Like many tech trade shows, IFA has been more or less on hiatus for a couple of years after being disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in 2022, Europe’s biggest tech show is back with a vengeance, filling out the halls of Messe Berlin with consumer technology from around the world. While CES has a reputation for being the place where the year’s TVs get announced, and Mobile World Congress is focused on smartphones and wearables, IFA tends to be much broader, encompassing everything from smart home technology to audio.
Sep 3, 2022
Matter, the upcoming standard that’s attempting to give the smart home a single unifying language, is almost here — and I was just treated to an early demonstration of the kinds of cross-platform compatibility that it should enable in the future. The demonstration was given by Eve, which produces a range of smart plugs, radiator valves, lighting, and security devices.Read Article >
Historically, Eve has only ever worked with Apple’s HomeKit smart home platform. This is because it didn’t want to use cloud-to-cloud platforms, preferring to keep its devices on locally-controlled platforms for privacy and security. Eve has had an iOS app but no Android app, and it didn’t support Samsung’s SmartThings, Amazon’s Alexa, or Google Home. So it was notable to see all four platforms represented as I approached Eve’s booth at the IFA trade show in Berlin.
Honor is planning to release its second foldable next year, and unlike the Honor Magic V, the company hopes to actually release the device outside of China. Honor’s CEO, George Zhao, confirmed the plans in an interview with The Verge ahead of this year’s IFA trade show in Berlin and said the company expects to launch its next foldable device in the first quarter of next year.Read Article >
“We’ve made the decision that next year, in Q1, we’ll bring our latest foldable smartphone to international markets,” including Europe, Zhao said. The CEO didn’t confirm any specifics or details for the new device but indicated that Honor’s major areas of focus for its foldables are making them thinner, lighter, and more affordable.
In case anyone is needing extra RGB lighting in their lives, LG’s new MoodUp fridge has you covered. The refrigerator, which the South Korean electronics giant announced this week at IFA in Berlin, has LED light panels on its front that can illuminate in over a dozen different colors (22 for the upper panel, 19 for the lower). There’s also a built-in Bluetooth speaker (I know).Read Article >
You control the light panels through LG’s app, where there are a series of preset color schemes to match different seasons and moods. But of course, you can also take full control to create a gloriously ugly kitchen color scheme of your own devising. I was helpfully shown such an abomination during an in-person demonstration on the show floor, and it was quite something.
Outside of 3D, curved TVs are probably one of the industry’s most ill-advised gimmicks. Unless you sat at a very specific point in front of them, they resulted in a warped image, harsh reflections, and a generally unpleasant viewing experience, for close to no benefit. Seriously, they were terrible. It felt like curved TVs happened because companies could make them, rather than because they should.Read Article >
It took me a little while to realize it, but LG’s new 42-inch OLED Flex, which it’s announced this week at IFA and hopes to bring to market this fall, effectively marks the return of curved TVs. It may have a monitor-style stand featuring some gamer-styled RGB lighting, and LG may have confused things slightly by placing the OLED Flex on top of a desk like a monitor in its demo area. But make no mistake, this is a TV-ass TV. It’s got four HDMI 2.1 inputs, runs WebOS, and has a built-in TV tuner. It’s a TV.
Sennheiser’s debut soundbar, released in 2019, was a niche product for a couple of reasons. The first was the price. At $2,499.95, it rivaled the cost of many traditional surround sound systems comprised of AV receivers and multiple speakers. But perhaps more important was its size. I say this with love, but the original Ambeo Soundbar (which has now been renamed the Ambeo Soundbar Max) was a chunky boy, which hardly made it an easy sell for anyone looking to tuck it discreetly in front of their TV.Read Article >
So although it’s $1,000 cheaper, I think price might only be the second most important change with Sennheiser’s second soundbar, the $1,499.95 Ambeo Soundbar Plus, which the company launched today at an event in Berlin. Instead, I think its reduced size might be more important. It’s now just 7 centimeters tall rather than 13 centimeters. That means you’re still going to have trouble fitting it underneath a TV like LG’s C series, which has a notoriously short stand, but it has a decent chance at fitting under taller models, unlike its predecessor.
Sep 1, 2022
Lenovo is the latest company promoting a USB-C monitor made for your face. The company’s new Glasses T1 put a Full HD OLED screen in front of each of your eyes and were revealed today during IFA and on Lenovo’s virtual showcase.Read Article >
This wearable private display, as Lenovo puts it, is very much like other consumer smart glasses, including TCL’s NxtWear Air, which puts two 1080p micro-OLED screens in front of your eyes, just like Lenovo’s T1. Another similar product is the Nreal Air, though that one has a 90Hz screen refresh rate compared to the T1’s 60Hz.
