Want to know how to do damage to your wallet this holiday season? Look no further. The annual IFA electronics tradeshow in Berlin always gives us a look at where tech is headed in the fall and winter, and this year, we’ve been seeing a whole lot of VR, along with some pretty incredible new toys for creative types.
We’ll get the VR part out of the way first — Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Mixed Reality platform had a huge presence at the show, with accompanying headsets from Asus, Lenovo, and Dell making their debut this past week. Our favorite? All of them! Seriously, they’re all the same headset inside.
While we’re loving where VR is going, there was plenty else at the show we couldn’t take our eyes off of. Here are our favorites!
Best Smartphone: LG V30
Were there many new smartphones at the show? No, not really. But, if there were a lot, we’re pretty sure the LG V30 would’ve wiped the floor with them — LG’s latest media-centric phone is packing one of the best smartphone cameras we’ve seen and one of the best smartphone displays we’ve seen. If you want to take the best videos and pictures on a mobile device, you might not be able to do better than this.
Best Convertible PC: Lenovo Yoga 920
That the latest Lenovo 360-degree 2-in-1 combines terrific specs with premium lightweight design? No surprise there. But when a company tells us they’re going to produce two special edition models of their premium 2-in-1 with Star Wars-themed back covers, then they’ve got our attention.
Best Laptop: Dell XPS 13
We’re still a bit iffy on Dell’s interpretation of rose gold here, but the hardware checks out. For a straight up laptop, we’ve been fans of the XPS 13 for years now, and that’s not changing this year. It’s slim as always, and the move to an 8th generation Intel Core i U-series processor means that the XPS 13 finally has a quad-core processor to help it plow through multitasking demands.
Best Quirky Product: Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges
Shut the holiday present Olympics down early. Disney and Lenovo have teamed up to let you have virtual lightsaber battles in your own home, while wielding an actual lightsaber hilt. No Jedi powers here — Lenovo is using an augmented reality headset combined with your smartphone to make it happen.
Best Wearable: Samsung Gear Sport
In a year that’s seen a few companies move away from wearables, Samsung is sticking with them. The Samsung Gear Sport isn’t exactly what we’d call an upgrade to last year’s Gear S3, but it’s a solid product nonetheless. Whereas the Gear S3 tried to be the everyday smartwatch for Galaxy smartphone users, the Gear Sport is a lighter, slimmer watch that specializes in tracking workouts. It’s also got a feature no other smartwatch can claim — offline Spotify playback directly from the watch.