It’s that time of year again the Best products of IFA 2018. Europe’s largest consumer electronics show, held in Berlin, was quieter than previous years, but there were still a few notable gadget gems to get pumped up for.
Best Headphones – Sony WH-1000XM3
In the noise-cancelling war between Bose and Sony, the Sony WH-1000XM3 strikes a definitive blow. The third-generation headphones build on their predecessors’ excellent background noise reduction with even more capable processing, together with a more comfortable design, stronger musical performance, and frequently-requested features like USB-C. You probably shouldn’t travel without them.
Most Innovative – Lenovo Yoga Book C930
Part notebook, part tablet, part e-reader, and entirely unique, the Yoga Book C930 succeeds in no small part because Lenovo listened. There’s now a full E Ink touchscreen which can show a keyboard, a digital art surface, or documents for annotation, while a more potent processor means this is no mere toy. As an example of where computing is going, it has both sci-fi appeal and the promise of being legitimately useful, particularly to road warriors.
Best Speaker Bang & Olufsen Edge
An iconic luxury audio brand, Bang & Olufsen has a rich history of producing audio products with striking design and impeccable sound quality. The company’s new Edge speaker pulls off the tough trick of making a bold statement while remaining timeless in its aesthetic. It’s sound is massive, refined, and deeply satisfying, and its modern features make it a speaker that fits well into modern-day lifestyles with it’s built in chromecast.
Most promising technology – Tempow
Tempow is a Bluetooth protocol that can enable your device to connect to multiple Bluetooth speakers regardless of who manufactured them. This is the low hanging fruit as the potential applications they can enable as far greater.
Mesh networking, leverages multiple devices for voice detection. Smart Surround Sound lets users chain multiple speakers together to create 5.1 or 3.1 speaker systems.
They showed a demo of a TV streaming two languages to different bluetooth headsets. For asia this is game changing as tighter living quarters mean headsets are used regularly for watching TV. It also speaks to how global their perspective since having friends over whose native language is different than their own is a regular occurrence.
I don’t know how many times I’ve made people watch a movie in english when they’d prefer to listen in Japanese or Chinese.
Best IoT/Smart Home – Philips Friends of Hue Switches
The smart home is big business, but sometimes a simple switch is all that’s needed to bridge that human-IoT divide. Philips’ new Friends of Hue smart switches bring some much needed old-school control to thoroughly modern wireless bulbs, promising to blend in with your existing wall switches but control your connected lighting. The fact that they’re self-powered and don’t require wiring in is the icing on the IoT cake.
Smart home accessory – Nanoleaf canvas
Part smart lighting system, part customizable art installation, the Nanoleaf Canvas is a wonderful way to decorate your home and will delight visitors. You can set colors, animated sequences, and more from a smartphone app, or using a voice assistant like Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. The light panels can even react to the music that’s playing, timing animated bursts of color to match the audio in the room. They are even fun to play with since they are touch enabled.