IFA 2023 went down this past week in Berlin, giving us a look at what’s coming up soon in the world of gadgets. What we found were a lot of incremental improvements to some already pretty terrific gadgets, but that doesn’t mean a lack of excitement — some of those little upgrades open up some big possibilities! We’ll tell you all about them in our best of IFA 2023 awards below!
The best of IFA 2023
JBL Authentics Range
Speakers with Alexa and Google Assistant? Heard that one before. With the JBL Authentics range of speakers we saw at IFA 2023, JBL is singing a new tune — speakers that can have both voice assistants active at the same time. If you’ve got folks in the household who use one or the other regularly, or if you find yourself needing both because their abilities don’t always overlap, these speakers can have both voice assistants actively listening at the same time. Of course, coming from JBL, they’re rock solid speakers, too — three in the line, with the best of the bunch, the JBL Authentics 500, coming with Dolby Atmos support and JBL parent company Harman’s Constant Sound Field technology, which provides more of a surround sound effect. Also included in the line are the wireless Authentics 300 and the smaller Authentics 200, all of which have a snazzy retro design and physical knobs for volume, treble, and bass control.
Withings ScanWatch 2
Withings knows hybrid, health-centric smartwatches better than anyone, so it’s no surprise they’re continuing to carry the category forward. Their updated ScanWatch 2 includes the new TempTech 24/7 Module, which helps the watch take more accurate and consistent body temperature readings, which should better allow the watch and its partner app detect the onset of different illnesses. Withings is also following a few other devices on the market in adding menstrual cycle tracking, although much of that will rely on self-reported information that users can log in the watch or the companion app. And, like always, that whole health package is wrapped up in a watch that looks sleek and beautiful for folks who don’t want to wear a screen on their wrist.
Lenovo Legion Go Gaming Handheld and Legion Glasses
Lenovo used IFA 2023 to enter into the mobile PC gaming fight, coming out with their own on-the-go gaming device. The Lenovo Legion Go takes the approach the Nintendo Switch popularized, with detachable controllers to the sides of a high-powered tablet. Lenovo decided to go bigger than most, with the Legion Go’s 8.8-inch QHD+ display making it the largest gaming handheld on the market. But, if going bigger didn’t set it apart enough, the Legion Go can also be bundled with the Legion Glasses, which can function as a set of AR glasses that virtually provide an even bigger screen to play on when you’re stuck somewhere away from your full-sized gaming rig (or just don’t want to get out of bed).
Honor V Purse and Magic V2
Ever since Honor got free from Huawei, it’s been embracing luxury — and that’s never been more obvious than with the Honor V Purse. The foldable smartphone takes on the appearance of a clutch when folded, using an external always-on display to show off different designs, and animated elements like tassels. That’s in addition to physical attachments for any sort of straps you want to add to carry it around. Definitely the choice for the fashionista, but for folks who are all about the specs, Honor also introduced the Magic V2, a super thin foldable with a titanium hinge, a 5,000 mAh battery, and a camera array that features a 50MP main camera (f/1.9), a 50MP ultra-wide camera (f/2.0), and a 20MP telephoto camera (f/2.4).
Casetify Ultra Bounce Case
The waste generated by used and discarded smartphones isn’t just limited to the devices themselves — a lot of phone cases that can’t be used on subsequent generations of phones get left behind, too. That’s one reason for Casetify’s Re/Casetify program, which takes in used and unneeded smartphone cases, processing them to use as raw materials for new cases like the Ultra Bounce Case. Already confirmed for the iPhone 15, this case can help phones hold up to drops from over 30 feet, while protecting the camera lenses from scratching and scuffing.
Xgimi Horizon Ultra
Projectors sure have come a long way! At IFA 2023, Xgimi showed off the impressive Horizon Ultra, a long-throw projector that is the first of its kind to deliver 4k video playback with Dolby Vision. Made for home entertainment system setups, the projector uses both lasers and LEDs to generate much better color fidelity than you’d typically expect from a projector, with plenty of adjustments that can be made to optimize the picture based on how large of a display you’re projecting and ambient lighting. Not bad for $1,700!
Mobile Pixels Duex Float
Need to take your dual-monitor home or office setup on the road? If you’re not ready to take the plunge on the new crop of dual-monitor laptops, you can hook up the Mobile Pixels Duex Float to the work laptop you already have! The Duex Float is a standalone external 15.6-inch laptop monitor that can be plugged into a laptop to provide a quick and easy dual-monitor setup on the road. Invaluable for folks who don’t want productivity to drop off when they’re traveling or working remotely, the 1080p monitor comes with its own stand and hinge system that allows it to be securely stacked on top of your laptop’s monitor.
Jabra Elite 8 Active
Need a new workout companion? Jabra’s always made solid exercise earbuds, and the Jabra Elite 8 Active are no different — they’re water- and dust-proof with an IP68 rating, are engineered to stay in ears securely no matter how much you sweat, and can last through 8 hours of playback. They can then be recharged in their case to be ready for the next sweat session. Audio quality gets a boost from Dolby software that makes audio more distinct, avoiding the muddy audio quality you often get from wireless earbuds.
Cleanr Vortx filtration tech
The downside of all your rad workout clothes? Most of them shed microplastics into the water that cycles through your washing machine — water that eventually ends up in the ocean, or in you, with the microplastics along for the ride. It’s a big problem, and Cleanr’s Vortx filtration tech might go a long way toward solving it. They are making both internal and external microplastic filters for washing machines that will be available next year. Those filters will be able to capture more than 90% of microplastics down to 50-microns in size from washing machine water, preventing what has quietly become one of the biggest sources of water pollution.
Anker Solix F3800 Portable Power Station
Solar power isn’t at its most useful unless you’ve got a good way to store excess solar energy for when you need it most. The Anker Solix F3800 portable power station is exactly that — an enormous home battery with a 6,000W-12,000W and 240V/120V AC output that can be charged using a home solar array or from the grid. It’s not portable enough to fit in your car, but it can be used on long RV trips, and at home it can be used to charge electric vehicles and other appliances. Much cleaner than a gas generator, for sure!
Roborock Zeo One
If you’ve spent some time outside the U.S., you might know all-in-one washer and dryer units are commonplace in a lot of places around the world, especially for places where smaller apartments and houses are the norm. The Roborock Zeo One is one of the latest — just coming out in Germany for now, the combo washer-dryer’s big advancement is getting the heating right on the drying end, using low temperature to dry clothes without failing to dry at all and leaving you with a damp heap of clothes. Using heat about equal to human body temperature, the Zeo One gives clothes a gentle dry, making sure your clothes don’t get damaged or shrunk.
Fairphone is the anti-smartphone smartphone maker, seeking to right some of the more glaring wrongs of the industry. With a focus on labor conditions and sustainability, the company makes smartphones with longer Android update and security upgrade guarantees, while paying the folks who assemble the phones a fair, living wage. That usually means paying more money for a phone that doesn’t have the specs that would usually command as high of a price, and while that’s still true, some premium features like an OLED display have made their way into the new Fairphone 5. The mid-range Qualcomm processor and 4,200 mAh battery aren’t premium by any means, but if you like their commitment to fairness (and the fact they’ve been leading the way on making smartphones that are easy to repair), the Fairphone 5 looks like their best handset yet.
Jlab Jbuds Mini
Want a comfortable set of wireless earbuds without the bulk? The Jlab Jbuds Mini are just about the smallest out there, but still manage to pack in five hours of music playback on a full charge. They also have an IP55 rating, making them sweat-resistant if you want to use them during workouts. At just $40, they’re proving that true wireless earbud tech truly is for everyone now.