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Expert Reviews Best of IFA 2014 - Award Winners

Expert Reviews Staff
5 Sep 2014
Best of IFA - Miss IFA
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The best of the best from the IFA 2014 show in Berlin

IFA 2014 was another exciting show, with Berlin inundated with exciting new tech. We’ve covered all the latest kit here at Expert Reviews, and to celebrate another great show, we’ve decided to honour the best tech we saw at IFA with our Best of IFA awards.

With so many great products to choose from, it was tricky to pick just which deserved to win. The gadgets that made the grade include the flagship smartphones and tablets that everyone will be clamouring to get their hands on in the next couple of months, TVs with eye-popping image quality and innovative Smart features and, of course, the best of this year’s hot new product category - smartwatches. Without further ado, here they are - our Best of IFA 2014 award winners. 

BEST SMARTPHONE: Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was the subject of such fierce rumour and speculation that we feared it might not live up to such high expectations. Fortunately, Samsung knocked it out of the park with the Note 4, which is by far the best version of its Note phablet range yet.

Its 5.7in 2,560x1,440 display looks stunning and its 2.5D glass and rounded corners make a huge impact when watching video. The metal frame is another standout addition to the Note 4, making it look every bit the premium handset.

Throw in a heart rate monitor, fingerprint sensor, fast charging, bang-up-to-date hardware and new and improved cameras (both on the front and back), and the Note 4 is one desirable handset. We just hope the price isn’t prohibitively expensive.

For the full story, read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review - hands on

BEST TABLET: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact teaser

It’s been a long time coming, but Sony has finally entered the compact tablet market. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is Sony’s first 8in model, and first impressions make it look like it could be a winner. The tablet has Sony’s typical lovely build quality, and as on the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact Sony has sensibly fitted nylon corners to protect against drop damage.

Another potentially sensible decision is the tablet’s screen resolution. While rivals such as the iPad Mini and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 have massive 2,048x1,536 and 2,560x1,600-resolution displays, the Z3 Tablet Compact makes do with 1,920x1,200 pixels. Sony claims that on a screen this size you don’t need more pixels, and that the lower resolution saves battery life - it’s refreshing to see a manufacturer refrain from simply chasing the numbers.

Add in a super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and the ability to play PlayStation 4 games on the tablet over Wi-Fi with Sony’s Remote Play feature, and there’s no doubt the gorgeous Z3 Tablet Compact is a winner.

Read our full Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact review - hands on

BEST TV: Panasonic AX902
Panasonic AX902 TV

For a long time Panasonic plasma TVs were the epitome of quality, so it was a sad day when the company bowed out of plasma production last year. Several other TV manufacturers have since followed suit in recent months, leaving just LCD and LED sets to fill the void until OLED panel technology finally hits shop floors.

But Panasonic’s latest AX902 TV unveiled at IFA this year may just hold the key to the future of television, with its promise of producing plasma-quality pictures in an LCD set. This impossible-sounding marriage of technologies is made possible by Panasonic’s revamped LED local dimming, which allows the backlight to produce ultra deep blacks while keeping lighter areas of the screen looking bright and vibrant.

Combine this with a 4K resolution as well and the results were simply stunning. Slated for October this year, we don’t even have to wait that long to try it out for ourselves.

Read more about the Panasonic AX902 in our in-depth news coverage.

BEST SMARTWATCH: LG G Watch R
LG G Watch R 02

Before IFA kicked off, the smartwatch everyone was talking about was the gorgeous Motorola Moto 360, with its fancy round display. LG very effectively stole the Moto 360’s thunder just before the doors opened in Berlin, however, with its stunning new, and round, G Watch R.

Unlike the Moto 360, which has an almost-round display with a small slice taken off the bottom to house the ambient light sensor, the G Watch R’s screen is entirely round, with a diver’s watch-style bezel. This makes it look more like a classic watch than any smartwatch we’ve yet seen, so should help the G Watch R appeal to those who don’t want to be marked out as a hardcore technophile.

The G Watch R’s display uses OLED technology, which should help battery life as well as give you excellent contrast, and we love its classy-feeling metal chassis. All this makes the G Watch R the best smartwatch we saw at IFA.

For more information about this excellent smartwatch, read our LG G Watch R review - hands on

BEST OF IFA: Amazon Fire TV

When Amazon first announced its Android-powered set-top box back in April, it promised to revolutionise your living room with its ability to stream Full HD content over HDMI (and Dolby Digital Surround Sound over optical S/PDIF) and play games. At the time it was only announced for the US, but this week Amazon finally gave us a UK release date for its highly-anticipated Fire TV.

Available from the 23rd October for £79, Fire TV will be a hot rival to Google’s Chromecast and Apple TV and we can’t wait to try it ourselves. We’re particularly keen to try out the fully-integrated voice search option, which should hopefully make browsing for specific films and TV shows much easier than other media streamers.

With Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Sky News, Demand 5, Spotify, Twitch and Amazon Music apps apps on board, too, Fire TV has shot straight to the top of our shopping lists.

Read more about Amazon Fire TV in our IFA news coverage.

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Congratulations to all our winners. We look forward to bringing you further coverage and reviews of all these fantastic new devices throughout the coming year.

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