IFA 2019 has officially kicked off, with multiple brands beginning to peddle their new wares for you to gawp and gander at. Europe’s biggest tech show is the place every year to find out more on which 4K TVs (or even 8K), phones, wearables, headphones and appliances are going to be changing the world in the next 12 months.
Yes, that is rather like CES, the yearly tech show that takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, but while the two shows are similar, IFA is the place for the key European launches – and that traditionally means a butt-load of TVs from the likes of Philips, Samsung, LG, Hisense and Panasonic.
While not rivaling Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February for phone launches, we’re also expecting some decent news from some of the major smartphone manufacturers too.
We’ve got a huge presence at IFA this year, so we’ll be bringing you all the key news, color pieces and – most importantly – hands on experiences with the new products you’re going to be buying over the next 12 months from one of the biggest tech shows of the year.
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. However, press get early access to the site, and launches are already being revealed prior to the show too – and we’re bringing you all the news as it happens.
- Which brands are exhibiting? If it’s a consumer-tech focused company, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be there, from Acer to ZTE and everyone in between. Some companies may host separate events away from the main Messe conference center in Berlin, but almost all will have a presence. The only big name missing will be Apple, which always chooses to skip IFA and CES.
Hands on reviews from IFA 2019
Latest IFA 2019 news
Hundreds, if not thousands, of exhibitors are lining the halls of Berlin’s Messe conference center for IFA 2019. It’s an all-encompassing show, where you’ll have drone designers rubbing shoulders with microwave makers.
Navigating the show and all its news can be a nightmare. So we’ve got all the key news listed right here for you, as well as outlining what all the key players have announced (or we expect them to announce) below that.
Asus has announced its ZenWiFi mesh router, which features next-gen Wi-Fi 6 technology for faster and more stable wireless internet around your home.
Acer’s Predator Triton 500 is getting a major upgrade this year, and it comes amid plenty of other new hardware and peripheral announcements from the company at IFA 2019. The new Triton 500 model will offer up a beastly 300Hz display to take gamers to an entirely new level of smooth gameplay.
Acer already had some of the best Chromebooks on the market, but it’s improved on them with its latest launch in the form of the Acer Chromebook 314 and Chromebook 315. They’re more powerful and feature a sleeker design.
Meanwhile, it’s also refreshed its Swift 5 and Swift 3 laptops with updated power and graphics.
The key thing here with Definitive Technology’s super-slim soundbar is that it comes with Chromecast built in – so you can stream audio and play radio over Wi-Fi. It’s a little pricey though, which is the cost of this slim design and extra functionality.
Audio-Technica has announced two new nattily-named true wireless earbud models, the ATH-CKS5TW and its budget sibling, the ATH-CK3TW.
There’s 15 hours of battery life on offer, with another 30 from the charging case – and that’s alongside the promise of enhanced sound quality. Worth checking out.
Designed to be a full health monitor, this watch packs in both an ECG and GPS as well as waterproofing to 50 meters. It’s pretty advanced for a smartwatch, and up to 14 days’ battery life have been mooted.
Intel has been talking up its vision of the future of laptops, and has brought along devices from big names such as Dell and HP.
Crucially, it revealed more about its Project Athena innovation program, which it says will change everything… but will that be the case?
With a display panel with a 300Hz refresh rate for ultra-smooth gaming, the new ROG Zephyrus S models are set to be real winner for gamers this year.
We’re still waiting on the full specs (and the all-important price) but the GX502 model will include a 9th-Gen Intel Core i7-9750H with up to 32GB of RAM and PCIe NVMe SSD storage, so its a safe bet the GX701 will at least go that high as well.
Another tech show, another crazy gaming chair. This time it’s the new Predator Thronos chair which is actually ‘cheap’ for impossibly-expensive gaming seats. The cost has been dropped through a lack of motorization, which seems to make sense.
Working in collaboration with Zound Industries (the one behind Marshall headphones and Urbanears) Adidas has created headphones that promise to help you with your workouts.
Sadly, there’s no smart AI in here – only headphones that Adidas promises will help you exercise better by being more comfortable. 16 hours’ battery life for the true wireless earbuds is pretty nifty though, and there are over-ear options too.
Other news snippets
News and rumors 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 won’t be 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.
However, there’s rumblings that Samsung could use the IFA 2019 event to lift the lid on the Samsung Galaxy Fold. A new report from a Korean media outlet suggests Samsung has chosen September 6 for an official announcement. That’s the same date Europe’s largest trade show kicks off in Berlin, so it wouldn’t surprise us in the least of Samsung chooses to use IFA 2019 as a launch platform.
But Samsung isn’t all about phones, you can also expect Samsung to focus on its blindingly-bright QLED TV sets.
