Come with us, back to Berlin again, for the annual IFA 2018 expo – that's Internationale Funkausstellung, or the International Radio Show, and it's an event where most of the biggest names in technology gather to show off their latest wares to the public.
We always see major products launched at IFA and this was another year absolutely packed with announcements. T3 was on the ground at IFA and here are our highlights...
Huawei paved the way for 5G phones
The Kirin 980 mobile chip that Huawei showed off at its IFA keynote has better performance and battery life than previous Kirin chips – and it makes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, which you'll find inside the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Note 9, look like a bit of a slouch, too.
You don't have to be excited about chips, but you should be excited about 5G phones, and we'll be seeing those before the first half of 2018 is over.
AEG made a hob that ensures perfect steak every time
Powered, presumably, by magic (there are no wires, and no battery), AEG's SenseCook food thermometer is one of the most innovative kitchen gadgets at IFA 2018. The only slight catch is you do have to buy an entire compatible induction hob in order to use it. That's because the food-temperature info is fed back to the hob which adjusts itself accordingly, and turns off entirely when food's internal temperature is at the desired level.
So the flagship SenseCook SensePro Wireless Food Sensor measures your steak's internal temp for perfect results, to your choice of rare, medium, charred to a crisp, etc. Frying automatically stops when the desired 'done-ness' is achieved.
Placed into liquids, AEG's smart hob will ensure milk, sauces and water don't boil over, and again can adjust its own heat so boiling point is maintained with minimum energy use when cooking pasta and the like. The accuracy is such that it can even be used as a sous vide, in a similar way to Anova's standalone device.
No pricing info is available yet but we're going to assume it won't be massively affordable. Think of all the money you'll save by not ruining steaks, though.
Miele unleashed a connected washing machine with an A-rated wash cycle that lasts just 39 minutes
Marrying the twin worlds of tech and premium laundry products, MIele's W1 collection rolled out at IFA today. Headline functions include a SingleWash Function for economical washing of small loads, a programme that gives an A-Rated wash in under 40 minutes (specifically, 39 minutes), the new M Touch, touchscreen interface and smart features via a Wi-Fi connection.
Also new to Miele machines, there's a 'FreshenUp' feature, for 'freshening up' your clothes with steam, but no water.
The range-topping Miele WWV 980 WPS pictured here has all of those features and costs a bracing £2199. It runs at a Quiet Mark-friendly 46dB, making it ideal for open plan living and late-night laundering. Also, '23 types of stains' can be 'specially treated', with 'up to three' stains being sorted simultaneously.
In the drying area, there's a new set of heat pump tumble dryers, priced from £1249. Here, Miele is pushing a new Bed Linen programme 'designed to loosen large laundry loads to ensure that items are dried evenly and without rolling up.'
Sony AF9 and ZF9 'Master Series' TVs wowed the public, then alarmed them with their pricing
There's no shortage of great tellies at IFA 2018, including Philips and Bowers & Wilkins stunning visual/audio collaboration on the OLED903, as well as a bevvy of 8K TVs that may or may not end up in your local Curry's.
Never one to be left out, Sony showed off its AF9 OLED and ZF9 LED Master Series TVs, which we introduced you to a while back.
It also revealed the launch date (well, more or less; it's 'late September') and the following pricing details.
• Model Price
75” ZF9 £4999
65” ZF9 £3799
65” AF9 £3999
55” AF9 £2999
Sony unveiled its WH-1000XM3, updated premium noise cancelling cans
The WH-1000XM2 is one of the very best pairs of noise cancelling headphones. Now, the 1000XM3 improves even on its near perfection. The new HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 'has approximately four times greater performance' for even better blocking of background hubbub and engine noise, with the focus on improving the cancellation of 'daily background sounds such as street noise and human voices.' Bloody humans.
You can also now have noise blocking turned on without being connected to a device, which could be very handy on long journeys.
We're not too keen on the WH-1000X range's earcup touch controls, but Sony has kept them for the M3. Oh well. Swiping up and down and left and right to control volume and track selection remains a bit of a pain, but there is a neat feature in the form of Quick Attention Mode. This drops music volume instantly so you can hear what’s going on around you, just by placing your hand over the right earcup.
