio on the move.
Related: Sony Wena smartwatch hands-on
The satnav specialist announced the TomTom Spark, a sport watch with some serious smarts. As well as having built-in GPS and all the usual activity tracking, it has a music player and is available with TomTom’s new wireless fitness headphones.
Related: TomTom Spark hands-on
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