Meet the greatest tech of IFA 2020: from OLED TVs to smart face masks to 5G laptops | T3

Meet the greatest tech of IFA 2020: from OLED TVs to smart face masks to 5G laptops

Our IFA 2020 Awards crown the gadgets we're most excited about, from smart home essentials to 4K TVs greats to a fantastic 2-in-1 laptop

IFA 2020 awards
(Image credit: Future)

Every year, Germany's huge Messe Berlin complex is taken over by the world's top technology companies, revealing their upcoming releases ready for Christmas and heading into next year, as well as introducing the new technologies that will make their way into future products.

The halls are teeming with everything from 4K and 8K TV designs, to the latest true wireless headphones, to amazing new smart home upgrades, to clever new appliances, to drones, service robots, and so much more.

At least, the halls are normally teeming. IFA has been a more muted affair than usual this year, unsurprisingly, with a limited number of visitors, and many companies who would normally make Messe their home for a week choosing different ways of announcing their new products this year. However, those companies are still showcasing their products during the week of IFA, being part of the show without attending.

Though T3 didn't attend IFA this year for safety reasons, we've chosen from products unveiled at IFA itself and from the surrounding launches to pick our favourites of the new tech – the gadgets we're most excited to get our hands on. Here are T3's IFA 2020 Best in Show Award winners. 

Lg Puricare mask

(Image credit: LG)

IFA 2020 Innovation Award: LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier

Talk about a product for our time – the LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier is a high-tech mask with two H13 HEPA filters built in, stopping the transmission of nasties through it, whether that's pollution or assorted organic compounds you'd prefer to avoid.

The mask uses fans for airflow, and smartly adjusts their speed to help breathing – it detects your breathing rhythm and speeds up the fans to pull air in for your inhale, then slows them down when you exhale, so you're not fighting against them. The fans are powered by a battery that should last for eight hours.

The mask has a case that uses UV lights to cleanse it between periods of wearing it, and it will warn you when the filters need replacing, so it's always operating at full effectiveness.

While we admit it will make you look a little like Ninja Turtles villain Shredder (or, if you prefer, Optimus Prime), we love to see existing technologies used in thoughtful and clever new ways to solve big problems as they emerge, and that's why the LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier wins our Innovation Award for IFA 2020.

Acer Spin 7

(Image credit: Acer)

IFA 2020 Best laptop: Acer Spin 7

The Acer Spin 7 is the first laptop announced to use Qualcomm's next-gen 5G-ready processor. Instead of an Intel processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G chip at the heart of this laptop promises two really interesting innovations: not only does it have 5G connectivity built in (including support for all variants, so it'll work anywhere that has 5G coverage), but it promises multi-day battery life in normal use, rather than the all-day (read: one single day) life that current laptops give you.

On top of that, it's a 2-in-1 machine where the screen folds all the way around (hence the name) to turn into a tablet, and a Wacom pen with 4,096 levels of pressure makes it a great drawing or note-taking machine. It has a 14-inch Full HD screen, covered in protective Gorilla Glass.

Laptops that swap Intel for another processor have been hit and miss so far, but the Spin 7 really makes the case for why it's worthwhile, with its high-speed built-in 5G and giant battery life – that's why it picks up our Best Laptop Award at IFA 2020.

Philips OLED+935

(Image credit: Philips)

IFA 2020 Best TV: Philips OLED+935

We're taken with the Philips OLED+935 for giving us what might be the best-value TV and speaker combo out there, all in a premium and luxe package. You get Philips' latest and greatest OLED TV tech, including its new P5 image processor with AI, as well as its new burn-in reduction system, so you know this will be an OLED to last… and that's on top of the vibrant, deep OLED image quality we've come to know from Philips' TVs.

But this isn't just a screen. The stand includes an audio system from Bowers & Wilkins that goes way, way beyond what you get from most TVs: it's a 3.1.2-channel soundbar equivalent, with 10 drivers in total (including two dedicated upfiring speakers) providing a full, expansive sound.

You also get a four-sided versions of Philips' signature Ambilight tech, and a remote control coated in luxe Scottish Muirhead leather, to drive home that this is a premium buy… though when you factor in that you're getting both speaker system and TV, it's actually not a steep price at all.

Finally, we also love that Philips is joining the ranks of companies that offer 48-inch OLED TVs with this model, since the audio and TV combo is especially suited to a more compact set. It all adds up to make this the winner of our Best TV award of IFA 2020.

JBL Live Free NC+

(Image credit: JBL)

IFA 2020 Best audio: JBL Live Free NC+

We love to see great technology being made more affordable for more people, and JBL's Live Free NC+ true wireless headphones are a perfect example of that. Just the basic pitch here is great: rich JBL audio quality and active noise cancellation, with 21 hours of battery life total (seven in the headphones, 14 more from the case) for just £140 (prices elsewhere TBC).

That's already great value, but as an added bonus, you've got voice assistant support, IPX7 water/sweatproofing, wireless or USB-C charging, auto pairing as soon as you open the lid (so no waiting around), and independent controls on each bud, so you can have more options just a tap away.