Perhaps slightly less useful, Adaptive Sound Control lets a set amount of ambient sound through, over the top of your music, when you're walking or standing still, but goes Full Noise Cancelling when you're travelling by train or bus. This feature has its uses when at stations and airports, and has been on Sony's noise cancelling in-ears for a year or so. To be honest, we always turn it off.
As with the M2, Atmospheric Pressure Optimising optimises noise reduction to the air pressure at high altitudes. Both sound quality and noise cancelling overall remain stunning, and there's even support for 32-bit audio.
Battery life is a sizeable 30 hours, and improved USB-C Quick Charging gives you 5 hours of wireless playback from just 10 minutes of charging.
• WH-1000XM3 is available from September. Pricing is a wee bit testing at £330, but if you want the best…
Honor got playful with its Play gaming smartphone
Honor launched the Honor Play today, the first phone from the Chinese brand to focus on delivering a top-notch gaming and entertainment experience.
Completing the Honor portfolio strategy, the Honor Play offers an immersive non-stop gaming experience, which, Honor says, until now has "been plagued by space and capacity problems, thermal efficiency and battery consumption issues because of the popularity of tactical tournament games, and because AR, VR and HDR rendering rely on fast graphic processing power."
Honor has worked with PUBG MOBILE, which is one of the most popular tactical tournament games, and aimed to solve common performance problems. It's also priced an affordable £279.99.
We'll be reviewing the Honor Play soon.
Honor also teased a new flagship phone. Called the Magic 2, it'll have a pop-up selfie camera, near 100-percent screen to bezel ratio, and come with YoYo, Honor's new virtual assistant. We can't wait to find out more about this, and will keep you updated when we have new information.
Sony's Xperia XZ3 brought an updated design and immersive viewing experience
Sony has a new flagship phone. It's called the Xperia XZ3 and features a 6-inch 18:9 QHD+ HDR OLED display, powered by Sony’s award-winning Bravia technology. It promises to deliver deeper blacks, sharper images and more vibrant colours, with a beautifully curved 3D glass design which seamlessly blends the OLED display into the phone body. It's a big improvement over previous Sony phones.
For the keen smartphone photographers amongst you, the Sony features a 19MP Motion Eye main camera and 13MP front camera. It'll be able to record 4K HDR movies, Full HD 960FPS Super slow motion, and advanced 3D Creator, now with facial expressions
- Read T3's early verdict review of the Sony Xperia XZ3
Philips and Bowers & Wilkins partnered for the launch of the OLED+ 903 TV
Philips TV and Bowers & Wilkins have just announced the 'OLED+ 903' television, which hopes to establish a new reference point for both TV picture and sound quality.
The OLED+ 903 is one of Philips’ first sets to offer HDR+ performance, however, as most content is still SDR, Philips has developed 'Perfect Natural Reality', which continually calculates how to increase source quality, brightness, sharpness and contrast performance to give SDR content the same quality and impact as HDR content.
The OLED+ 903 builds upon the already excellent sound system of the OLED 803 by using Bowers & Wilkins audio engineering expertise to turn television sound up to 11.
The sound system features B&W drivers throughout, mounted in larger, more rigid and dedicated enclosures. Distortion has been reduced while dialogue clarity, and the scale and separation of the sound stage, have both been increased.
Bass performance has been significantly increased, making the OLED+ 903 great for music playback as well.
The OLED+ 903 will launch in October – in both 55” and 65” versions – and will reset the TV performance landscape by offering a combination of picture and sound quality previously unavailable in the market.
Sonos Amp got updated with a redesign and more connection options
Sonos revealed that it’s working on an update to the Sonos Amp, to make a more modern and flexible way to bring your existing traditional speakers into the Sonos multi-room system.
You can use it to connect to traditional speakers (and with twice the power of the previous Sonos Amp, it can power some serious hi-fi), and it has an HDMI-ARC port for bringing your TV into the mix. The Amp won’t be out until February 2019, though.
Sonos also announced a partnership with architectural speaker company Sonance to bring out a line of Sonos-connected in-wall, in-ceiling and outdoor speakers, for invisible home installs. They’ll work with Sonos multi-room smarts, as well as the company’s TruePlay tuning, to make sure it all sounds perfect once it’s stuck in your brickwork.
Sonos is also going to let developers tie into its systems more, especially when it comes to smart home, so you can do things like have your smart doorbell play its tone through your Sonos speakers.
