IFA 2023 is one of the year’s biggest festivals of new tech – and we’re at the show in Berlin, Germany right now to bring you all of the latest news and launches.
What is IFA 2023? It’s Europe’s biggest tech show and is traditionally held every September in Berlin, Germany. Outside of CES, it’s one of the main places to see, hear and learn about new gadgets.
When is IFA 2023? This year’s edition will run from September 1-5, and is only the second in-person event since 2019.
Which tech brands are there? Aside from Apple and Google, most of the big consumer tech brands are at IFA 2023, including Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Asus and more.
The show runs between September 1 to 5, but its traditional peak is during its first two days, when many of the biggest tech brands – including Samsung, LG and more – make their new announcements.
IFA 2023 covers all of consumer tech, but this year we’re particularly expecting to see launches and announcements in TVs, wireless audio, robot vacuums and the smart home.
Towards the end of the show, we’ll also be bringing you our IFA 2023 awards, which will be a highlights reel of our favorite new tech from the show.
But before then, it’s time to join us on the show floor as we hunt for the most interesting, promising and downright weird tech of IFA 2023.
Some of the highlights so far include JBL’s retro-inspired wireless speakers (complete with both Alexa and Google Assistant), the arrival of next-gen Bluetooth on Samsung’s earbuds and speakers, and Philips Hue gatecrashing the show with its new security cameras…
Welcome to IFA 2023
The starting gun has fired on IFA 2023 (for the press and media, at least) and the TechRadar team is currently tearing around the Messe Berlin exhibition centre in search of the most interesting tech stories this year’s show has to offer.
We’ve already seen some big announcements from Samsung, Sennheiser, JBL, Anker and more – and some other big tech brands (like Philips Hue) have also decided to make some big announcements, despite not actually being at the show.
We’ll be rounding up all of the news on those, plus the more esoteric and eccentric tech at IFA 2023, in this regularly updated liveblog. So stay tuned for a deep dive into Europe’s biggest tech show…
Next-gen Bluetooth is here – for Samsung tech
Here’s a big piece of IFA 2023 news that’s flown a little under the radar – Samsung has announced that its much-anticipated Auracast tech (a new Bluetooth feature) is coming to some of the best Samsung TVs and its Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro earphones.
Rather than pairing with a single device, Auracast creates a kind of audio hotspot that means audio can be broadcast to an unlimited number of receivers, like earbuds and headphones. That means your TV, for example, can connect to multiple pairs of Bluetooth 5.2 earbuds.
That’s just the start of Auracast’s benefits, which you can read more about in our story about the game-changing, Apple-rivaling new feature. With Samsung becoming the first major TV brand to add the tech to its TVs, expect more to follow suit.
Hisense shows off a bright idea for daytime TV fans
Hisense is showing the anti-reflective tech that will go into next year’s flagship UXN TV. The TV on the left (above) is a prototype with the new screen, while the one on the right is Hisense’s current flagship TV.
We reckon this is going to make a huge difference to daytime viewing – so that’s particularly big news for fans of Judge Judy and The Price is Right. Below, you can see the prototype TV in action – we’ll bring you more info as we get it.
Anker has some new mobile chargers – for your iPhone 15
Anker has established itself as the go-to name for mobile batteries – and even giant battery packs for your house – and it’s been showing off some new charging solutions at IFA 2023.
Its new MagGo range works with MagSafe or the new faster Qi 2.0 15W system, and will be available to buy this winter (or sometime after October, if you’re in the southern hemisphere).
Anker also has two new mini power banks with USB-C cables built-in (below), which are unsubtly targeted at the iPhone 15 – particularly as Anker’s European product manager made a point to tell us it’s not introducing any new Lightning products this year.
SharkNinja attacks IFA with stealthy cleaning tech
SharkNinja has hit IFA hard and fast with a new beauty device as well as some exciting cleaning and kitchen appliances. Most exciting was the announcement of its new Shark Detect Pro vacuum (above), a highly intelligent, anti-allergenic vacuum that can automatically empty into its dock after use.