As with LG, Samsung has a hand in many consumer-tech brackets. So if you’re on the market for a washing machine or new connected fridgefreezer, wait until you’ve seen what the company’s IFA 2019 press conference has to offer.
Latest news: We’re hearing teases of a new Sony Xperia Compact handset – but will Sony really deliver that?
IFA tends to be a big show for Sony, where it as historically launched smartphones. Previous years introduced the Xperia Z3, which is why many believe IFA 2019 will likely usher in the Xperia 2 (leading on from the 21:9 ratio Xperia 1 launched earlier in 2019). There’s also a chance we’ll see mid-range devices too.
In 2018 it also used the show to launch the odd FES Watch U wearable. There’s a chance we may see more wearables this year, or at least some intriguing concept designs.
Sony will of course also have plenty of Android TV-powered OLED sets on display. But what are we really the most excited about? We’re holding out hope for a follow up to the world-beating noise cancelling headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3 cans, which were revealed at last year’s show.
The shadow of the PS5 will be looming over the event but, alas – we will eat our laptops if the company chose IFA as its new console launchpad.
Computing company Acer always puts on a show during IFA, and for 2019 it’s even hosting a keynote session where we’re expecting a large chunk of its upcoming line-up to be revealed.
IFA tends to be the place where Acer’s Predator gaming lineup receives updates, and is often where Acer debuts concept products, which we’ve seen with the new Predator Thronos gaming chair among other new announcements.
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 usually has a presence at IFA, we’re not expecting any big announcements from the company this time around.
Asus has already 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.
BlackBerry! Yep, remember those handsets? They’ve not gone completely the way of the dodo just yet. There was activity around the BlackBerry brand with a new handset (now made by TCL) arriving in 2018 in the form of the BlackBerry Key2 LE.
But with no sign of the Key3 in 2019 so far, and the brands’ overall fortunes showing no sign of recovery any time soon, we’d say it’s pretty unlikely we’ll see a handset bearing the BB name at IFA this year.
We expect to see plenty of new products from Dell at IFA 2019. Dell could surprise us with another XPS product reveal or use this opportunity to catch its other product lines up to speed with current computing trends.
Dell and Alienware truly have been wild cards at IFA in years past – if there’s one area it might steal the headlines, it’d be on its gaming hardware, so keep an eye on the Alienware gear coming out of the show.
Wearables continue to have a strong showing at IFA, and Fossil often announces new watches at the show. Could the Fossil Sport 2 make an appearance? If not, expect other brands like Michael Kors or Diesel to fill in that watch-shaped gap around your wrist.
As with Fossil, Garmin likes to hit IFA with a range of sports-focused wearables. But it’s in a slightly different position this year, coming into the show hot on the heels of a busy period of announcements. Expect to see variants of Garmin’s existing lines, rather than anything brand spanking new.
For example, we already know that Garmin is readying six new smartwatches for release in the coming months according to a recent leak, and it’s a range that is set to include the Vivoactive 4 and Vivomove Style.
The leak comes from WinFuture, which has also included pictures of all six new products.
There’s also the new Garmin Venu, which seems to be a top-end watch that comes in a 43mm body and supports both Spotify and Deezer. It’s set to come with activity tracking for runners, cyclists and swimmers with GPS on board, plus it will have Garmin Pay as well.
The Houston-based computer maker generally doesn’t make a big splash at IFA, preferring the halls of Computex or CES. We might see one or two new products launch at the show, but not much more than that. Stranger things have happened.
With its first range of OLED TVs finally hitting store shelves, Hisense will be doubling down on the technology at IFA 2019. It’s current top-tier OLED TV has a high asking price, but lacks some of the more premium features that its competition offers.
Though the brand tends to lean towards the affordable and budget end of the market, we’re hoping to see at least one grandstanding set that aims towards more luxurious features at a more attainable price point.
This could be coming in the form of the sonic screen laser TV, which a press release from Hisense revealed will be announced at IFA.
According to the announcement, the TV will be focused on synchronising sound and image: “The Hisense sonic screen laser TV brings sound (40-18kHz) directly from the screen, and with the diaphragm of the Distributed-Mode Loudspeaker vibrating in a complex pattern over its entire surface, it guarantees consistent output level and undistorted time response in all directions.”
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 9X, 9X Pro and Honor Band 5 have just launched in China, so IFA could IFA perhaps be their European debut? Regardless, as the company sits under the Huawei umbrella, expect the parent brand to do most of the talking.
Another upcoming surprise from Honor is Capture Vision. No, we’re not sure what that means either, but according to a number of rumours that’s another new kind of tech Honor might be showcasing at IFA this year.
