This show is the largest in Europe by far, and in terms of attendance it far exceeds the Consumer Electronics Show because the general public can buy tickets, which means that more than 250,000 people will attend during the several days of the show.
IFA’s focus is primarily on home appliances. it’s where retailers from around the world meet with appliance manufacturers to make deals that will see these products sold in stores, including in Australia.
Representatives from our largest and smallest retailers are here to see what’s new.
Here are some highlights of what I managed to see at IFA in Berlin
Big, I mean BIG screen TV
Everyone has heard of OLED, QLED, and all the many and varied TV technologies. But for a while now, TV brands have been teasing something new called MicroLED. In my opinion, it’s like the technology used to make those big digital billboards, a bunch of little LED panels strung together to form a big screen.
Samsung called it “The Wall” when they first made it real, but it was never available for “residential” customers, but more for large commercial installations. Now, for the first time you can access this technology. But it has a price.
Being the latest TV technology, and possibly the best, the 110-inch version of Samsung’s MicroLED TV will set you back $200,000.
In theory, it can be made in just about any size, so I have no doubt we’ll see a time when you can literally get a TV that covers your wall. But for now, it is the place of dreams. Having stood in front of this TV, I want one; it’s glorious
Color your kitchen appliances
Both Samsung and LG announced colorful new kitchen appliances, most notably refrigerators that you can match your kitchen design, or maybe even your mood.
Samsung calls its version Bespoke, which allows buyers to choose colors for each door panel and make it fit their home design or personality. It’s a real product that Australian retailers are excited to sell.
LG MoodUp fridges are color controlled using LED lights, which you can change via an app. There’s word from LG Australia about local availability, but rest assured Samsung will launch Bespoke, LG will be keen to follow quickly.
We’ve seen the latest in foldable phones, a market Samsung owns so far, but there’s a lot more cool foldable screen tech to come.
Lenovo and Asus have announced laptops that open up to be full screen, meaning there is no physical keyboard on the bottom of the device as you would normally see. Instead, an on-screen keyboard appears.
Of course, you can pair a Bluetooth keyboard and then use the larger flat screen as a larger screen, and while an on-screen keyboard might seem strange we’re used to with our phones, why not on a laptop?
Really remarkable to see these screens just fold in half when you’re done.
LG’s OLED technology has also taken a step forward. While we’ve had curved screens on TVs and monitors before, there’s now the option to simply change the screen however you like.
You may be working on office documents on the 42-inch flat panel monitor in front of you, but then with the touch of a button you can have it fold up, right in front of your eyes.
The edges of the screen are pushed towards you and you end up with a fantastic gaming or movie viewing experience. That one is called the LG OLED Flex and given how popular it was here at IFA Berlin, I’d be surprised if it didn’t come to Australia sooner rather than later.
More than the humble oven
Sure, you set it to 180 degrees and cook the cake or roast, whatever, but the oven can be so much more.
I saw two key examples that were very new ideas. Vestel, an unknown brand in Australia, capitalized on the smoked meat craze with a built-in smoke dispenser. Sprinkle some walnut (or other variety) wood chips into the dispenser, hit the smoke button, and your food will be infused with that woody flavor that many achieve at large outdoor barbecues.
When you open the door, you should expect the entire kitchen to smell the same.
Miele announced a new HydroClean steam oven, which has a cleaning cycle that dispenses a food-safe cleaner to foam the oven and rinse it under high pressure. Looking through the glass it looks like a dishwasher. Miele told me the cycle would run every three to six months depending on how much you cook, but the results seemed impressive. That one will come to Australia.
While home appliances are by far the main focus of this fair, there were of course many more devices for everyday use as well.
Jabra announced its new Elite 5 earbuds, priced at $219. They have a lightweight fit, with excellent sound quality and impressive noise cancellation.
JBL has taken an interesting approach to its new wireless earphones, adding a touchscreen to the charging case so you can see charging status and toggle earphone functions when connected to certain devices. Looks great.
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And finally, for book lovers, the new Rakuten Kobo Clara 2E launches at $229.95 in Australia and carries a strong environmental credential, made with an 85% recycled plastic exterior.
It’s also waterproof, making it ideal for reading in the bathroom and on the beach whenever you want.