As the sun sets on IFA 2019, the TechRadar team is recovering from the frantic nature of Europe’s biggest tech show – and now that the show is winding down, our intrepid reporters have gathered a bevy of news, reviews, and analysis to sink your teeth into.
Europe’s biggest tech show is usually the place every year to find out more on which 4K TVs (or even 8K), phones, wearables, laptops and appliances are going to be changing the world in the next 12 months – but IFA 2019 was less about changing the world, and more about brands improving their existing technology.
That doesn’t mean we didn’t see some truly fantastic gadgets this year – check out all the products that won our coveted IFA 2019 awards below.
If you want to know everything that happened at the tech show this year, we also have a comprehensive news list detailing all the announcements we heard, as well as a plethora of hands-on reviews to get stuck into.
Interested in a specific brand? Head to our brand round-up, which details everything the biggest companies got up to, including Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, and much more.
We had a huge presence at IFA this year, so if you want to know what our reporters on the ground really thought about the gadgets on offer, check out our opinion and analysis section, where we get into the nitty gritty of the massive Berlin tech showcase.
What you need to know
- What is IFA? Held annually in Berlin, IFA is Europe’s largest consumer tech conference, showcasing the upcoming launches from some of the world’s biggest electronics brands. Its origins date back to 1924, when it began as a radio convention.
- When is IFA 2019? IFA 2019 is officially held over September 6 to 11, 2019. It’s now winding down for this year, so if you want to know everything that happened, read on for all the news, announcements, reviews, and analysis from the show.
- Which brands are exhibiting? All the big brands were there, from Acer to ZTE and everyone in between. The only big name missing will be Apple, which always chooses to skip IFA and CES.
Reviews from IFA 2019
- Hands on: JBL Pulse 4 review
- Hands on: JBL Bar 5.1 Surround Sound review
- Hands on: F(x)tec Pro1 review
- Hands on: Sony WI-1000XM2 wireless headphones review
- Hands on: Nokia 7.2 review
- Hands on: Nokia 6.2 review
- Hands on: LG Signature Series OLED TV R (65R9 rollable television) review
- Hands on: Sony Xperia 5 review
- Hands on: Sonos Move review
- Hands on: Samsung 55-inch 8K QLED review
- Hands on: Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review
- Hands on: Razer Blade Stealth (Late 2019) review
- Hands on: Motorola One Zoom review
- Hands on: Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW true wireless earbuds review
- Hands on: Audio-Technica AT-LP5x turntable review
- Hands on: LG G8X ThinQ review
- Hands on: TCL RAY-DANZ soundbar review
- Hands on: TCL MTRO200 noise-cancelling headphones review
- Hands on: Garmin Venu review
- Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Fold review
- Hands on: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019) review
The best gadgets we saw at IFA 2019
There’s been a heap of top tech shown off at IFA 2019 in Berlin – from the latest smart speakers and phones, to state-of-the-art wearables and dazzling 8K TVs.
There’s a lot to take in, but don’t worry because we’ve scouted the halls, booths and conferences to bring you the very best in our IFA 2019 awards. Here are this year’s winners:
- Best in show: Sonos Move
- Best smartphone: Samsung Galaxy A90 5G
- Best TV: Samsung 55-inch 8K QLED
- Best in home theater: Nebula Soundbar Fire TV Edition
- Best in smart home: Philips Hue Edison bulbs
- Best smart speaker: Sonos Move
- Best headphones: Sony WI-1000XM2
- Best wearable: Garmin Venu
- Best in computing: Asus ProArt StudioBook
If you want to see the best products from each category, we’ve put together some handy round ups, where you’ll find the best phones, audio gadgets, laptops, TVS, and more from IFA 2019:
- IFA 2019: 10 insane innovations from the backrooms in Berlin
- 5 best smartwatches of IFA 2019
- Headphones, speakers, and soundbars: the best audio tech from IFA 2019
- 5 of the best smartphones announced at IFA 2019
- 5 off the best TVs shown off at IFA 2019
- The 4 coolest laptops of IFA 2019
All the news from IFA 2019
You might have noticed there was an absolute phalanx of news marching through IFA 2019 – so we’ve rounded up as much of it as we can below to give you all the information you need from the gargantuan press show.
- Kirin 990 chipset announced at IFA 2019, and it’ll probably power the Huawei Mate 30
- Has TCL finally made an impressive smartphone?
