Five coolest gadgets from IFA 2014



Phones with super-sharp curved screens, virtual reality headsets and fitness gadgets that also take calls have been unveiled at the IFA - Europe´s biggest tech show. Here´s our 5 favourite pieces of tech from the event...

Phones with super-sharp, bendy screens, virtual reality headsets and fitness gadgets that also take calls are among the many gadgets unveiled at the IFA tech show.

The Berlin consumer technology trade show is the biggest of its kind in Europe, and Samsung and Sony were among the firms launching new products.

Here we pick our top 5 from the tech extravaganza - including a phone that allows you to play PlayStation 4 games.


1) Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Note 4

(Credit: AP)


The Galaxy Note 4 is Samsung's new flagship phablet - a large screen smartphone that can also be used as a small tablet.
The new phone boasts a quad HD screen measuring 5.7 inches and packing in 550 pixels per inch.

Quad HD is the current pinnacle of smartphone screen technology. This larger, super-sharp screen is perfect for watching movies, playing games and browsing the web.

Samsung said users can expect 'clearer and more vivid images with deep contrast, better viewing angles, and response times as fast as a millionth of a second.'

The phone can also charge its battery to 50 per cent of full power in about half an hour.

Another key feature of the Note series is the S Pen stylus, and Samsung says this has been improved to 'perfectly emulate writing on paper' with a pen.

Other cool new features include:

• Refined Multi Window - resize and reposition apps and windows on your phone's screen

• Improved camera - the phone's rear camera has technology to offset the effects of camera shake while the front one has been improved for taking selfies

• UV sensor - a world first in a smartphone, use the UV sensor to monitor your exposure to sunlight when out and about


What Stuff magazine reckons

Esat Dedezede of Stuff magazine flew out to Berlin for IFA, here he gives us his first impressions of our top gadgets.

He said the Galaxy Note 4 is Samsung's "most powerful, feature-packed phone to date".

He explained: 'It's powered by one of the fastest processors currently available, and its 2K Super AMOLED screen brings the fight straight to its LG G3 rival, with crisp details, vivid colours and deep blacks.'


2) Sony Xperia Z3

Sony Xperia Z3

(Credit: AP)

Sony's latest flagship smartphone is slimmer and faster than its predecessor and can also be used as a second screen for playing video games.

The Xperia Z3 comes just 6 months after its predecessor. It has a similar look to the Z2 but is slightly slimmer and narrower - we think it looks quite stunning.

It also boasts plenty of improvements, including a faster processor and better battery life - up to 2 days, says Sony.

But the feature that's been getting the most headlines is the phone's ability to play PlayStation 4 games.

PS4 owners can stream their games over the web to the Z3 phone - there's even a cool attachment to fasten the phone to the top of your controller.

We think the ability to play PS4 on your smartphone is going to go down well with gamers, who normally have to battle for the TV remote.

Its full-HD, 5.2 inch screen is large and sharp enough for any video game, as well as watching movies.

The phone runs on the latest version of Android, known as KitKat.

Other cool new features include:

• Waterproof - the phone is waterproof to 1.5 metres for half an hour
• Camera improvements - the camera lens has been tweaked to offer a wider field of vision, great for panoramas or when taking snaps of friends
• 4K video - The Z3 can shoot video in 4K resolution, 4 times sharper than full HD
• YouTube streaming - you can broadcast your video live to YouTube


What Stuff magazine reckons

Esat said the Xperia Z3 was a nice update of Sony's flagship smartphone, highlighting its improved camera, thinner design and natty PlayStation 4 functionality.

He said: 'PS4 owners can also rejoice, as the Z3 supports Sony's Remote Play feature which lets you stream games from the PS4 straight to the Z3, with controller support thrown in for good measure.'


3) Samsung Gear VR

Samsung VR

(Credit: AP)


The surprise package of the show, the Samsung Gear VR, is a wireless virtual reality headset that marks the company's first steps into the pioneering future tech.

It looks state of the art and very cool, but what is it for? Playing virtual reality games and watching 360-degree videos, it seems.

Samsung says with Gear VR people can 'fully immerse themselves in a cinematic virtual reality environment'.

Created in conjunction with virtual reality pioneer Oculus VR, the Gear VR headset uses the Galaxy Note 4 as its speakers and screen.
Samsung says the Note 4's quad HD screen provides 'stunning and engaging visuals'.

It comes with a microSD card loaded with 360 videos and 3D film clips.

Samsung likens the experience to sitting in the best seat of a theatre or being 'on-stage at a performance with full 360 3D video'.


4) Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

(Credit: AP)

The Note Edge is Samsung's most futuristic smartphone yet, and gives you a nifty new shortcut for checking your messages and alerts.

It features a screen that curves around one side of the phone, creating a cascading data waterfall effect.

Samsung says the curved section of screen offers access to apps and alerts without having to remove the smartphone cover. We think it could be great for keeping on top of alerts when you're in a meeting or laden down with shopping bags.

It can also be used to read messages while you're watching content on the phone's main screen.


5) Sony SmartBand Talk

Sony Smartband Talk

From smartwatches to fitness gadgets, state-of-the-art wearable tech is everywhere. Sony launched its latest bit of tech into the area at IFA with the SmartBand Talk - a fitness band with a difference.

Not only will it track your steps taken, hills climbed and calories burned, it will also allow you to make and receive calls using a microphone and speaker built into the wristband.

It does all of this by hooking up with your smartphone and Sony's Lifelog app.

Another cool feature of this wearable gadget is its curved e-ink screen, which allows you to see your progress as you exercise.

E-ink screens use much less power than traditional LCD screens, meaning the Sony SmartBand can last around 3 days on a single charge.
Still not sold? It's also completely waterproof.

What Stuff magazine reckons

Esat said the Sony SmartBand Talk 'beams notifications straight to your wrist and even lets you answer calls on it, Dick Tracy style'.

He added: 'It also keeps track of what music you're listening to and what photos you're taking throughout the day, creating a 'life log' summary of what you've been up to'.

What do you think has been the coolest piece of technology released at IFA 2014? Tell us in the comments below...