The sheer amount of technology you get at this price makes these our Best Audio award winner of IFA 2020 – they could be a huge hit.

Fitbit Sense

(Image credit: Fitbit)

IFA 2020 Best Fitness Tech: Fitbit Sense

The advances in wearables over the last few years have made all kinds of revolutionary health benefits possible, but the tech world needs to get them out to people for us to actually benefit. The Fitbit Sense is a great mix of sensors that can really help people manage their physical and mental wellbeing, and all for less than more premium smartwatches, so it can get into more people's hands (or on their wrists, more usefully).

A skin temperature sensor can help you detect illness, an eletrodermal sensor (a first on a watch) can detect stress, advanced heart-rate sensing can warn of a high or low heart rate (and will keep an eye on it generally), and sleep detection helps you to know if poor rest is contributing to how you're feeling.

It's also a smart watch, with support for notifications, calling, Alexa and Google Assistant, and an impressive six days of battery life. During these more stressful times, the Sense's mix of tech for taking care of body and mind makes it our Best Fitness Tech at IFA 2020 award winner.

Panasonic Lumix S5

(Image credit: Panasonic)

IFA 2020 Best camera: Panasonic Lumix S5

We love the huge, detailed images that full-frame photography can give you, and Panasonic Lumix S5 is an instant winner for us by putting a full-frame sensor in a smaller and more portable package, so it's easier to take incredible photos anywhere.

Going small hasn't meant skimping in other areas, though: the magnesium alloy body is weather-sealed, there's an ultra-fast autofocus, there's hybrid body and lens optical stabilisation, there's still twin card slots, 4K 10-bit recording at 60fps, articulating screen and EVF… the list goes on.

It's a remarkable amount of camera to fit into a really travel-friendly body, and the price of $1,999/£1,799/AUS$3,199 is thoroughly reasonable too – we think it's one of the most tempting cameras we've seen in ages, which is why it takes home our Best Camera award at IFA 2020.

Neato D10

(Image credit: Neato)

IFA 2020 Best Small Appliance: Neato D10

We've loved Neato's robovacs for years, and the new generation adds even more genuinely useful features into the mix. Keeping the D-shaped body that defines the brand (and makes it better at getting into corners for a proper clean), the new model adds a True HEPA filter to capture 99.97% of allergens, helping to keep your home more pleasant for general living.

There's also a new LiDAR-based system for mapping and finding its way around your house – this is the same tech used on self driving cars, because of its highly accurate 3D sensing, meaning the D10 can move through the house more quickly and confidently. Combined with a 150-minute run time and wider brush and dirt bin capacity, the D10 is the most efficient cleaner out there.

Neato also introduced the D9 and D8, which offer more affordable options in the same range, with slightly less advanced features. They also look great, but it's the D10's particular mix of cutting-edge tech that's swept up our Best Small Appliance award from IFA 2020.

Smeg VIVOscreen oven

(Image credit: Smeg)

IFA 2020 Best Large Appliance: Smeg VIVOscreen Smart Oven 

Smeg's VIVOscreen ovens adds a useful touchscreen to the front of your cooker, available in two sizes: the smaller VIVO screen or the VIVOMax, which adds extra space to see more controls and current status all at once.

The idea is that with a swipe-able touchscreen, it's easy to access specific functions and even to store recipes, so you can rapidly set the oven to just the right temperature for your bread, or stew, or whatever else you like to make. We love that it can also make it easier for people with poorer eyesight to see what they're doing, thanks to big bright icons and images for different options.

The VIVOscreen ovens are also connected, using the SmegConnect app to enable you to control them from elsewhere using your phone or tablet – great for pre-heating the oven on your way home, or just checking that you definitely turned it off before you left for your holiday.

And combined with Smeg's gorgeous design, plus an included temperature probe for testing what you're cooking, it's the ideal oven package, which is why the Smeg VIVOscreen takes home our Best Large Applicance of IFA 2020 award.

Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip

(Image credit: Philips Hue)

IFA 2020 Best Smart Home Tech: Philips Hue Play Gradient Lighting Strip

We've already mentioned Philips's great Ambilight tech due to its use on the OLED+935 TV above, but now this great feature is available on TVs that aren't from Philips for the first time, thanks to this new Hue product.

Ambilight tech basically spreads light matching what's happening on-screen on your TV over the walls, giving you a more immersive feel when you're watching movies and TV. It responds live to the images on-screen, and once you've tried it, it's hard to go back.

But if you don't have a Philips TV, you can add this lightstrip – which is the first Hue lightstrip to be able to beam different colours along its length – to the back of your TV to effectively add Ambilight to it, as long as you also add the Hue Play Sync box to your TV setup, which tells the lights what colours they should be to match the images.

The Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip will also be popular with Hue fans just for its light mixture abilities in other circumstances, giving great new options for clever lighting setups, but it's the ability to bring the fun of Ambilight to any TV that wins it our Best Smart Home award for IFA 2020.