When it comes to getting the most immersive audio presentation from a standalone soundbar, no one has managed to outclass Sennheiser’s Ambeo. And considering that device’s sky-high $2,500 price, you’d expect it to deliver a sublime home theater experience. At IFA 2022, Sennheiser is adding to the Ambeo lineup by introducing the new Ambeo Soundbar Plus. The price is slightly lower but will likely still leave this one out of reach for many consumers. It costs $1,499.95, and preorders begin today.Read Article >
The Plus model is advertised as “the world’s first 7.1.4 standalone soundbar.” Sennheiser’s original Ambeo will remain for sale and is now being rebranded as the Ambeo Soundbar Max. It’s still larger than the new Plus, so the name makes sense in that regard. The words “more compact” are mentioned several times in the company’s press release, so Sennheiser is really trying to underline that difference. It’s not a tiny soundbar by any means, but it comes off as less imposing than the Max.
Today, Leica — yes, the camera company — announced its first ultra-short throw (UST) laser projector at the big IFA show in Germany, capable of producing a 4K image of up to 100 inches with Dolby Atmos sound.Read Article >
This isn’t Leica’s first foray into digital projectors, which it once sold under the Pradovit brand. It’s also collaborated with other projector makers, including this obscure UST model from last year.
Withings has a few nifty ideas when it comes to smart scales, and for IFA 2022, it’s announced the Body Comp. What makes the Body Comp stand out is it can assess the health of your arteries and nerves in addition to “normal” body composition. Withings is also introducing a new Health Plus coaching service alongside the scale to help users meet their goals.Read Article >
Smart scales like the Body Comp all use BIA to send a weak current through your body to determine how much muscle, water, bone, and fat you have. (Though, you should always take these scales’ accuracy and health claims with a grain of salt.) What’s novel here is users can assess their vascular age, visceral fat, and nerve health from a single device. Visceral fat refers to the fat that cushions your organs. It influences the hormones in your body, and too much can mess with your metabolism and heart health. The vascular age metric is based on pulse wave velocity, or how quickly pressure waves move through a blood vessel. It indicates how stiff a person’s arteries are and whether that’s appropriate for their age. People whose vascular age is older than their actual chronological age may have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular issues down the road.
At IFA 2022, Jabra is announcing the new $149 Elite 5 earbuds. Serving as the company’s midrange pair of buds — akin to something like the older Elite 75t — these will offer up to seven hours of continuous playback with active noise cancellation turned on. They also feature multipoint Bluetooth for two simultaneous connections, IP55 dust and water resistance, and codec support that includes aptX, AAC, and SBC.Read Article >
The Elite 5s contain 6mm drivers and customizable EQ. As for the design, Jabra says they’ll provide “a discreet, comfortable, and compact fit.” The earbuds share a teardrop shape that’s similar to the rest of the current Elite series and have six mics onboard for enhanced voice call performance with wind suppression. You also get bonuses like Android Fast Pair, Windows Swift Pair, plus Google Assistant and Alexa integration.
Sep 1, 2022
Lenovo has launched the IdeaPad 5i Chromebook — a device that looks fairly unremarkable but has a potentially standout screen. The device will be available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in September 2022 with a starting price of €549 — US pricing and availability are still to be announced.Read Article >
The IdeaPad 5i is Lenovo’s first 16-inch Chromebook, and it’s a substantial one at 4.10 pounds and 0.8 inches thick. The display has a 2.5K resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio, and a maximum brightness of 350 nits — but what really has the Chromebook community buzzing is that it also has a 120Hz refresh rate. That means you can see up to 120 frames per second when you’re gaming (on GeForce Now or Stadia, for example). It should also make for a noticeably smooth scrolling experience and more enjoyable video-watching. 120Hz is a higher refresh rate than you see from all kinds of modern laptops (such as the $3,499.99 Asus one I just reviewed. No, I’m still not over it).
TCL finally made a Roku TV with excellent gaming specs. The company is in a tick-tock release pattern of sorts with its popular 6-Series TV. One year, there’s a Roku version; the next year, we get a Google TV edition, and now, TCL is upgrading the Roku model again. Like previous 6-Series TVs, the latest one features Mini LED backlighting, which utilizes thousands of tiny LEDs spread across hundreds of local dimming zones to create top-notch brightness, impressive contrast, and deep black levels. This panel has up to 360 dimming zones. And it uses quantum dot color, with “a measured 100 percent color volume in the DCI-P3 Hollywood reference color space,” according to TCL.Read Article >
For the 2022 6-Series Roku TV, TCL is putting a big emphasis on gaming capabilities. The prior Roku model topped out at 1440p at 120Hz, but now — as you’d hope so far into the PS5 and Xbox Series X lifecycle — the 6-Series can do full 4K-resolution gaming at 120Hz. PC gamers can achieve an even higher peak variable refresh rate of 144Hz. Other TV makers like Samsung have also adopted 144Hz; Vizio has even hit 240Hz at 1080p resolution. These companies are doing their best to appeal to console and PC gamers alike, but I’m just glad TCL is offering true 4K resolution at those higher refresh rates this time around.
