You’d think with how easily it is to distribute and consume info anywhere, instantaneously, trade shows would be waning faster than they are. But brands like Samsung, Nokia, Amazon, and Garmin still like to introduce new products at trade shows and expos where media and lots of potential customers can play with them. One of the largest is called IFA and it happened last week in Berlin, Germany.
Its massive halls were filled with the latest consumer electronics, gadgets, and appliances. Yes, Samsung had a new version of its foldable phone, and there were 8k televisions, super-quiet dishwashers, and super-fast gaming laptops. And a ton more (IFA claims it had more than 1,800 brands exhibiting products this year). Out of it all, here are the 15 coolest, most exciting products we saw.
Nokia 800 Tough
Price: $121 (converted from 110 euros)
Available: October 2019
Nokia phones are so durable that they’ve inspired memes—they’re the tech world’s cockroaches, designed to survive the end of humanity itself. With its new 800 smartphone, Nokia leaned into that ethos: The rugged device features an IP68 dust- and water-resistance rating, meaning it’ll survive a drop in the pool. It also complies with military-grade resistance to environmental factors like temperature shock, extreme humidity, and being near explosions. It’s also easy to use, with raised keys, a flashlight, and Google Assistant already installed. The 800 Tough is set to go on sale worldwide in October.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
Available: Late September 2019
The Samsung Galaxy Fold began as an innovative idea, a smartphone that folds open to reveal a second screen that’s twice the size of the folded-up phone. Then, a bunch of screens on pre-release models broke almost immediately after reviewers began using them, so Samsung went back and re-engineered the hinges and screen protector to prevent dust and debris from ruining the 7.3-inch AMOLED display. The phone’s hardware is impressive; it sports six cameras and 12GB of RAM. If you’re ready to take the plunge, the U.S. release is rumored for late September.
Samsung Galaxy A90 5G
Samsung’s latest Galaxy is the A90 5G phone, a “budget” option that’ll still set you back more than $800. Touted as Samsung’s cheapest 5G phone, the A90 features a 6.7-inch screen and is loaded with three rear cameras—one of which comes with a 48 megapixel lens—and one front-facing camera with a 32 megapixel lens. You can choose from a white or black model. Samsung’s A line of phones was made for the consumer who doesn’t want to spend an entire paycheck on a phone. TechRadar reports that the A90 has a “vibrant display” and liked its long battery life but disliked that the phone is weighty and noted that the “camera app UI is confusing.”
TVs & Media
TCL 8K QLED X-Series
Available: April 2020
Prepare to have one of the most tricked out TVs on the market. TCL’s new X-Series, which includes 85-, 75-, and 65-inch models, features 8K resolution and Quantum Dot display technology for a crystal clear picture. Of course, it gets more exciting than that. The TVs come with an Onkyo soundbar, will support augmented reality content, use AI learning, have a retractable camera, and offer a second mini-screen for independent viewing. At the earliest, the 8K models will be available next April, with similar 4K models releasing later this year. TCL has not released any pricing information yet.
Amazon Fire TV Cube
Available: Pre-order now; on sale October 2019
The new Amazon Fire TV Cube is the next step in Amazon’s quest to take over your living room. It combines Alexa voice controls with the 4K streaming capabilities of Fire TV. The new device will soon support Dolby Vision, a high dynamic range (HDR) 4K that pumps up the brightness, contrast, and detailing of your favorite shows and movies. Eight microphones pick up your voice input for programming changes and ambiance adjustment—Amazon is really pushing the remote-free lifestyle—but there’s still a traditional remote in the box. Pre-orders are available now; the new Fire TV Cube goes on sale October 10.
Definitive Technology Studio Slim Soundbar
Price: $999 (on sale for $772 at Amazon)
At under two inches tall, the sleek Studio Slim Soundbar will blend right in to any cinephile’s home entertainment and Google smart home system. The speakers are Chromecast-enabled, meaning you can wirelessly cast your preferred music streaming service and use voice commands. However, it differs from other Bluetooth speakers since you can connect multiple devices to it simultaneously. Divided into left, center, and right channels, the soundbar features seven drivers and amplifiers with three preset modes (Movie, Music, and Night) for the most immersive, accurate sound for all kinds of content. The included eight-inch subwoofer will also add necessary bass tones to enhance any soundtrack.
Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System
Available: Fall 2019
Netgear’s Orbi Wi-Fi 6 bundle is supposed to bring faster speeds and provide “four times the capacity of a Wi-Fi 5 network,” per CNET. This system is designed to grant Wi-Fi access across your home with no lulls in service or connectivity—as long as you already have a fast internet connection and compatible devices (like Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Note 10 phones). Orbi will also set you back a pretty penny: $700 to be exact. That’s a lot when you consider that there aren’t that many devices on the market that are compatible with this next-gen Wi-Fi…at least not yet. CNET reports that Google’s Pixel 4 may be Wi-Fi 6 compatible while it remains unclear whether the next new iPhone will have this compatibility.
