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Best of IFA 2018: which eight products stood out from the rest?

Best of IFA 2018

It’s no exaggeration to say there were thousands of products launched at IFA 2018. To trim them down to a single figure is an almost impossible task, but here we pick our eight favourites of the hundreds we got to play with.

Highlighting the fact that dozens of new laptops were announced, it’s perhaps no surprise that five of our picks are laptops – and there are some genuine innovations happening in this space.

Congratulations to all our Best of IFA 2018 award winners, in alphabetical order…

Acer Swift 5

Best of IFA 2018
How much?From €1,099
When can I buy it?November

Acer had one goal with this 15in laptop: to get it under 1kg. It snuck in with 6g to spare, and the result is something a little special. With a combination of metal alloys for the whole chassis, it feels perfectly sturdy, while the newly released Core i5 or Core i7 chip inside means it can – Acer claims – last up to ten hours on a single charge.

Asus ZenBook 15 Pro UX580

Best of IFA 2018
How much?To be confirmed
When can I buy it?To be confirmed

Almost any one of Asus’ new laptops could have made this list – the new slim-bezel “plain” ZenBooks look fantastic too – but the Pro 15 grabs its spot due to the amazing Full HD trackpad. That’s right, it’s a screen in its own right, with modes such as calendar, calculator and number pad. Or you can set it to be a second screen, and then drag, say, a football match to play whilst you finish that report.

Dell Inspiron 14 5000

Best of IFA 2018
How much?To be confirmed
When can I buy it?To be confirmed

Arguably, Dell announced many more “exciting” laptops than the Inspiron 14 5000, but the reason I liked it so much is its mainstream appeal. It’s slim, pretty light at 1.5kg, and if you choose the burgundy finish then it also looks spectacular. No need to spend a fortune, though, as prices should start at around $500. While I particularly liked the 14in version, it looks like we may only see the 15in version in the UK, with a release date of 20 September and EU price of €529. Read our preview here.

JBL Link View

Best of IFA 2018
How much?£250
When can I buy it?Early 2019

JBL has kept us waiting for the Link View, previewing it at CES 2018 and finally giving us a price at IFA 2018: the Echo Look rival will sell for £250, which is twice the price of Amazon’s device. So how does it justify it? Superior sound quality for starters, with deeper bass courtesy of a passive radiator, but the luxurious 8in HD screen makes it much easier to watch recipe videos, say, in the kitchen. With Google Assistant smarts built in, the only downside is the long wait before we can buy it.

Lenovo Yoga Book C390

How much?From €1,000
When can I buy it?October

After the terribly sensible design of the Dell Inspiron above, the Yoga Book may appear to be a concept laptop. But we think it might actually catch on. It’s fast enough to browse the internet in comfort, yet so slim and light that you can comfortably hold it one hand as a tablet. And, naturally, you can use it in laptop mode when you need to type. The really great part, though, is its E Ink “keyboard” – press a key and this turns into a sketchpad or ebook reader. Read our preview here.

Lenovo Yoga C930

Best of IFA 2018
How much?From €1,499
When can I buy it?September

The second Lenovo Yoga to win a place on our list may have a weirdly similar name to the Yoga C390 above, but this more conventional convertible is designed to be an entertainment powerhouse. If you’re fed up with weedy speakers in your laptop, you’ll love the power of two speakers in the hinge and another pair of bass specialists in the, appropriately, base. It’s light, features an integrated stylus, and its 13.9in screen looks as bright and punchy as you’d expect.

Huawei Kirin 980

Best of IFA 2018
How much?Not applicable
When can I buy it?Likely to be launched in new phone on 16 October

We’re fans of technology that solves problems rather than just does things faster than before, but the Kirin 980 has the handy trick of doing both. This is the SoC (or system-on-chip) that will feature in Huawei’s top-end phones for the coming year, and, to paraphrase the CEO’s keynote speech, it tramples all over the Snapdragon 845 and then kicks dirt in its face. It also promises AI that helps photos edge closer to those of a Digital SLR, but with the ability to do real-time tricks such as changing the background of videos.

Sony WH-1000MX3 wireless headphones

How much?£330
When can I buy it?17 September 2018 but pre-order now at Amazon
Best of IFA 2018

IFA saw several gorgeous headphones being announced, but our favourites were the Sony WH-1000MX3s. Even on a hectic showfloor, their clever noise-reduction facilities subdued other sounds to make the sample vocal track shine through. They’ll even learn to adjust to the surroundings as you go through. Just as importantly, they were incredibly comfortable to wear, which is a good thing as their battery lasts for up to 30 hours with noise cancelling.

About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email tim@bigtechquestion.com

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