Garmin is launching two new wearables at IFA 2022. The $249.99 Venu Sq 2 is an update to its affordable GPS smartwatch line, while the $89.99 Black Panther version Vivofit Jr. 3 gets a new special edition band.Read Article >
The Venu Sq 2 is mostly an iterative refresh. The OLED screen is a smidge bigger at 1.4 inches. It’s also included its Health Snapshot feature, which lets users log a two-minute session that simultaneously records metrics like heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen levels, respiration, and stress. Both of these updates are fine, but the most significant change is that it’s nearly doubled battery life from six days to 11 days. Like the original Venu Sq, it’ll also come in a Music version that can store up to 500 songs on the watch. As usual, the Music version costs an extra $50 at $299.99. Speaking of price, the entire Venu Sq 2 lineup is $50 more than the original, probably because inflation has finally come for our gadgets.
HMD is announcing a trio of new smartphones today — the Nokia G60 5G, C31, and X30 5G — and says the X30 5G is the “most eco-friendly smartphone” it’s ever produced. The three phones are focused on Europe, and are distinct from the range of devices that HMD sells in the US.Read Article >
As well as being sold outright, the Nokia X30 5G will be one of a handful of phones available via HMD’s new subscription service called “Circular,” where customers can subscribe to get a handset for a monthly fee and receive incentives to use a phone for as long as possible. Circular will initially be available in the UK and Germany, but HMD says it’s planning a global launch “in the coming months.”
- Read Article >
After years as an Apple-only smart home company, Eve is finally turning to the
darkother side and launching an Android app. At the IFA tech show, the company announced that its suite of smart home products — which include smart plugs, smart light strips, smart switches, and smart sensors — will get its own Android app in late 2022. Most Eve products will also become compatible with other smart home systems, including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings.
Smart door locks and video doorbells are great conveniences for those who live in single-family homes, but what about the millions of people who live in flats, apartments, and condos? They might also like to answer their front door from their phone — whether they’re home or not — and perhaps buzz their visitor in without getting off the couch or rushing home from the office. Ring, maker of the original video doorbell, thinks it has a solution.Read Article >
Ring Intercom is a DIY, retrofit device that attaches to the intercom inside your home and connects via Wi-Fi to the Ring app on your smartphone. It’s specifically designed for European apartment buildings where multiple flats (or apartments) have one entry point and only an audio intercom system installed. With Ring Intercom installed, when someone rings your flat, you can talk to your visitor and buzz them in through the app. There’s no video component — it’s all audio — and there’s no recording feature. Ring Intercom simply replicates the existing function of your intercom on your phone, letting you talk to your front door from anywhere.
Sep 1, 2022
Signify is making further inroads with the gaming community with its new lineup of Philips Hue Play gradient lightstrips for PCs. Much like the 55-inch Play lightstrip explicitly made for TVs, the PC versions of the Play lightstrips provide flexible accent lighting that attaches to the back of your monitor.Read Article >
The lightstrips will be available in bundles sized for displays ranging from 24 to 27 inches ($169.99) or 32 to 34 inches ($189.99) and an additional bundle that supports a trio of 24 to 27-inch monitors ($279.99). The new family of Play lightstrips can sync with other connected lighting in the Philips Hue ecosystem and will be available starting September 13th.
It’s official, Philips Hue’s gorgeous Lightguide bulbs are real. Signify, which owns Philips Hue, announced the new white and color ambiance light bulbs at the IFA tech conference in Berlin this week, confirming The Verge’s earlier report of the imminent arrival of the oversized dimmable smart bulbs designed for open lighting fixtures.Read Article >
Other new products incoming to Hue’s smart lighting line include a Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip for PCs, a slimmer downlight for low-profile ceilings, and a tunable white filament candle bulb. Signify also announced a partnership with Samsung SmartThings to sync music with your smart lights, and new features for its Hue app, including the ability to set automatic away lighting — which Hue is calling “Mimic Presence” lighting.
Aug 31, 2022
If you’ve browsed around the Container Store looking for the perfect sneaker storage, you’re looking in the wrong places. Maybe what you really need is LG’s new Styler ShoeCase — a shoebox with a window that’s currently being displayed at IFA. The enclosure can keep your shoes safe from moisture and has filters to protect them from UV light.Read Article >
Oh, then you went to Ikea to get stackable shelving for all your kicks? Well, I’m happy to report that the Styler ShoeCase lets you stack up to four of these bad boys on top of each other. And each has a built-in Lazy Susan that can be rotated to show off your Jordan VII’s best angles — and hide that one scuff mark from when homie moved the chair over it.