Bosch Silence Edition Appliances
Bosch debuted a new line of super quiet appliances, including a washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, and oven hood. Using EcoSilence tech, developed by the German tech and engineering company, each appliance promises to make your home a more peaceful place. To put decibel level into perspective: The Series 8 Washing Machine runs at 44 decibels—comparable to the quiet conversation you might hear between two people in a library. The Series 6 Dishwasher runs at an impressive 38 decibels, something between the sound of human breathing and a whisper. Speaking of a whisper, the SuperSilence Series 6 refrigerator is quieter than one.
Available: Fall 2019
Smart device manufacturer Shelly has a new smart switch in its catalog, and this one doesn’t just turn lights on and off, it dims them. Unlike plug-in or other smart switches that replace your old hardware, the pint-size Shelly Dimmer is an in-wall middleman that installs between your ordinary switch and the electrical wires backing it. Once in place, the device connects to wifi so you can control lights up to 30 meters away using the Shelly Cloud app, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant. The Shelly Dimmer (and the SL model for homes without neutral lines) also has useful programming features so you can simulate sunrise for an easy wakeup call or be sure your porch light always comes on at night. The company expects to start shipping dimmers in October and November.
Acer Predator Triton 500
Price: $1,700–2,900 (6 models)
Available: December 2019
In this digital age, quality, speed, and portability are what mobile gamers try to tick off their checklist when looking for a new platform. Usually, you’re lucky if you can get one out of the three; Acer’s Predator Triton 500 checks off all of these items. The latest in the Predator Triton series has a 300Hz refresh rate and 15.6-inch FHD display. The less than 5-pound laptop has a slim profile, making it easy for travel. That 300Hz is also no joke: Say goodbye to screen tearing and lagging. The laptop is set for release this December.
Asus ROG Zephyrus S
Available: October 2019
Asus is updating its ROG Zephyrus S laptops, set to release in October, for both gamers and content creators by creating a new display with a revolutionary 300Hz refresh rate. Asus hasn’t revealed prices yet, but this next level of smooth action for gamers certainly won’t be cheap. The display will also be Pantone-calibrated to appeal to video and photo editors and graphic or web designers who require the best color accuracy. Starting with the GX701, these updates will eventually roll out to other models like the GX502 and Strix.
Acer Concept D
Price: $2,300 (ConceptD 7 Pro)
Available: November 2019
Acer is using its expertise in gaming laptops to develop more creator-focused systems with the ConceptD lineup. Based on the Predator Triton 900, these new systems have the latest Quadro GPUs for enhanced performance that creative professionals crave. The flagship ConceptD 9 Pro features NVIDIA RTX 2080 graphics and ninth-generation Intel CPU with a 17-inch 4K display. In comparison, the 15.6-inch ConceptD 7 Pro is more suited for on-the-go work, while maintaining the latest processor, graphics, and Pantone-validated display. The 7 Pro is the only model available now, while the ConceptD 3, 5, and 9 Pro are set to release in November and December, from $1,000 up to $5,800.
Beauty, fitness, and your workout soundtrack sans phone are all at your wrist with the Venu. Besides monitoring energy, hydration, stress, and sleep, the Venu also tracks menstrual cycles on the Garmin Connect app, informing runners on how to train and fuel during each phase of their cycle. In a fitness rut? You can watch easy-to-follow animated workouts on the watch face. The Venu has a 5-day battery life, and up to 6 hours in GPS mode with music, which you can download and listen to phone-free.
Huawei FreeBuds 3 Headphones
Wireless, noise-cancelling earbuds are finally starting to appear, and we couldn’t be more excited. Tech giant Huawei debuted the latest upgrade to its FreeBuds headphones, though it still hasn’t announced the price or when the ’buds will be available. The FreeBuds 3 feature Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology that Huawei claims is capable of reducing the effects of 15-decibel ambient noise, according to CNET. What’s more, the buds include the new A1 chipset, which is smaller and more energy-efficient. Huawei promises four hours of playback in a single charge or 20 hours when used with the charging case.
Asus VivoWatch SP
The SP’s predecessor, the VivoWatch BP, looked more like a medical device than a fitness tracker fit for casual wear. Asus’s newest model, the SP, has a more stylish watch face and wristband. Like the BP, the SP measures blood pressure with an ECG sensor. The watch is a part of the wave of “intelligent” fitness trackers that take the next step by offering features that take a preventative step against hypertension and heart disease. The SP has a two-week battery life, is water-resistant, and has GPS and a PulseOx sensor.