Best of IFA 2014
IFA 2014 in Berlin, Germany is well underway, leaving us with a big wishlist for the next wave of exciting mobile devices. Brands like ASUS, Samsung and Sony brought their A game, highlighting some significant evolutions in the world of smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Handsets like the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge are challenging standard smartphone design conventions, just like the Acer Aspire R 13 does for laptops. From waterproof tablets to multi-device keyboards, here's our favorite tech from IFA 2014. (Not all product prices have been announced.)
Best Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
At IFA 2014, Samsung quite literally has an Edge on the competition. The company's new Galaxy Note Edge touts a curved display that provides an innovative secondary screen on the right to display tweets, sports scores and a handful of app shortcuts. Add this eye-catching feature to the phone's 16MP camera with optical image stabilization, and speedy Snapdragon 850 processor, and you've got a handset that's truly ahead of the curve.
Best Tablet: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Like its smartphone cousin, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a sleek, bright and zippy device that can even survive a quick dunk in the bathtub. Measuring a slim 0.25 inches thin and weighing just over half a pound, this is a petite powerhouse. It boasts a speedy quad-core Snapdragon processor, an 8-inch, full HD Triluminous display (meaning great color), and IP65 water resistance allowing it to survive about 5 feet of water for 30 minutes. Got a PS4? You can play your games off-TV with the Z3 Compact's Remote Play feature.
Best Laptop: ASUS ZenBook UX305
With smartphones and tablets cutting into more of their traditional features, laptops have to up their game. The ASUS ZenBook UX305 has done just that by combining a beautiful screen, mid-range specs and an extremely lightweight design. The 13-inch screen can display 3K images (better than 1080p, not quite 4K). An Intel Core M processor, an Intel HD 5300 graphics card and 8GB of RAM ensure that the UX305 can handle office work, media and lightweight gaming. Squeeze all that into less than half-an-inch thickness and 2.65 pounds (smaller than a MacBook Air), and this laptop is about as portable as they come.
Best Hybrid: Acer Aspire R 13
Windows hybrids are becoming commodities, but Acer is determined to stand out from the pack. Its $900 Aspire R 13 offers a whopping six use modes. Thanks to the notebook's 180-degree, pop-out "Ezel Aero" hinge, you can use the R 13's Ezel mode to pull the display closer, or use the easel-like stand mode to sketch or take notes. Throw in the more familiar notebook, tablet, display and tent modes, and you've got a Windows 8.1 machine that bends to your will.
Best Accessory: Logitech K480 Multi-Device Keyboard
Unless you're an old fogey who prefers to make phone calls, you probably communicate with your friends, family and coworkers primarily through the written word. With the $50 Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480, you can type across three devices on-the-fly simply by adjusting a dial. Writing a Word document on your PC, responding to a text on your phone and searching for a title on Netflix on your tablet just got much easier — and much less prone to thumb-induced typos. The K480 is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, and makes use of comfortable chiclet keys.
MORE: Logitech K480 Hands-On