Aug 31, 2022
Samsung has announced its first OLED gaming monitor, the 34-inch Odyssey OLED G8. It’s also one of the company’s first gaming monitors we’ve seen that includes Samsung’s Gaming Hub, alongside the Odyssey G7 and G6 announced earlier in August and the monstrous Odyssey Ark. The feature lets people stream games from services like Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Google Stadia, or Xbox Game Pass without the need for a console or PC. (The feature, which also lets you stream movies from services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and the recently upgraded Samsung TV Plus, has been available on Samsung’s Smart Monitor line, but those aren’t really built for gaming.) But while it seems like a totally reasonable display in its own right, there are a few confusing things about it, as well as some important unknowns.Read Article >
Let’s put those to the side for just a second, though, and look at the OLED G8’s specs — its 3,440 x 1,440 panel can run at a 175Hz refresh rate, and it has a 1800R curve (which is relatively flat when compared to monitors like the 1000R-curved Odyssey G9 and LG’s OLED gaming monitor, the UltraGear 45GR95QE). It also supports AMD FreeSync Premium, which helps reduce stuttering or tearing while gaming by dynamically adjusting the monitor’s refresh rate to keep up with what your GPU is putting out. The monitor also comes with a height and tilt-adjustable stand and has a 5W stereo speaker built in.
Aug 31, 2022
European smart home company Tado already promises that its smart thermostats will save you money on your energy bill. But now, the firm is launching a new premium subscription called Tado Balance that it says will go even further.Read Article >
Tado Balance, which is launching today across several European markets for €4 (£4) a month or €30 (£30) a year, is a feature that attempts to intelligently shift when your home is heated or cooled, taking advantage of cheaper electricity and avoiding usage when prices spike. So, if a Tado thermostat sees that you want your home to be heated in three hours’ time but prices are cheaper in an hour, it’ll overheat your house at that point just by half a degree or a degree, so the heat will stick around.
Aug 31, 2022
Today at IFA 2022, Bang & Olufsen introduced the Beosound Theatre Dolby Atmos soundbar, which doubles as both a stylish speaker and a motorized TV stand. The Beosound Theatre is an all-in-one sound system containing 12 speaker drivers, including two custom-made, long-stroke 6.5-inch woofers. If you have grander plans for your audio setup, however, the Theatre can also form the heart of a Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 surround system, thanks to its seven built-in outputs and support for up to 16 external loudspeakers.Read Article >
Advertised as providing a “sculptural, modular build,” the interface bracket is motorized, allowing the TV to rotate so that users can find the best possible viewing angle, though if you have no need for it, you’ll be able to buy the soundbar separately from the stand. You can also replace the soundbar later (as well as your TV) later if it suits you. The Beosound Theatre interface bracket — most people would call it a TV stand — itself also includes a compartment where you can hide cables and TV boxes from view.
Aug 31, 2022
LG has announced its first bendable OLED TV which works either completely flat or as a curved display. The LG OLED Flex (model LX3) is a 42-inch OLED TV that bends into a curved (900R) TV thanks to LG’s latest display technology. Curved displays are suited for a more immersive gaming experience, while flat screens are better for watching TV broadcasts or streaming services.Read Article >
LG OLED Flex owners can automatically bend and adjust the TV into its curved mode using a dedicated button on the TV remote. (As opposed to some morphing monitors which have to be manually adjusted). There are two presets or owners can adjust the curve of the display in five percent increments through 20 different levels.
Aug 30, 2022
JBL has just announced the Tour Pro 2 wireless earbuds, featuring adaptive noise cancellation and customizable ANC alongside a charging case with a 1.45-inch LED touchscreen control panel.Read Article >
The display on the charging case allows you to flick through multiple screens where you can manage your music and make adjustments to your earbuds, as well as receive calls, messages, and social media notifications without having to first grab your phone. It’s being advertised as a productivity feature, and that does appear to hold some weight if you don’t already own a smartwatch or if you don’t tend to keep your phone in an easily accessible pocket.
Aug 30, 2022
JBL is launching a quartet of new Atmos-capable soundbars for the fall, and two of them have battery-powered wireless rear speakers that quickly deploy for a tidy home theater setup. When not watching a movie, the speakers can be docked into the sides of the new soundbars to recharge.Read Article >
The flagship JBL Bar 1000 is an 11.1-channel performer that includes four upward-firing speakers for Dolby Atmos 3D sound. It also has a wireless subwoofer and supports DTS:X 3D surround sound.