Gear up, everybody! IFA 2018 had a surprisingly large number of consumer electronics launched and showcased by the world’s biggest tech companies. The event included the launch of smartphones, wearables, laptops, and PC peripherals. In our recent story, we covered the major smartphones, laptops, and PC peripherals unveiled at the event. In this article, we are going to drill down further on other electronics such as wearables, TVs, and audio gear announced at IFA 2018.
Top consumer electronics brands including Samsung, Sony, JBL, and more launched their whole new range of televisions and audio gear for home entertainment. The event witnessed some groundbreaking innovations such as e-paper technology, world’s first 8K LED TV and implementation of AI and voice assistance in TVs and audio gear for better overall experience for users. Here are the important announcements made in wearables and home electronics at IFA 2018.
Wearables are growing at a rapid pace. From the analog devices that used to show time to the present day’s smart wearables, which can measure your heartbeat, wearables have gone through a long evolution. IFA 2018 served as a medium to showcase some of the smart wearables launched by various companies. Here are the top devices launched and showcased at the event.
Casio launched the Pro Trek Smart WSD F30 smartwatch, which is primarily focused on location tracking and mapping. Casio said that the device comes with the best battery life yet on their Pro Trek series of smartwatches and allows the device to stay juiced up for over a day-and-a-half on a single charge.
Sony launched its first device with e-paper technology in the form of a smartwatch. Dubbed the “Fes Watch U,” it isn’t like other smartwatches. This is a unique device in which the Kindle-like display extends to the band, so it goes around the entire wrist. However, this smartwatch from Sony is ridiculously expensive — the pricing starts at $690.
Garmin launched its fourth iteration in the Vivosmart series of its fitness tracker. Apart from the many other fitness tracking features, the Vivosmart 4 can display a person’s energy levels based on the body’s activities and stress levels. The device also notifies the user when they should rest based on sleep patterns, physical activities, and heartbeat count. (Apple, which didn't attend the show, unveiled their updated and redesigned Apple Watch wearable at its September iPhone event.)
Philips launched an impressive OLED TV, whose audio is tuned with Bowers & Wilkins. Dubbed the “Philips OLED803,” the television will be launched in 55-inch and 65-inch variants and will be powered by Alexa for voice controls. The TV comes with almost everything one would expect from a premium smart TV such as Android TV software, HDR support, and more.
Samsung, on the other hand, used IFA 2018 to launch its first customer-ready 8K QLED television, the Q900R. The TV will come in 65-inch and 85-inch variants and is powered by AI to upscale the content to 8K for a better and sharper viewing experience.
Toshiba confirmed that it is also going to bring Alexa’s voice controls to its lineup of televisions. The company also showcased an 8K concept TV, which it says will be launching soon. Amazon in partnership with Toshiba have confirmed over 10 HD, Full HD and 4K televisions with complete Amazon Fire TV experience in-built. These televisions will be bundled with Alexa-compatible remote control to allow voice commands.
LG launched an 88-inch world’s first 8K OLED TV at IFA 2018. The device comes with a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels in an 88-inch panel. However, considering the fact that most of the content we get these days is max capped to 4K resolution, buying an 8K TV now might not seem to a very good option now. Period. (This is subjective and would definitely depend on the pricing of this huge television.)
Panasonic at IFA 2018 confirmed the rollout of HDR10+, which will be preloaded in upcoming Panasonic products. HDR10+ is expected to provide much better color reproduction and viewing experience.
Sony announced the UK pricing of its flagship Master series of LCD and OLED televisions. The Master series of televisions from Sony was launched back in July but the only thing missing during and after the launch until IFA was the pricing. The televisions are priced surprisingly reasonablly considering the flagship-graded specifications these TVs pack in.
Hisense also launched its two ULED televisions at IFA 2018. The company has plans to launch these televisions in 2019 but showcased the devices at the event. The 65U8A is a 65-inch 4K HDR television that comes with an ultra-slim, bezel-less design. The 55E8A, on the other hand, is a 4K HDR TV available in the midrange segment.
IFA 2018 had a lot of interesting announcements in the audio segment, which caught the attention of many. Here are the top announcements made for the audiophiles.
Sony launched its top-of-the-line noise-canceling wireless headphones at IFA 2018. Dubbed the “Sony WH-1000XM3,” the headphones are a new follow-up to last year’s WH-1000XM2. The headphones offer noise cancellation and come with a battery life of more than 30 hours on a single charge. The headphones also come with a quick-attention mode to quickly pipe in external audio without going through the trouble of taking the headphones off. The headphones cost $349 in the U.S. and are available for purchase now.
JBL’s Everest 710GA has been a huge attraction in the audio segment as the company managed to integrate Google Assistant in its headphones — and the integration is available right out of the box. It can control the headphones as well as some mobile tasks such as navigation and other browsing-related tasks without having to pull out your mobile device from your pocket. The headphones also come with an echo-canceling mic and ShareMe 2.0 to broadcast your tunes to owners of any other Bluetooth device nearby.
JBL also launched a couple of wireless earbuds —the JBL Endurance Peak and the JBL Free, which will go on sale in November. The JR Pop portable Bluetooth speaker was yet another launch from the company. This speaker is specially built and designed for kids.
Brands such as AKG, Sonos, Audio-Technica, and JayBird also showcased their range of wired and wireless audio gear at the event.
IFA 2018 bottom line: Big and expensive
The gear at IFA 2018 was bigger (humongous 8K TVs), better (AI and digital assistance in audio gear), and innovative (smarter smartwatches) — and, in some cases, ridiculously expensive.
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