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IFA 2018: the new TV, smartphones and smart gadgets you need to know about

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 31/08/2018 Amelia Heathman

The final weekend in August means one thing in the tech world: IFA. Every year, the industry’s biggest names and media get together to see the launch of the latest innovation in tech and gadgets, from TVs to smartphones, headphones to wearables.

With all the new products, it can be hard to keep up with what’s going on.

Here’s a handy guide to the most interesting tech on show at this year’s IFA 2018.

Laptops are getting thinner and faster

Chip maker Intel used its presence at this year’s event to reveal its next-generation chip processors: the 8th Gen Intel core processors. What this means for you is that your laptop or computer is going to get better and faster.

The advances in Intel’s chip technology means new laptops on the market will have up to 16 hours battery life, can process twice as fast as an older device, as well as being fitted with voice recognition technology like Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana.

ASUS's new ZenBook range feature Intel's 8th-gen chip processors (ASUS) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited ASUS's new ZenBook range feature Intel's 8th-gen chip processors (ASUS)

If it’s better connectivity you’re after, the Intel processors mean the laptop has improved connectivity to WiFi connections to make it faster and easier to download files and content than ever before.

The new IFA laptop launches featuring Intel’s new processors were the Acer Swift5, the world’s lightest 15-inch laptop, and ASUS’s ZenBook S device, but expect to see more coming out over the next few months.

Your new TV is going to be 85-inches and have 8K

Samsung already launched its new Galaxy Note 9 smartphone a few weeks ago so IFA was all about its new TV range: the Samsung QLED 8K TV.

Available in four sizes: 65-inches, 75-inches, 82-inches and 85-inches, Samsung is envisioning a future where everyone has a ultra large screen TV in their home.

8K means the TV has double the horizontal and vertical pixels that 4K devices have. On an 8K TV, the show or film you’re watching looks incredibly sharp and extremely lifelike.

Inside the TV is Samsung’s 8K AI technology, which enhances the picture and sound quality up to an 8K standard, regardless of whether the content was shot using an 8K camera.

At the moment, 8K TVs are going to be very, very expensive but in a few years time, as the technology becomes more widespread, the price will come down and we’ll all be binge-watching Netflix in 8K.

Smart home gadgets are getting better

LG is taking on Samsung in the smart home gadgets space with the launch of its new smart speaker, designed specifically for your kitchen.

The LG Smart Display is a smart speaker with an 8-inch screen and Google Assistant, perfect for your kitchen counter, so you can use the device to improve your cooking experience.

The Korean-based company has partnered with Innit, the first smart kitchen platform, which has step-by-step videos for recipes and can be connected up to different smart devices.

LG has created a kitchen-specific smart speaker with Innit, the first smart kitchen platform (LG / Innit) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited LG has created a kitchen-specific smart speaker with Innit, the first smart kitchen platform (LG / Innit)

Kevin Brown, CEO and co-founder of Innit said the tie-up between LG, Innit and Google will make it easier for people to make great food every day.

“In the past, consumers may have had to open up six or seven apps to get the help they need cooking, including nutrition information, recipes, shopping lists, how-to videos, and remote control apps for various devices.

“With LG, Google, and Innit working together, consumers can enjoy a single elegant journey that gives them the confidence and assistance to create incredible meals every day,” he added.

The new device will be available towards the end of 2018, with prices unavailable at the moment.

Smartwatches aren’t just fitness devices

The Apple Watch may reign supreme when it comes to smartwatches but there’s a lot more competition on the scene apart from the usual tech/fitness-focused wearables.

Fossil has been leading the way in this area. Thanks to its heritage as a watch brand, with the likes of Skagen, Michael Kors and Armani watches under its wing, it’s cementing its position as the brand bringing out smart and stylish smartwatches.

At IFA, Fossil had the new Skagen Falster 2 smartwatches on display. Skagen released its first smartwatch earlier this year and demand has been so high for more features that the second iteration is already on its way to consumers.

It has all the classical features of a Skagen watch, a delicately designed watch face and that signature steel-mesh strap, but fitted with Google’s Wear OS software, Google Assistant, heart-rate monitoring and payment support.

The SkagenFalster 2 is a sleek watch with smart features (Skagen / Fossil) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited The SkagenFalster 2 is a sleek watch with smart features (Skagen / Fossil)

As well, the case is swim proof so if you do plan on tracking your lengths, you can do it in style.

The Skagen Flaster 2 smartwatch will be available to buy from 25 September and prices start at £269.

The return of the Polaroid

IFA is all about digital and tech so it may seem funny that an inherently analogue company like Polaroid would choose to launch its new OneStep+ camera there.

But, the latest device in Polaroid’s comeback range has seen the company perfectly merge together the beauty of its distinct analogue style with a digital infusion.

a hand holding a camera © Provided by Evening Standard Limited

The new camera works like a normal Polaroid, but thanks to Bluetooth it can integrate with the new Polaroid Originals app. The app is fitted with new features like double exposure, light painting and can function as a hands-free way to take photographs.

The new camera is available for £149.99 from 1 September.

New smartphone launches at IFA: Honor and Sony

IFA isn’t that big when it comes to smartphone launches, as this is usually reserved for Mobile World Congress in Berlin or individual events throughout the year (hello, new iPhone launch on 12 September).

That being said, there are a few new smartphones kicking around at IFA this year.

Honor chose IFA as the launch of the new Honor Play, a gaming-focused smartphone that is priced at under £300. With improved graphics processing and efficiency, the device also benefits from Honor's AI camera tech, with motion detection and intelligent recognition.

The Honor Play has a 5.5-inch screen and a subtle metal design and comes in three colours: Midnight Black, Navy Blue and a special edition red and black pattern. The new phone is available to buy now.

The company also teased its next mega phone, the Honor Magic 2, which is going to be notable for the fact its front facing camera is going to position in a slider component behind the front of the phone. This removes the notch problem but will it catch on?

Elsewhere, Sony launched the new Xperia XZ3, the first Sony flagship phone to come with an OLED screen. It will be one of the first devices to ship with the new Android Pie OS, featuring adaptive battery features and Google’s new digital wellness tools.

The new Sony XperiaXZ3 has a curved glass back design with wireless charging (Sony) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited The new Sony XperiaXZ3 has a curved glass back design with wireless charging (Sony)

That curved 3D glass back also means it will have wireless charging and comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

The Sony Xperia XZ3 will be available to buy in September and will cost £699.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd © Provided by Evening Standard Limited
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