IFA 2016 proved to be a great show for fantastic products. Here's our choice of the best of the best
IFA is the biggest technology show in Europe, and this year’s event featured a bumper crop of exciting products from some fantastic companies. In collaboration with our sister site Alphr.com, we took the opportunity to find the best that IFA had to offer, and give out the Expert Reviews IFA 2016 awards. Here’s our choice of the devices which we thought were the most outstanding at IFA.
Best household appliance: Panasonic AutoCare NA 140ZS1 washing machine
What’s so great about a washing machine (other than it washing your clothes)? In the case of the Panasonic AutoCare NA140ZS1, the answer is “a lot”. This appliance is equipped with a range of sensors which make it the ultimate in smart washing machines. Not only does it adjust the volume of water used depending on the load, it will determine the levels of dirt on your clothes and adjust washing time, temperature setting, water levels and the appropriate number of rinse cycles accordingly. Oh, and it detects what kind of detergent you’re using and accounts for that, too.
Best small domestic appliance: Neato Botvac D5 Connected Robot Vacuum
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t wanted a robot vacuum cleaner, and the Botvac D5 Connected is the one which stands out to us for its combination of features, price and design. Any robot that’s smart enough to work across all different floor types, know when it needs recharging, and navigator back to its charging station by itself is smart enough for my house. And if it gets lost, you can locate it with an app.
Best home entertainment: JBL Playlist
Bluetooth speakers are ten a penny, but the number with built-in support for Google Cast is actually pretty small. Hence our love for the JBL Playlist, which combines Google Cast with good sound quality for £150. Google Cast means better audio quality, plus a slew of other great features like audio roaming (so your music follows you around the house) and more. And as you’d expect from JBL, this is a fine looking speaker, and a worthy winner of our award.
Best smart-home product: Panasonic Smart Home & Allianz Assist security kit (with 24/7 assistance)
“Smart home” is one of those technology buzzwords which many companies are applying to their products. But in the case of the Panasonic Smart Home & Allianz Assist kit, it’s more than just a bit of marketing blurb. It’s capable of monitoring many aspects of your home: security, of course (including windows and doors) but also things like water leaks which can damage your house as much as any burglar. Solutions like this which combine smart technology, insurance and assistance services are the future of homes.
Best digital health innovation: TomTom Touch
TomTom Touch is a long way from your standard step counter. It combines body composition analysis with step counting, sleep tracking and heart-rate monitoring, in an attempt to measure the amount of body fat and muscle mass in your body so you can track what you’re doing and whether it’s having the desired effect. This means it can help you move away from the “one size fits all” approach of most fitness programmes and create something which is genuinely tailored to you. Eventually, all fitness trackers will be like this.