Having briefly tested it, we’re really impressed by how lightweight and powerful it is, though the canister is pretty small and would need to be docked and emptied a few times for larger homes. Let’s just say we’re not volunteering to clean the whole of IFA with it.
Elsewhere, SharkNinja has also announced its first cordless portable blender (the Ninja Blast, above), the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Oven and a new larger Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill. There’s also the new Shark SpeedStyle (below) which it calls a “high-velocity hair dryer and RapidGloss Finisher”. That sounds like a slightly aggressive billing for a hair dryer, but we’re interested to test out its glossiness claims soon.
LG has packed its suitcase TV for IFA
We’ve seen plenty of pictures of LG’s StanbyME Go suitcase TV before, but now we’ve finally seen one in person at IFA 2023 (above and below).
Our early verdict? All the hinges feel very solid, and it’s quite a premium-feeling case. The LCD TV itself is… well, it’s not up there with the LG C3 OLED, let’s just say. But then, you can’t just grab the C3 for a bit of Netflix on the balcony, can you?
Thankfully, the StanbyME Go is now going to get a global release, starting in the US right now with the UK and other key European countries getting it from next month (no Australian date has been confirmed yet, sadly).
Ears-on with the JBL Authentics speakers
Last night during the Club JBL press conference, senior staff writer Hamish Hector got some brief hands-on time with the “new-stalgic” Authentics speaker range from JBL and Harmon.
He reckons the audio devices look superb – invoking a classic 70s vibe of JBL’s L 100 speaker – and they pack in some impressive sonic tech with Dolby Atmos surround sound support and wi-fi connectivity. But how do they sound in practice? Based on his experience so far, all three Authentics speakers – the Authentics 200, Authentics 300, and Authetics 500 – deliver solid performances, though there is a stark contrast between the cheapest 200 and the most expensive 500; most notably in the bass department.
The mid-to-high range tones comes across crystal clear, but the Authentics 200 didn’t provide enough oomph to the track’s deep notes. The Authentics 500, on the other hand, had a thumping bass line that you could feel resonating in your chest at even moderate volumes – exactly what we’d expect from a high-end speaker.
It’s worth noting that we only had about 10 minutes with the speakers combined, and we weren’t able to tweak their EQ settings or listen to the range of music we’d usually test speakers with. As such, it could be that the Authetics 200 can deliver a more dynamic baseline, it just wasn’t optimized for that in our demo.
Until we and other reviewers can properly test the speakers out we’d recommend checking out the Authentics 200 or 300 ahead of their September 15 release date, if bass isn’t a priority for you. Otherwise you might want to splash out on the Authentics 500 (which comes in at £579.99 / €629.99) or hold off altogether until the full reviews are in.
First look: the new TiVo OS for Sharp TVs
We recently heard that TiVo (yes, the old DVR tech from almost 25 years ago) will be coming to Sharp TVs in 2024 – and we’ve just had our first peek at the Roku and Fire TV rival at IFA 2023.
Overall, we’re impressed with how clean it looks and smoothly it runs. The menu layout is easy to navigate and it’s a content first platform; when you boot the TV up you’ll be presented with a selection of shows and films that TiVo thinks you’ll love based on your habits (and using the settings you can restrict these suggestions to just the best TV streaming services you subscribe to).T
The stand-out feature though is its voice search function that can help you find the films and TV you’re after at the push of a button. There’s the basic command of “show me films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger” to get a up a full list, but with a follow-up request of “only films from the 90s” your selection will be trimmed down further.
If you really want to get into the movie-watching mood you can instead put on your best Arnie impression and search with “hasta la vista baby” to jump straight to Terminator 2. We expect that last search option will only be possible for iconic lines – if you start quoting your favorite indie film, we expect TiVo won’t find what you’re looking for – but it could be a handy tool if you can’t quite put your finger on the show or movie you’re looking for.