- Sony brings back the compact phone with Xperia 5
- Samsung Galaxy Fold to be released later this month
- Nokia launches new mid-range handsets
- The QWERTY keyboard-toting F(x)Tec Pro1 finally has a release date
- Motorola One Zoom is Moto’s attempt to make the best budget camera phone yet
- LG 8GX ThinQ dual-screen hybrid gives you a taste of the foldable phone future
- Huawei Mate X will launch in two variants with different power
- Polar Ignite’s new colors are the missing link for this popular cheap running watch
- Asus VivoWatch SP revealed at IFA 2019, and it’s the latest smartwatch with an ECG
- Michael Kors unveils three new designer smartwatches to satisfy your inner baller
- Puma Smartwatch is a Wear OS wearable that focuses on running
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 finally gets a key Apple Watch feature
- Garmin Venu is a ‘true’ Apple Watch rival – but with far more fitness features
- Garmin Vivoactive 3 gets a successor with improved… well, everything
- Withings Move ECG Europe release means you no longer need an Apple Watch
- Emporio Armani and Diesel launch new designer smartwatches
TV and Audio
- Amazon bets big on Alexa smart TVs with huge Fire TV Edition rollout
- Hisense 85U9E 8K TV will upscale 4K for razor-sharp viewing
- Hisense ‘Laser TVs’ beam a near-infinite array of colors to your projector screen
- Samsung’s 55-inch QLED 8K TV is its smallest to date
- Apple TV Plus is coming to Samsung’s smart TVs
- This year’s coolest LG TV still has no release date – so when will it land?
- IMAX Enhanced is making Sony TVs even more cinematic
- Sonos One SL ditches voice commands but keeps the killer sound
- Sonos Port makes any old speaker kit multi-room ready for the modern age
- TCL debuts a Dolby Atmos soundbar with an unusual design
- JBL Pulse 4 wireless speaker gets a full-body light display
- Philips’ OLED+934 and OLED+984 lead a suite of intriguing TVs at IFA 2019
- TCL has not one, but two new ridiculous 8K TVs at IFA this year
- Netgear’s Meural Canvas II is a 27-inch screen to turn your home into a gallery
- This Chromecast-enabled soundbar transmits room-shaking sound for serious cinephiles
- JBL launches three new soundbars, for TVs big or small
- New Amazon Fire TV Cube enhances your watching experience with Dolby Vision
- Urbanista launches two true wireless earbud models to rival Apple AirPods
- Adidas’ new headphones promise to make you run faster
- Latest Audio-Technica turntable makes playing vinyl records easy
- Audio-Technica is promising true wireless headphones with outstanding battery life
- Sony’s WI-1000XM2 wireless headphones will block out your noisy neighbors
- JBL’s new true wireless buds ditch Siri for Alexa and offer fast charging
- Huawei FreeBuds 3 are ready to take on Apple AirPods
- TCL is changing how earbuds are shaped to maximize comfort
- The new Sennheiser Momentum Wireless headphones are almost impossible to lose
- Asus reveals ProArt StudioBook laptops, promising the most graphically-powerful laptops in the world
- Asus ZenWiFi mesh router will bring next-gen Wi-Fi 6 to every room of your home
- Asus unveils laptops with 300Hz screens – trust us, that’s fast
- Intel says the future of laptops is Project Athena
- Acer offers two Windows laptops with discrete graphics
- Acer has improved it’s already great Chromebooks
- Acer buffs Predator gaming laptop with new 300Hz display and more accessories
- Asus ZenWiFi mesh router will bring next-gen Wi-Fi 6 to every room of your home
- Lenovo’s new Yoga laptops pack in punchier hardware and brighter screens
- Intel announces Core i9-9900KS October launch with a swipe at AMD over boost clocks
- Netgear wants you to spend almost $700 on an Orbi Wi-Fi 6 router
News by brand
We’re keeping our ears pressed firmly to the ground and we’ve got all the information you need on the top brands at IFA 2019, so keep an eye on the sections below to learn everything that’s emerged from each manufacturer.
IFA used to be a huge phone show for Samsung – quite literally, as it’s where it first revealed its then-massive Note smartphone range. That isn’t the case for 2019 as the company has already unveiled its Note 10, Note 10 Plus, Watch Active 2 and Galaxy Tab S6 at its own show in early August.
What the brand did show off more information on its new tiny (and affordable) 8K TVs, a modular fridge that’s as much about design as it is about keeping things cool, an ‘AirDresser’ that will de-wrinkle your clothing in a drawer, and the first ever affordable 5G smartphone.
We also heard that the Samsung Galaxy Fold will be coming (FINALLY) later this month, starting in South Korea on September 6, and the rest of the world will likely see it before the end of September. This is what Samsung has changed in the foldable phone since it first debuted.
