Europe's biggest tech show, IFA 2023, has kicked off for another year! Last year IFA returned after a physical event hiatus, but as production has continued to ramp back up across the globe, more products are now ready to hit the shelves.
Held each year in Berlin, Germany, IFA is both a trade show (for those in the business) and a consumer show – so attracts large numbers of the general public to come to see and try all the latest products for themselves too. For that reason, it's not just brand new tech on display, but more often full ranges from each exhibitor.
For 2023 there's plenty of new tech for us to talk about – and it's that new tech that makes up our T3 Best of IFA 2023 award winners. These products have either been launched at the show itself, shown off in Berlin for the first time, or revealed in tandem with the show's September timeframe.
One of the great things about IFA is that it has a very wide remit, covering more smart home devices than most other tech shows. Amongst the vast halls of the Messe Berlin, you'll find TVs, soundbars, speakers, phones, washing machines, fridges, robot vacuums and much more. Something for everyone – and very T3!
So here they are: the T3 Best of IFA 2023 Awards!
JBL preceded the IFA show itself with a major 'Club JBL' launch showcase, which included new headphones, a new party speaker, new open-back in-ears – but it was the brand's retro-style Sonos-rivalling speaker range, JBL Authentics, that really set pulses racing.
JBL has been in the business for over 75 years and has a heritage in creating speakers, a heritage that it's looking to leverage with its Authentics 500 (biggest and wired, with Wi-Fi and Dolby Atmos), Authentics 300 (middle-size and semi-portable with a carry handle), and Authentics 200 (smaller-size and portable) range.
In a special presentation area beneath Club JBL, the brand showed off the speakers in situ, demonstrating their considerable volume, bold sound delivery, and Dolby Atmos capability of the top-tier Authentics 500 model. It's impressive stuff, wrapped into a design that's like nothing else on the market right now – and which will hold appeal to music fans established and new. A very worthy award-winner to kick things off!
Sennheiser Ambeo Mini
There's always been a lot of love for Sennheiser's Ambeo range, as the brand quite simply delivers some of the best soundbars in single-box solutions. Following on from the original Ambeo was the (smaller) Ambeo Plus, and now there's the (even smaller again) Ambeo Mini to round out the range.
But just because it's small doesn't mean it's insignificant: as noted in T3's Sennheiser Ambeo Mini review, this soundbar can deliver massive sound, including low-end bass that's beyond what the Sonos Beam Gen 2 can muster. That'll be appealing to those who want all the 'wooms' and 'booms' without a separate subwoofer.
One thing that's not so small about the Ambeo Mini is its asking price, though, which is on the higher side. But that's easily forgivable for a unit so wonderfully designed, so considered in its sound delivery, and so much further-reaching than many of its small soundbar competitors. Again, an easy award-winning product from the IFA show floor!
Philips Hue Secure
After weeks of rumours, Philips Hue has finally confirmed that they are entering the world of smart home security. Known as Philips Hue Secure, the new system allows you to monitor your home in real time, offering instant motion alerts and unique light and sound alarms to help deter intruders. The system is on the pricey side which is to be expected when it comes to Philips Hue, but they look great. We're excited about this one!
There are 4 products included in the range: a wired indoor/outdoor camera (£174.99/€199.99), a battery-powered indoor/outdoor camera (£219.99/€249.99), floodlight camera (£299.99/€349.99) and contact sensors (£34.99/€39.99). Each of the cameras have a clear 1080p HD video feed with night vision, featuring end-to-end encryption by default which ensures any video clips, snapshots, and live view remain private. The contact sensor sends real-time notifications when it's opened or closed, and can automate user's lights to turn on anywhere else in the home.
We expect the products to be available at some point in the next month, although Philips Hue are being slightly secretive about when. However, it really is a huge launch for the lighting company (check out the other new products they've released at the same time) and they're certainly in the running for a top prize.
Lenovo Legion Go
One of the most impressive bits of kit to be found around Berlin – if you had the exclusive invite, anyway – was the Lenovo Legion Go, an awesome Windows-based handheld gaming unit that takes task to its Asus ROG Ally and Valve Steam Deck competitors.
The real sell of the Legion Go is its massive 8.8-inch display, which puts the Nintendo Switch to shame thanks to a 144Hz refresh rate and QHD+ resolution – marking this Legion product out from the crowd. It's super-powerful too, with the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor at its heart ensuring light work of Xbox Game Pass gaming when on the go.
Its appeal may be more niche compared to some of T3's top IFA picks, but with a €699 asking price it's actually very competitive in this market. Especially as the entry model features 512GB storage and there's a microSD card to further expand that anyway.
