The best of IFA 2015
IFA 2015 has come and gone, and now members of the press are making their way home from Berlin, Germany, including our own Hayato Huseman and Michael Fisher. We’ve been bringing you as much content as possible to give you an idea of what IFA had in store this year, and what new gadgets you’ll have to look forward to in the coming months … but what were some of the best mobile-related devices we saw there? Some of the best product categories? The best experiences? What was the best of IFA 2015?
Ask anybody that attended; this year’s IFA was all about wearables. So much so, in fact, that there was a bit of a disparity of anything else — but that’s a story for another time. Manufacturers really put the focus on smartwatches, and if you’ve been thinking about picking up a discount Moto 360 or Zenwatch, now you can finally compare them to their successors and decide what’s best for you. Huawei finally unveiled their own smartwatch, and LG put a new spin on their already attractive Watch Urbane. Alcatel even showed off a new, durable watch with up to five days of battery life.
Samsung Gear S2
This might be cheating a bit, but the Gear S2 is so different from the other smartwatches announced that it’s worth mentioning on its own. While he new Moto 360 and Zenwatch 2 look nice, they’re little more than iterative improvements over the same general design we’d seen by this time last year. The Gear S2 is a drastic change from the design of Samsung’s first Gear S, ditching the old cuff design for a more sleek and traditional circular shape, and there are leaps made for the Tizen platform it runs on, as well. The bezel around the watch can rotate to control various aspects of the software interface, and the UI has been redesigned from the ground up to better suit its new shape. The Gear S2 will be available in modern and classic stylings in October, with data-connected versions coming later on.
Xperia Z5 family
Sony was one of the few OEMs to really bring it in the smartphone department at this show. The company unveiled its Xperia Z5 family, comprised of the Xperia Z5, Z5 Compact, and Z5 Premium, and while the devices may come in at differing sizes and price points, their specs and design are almost mirrored across the board. The Xperia Z5 Compact is the next in Sony’s line of tiny handsets that still offer a premium experience, and its 4.6″ display and Snapdragon 810 chipset stand as proof. The Xperia Z5, on the other hand, steps it up with an additional gigabyte of RAM over its Compact sibling, a 5.2″ display, and a combination aluminum/frosted glass design that looks and feels premium. Most notably though, the Xperia Z5 Premium is the first smartphone to ship with a 5.5″ 4K display and a mirrored glass back panel. Every member of the Xperia Z5 lineup has quick charging, waterproofing, a new fingerprint sensor in the power button, and what Sony calls its best smartphone camera ever.
Lenovo Miix 700
We usually have some idea of what to expect at trade shows like IFA before we even touch down in the area, but the Miix 700 caught us completely off guard. Most people are calling it Lenovo’s “Surface clone,” but it might actually be their Surface killer. The 12″ Windows tablet has an adjustable hinge, detachable keyboard cover, and Windows 10, just as the Surface Pro 3 does, but it starts off $100 cheaper than the Surface, and includes the keyboard right in the box at no extra cost. It even has the option for LTE powered by a nanoSIM card, something no configuration of the Surface can offer — though without Wacom stylus support, it might not be such an easy win for some users. Either way, it’ll be available in November starting at $700.
Choice of size
Smartphones and smartwatches are great, but don’t you hate it when the device you want is just too big or small for you? Maybe your wrist is too small for that Watch Urbane Luxe. Or your pocket just can’t fit Lenovo’s new Phab Plus (then again, whose really can?). Maybe the Xperia Z5 Premium is just a tad too big for you to comfortably use in one hand. Whatever the case, it’s long been a complaint of users everywhere that devices are made to be one-size-fits-all in a world of diversity and variance. Between the Z5 Compact and the various smartwatch models announced, this year’s IFA is one of choice. Your choice of smartwatch no longer has to be (entirely) dictated by the size of your wrist; almost every watch announced has small and large options to choose from, and even smartphones are beginning to give in to the demand for variety.
There was a lot to see at IFA 2015, but what were some of your favorite devices and categories? Sound off in the comments below — but before you do, be sure to inform yourself by reading/watching our IFA 2015 coverage!