Sony had a blissfully short press conference, lasting just under 20 minutes. The main things that appeared were the new Sony Xperia 5 phone, some fancy new neckband headphones (the Wi1000-XM2) from the brand.
There was also a new streaming-compatible Walkman – with ‘high quality’ audio, as well as high-end, near-field audio speakers on offer, as well as a new car entertainment system.
What we didn’t get was anything on the new Android TVs, nor anything that even resembled a hint on the PS5 – then again, we did say we would eat our laptops if the company chose IFA as its new console launchpad, so we were right there.
Computing company Acer always puts on a show during IFA, and for 2019 it even hosted a keynote session where it revealed a large chunk of its upcoming hardware
There are new Predator laptops with 300Hz displays, Acer Swift laptops with discrete graphic upgrades, and some new Chromebooks too. All in all, it’s a solid batch of new devices that we can’t wait to get our hands on.
The craziest Acer news, however, was its $14,000 gaming chair, the Predator Thronos. No, that number’s not a typo, Acer wants you to buy a chair for the amount of money that could get you a decent car.
With its Ryzen 3000 CPUs riding high, and its Navi rDNA graphics architecture expected to power the Xbox Project Scarlett and PS5 consoles, AMD has its hands full at the moment. Though it had a presence at IFA, there weren’t any big announcements.
Asus had a busy IFA 2019, announcing a spate of gaming and professional devices that push the boundaries of what we’ve come to expect from laptops.
On the gaming side of things, Asus revealed new models of its ROG Zephyrus S gaming laptops. Not only are these gorgeously-designed laptops that combine powerful gaming components with thin and light designs, but the new models also feature screens with incredibly fast 300Hz refresh rates.
That will allow the laptops to provide ultra-smooth frame rates when playing games. That kind of refresh rate needs powerful hardware behind it, and Asus appears to have packed these laptops with some impressive tech, including an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, a 9th-Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor and up to 32GB of RAM.
Asus also announced new ROG Zephyrus M laptops, which feature 1080p screens with Pantone validation, making them excellent laptops for content creators as well as gamers.
There were also announcements for professionals, with Asus revealing its ProArt StudioBook laptops at IFA 2019, which includes the ProArt StudioBook One, which it claims is the “most graphically-powerful laptop” in the world.
The ProArt StudioBooks are seriously-strong workstations that offer incredible performance for professionals, while also taking cues from Asus’ consumer laptops, such as ultra-thin NanoEdge bezels around the screens and secondary ScreenPad 2.0 touchscreens, which replace the traditional touchpad on certain models.
Let’s also give some love to the Asus VivoWatch SP, a smartwatch with ECG that the company launched too.
Fossil announced a slew of products over the course of IFA 2019, although none of them actually bear its name.
Sports brand Puma got its first smartwatch out, and designer brands Diesel and Emporio Armani have new devices out too. On top of that there are three new Michael Kors wearables that have been announced. That’s loads of wrist accessories for whatever your chic.
As with Fossil, Garmin likes to hit IFA with a range of sports-focused wearables. But it was in a slightly different position this year, coming into the show hot on the heels of a busy period of announcements.
There were two main Garmin announcements at IFA: firstly, the Garmin Venu is its first true competitor to the Apple Watch, but it may actually have a fuller complement of features. Then the Garmin Vivoactive 4 (and 4S) are new mid-range smartwatches for people who don’t need the premium features of the Venu.
With its first range of OLED TVs finally hitting store shelves, Hisense doubled down on the technology at IFA 2019. Its current top-tier OLED TV has a high asking price, but lacks some of the more premium features that its competition offers.
Sure enough, there were some big announcements from the brand. The first is the Hisense 85U9E 8K TV, which is the brand’s first 8K TV, and it’ll upscale content for your viewing pleasure. Then there’s Hisense Laser TVs, which is what it calls its projectors: they’re powerful, and have a huge spectrum of colors, so they may join the top tiers of our favorite projects when available.
Here’s one that could turn out to be a bit of a surprise. Honor announced the Honor Magic 2 at IFA in 2018, but did further promo around the already-announced Honor Play at the show, too.
The Honor 20 Pro is coming in a new color, a pearlescent hue that shimmers across a bright pastel gradient.
The Honor 9X, 9X Pro and Honor Band 5 have just launched in China, so we were hoping to see them at IFA, too – sadly they didn’t make an appearance.
Another upcoming surprise from Honor is Capture Vision. Again, we didn’t see Honor’s first TV at IFA, but we did get a first look during a press tour of Honor parent company Huawei’s Shenzhen, China campus.
Huawei had a surprisingly shallow offering at IFA 2019. There were no laptops, or wearables, or even smartphones.
