The IFA tradeshow in Berlin produced a wealth of new smartphones and smartwatches to keep us all connected. IFA 2015 proved to be another spectacular show for the coolest new tech, especially smartphones. If it was innovation you were looking for, IFA had it. The first smartphones with a 4K display and Force Touch technology left us absolutely speechless. There was a lot to get excited about at this year’s show, and these are the phones that grabbed our attention the most. Last year, everyone was trying to convince us that wearables were cool, but no one believed it. This year, smartwatch makers have hit their stride, and IFA was a delectable buffet of attractive wearables.
Wearables as a segment is here to stay and the product category didn’t disappoint us at the IFA. Motorola pulled out its answer to Apple Watch with the second-gen Moto 360, while so did Samsung in yet another attempt that wooing the smartwatch segment, and reportedly it did manage to do so to some extend. Asus had its ZenWatch successor out, and Google ensured its Android Wear got a fair amount of attention.
IFA 2015 looked like an extension of CES when it came to Internet of Things. Yes, IoT is taking slow yet steady steps. Samsung continued to give a vision of where it stands in the IoT space when competing with others like Google and Apple. Samsung explained how it plans to dig deeper into making our lives easier with smart technologies for home and auto. Google also announced further improvements to the Nest thermostats.
The IFA 2015 saw tech variations from Sony, to Samsung, to Motorola and many more, here’s the best of the best.
Sony’s 2015 flagship is by far the most impressive handset revealed at IFA this year. The ultra-premium phone has a beautiful design and is, as the saying goes, armed to the teeth. The two standout features of the Xperia Z5 Premium are the 5.5-inch 4K (Ultra HD) display and the 23-megapixel cameras. Sony went overboard with the screen, delivering the first 4K screen on the market. It looks stunning in person. Sony expanded its use of bleeding edge imaging technology, as well. The shooter has a wide aperture, fast lens, and can focus in 0.03 seconds — making it the fastest autofocus smartphone on earth. Toss in the ultra slo-mo video recording mode and you have the foundation of an iPhone killer.
The Mate S is Huawei’s latest flagship Android smartphone. Curiously, it beat Apple in delivering Force Touch technology. The Mate S is able to recognize gentle taps and more firm pushes on the glass and take action according to the amount of force used. (Apple is expected to add this to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus at its event on Sept. 9.) The Mate S covers every other spec in spades. It has a 5.5-inch screen, 13-megapixel main camera with optical image stabilization, 8-megapixel selfie camera, and an 8-core 64-bit processor. The handset is water resistant, supports worldwide LTE bands, and includes two SIM card slots. The Mate S goes on sale later this year for about $700.
Motorola is taking the shotgun approach with the Moto 360. Rather than offer a focused product, the Moto 360 is available in a surprising breadth of sizes and styles. Motorola is going so far as to let people design and order their own Moto 360 online. The mix of colors, finishes, straps, and screen widths should appeal to those who prefer bespoke products. The smartwatch basics (notifications, messaging, fitness tracking) are intact, and Motorola even claims to have resolved battery life problems by taking it up to last 2 days.
Samsung’s Gear S2 could represent a turning point for smart wearables. The smartwatch has a clean, modern design, a good screen, and boasts of two days of battery life. More importantly, it highlights just how good a smartwatch user interface can be. With its rotating dial and circular UI, the Gear S2 is far simpler and more intuitive than Google’s janky Android Wear platform. Moreover, the Gear S2 can make phone calls and, despite its proprietary Tizen operating system, is compatible with competing Android smartphones. Pricing starts at $299 and it ships in October.
LG spruced up its Urbane smartwatch with a new 23-karat gold option called the LG Watch Urbane Luxe. LG also offers new leather straps that feature the same premium clasp Cartier invented in 1910. It’s got all the same specs as the regular Urbane, which launched at MWC, so the design is the only new feature here. If you’ve always wanted an even more ostentatious and premium LG Watch Urbane, then the Luxe is for you. Priced at $1,200, the Urbane Luxe is significantly less than that 18-karat gold Apple Watch, which starts at $10,000.
Stay tuned for more since the IFA 2015 event is still on-going as we speak.