IFA 2013: Top Five Pieces of Mobile Tech From This Year's Berlin-based Tradeshow

 

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 3


Rumours about this device had been swirling for what seemed like an age prior to the wraps being taken off at IFA 2013 with all manner of purported specs including a 6-inch screen, 13-megapixel camera and either an ARM11, Exynos 5 Octa or Snapdragon 800 chipset doing the rounds.

 

Samsung put us all our of our collective miseries at its special Unpacked event at IFA on 4 September and unveiled the third iteration of its phablet device. The next-gen Note didn't disappoint either and most of the rumoured details were confirmed with the Note 3 rocking a  5.7-inch super AMOLED screen with Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, along with a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor (4G model) or 1.9GHz octa-core Exynos chip (3G variant).

 

Android Jelly Bean 4.3 was confirmed as the OS of choice and  S-Pen stylus also made a welcome return, this time jazzed up with a host of improved functionality. Perhaps the most, if you'll excuse the pun, noteworthy development is the inclusion of 4K video recording capabilities. We'll have a full review coming your way soon, but for now why not take a look at our man Chris Barraclough's Hands-On snaps and watch the Samsung Unpacked presentation below.

 

 

2. Sony Xperia Z1

 

Never one to rest on its laurels, Sony expanded its Xperia range even further by adding the high-end Xperia Z1. Much like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, this handset had been subject to leaks and conjecture in the lead-up to launch with the main thrust centring on the 21-megapixel camera tipped to appear.

 

Previously known by the 'Honami' codename, Sony outed its latest flagship as the Sony Xperia Z1 on 5 September in the lush surroundings of the Sony hall at IFA 2013. The follow-up to the highly-rated Sony Xperia Z, the Z1 sports a 5-inch Full HD screen, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor backed by 2GB of RAM, and a 20.7-megapixel snapper laden with the Japanese firm's G Lens imaging tech encompassing Exmor RS CMOS image sensor and BIONZ image processing engine.

 

Like the Xperia Z, Xperia Tablet Z and recently released Xperia Z Ultra phablet, the Xperia Z1 features the same IP57 water resistance as well as Sony's TRILUMINUS and X-Reality Display technology that promises 'an unparalleled viewing experience'. UK pricing and tariffs are yet to be revealed but the likes of Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u have the device up for pre-order now with both retailers chucking in a free Sony Smartwatch 2 for those that take the plunge.

 

3.  Samsung Galaxy Gear

           

Whilst Sony has used its last couple of launches to ease its latest smartwatch offering into the minds of consumers, Samsung took a different and went all out in heralding its Samsung Galaxy Gear  as the definitive wrist-mounted mobile device. The new kit is a bit of a departure from the smartwatches we've seen in the past as it's a substantial unit featuring a chunky chrome facia.

 

As well as a premium design, users will benefit from a 1.6-inch screen, 4GB of internal storage and a built-in 1.9-megapixel camera incorporated into the wrist strap. Unlike Sony's Smartwatch 2, the Galaxy Gear features a mic and speaker so that it can be used for voice calls. Also unlike Sony's effort, the Galaxy Gear won't connect to smartphones other than the Galaxy Note 3, but that's not such a positive point (Sony's Smartwatch 2 will hook up with other Xperia devices).

 

An 800MHz processor powers things along and the OLED 320x320 resolution screen, although seemingly poky at first, is said to acquit itself well when it comes to serving messages and notifications. The Gear will be made available in six colour variants - jet black, mocha gray, wild orange, oatmeal beige, rose gold, and lime green - and is set hit shelves in over 100 countries from 25 September priced at £299. We'll be giving it a thorough going over in due course, but in the meantime, have a look at the official Samsung demo video below:

 

4. LG G2


LG's Korean launch event for its new flagship mightn't have gone as smoothly as the firm would have hoped but the surrounds of the Messe Berlin proved a much better platform to show off the new high-end handset to the world's tech press. The sleek-looking device is the first to dispense with the 'Optimus' moniker LG has attached to its top of the range creations and among one of the first smartphones to run Qualcomm's insanely powerful Snapdragon 800 chipset.

 

We didn't spend too long in the company of LG's star turn but the fleeting minutes we did were more than enough to demonstrate how lightning quick the thing is. The 2.26GHz quad-core Krait CPU eats up anything thrown at it and navigation around the Android 4.2.2 OS is as fluid as we've seen.

 

Whilst some are already proclaiming this device the best smartphone currently avaialble, we'll reserve judgement until our full review is filed (mainly due to the LG G2's gimmicky rear-mounted volume rocker). That said, given the super-swift performance, display chops offered by the 5.2-inch Full HD IPS screen and general slinkiness of its shell, the early cheerleaders could be right.

 

5. Sony QX10 & QX100 Lens-cameras


On first glance these look to be a bit of an anomaly and many of you might question whether they warrant inclusion in a top five round-up in a mobile tech-centric magazine/website. Well, before you go dashing of an email to our editor, let us tell you that the QX10 and QX100 is indeed a mobile-related products.

 

The devices, unwrapped on the Wednesday of this year's IFA, appear to be lens modules sliced from the front of a DSLR at a glance but upon closer inspection reveal themselves to be highly innovative image capture accessories. Both add-ons are full compact system cameras that attach to any smartphone using a bracket or specially designed case (included). Imagine the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom but with the option to remove its cumbersome lens.

 

Once connected to the phone, both physically and via Bluetooth, the lenses use Sony's PlayMemories app to take photos. The resulting images are then stored on the device either as 2MP or full resolution images. The QX10 has an 18-megapixel sensor and 10x optical zoom whereas the QX100 features a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor and Carl Zeiss optics. Both have physical controls such as a shutter button and zoom controls and both will put a dent in your wallet at £179 and £399 respectively. Check them out in action by watching the video below:

 

 

 

Written by Mobile Choice
Mobile Choice

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