We've made it through yet another year at IFA — that's Internationale Funkausstellung, since you were asking — and have winged our way home from Berlin, Germany. The dust is settling, as are the thoughts on the all Android tech we saw. And while we didn't particularly have any huge surprises come from the annual European show, thanks to the Galaxy Note 5 having been announced early this year, we did have plenty to see.
We had watches. We had phones. We had tablets. Loads to choose from, really. So here, now, are our Top Picks from IFA 2015.
Samsung Gear S2
While Samsung didn't drop any new phones on us in Berlin — the Note 5 already is on sale, of course — the Korean company did have probably what was the marquee event of the week. We knew we were going to see the Gear S2 smartwatch, of course — it'd teased it weeks earlier at the Note 5 event. But what we didn't expect was just how good it is. It's a Tizen-based watch, sure, but we came away from our initial look at it very impressed. And even more interesting this year is that Samsung is opening up the watch to phones from other manufacturers, so long as they're running Android 4.4 and up.
We still have questions, of course. We don't yet know price, and we've not actually used the watch as a watch. But the Gear S2 easily garners a spot on our Top Picks of IFA 2015.
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium — check out our first look with it from IFA — is the world's first smartphone with a 4K display, marking a major technological milestone. It's also a major step forward for Sony's phone cameras, as the company offers a completely redesigned 23-megapixel camera, the biggest change in two years. Combine that with a waterproof, capless design and a unique mirrored back panel, and you've got one of the most eye-catching and newsworthy phones of the show.
We also welcome the move up to a 5.5-inch display size and a larger 3,430mAh battery, which should cater to those looking for a bigger viewport into their content, and increased longevity between charges.
Acer Predator 8
Do we really need a "gaming" Android tablet? Perhaps. And Acer's going all-in with the Predator 8. The specs are about what you'd expect in a high-end Android tablet — 8-inch 1080p display, Intel Atom x7 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32/64GB of internal storage (with SD expansion), as well as 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi for improved connectivity.
But, really, it just looks like a Predator.
We'll see it Nov. 6 in North America, starting at $299. It'll hit elsewhere in the world in October. Check out our hands-on with the Predator 8 from Berlin.
Alcatel OneTouch Pop Star
"Budget" smartphones are all the rage these days — and rightfully so as they've gotten really good. Alcatel has been a regular in that conversation this year, with the Idol 3 range of phones. The new Pop Star brings a bit more style into the mix, with a wealth of removable back covers in a number of designs and textures, including wood, leather and denim. You'll be able to mix and match at will and easily change whenever you want. Plus you'll get a relatively light Android experience — all without breaking the bank.
ASUS ZenFone Zoom
We've been waiting for another peek at the ZenFone Zoom since it was announced in January — and we got it at IFA. This phone has a 3x optical zoom and a 13MP sensor, which is what makes it so exciting. And it can combine up to four shots for a total 52MP pic. Throw in optical image stabilization, and this has the makings of a really good smartphone camera, especially when you consider that you get all that without a huge hump on the back of the phone.
The bad news? We're still not sure when it'll actually be available. For now, check out our hands-on with the ZenFone Zoom from IFA.
Huawei Mate S
The second of Huawei's IFA entries is a smartphone. And it's sort of a typical Huawei phone in that it's got some really good hardware — and a pretty spectacular rear fingerprint scanner — in a package that will make any fan of a metal smartphone stand up and take notice.
Huawei also is making a "Luxury Edition" of the Mate S that will include 128GB of internal storage — and a pressure-sensitive display for that newfangled "Force Touch" technology that the kids are all raving about.
Just don't look for any of this in North America any time soon. You'll have to make do with our hands-on from IFA.
Huawei's first foray into Android Wear has turned out one of the best-looking smartwatches we've seen. While it basically does the same thing that all other Android Wear watches do, Huawei absolutely has a looker on its hands with the Huawei Watch. Pricing starts at $349 for a leather band and jumps all the way up to $799 for the gold-on-gold model. So there's really something for everyone. The different options for bands and bracelets is really what sets this one apart.
Look for the Huawei Watch in mid-September. Look for our latest look at it here.
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
Lenovo has a penchant for making interesting tablets, and it's done so once again with the Yoga Tab 3 Pro. It's a 10-inch tablet housing a projector capable of throwing a 70-inch image up on a wall or screen, and it's got four front-facing speakers to make sure things sound good. The projector has moved from the base of the tablet into the hinged kickstand (which, erm, is also in the base of the tablet). It sounds crazy — but really it's crazy cool. The whole thing is powered by an Intel Atom processor.
It'll be available in November starting at 499 Euros, but you can check out our hands-on today.
Moto 360 (2015)
It's a little weird seeing Motorola products shown off by Lenovo, but such is life in 2015. And the new Moto 360 made its debut in the U.S. and also had a bit of a showing in Berlin, easily garnering a spot in our Top Picks. The new Moto 360 — as you no doubt learned from our hands-on — actually comes in four flavors. There are the 46mm and 42mm men's editions, a 42mm women's edition, and the Moto 360 Sport.
While Motorola has kept with the round design (it was the first to sport it), it's kept the not-quite-a-full-circle display, moved the crown to the 2-o-clock position, and tightened the overall look and feel up a bit. We've also got new internals that are more in line with the rest of the Android Wear offerings.
ZTE Axon Elite
The Axon line is new from ZTE this year, and the Elite takes what already was an impressive smartphone and ramps things up a bit with a rear fingerprint scanner — just in time for Android 6.0 Marshmallow! — and some leather trim, though the display has been dialed back to 1080p. But we can pretty easily say that this is the most impressive phone we've seen from ZTE. It'll be available in late September for 419 Euros.
Check out our hands-on with the Axon Elite from IFA!