The Beosound Edge is part sculpture, part wireless speaker
Created in collaboration with globally acclaimed designer Michael Anastassiades, Beosound Edge is a wireless speaker which wouldn't look out of place in a sculpture gallery.
The unique circular shape of Beosound Edge allows for two placement options. On the floor, amplifying and blending in with the colours of the furniture standing next to it, or placed on the wall as a true gravity-defying statement that divides spaces in the home.
The inspiration for the design is derived from the classic British pound coin, and similar to the movement of a coin rolling, users can slowly rock the speaker back and forth to increase and decrease volume.
It's certainly a stunning object, and we'll be getting ears on with it soon to let you know how it sounds.
Casio's new smartwatch adds offline maps and 3-day battery life with GPS
Casio has announced its third generation of Pro Trek smartwatches at IFA this year, bringing several big updates with it. The WSD-F30 enables the use of offline maps and GPS log recording for up to three consecutive days.
The new 'Extend Mode' enables the use of offline colour maps and GPS for up to three days on just a single charge, showing, time and measurement data continuously on a monochrome display. A colour man can be displayed at the push of a button, and Extended Mode can save energy by switching to stand-by mode when not in use.
This will be an important update for outdoor enthusiasts, who would have previously worried about the Pro Trek's battery life.
The third gen smartwatch also comes with a new and improved dual-layer display, and smaller cade for enhanced wearability.
Google Home Max went on sale in the UK
Starting today, UK buyers can pick up the Google Home Max at the Google Store and at John Lewis for £399.
Google Max is what Google calls its "best-sounding, most impactful Google Home yet", offering dual 4.5-inch high-excursion woofers, for deep bass that will make your dubstep go wub wub wub wub. Additionally, the Max is seriously loud – 20 times more powerful than the original Google Home, in fact.
The Max is also Google's first speaker with Smart Sound, which uses AI to adapt its sound for where you place it in a room, so if you decide to move your speaker a few feet, it will tune itself within seconds.
- Read more about the Google Home Max
Marshall rocked up with the Kilburn II
Marshall have updated their best selling classic speaker the Kilburn. The new model is called the 'Kilburn II’, logically, and comes with all new features and functions, making it more rugged and roadworthy than ever before.
Offering 20+ hours of portable playtime on one single charge, the speaker claims to be the loudest in its class. A new multidirectional sound and back firing tweeters from the speaker will ensure that the sound will fill a living room or big group of people outdoors.
Aesthetically, the metal grille has been reimagined and updated through a classic microphone that inspired the new design, as well as introducing protective corner caps to bring out the roadworthy design elements of the speaker. The speaker’s guitar inspired strap makes it perfect size for carrying, weighting just 3KG.
It costs £269. You can read our review of the Kilburn II below:
- Check out T3's Marshall Kilburn II review
Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 is more life-proof, better looking, better sounding, cheaper…
The Megaboom 3 improves on the winning formula of its waterproof, cylindrical predecessor, and is an excellent speaker. It's actually only the second Megaboom, but as Ultimate Ears is also putting out a new Boom (a smaller sibling to this) and it its the third Boom speaker, it's taken the decision to rationalise the naming of its products by calling them both '3'.
Yes, that is a little confusing, but we can get through this if we try. It's certainly an evolution of the Megaboom DNA rather than anything radically new, but on the other hand, just about everything has been slightly improved, while the RRP, at £169.99, has gone down compared to the original Megaboom's.
- Read our Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 review
Riva Concert and Stadium speakers come packing Alexa, Bluetooth AND hi-res audio
The Riva Stadium (a large-ish speaker) and Riva Concert (more Sonos One sized/priced) are here to try to take a slice of the 'smart speakers with Alexa built-in' pie.
The brand's first voice-controlled speakers, the Concert and Stadium pack in all the usual Alexa goodness, with voice control of Amazon and Spotify music streaming services. You can also send sound to them via Bluetooth and AirPlay, and they're multi-room capable, as well as giving you the option to use two as a stereo pair (although each speaker individually already outputs stereo).
High-resolution audio is supported (24-bit/192kHz), as are networked digital audio files via AirPlay or DLNA. There are also USB and 3.5mm inputs.
- Read more about the Riva Concert and Stadium