Another eccentric ‘TV’ discovery
If you like the idea of LG’s suitcase TV (scroll down) for camping trips, then you’ll probably like this one, too.
This is Sylvox’s waterproof, floating portable “TV”. Really, it’s a big 15-inch Android tablet, but with a chunky stand so you can angle it however you want, and a focus on video and sound.
But it could be just what your kitchen/bath/pool is missing.
SwitchBot’s robot cleans up after itself
SwitchBot might be known for its retrofit devices, but it’s putting its best foot forwards at IFA 2023 with its new robot vacuum and mop (the SwitchBot S10), which automatically empties the vacuum and dirty mop water into two separate docks.
The mop dock can be retrofitted into existing plumbing, meaning you won’t need to worry about the water chamber being empty when running the vacuum if you’re away from home.
Granted, there isn’t any mapping intelligence and the vacuum roller is a little narrow, but it’s an exciting first step for the brand away from strict smart home retrofit devices like the SwitchBot bot and SwitchBot Lock.
Philips Hue gatecrashes IFA 2023 with security cameras
Philips Hue (now owned by Signify) isn’t officially at IFA 2023, but that hasn’t stopped it from making a big IFA-style announcement – the launch of its new security cameras, which naturally play nice with its smart lights to ward off intruders.
As this is a spiritual IFA announcement (and pretty big smart home news), we’re including it in this liveblog. Its new system comprises of the Hue Secure camera (available in both wired and battery-powered form), a Hue Secure floodlight camera, and some new contact sensors for doors and windows.
On the plus side, the Philips Hue Secure system is end-to-end encrypted, with features like AI subject recognition taking place locally on the devices themselves, which is a bonus for privacy.
But on the downside, a subscription (starting at $3.99 / £3.99 / €3.99 per month) is inevitably needed to unlock advanced features like those AI alerts for subject types (for example, people, pets and vehicles), the cloud storage of video clips and ‘activity zones’ that let you create blackout zones where you don’t want the camera to scan.
Still, we’re definitely keen to give them a spin with our Hue lights when they arrive later this year to see if we can create a Home Alone-style security setup (minus the swinging paint cans).
IFA 2023: three lesser-known AV treats
TechRadar’s Managing Editor (Entertainment) Matt Bolton has been on the hunt for some of the more quirky and innovative AV launches at IFA 2023 – and he’s found a few good ones.
Firstly, there’s this prototype energy-saving TV from Turkish giant Vestel, which uses up to 55% less energy than an equivalent mid-range TV. And that’s without a big knock to the brightness or the evenness of the picture, as it uses a different kind of LED and arranges them differently.
A light that’s secretly a powerful speaker
Lemus’ Life is a stylish hanging light with a pretty good wireless speaker built in, and is capable of some solid bass and energy.
It’s a hanging light fixture, the kind where you wrap the cable around a beam or pole, then dangle the light from it. It’s very ‘Danish cool’ (where Lemus is based), in both the look and the minimalism.
On the downside, it also has a very Danish price tag, costing 1.499,00 kr (or around $1,675 / £1,320 / AU$2,585). But your dinner party tunes likely won’t sound any better.
Tiny earbuds that pack a punch
JLab is launching these ridiculously small earbuds (below) at IFA 2023 – where the case is small enough to have them on your keyring without it feeling weird.
The JBuds Mini are practically weightless, as well as being the size of a little fingernail. If you need some buds that you can always have with you, without even thinking about it, they’re ideal.
And they’re not basic either – you can customize the sound in the app and more. You’ll be able to buy them this month for $39 (around £30 / AU$60).
We’re back at IFA 2023 for its first official day open to the public!
Highlights include, in a very literal sense, Samsung’s new outdoor “Terrace” TV, which is the company’s super-bright “Full Sun” TV, and is its first to use mini-LED tech. And according to Managing Editor Matt Bolton, it is “almost comically bright”.
