Best of IFA 2014 Consumer Tech Show

Senior Editor
Updated

IFA 2014 might be Europe's biggest tech show, but there are enough innovative gadgets on display to get the entire world excited. Kicking off in Berlin, Germany, this year's event was heavy on wearable tech, with smartwatches and smartglasses that change the way we communicate, exercise and simply have fun.

We saw significant evolutions of our favorite mobile devices, and got a taste of a connected-home future in which all of our appliances are controlled by an app. From dynamic keyboards to immersive virtual reality headsets, here are the best products from the show floor. (Prices have not been announced for all products.)

Best Smartwatch: Samsung Gear S

Android Wear was everywhere at IFA, but it's Samsung's standalone smartwatch that stood out from the pack. Sporting built-in 3G capabilities, the Samsung Gear S is the first smartwatch that can make calls and receive texts without being tethered to a smartphone. It's also decidedly sexier than the competition, sporting a curved 2-inch AMOLED screen that displays a range of customizable watch faces. The Gear S packs a pedometer and heart rate monitor for precise fitness tracking, and though it works solo, you can still sync it to your Galaxy phone to access your contacts and music library.

MORE: Samsung Gear S Hands-On

Best Smartphone: Huawei Ascend Mate 7

The Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is a beast of a smartphone. This €499/$646 6-incher has a full HD display, an elegant metal build, dual SIM card slots, a powerhouse octa-core processor and a 4100mAh battery built to last over two days on a charge. If those premium features aren't enough for you, check out the single-tap fingerprint reader that lets you unlock your phone and access private apps while doubling as a camera shutter.

MORE: Huawei Ascend Mate 7 Hands-On

Best TV: LG Curved 4K OLED 77”

Videophiles with the wherewithal to know what they want have had to choose between some combination of 4K, OLED and curve when buying a new TV. But at IFA 2014, LG became the first company to go whole hog. The LG Curved 4K OLED TV 77" is exactly what it sounds like, and that might be exactly what high-end TV consumers want. A curved screen can be enveloping for a single viewer, while 4K resolution assures high picture quality, and OLED gives the deepest blacks and some of the most vivid colors around. LG hasn't announced a price or release date, but don't expect the full package to come cheap.

MORE: LG Curved 4K OLED Preview

Best Headphones: Jabra Sports Pulse Wireless Earbuds

Smartwatch heart rate monitors are unreliable. Traditional heart rate monitors are cumbersome. What's a fitness nut to do? If you enjoy listening to music while you work out, you could try the $200 Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds. These high-quality Bluetooth headphones double as a heart rate monitor. Believe it or not, measuring heart rate from your ears is more accurate than from your wrist due to the greater blood flow and thinner skin. The Sport Pulse earbuds also come with a Android and iOS apps to help you plan your workouts and make the most of your fitness routine. Now you'll be able to tell just how much your favorite music gets your heart pumping.

MORE: Jabra Sports Pulse Wireless Earbuds Preview

Best Gaming Innovation: Sony Xperia Z3 Remote Play

Gamers who own both a PlayStation 4 and a PlayStation Vita already know how useful Remote Play can be. Soon, Xperia Z3 owners will join them. Sony's entire line of Xperia Z3 products (the Z3 and Z3 Compact smartphones and Z3 Tablet Compact) will feature Remote Play, which allows players to suspend a game on their PS4 console and pick it up on a Z3 device anywhere on the same wireless network. This is handy for taking your Infamous Second Son session elsewhere when your roommate needs the TV, or cramming in just a few more minutes of game time before bed. With initiatives like PlayStation Now, Sony is serious about taking hardcore gaming beyond consoles, and expanding Remote Play is another step toward that goal.

MORE: Sony Xperia Z3 Remote Play Hands-On

Best of Show: Samsung Gear VR

The next evolution of virtual reality is here, and it starts with your smartphone. Co-developed by Oculus VR, the Samsung Gear VR  is a headset that you slip a Galaxy Note 4 into, turning the phone's 2560 x 1440 display into an immersive window that gives you a 360-degree view of concerts, virtual tours and video games. Those experiences will be far from shovelware, too; Samsung has partnered with brands like Marvel, IMAX and DreamWorks to put you front and center in your favorite universes. And when you're done losing yourself at a Coldplay concert or in Avengers Mansion, you can just pop out the already robust Note 4 and get back to calls and apps.

MORE: Samsung Gear VR Hands-On

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