We did see a tiny bit more of the Huawei Mate X, and learned it’ll ship with the Kirin 990 chipset, but there’s still no word on its release date.
The rest of Huawei’s showing involved the Huawei FreeBuds 3, new AirPod-style wireless earphones, and two new colors for the Huawei P30 Pro. Yep, that’s it.
Intel went big at IFA 2019 – and in our view it needed to, as the competition against AMD is tougher than it’s been for quite some time.
That’s why Intel took to the show floor to show us its vision of the future of laptops , and throughout the week it showed off new Project Athena laptops from some of the biggest names in notebooks. These promise to revolutionize the laptop market with improved power, huge battery lives and instant boot-up times.
Intel also revealed laptops from the likes of Acer, Asus, Lenovo, MSI and Razer that run on its latest 10th generation Core processors, so check out our hands on reviews of these models for more information.
Lenovo, the company behind Yoga laptops and Motorola phones, didn’t have as big an IFA showing as we were expecting, but the company had already lifted the lid on lots of new devices already, including updated versions of the ThinkPad range, as well as Chromebooks, tablets, desktops and monitors.
So what new tech did we see? Lenovo’s new Yoga laptop was a highlight, with better hardware and screen tech. We also got our first glimpse of the long-rumored Motorola One Zoom, which is Motorola’s latest attempt to make the best camera phone.
TV and home cinema tech was the main attractions of LG’s IFA showcase, no doubt, as the company (being the only actual manufacturer of the technology) continues to sign the praises of its OLED TV tech.
There was the new range of CineBeam 4K projectors shown off, and a release for European markets (presumably including the UK) is scheduled for September.
The lineup will include LG’s first ultra short throw projector, called the CineBeam Laser (HU85L). This project can display a 90-inch image along a wall at only two inches away – and a 120-inch image at seven inches away. At 2,500 lumens brightness, 4K resolution, and HDR support, it’s a premium projector offering set to appease home cinema enthusiasts who don’t want a massive 75-inch TV (or bigger) taking up space in their living room.
Oh, and LG showed off this year’s coolest TV. It’s just a shame you can’t buy it…
As well as TV tech, LG showed off its new dual-screen smartphone, the LG G8X ThinQ. Yes, that name is a bit of mouthful (seven syllables for a smartphone name!?), but it’s one of the more impressive dual-screen phones we’ve seen.
Nokia had a few smartphones to show off at IFA 2019, hitting a variety of different price points. There’s a new feature phone, and a new rugged phone, the former of which Nokia is a market champion for, and the latter of which it’s a newcomer.
There’s a flip phone too, which a certain TechRadar staff writer is overjoyed by.
The highlight of Nokia’s showing is the Nokia 6.2 and Nokia 7.2, two new mid-range smartphones. The latter has a 48MP camera, and is the first Nokia smartphone to boast one of these impressive sensors, so the company is clearly playing with the big guns now.
Philips had a plentiful showing at IFA 2019, spearheaded by its OLED+934 and OLED+984 TVs. They’re packed out with powerful speakers and displays, and are as suitably large as you’d expect for new high-end TVs.
There’s also a new version of Philips Hue smart-home lighting available: Edison ‘filament’ bulbs. These are the lights with curly filament inside, that you’d often find at bars or cafes trying to ape a ‘hipster’ or ‘vintage’ style (although we’re not sure how hipster the Philips brand is).
Razer had a modest array of new laptops to show at IFA, so if you’re looking for portable gaming solutions you might find them interesting.
The highlight was the Razer Blade Stealth (Late 2019 model) which may actually be Razer’s best ‘Chromebook-style’ laptop thanks to hugely boosted graphics over previous versions.
A few new laptops were shown off too, so check out our coverage for more information.
IFA 2019: what we really thought
This year’s IFA show was a little different from what we’re used to; normally the Berlin showcase delivers a cornucopia of trailblazing new technology, with innovations that could change the way we live forever.
Last year, for example, we had the debut of Samsung’s Q900R 8K TV, the impressive Harmon Kardon Citation range of speakers, and our current favorite noise-canceling headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3.
This year however, the announcements have been a little more subdued, with brands focussing on developing their existing technology instead of announcing any true game-changers.
For some, that was disappointing, while for others, it’s a sign that bigger things are on the horizon, and that upcoming shows like CES 2020 could be where we see ground-breaking developments in the world of tech.
Check out the analysis pieces below for an insight into how our reporters on the ground really felt about IFA 2019.
- IFA 2019 made me realize that tech may be stagnating
- Samsung Galaxy Fold: what has changed so far?
- Budget OLED TVs are tempting, but are manufacturers jumping the gun?