When looking around the Samsung booth for it, it stands out immediately even among the sea of other bright Samsung TVs. It has to be bright, to be visible even when the sun is blasting over it, but it’s hard to realise just what a difference it is until you see in person.
You can read more about the new Terrace in its generous 85-inch size in our full write-up of the news here, but seeing it in the pixelly flesh definitely drives home why outdoor TVs are a specialist thing.
Meet the Lenovo Legion Go, freshly launched here at IFA
Lenovo has launched its competitor to the Steam Deck, called the Legion Go. With a 9-inch 144Hz screen, and detachable controllers, it’s following the Nintendo Switch path of being flexible for however you want to play.
Packing an AMD processor and GPU combo with 16GB of RAM, it looks like it’ll be very capable, though in our early Lenovo Legion Go hands-on, we found some issues with stuttering in games – though we found the same thing with the Asus ROG Ally early on too, so hopefully it’ll be ironed out before launch.
But Lenovo has done more than just put some good specs in a small machine here. The kickstand is great, the “FPS” mode that turns the controllers into a kind of keyboard/mouse alternative is very smart. Following our hands-on, we said that it has “tons of potential” and “It has some great quality-of-life changes and truly innovative modes that fit nearly every playstyle or game genre.”
It will cost $699 when it launches in October in the US – release elsewhere is unconfirmed so far.
The Honor V Purse is phone and fashion in one
Honor is getting fun with its folding phone design in this, the V Purse. It uses a wraparound flexible screen that’s not only inside the phone, but then covers the outside too. And the chain you see in the picture is part of the phone’s design as well, not some case accessory.
The idea is to mimic a handbag, but to give you the ability to change the design of the “handbag” for your outfit or occasion. The outside screen can mimic the look of different materials or finishes, so you can go bright and fun for a big night out, or sombre for formal parties. You can chase whatever the latest material trend in handbags is, or just keep it classic with some leather grain.
Despite calling itself “Purse”, you won’t be storing anything inside here. It’s a folding phone – if you put your lipstick in it and close it, you’re going to have a broken phone and a ruined lipstick. The name is all about the look.
We’re not exactly convinced it’ll take off as a concept – Honor doesn’t seem certain to even release it – so if you’re looking for the more standard folding phone option from Honor, here’s our Honor Magic V2 hands-on, and we’re impressed with that one. But it does look boring in comparison, there’s no denying that.
The Autobots have rolled out to IFA
Taking a stroll through the halls here at IFA we found a small army of dancing Optimus Primes and Bumblebees at the Robosen booth. Certainly not something you see every day.
These robotic collectibles are exactly the sort of toys we wish we had as kids. By using a connected smartphone app or voice commands you can order the robots to dance, fire their weapons, and perform lines using recordings of the original actors. You can also program your own custom actions for the Transformers to perform if you want.
The only downside is these Transformer collectibles don’t come cheap. The upcoming Grimlock model is on preorder for $1,499 / £1,399 (which is a slight discount on the price it’ll be after release of $1,699 / £1,599).
Early thoughts on the JBL Soundgear Sense headphones
Hey, it’s Hamish here – TechRadar’s senior staff writer on the news team. I’ve been testing out the new JBL Soundgear Sense air conducting headphones here in Berlin for the past few days, and I’m kinda in love with them.
They look like sporty earbuds, with a hook that secures them to your ear, but they don’t go inside your ear. Instead, they sit over the entry to it and blast sound in through the air – kinda like more directed open-ear headphones. The main advantage of the Soundgear Sense over earbuds or the best noise-canceling headphones is you can enjoy your favorite playlist while also maintaining full awareness of your surroundings – they don’t block noise from the real world at all.
The sound quality is also pretty darn good. At louder volumes, some distortion can creep in, but at moderate volumes (which is more than loud enough in practice) they offer good clarity. Mid and high-range tones sound great, and the bass is solid too – especially when you consider their small size.