Sony Xperia 5 V
Sony launched its new small-scale phone, the fifth-gen Xperia 5, to coincide with the IFA time schedule, despite not being on the show floor nor having presence in Berlin. Despite this, however, the Xperia 5 V's small scale still delivers big, marking it out as a top pick for our Awards list.
Unlike many of the best phones of today, the Xperia 5 V does things differently: its 6.1-inch display is decidedly smaller than much of the competition, but therein lies its very appeal – after all, not everyone wants a massive phone in their pocket or bag! And just because it's small doesn't mean it lacks power: there's the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on board, ensuring this is a flagship through and through.
In terms of upgrades over its predecessor, Sony has elevated the camera proposition here, adding a new 48-megapixel sensor with its Exmor T multi-layered construction, while adding a batch of modes to make for more creative shooting opportunities. Sometimes small is mighty, as Sony highlights in the Xperia 5 V, which will go on sale at the end of this month for £849/€999.
Shark Detect Pro
Shark unveiled many new floorcare products this year, including carpet cleaners, stain removers and a 3-in-1 vacuum and mop hybrid. But by far the most impressive product Shark launched is the Shark Detect Pro.
Its most clever and convenient vacuum cleaner yet, the Shark Detect Pro is sure to find a place in many people's homes, thanks to its powerful suction, auto-cleaning and multiple detection modes. From lighting up the floor to find hidden dirt to adjusting its suction automatically when it senses edges and corners, the Shark Detect Pro takes care of everything for you... all you have to do is push it around a little bit!
Having watched it in action, it's safe to say that T3 is pretty excited about this new vacuum cleaner. The Shark Detect Pro will be available to buy in late 2023, and will come in three versions, with or without the cleaning base and in a flex wand or straight wand.
Ninja launched many new appliances at IFA 2023, including a bigger air fryer and outdoor BBQ, and an entirely new Outdoor Oven for pizzas, BBQ food and more. But the product we got most excited about is the Ninja Blast, a new portable and cordless blender for drinks on the go.
With healthy living always on people's minds, the Ninja Blast easily and quickly facilitates that, offering high performance blending for smoothies, protein shakes and frozen drinks at any time of day... and from anywhere! Its Ninja Blast technology and BlastBlade Assembly cut through food and thick liquids like yoghurt easily without breaking a sweat. Its clever handle means you can transport your drinks from home to the office and on the gym, and you can blend while on the move.
The Ninja Blast is sure to rival even the best blenders in terms of its portability and power. And like all Ninja launches, it looks pretty good too.
Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2
Shure has been the name in professional audio for longer than I can remember but it's made more inroads into the consumer space recently and its new Aonic 50 second-generation headphones have smashed it. These simple-looking black over-ear headphones are extremely comfortable to wear for long periods and can run up to 45 hours on one charge.
They use 50mm dynamic drivers to ensure incredible sound quality and have six microphones built in for crystal clear voice calls. The highlight here though is the hybrid active noise cancellation and spatial audio modes, which provide a mix of offerings to get the sound exactly how you want it.
Honor Magic V2
The Magic V2 replaces the company's original folding device and offers a much more premium experience. This is the thinnest folding device on the market, with a folded depth of just 9.9mm and an unfolded depth of just 4.7mm.
Both the 6.43-inch outer screen and the 7.92-inch internal screen are OLED models with 120Hz, giving punchy colours and smooth motion. While many foldables have compromised on cameras, the Magic V2 features two 50MP cameras and a 20MP telephoto camera on its outer panel and two 16MP front-facing cameras for video calls and selfies.
The phone is expected to come to Europe (and the UK) in Q1 of 2024, and while pricing hasn't been confirmed, it is likely to be highly competitive.
Xgimi Horizon Ultra long-throw projector
Home projectors offer an easy way to bring very large-screen TV into your home, with screen sizes of 150, or even 200 inches, easily achievable. However, you often have to sacrifice image quality in the process.
The Xgimi Horizon Ultra requires no such sacrifice. This 4K long throw projector uses a combination of laser and LED light to deliver both the brightness and colour reproduction you would expect from a TV.
To ensure a perfect picture every time, it includes a faster autofocusing, auto keystone correction to ensure a square image and auto colour correction to produce an accurate image even when projected onto a coloured wall.
If all that's not enough, it also includes two 12W Harman Kardon speakers for great sound and comes in a stylish champagne-coloured metal case that looks at home in even the smartest of living rooms.