Last year, Huawei saved its big-hitting Mate 20 / 20 Pro launch for after IFA, but it did however introduce the range with the Mate 20 Lite in Berlin. We could see something similar here, with a mid-range handset launched, maybe with the Mate 30 name. You’re unlikely to see a flagship launch though, with the company now favoring its own solo shows.
The company also has been dabbling with smart speaker tech, its AI Cube being both audio device and 4G router. Could a 5G update be on the cards?
We could also see Huawei unleash a new MateBook at the tech event. Its laptops, like the Huawei MateBook 14 are some of our favorite laptops, so we’re looking forward to maybe seeing some more computing products from the company.
Intel is going big at IFA 2019 – and in our view it needs to, as the competition against AMD is tougher than it’s been for quite some time.
That’s why Intel has taken to the show floor to show us its vision of the future of laptops , and throughout the week it will be showing off new Project Athena laptops from some of the biggest names in notebooks. These promise to revolutionise the laptop market with improved power, huge battery lives and instant boot-up times.
Intel will also be revealing laptops from the likes of Acer, Asus, Lenovo, MSI and Razer that run on its latest 10th generation Core processors, so check back here throughout the week for news and hands-on reviews.
The company behind Yoga laptops and Motorola phones has a major nighttime event planned for IFA 2019 called “Tech Life,” which will play host to a number of product unveilings. It’s likely that more of Lenovo’s flagship products for 2019 could be unveiled here, including new Yoga and ThinkPad devices.
However, Lenovo has 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. Although IFA 2019 will be a good chance for us to get our hands on all of this new tech.
Keep in mind that Lenovo increasingly steps into the smart home arena too. We were very impressed earlier this year with the Lenovo Smart Clock, for instance. Don’t be surprised if it adds more to its smart home line up as a result.
TV and home cinema tech will be 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.
We already know its new range of CineBeam 4K projectors is set to be shown off at IFA 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.
As well as TV tech, LG also tends to have mid-range handsets at the show. In 2018 is was the LG G7 One and LG G7 Fit – building off the flagship line at lower price points. In terms of audio, we’d be hoping to see further fruits from its partnership with UK experts Meridian Audio.
The company also posted another a teaser video on its Youtube channel, with the title ‘Defy Limits with LG Mobile at IFA 2019’, which hints at a few features of its new LG V60 ThinQ dual-screen smartphone. However this teaser video may be a little more cryptic than LG intended, so we’re left with more questions than answers.
There’s also been rumblings of another mobile device called the LG G8X, but that could be the dual-screen phone above, but it’s just being referred to as a different name in internal comms.
But don’t be surprised if there’s more from the brand. LG is a giant of the industry, and has its hand in essentially every technological consumer space imaginable, from freezers to laptops, monitors to robotics. Last year its CLOi bots were future-gazing highlights of the show.
The phone branch of Lenovo has become a bastion of hope for those looking for high-end smartphone features on a tighter budget. Usually Moto has a phone or two to show at IFA – in 2018 we got the Motorola One, a respectable mid-range handset, for instance. Though it’s unlikely to have a new flagship in Berlin, more mid-rangers are certainly on the cards if past exhibitions are anything to go by.
A series of different leaks have hinted at the various handsets that might be launched at IFA 2019, including the Motorola One Zoom. The rumoured quad rear camera may get a 5x hybrid telephoto lens and depth-measuring Time of Flight sensor, according to a new leak.
These days phones are smarter and more capable than ever. But, if you look back to the early days of phones and wish things were just a little simpler again, then Nokia might be able to help you out.
The brand’s iconic 3310 handset was a firm favourite for anyone who had a phone 19 years ago. It was simple. You had calls, you had texts, you had Snake and that was about it.
According to rumours, Nokia might be bringing out the 3310 all over again. None of this is official, of course, but plenty of Nokia fans have been reading into texts from HMD Global’s Chief Product Officer, Juho Sarvikas.
With the European (read: better) arm of Philips TV division unable to show at CES, we’re expecting big, big things from the brand at IFA 2019. It’s the manufacturer’s time to shine, and we’d expect a snazzy new OLED Ambilight flagship to launch at the show.
In addition, Philips is once again ramping up its audio offering, dusting off its long-neglected Fidelio range. It was once a mighty player in headphones – could it come back to reclaim its position?
We haven’t been sure what to expect from gaming hardware company Razer at this year’s IFA tech conference. But now the brand has teased a “world’s first” launch, which has got everyone talking.
A tweet from the brand’s Twitter account teased the “world’s first” with an image that references Razer’s gaming laptop. Does that mean another laptop is on the cards? And if so what would make it a “world’s first”? We can’t think of what kind of laptop tech hasn’t been done yet, which means we’re looking forward to a surprise.