Will they completely replace my trusty Bose 700? No. Much of the time when I’m listening to music or a podcast I want to be isolated in the sound – free from the distractions of the outside world. But on my commutes, whenever I go jogging or if I’m walking home on a dark evening I’ll gladly swap them out for these JBL buds for the extra awareness they provide.
Matt Bolton, our Managing Editor for Entertainment, just got to see the new Dolby Atmos FlexConnect technology in action at TCL’s booth here at IFA, and his one-word verdict on it is: game-changing.
The idea of Dolby Atmos FlexConnect is that you can use totally wireless speakers with a compatible TV for great Dolby Atmos sound. Okay, no surprise there – we already knew wireless is the future of Dolby Atmos.
The twist is that the speakers can be a mix of any compatible speakers, and you can place them anywhere you want. The old world of five surround speakers being placed in specific positions is dead, and FlexConnect is holding the poison.
The way it works is that your TV has to be FlexConnect-compatible too, and the system will have any connected speakers play sounds so that microphones in the TV can map out their position in the room, resulting in the image above, which accurately shows the position of the two speakers in my demo. Not only that, but at the same time, the system is testing the audio range of those speakers and whether they have height drivers, and so on.
Once it has this information, it can “render” a sound profile for your room that uses these speakers and those in your TV to fill it with sound. It’s wild how well it works with just two speakers – although they’re two prototype speakers from TCL with five drivers per speaker, so they’re well-designed for the task. With just two speakers and the TV, you get height, sound to the sides and a little bit behind, and great dynamic range.
The tech will launch with TCL first at an unconfirmed date, and no doubt other speaker makers will follow.
A way to feel a VR world
Here’s a dispatch from Computing Editor Christian Guyton:
I think I just found my favorite product at IFA this year. At the European Innovation Commission’s stand, I met with Actronika, who have developed a full-torso haptic feedback vest, which was paired with a VR headset so I could experience that coveted feeling of being shot by bullets, lasers, and fireballs.
The VR tech demo they ran me through was impressive, beginning with drones firing at me before simulating rainfall and strong winds, then culminating with an explosion that shook my whole body. The haptics were surprisingly accurate; I could accurately place where each shot had hit me, and when one of the drones fired a beam of energy at me, I felt it pass through me with a sensation of pressure on my chest and back.
If you’ve seen Ready Player One and thought “boy, I sure wish I had one of those haptic suits”, then the future could be a lot closer than you think. Let’s just hope we don’t get the accompanying sci-fi dystopia along with it, eh?
If a haptic vest sounds a bit too intense, you might prefer this haptic lightsaber.
Unfortunately, it’s not one of the weird VR haptic attachments Hamish is hoping to see more of; this lightsaber is a standalone toy that vibrates as you swing it around to make the blade feel alive.
It also provides realistic feedback when you power on and power off the laser sword, and when it’s not glowing the lack of haptics does make the blade almost feel lighter, dormant even. This is definitely one of the more fun gadgets we’ve seen while exploring IFA.
We tested the self-styled ‘world’s toughest earbuds’, the Jabra Elite 8 Active, by getting the measure of their waterproof credentials. We couldn’t splash around in the sea or go for a tough run in the driving rain across a moor, but we did do the next best thing and plopped them in a glass of water.
It helps the earbuds are completely waterproof and IP6X dustproof, said to have passed nine US military-grade durability tests and lined with a ‘shakeproof’ liquid silicon coating to ensure they stay in your ears no matter how intense your workout is.
As you can probably imagine the buds came out dripping wet, but perfectly functional, and the audio, when we tried it, was satisfyingly bassy. It’ll certainly get you through a workout no sweat, although hardcore audiophiles are better off with the Elite 10 or even the ANC Shure over-ear cans we tested. Wouldn’t drop them in a glass of water though.
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