While CES might get all of the attention for being the biggest tech show of the year, there are a handful of other trade shows scattered throughout the year that also make some big headlines. Every September, we get IFA out of Berlin, Germany, and it’s always center stage for a lot of companies to talk about their latest gadgets in the consumer technology space.
This year was no different. With many companies making in-person appearances after taking a couple of years off due to COVID-19, IFA 2022 had a lot of news to offer. I have a roundup of 12 of the biggest announcements that I thought were worth talking about, and now, it’s time to pick some that are straight-up award worthy.
Without further a do, here are the Matridox Best of IFA 2022 awards!
Best Smartphone: Honor 70
Smartphones should always offer a good balance of features and specifications regardless of their price, and that’s what Honor set out to do with the Honor 70. It does that so well that it’s earned my award for Best Smartphone of IFA 2022.
The Honor 70 might seem a bit basic on the surface, but there’s plenty to like here. It has a really attractive design with a unique diamond pattern on the back, large camera housings that add character, and slim bezels around the display. Speaking of which, there’s a 6.67-inch Full HD+ 120Hz OLED screen on the front with a fingerprint scanner below it, as well as curved sides to add a premium touch.
The specs are also really solid with a Snapdragon 778G+ processor, up to 12GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, and a 4,800mAh with 66W fast charging. The real focus of the device are the cameras, which have proven to take great photos in early reviews. There’s a primary 54MP f/1.9 sensor, an ultra-wide 50MP f/2.2 sensor, and a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor. Together, you get a unique set of shooting styles with special video capabilities like Solo Cut Mode (a.k.a. moving subject tracking), dual-camera recording, smarter portrait mode photos, and better nighttime shots with the Honor Image Engine.
Plus, it’s affordable. At £479.99 (or about $552.76), the Honor 70 offers a lot of premium features for the price. It’s worth checking out if you live in an area of the world where it’s being sold.
Best Tablet: Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
Like the Honor 70, Lenovo’s latest generation Tab P11 Pro focuses on bang for your buck, and it easily picked up my Best Tablet award.
For $399.99, there’s a lot to like about the new P11 Pro. It boasts a MediaTek Kompanio 1300T processor which Lenovo says is 120 percent faster than the old P11 Pro’s processor, up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, an 8,200mAh battery, a four-speaker JBL sound system, and a keyboard in the box. My favorite feature by far is the display, which is an 11.2-inch OLED panel with a 2560×1536 resolution, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ playback, 600 nits of brightness, and – best of all – a 120Hz refresh rate.
At this price, it’s rare to find such a high-quality screen on any mobile gadget, let alone a tablet. Overall, it seems the Tab P11 Pro is set up for success and could very well be a serious competitor in the market once it launches.
Best Laptop: Asus ZenBook 17 Fold
When a new device with a folding screen pops up, it’s impossible to ignore it. The new ZenBook 17 Fold foldable laptop did the rounds at IFA after Asus confirmed its $3,500 price, and yet again, many curious eyes were drawn to it like they were back at CES when it was unveiled. It’s stirred up a new conversation about using a folding laptop, it’s encouraged curiosity amongst tech enthusiasts and consumers alike, and it stole my heart enough to snag the Best Laptop award.
Asus’ use of such a large 17.3-inch screen for this ZenBook is pretty remarkable, and it introduces an onslaught of versatility and multitasking possibilities while on the go. The laptop can bend to form a traditional form factor with a display on the top and keyboard on the bottom, it can be used as a large book/magazine when reading documents, and it can be positioned horizontally or vertically on your desk to maximize screen real estate for the task you’re performing.
There are also good specs under the hood, with up to a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of NVMe M.2 SSD storage. It’s obviously unclear if it’s worth $3,500, but it’s extremely cool nonetheless.
Best Smartwatch: Garmin Venu 2 Sq
Garmin made a lot of fans of its watches happy this week when it announced the new Venu 2 Sq, a cheaper version of the Venu 2 that offers a huge amount of the same features but at a lower price, including the same 11-day battery life. Because of that, it’s won my Best Smartwatch award for IFA 2022.
The Venu 2 Sq comes with less premium materials and a square AMOLED display compared to the Venu 2, but you still get 25+ workout modes, an SpO2 sensor, a heart rate monitor, stress level monitoring, energy levels, basic fertility tracking, and even a pregnancy mode. At $249, that’s a really solid value, especially if battery life holds up to Garmin’s promises.
Best Mobile Technology: Riley RS3 scooter
If it’s helpful on the go, it’s worthy of my Best Mobile Technology award, and Riley’s new RS3 scooter is taking it home this year.
The RS3, the successor to the popular RS2, essentially takes everything great from that model – a 350W electric motor with 25km/h max speed, 45km of range on a full charge, a 120kg max rider weight – and shrinks it down to a body that’s around 60 percent smaller when folded. That means when you’re on the go, you’ll be able to fit it in your bag much easier without skimping on performance or endurance. It also has a display that can show you useful information like available range, your speed, and more.
With many people choosing greener solutions to commuting nowadays, the RS3 couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. It’ll cost €899 (or about $892.63) when it launches in Europe.
Best Robot: Miko 3
The kid-friendly robot market is starting to heat up, and the Miko 3 looks like a solid contender for the perfect gift this holiday season, so it’s earning my Best Robot award.
The Miko 3 offers an entire library of interactive experiences designed for children, from silly jokes to DIY crafts. It’s updated monthly with new features to keep kids entertained, and it can even stream content from Disney, Paramount, and Kidoodle.TV. A wide-angle webcam lets kids make safe and secure video calls with family members, and it ties directly in with the Miko Parent app so parents remain in control of what their child can do with the device.
What’s more, it’s kidSAFE COPPA+ certified and already a Mom’s Choice Award winner.
Best Smart Home Device: Ring Intercom
Ring has been a pioneer in the smart home market for many, many years now, so it’s no surprise to see the company’s new Intercom system win my Best Smart Home Device award.
The Ring Intercom connects to the Ring app on your phone over Wi-Fi, just like other Ring devices. Much like a traditional apartment building intercom, it lets visitors ring your designated doorbell at the entrance to the your apartment building. You can then respond using your phone from wherever you are in the world. This is helpful not just for visitors, but also delivery people who might need to drop something off inside.
It’s going on sale first in the UK for £119.99 and later expanding to other territories, eventually making its way to the US in 2023.
By far one of the weirder TVs to come out of LG in the past few years, the LG OLED Flex is taking my Best TV award at IFA for being just that: weird.
At first, it looks like a normal 42-inch OLED television with a bunch of HDMI ports, WebOS, Dolby Vision and Atmos, and a 120Hz refresh rate. But with a push of a button on its remote, special motors kick in and start curving the TV at up to 900R, giving you a curved TV when you want it and a flat TV when you don’t. It’s an extremely interesting concept, if only because it seems to want to be two products in one.
No pricing or release information is available just yet, but boy oh boy, this definitely seems like something we’d see at CES and not IFA. I’m super into it.
Best New Innovation: JBL Tour PRO 2
It’s not every day you can give a Best New Innovation award to a pair of earbuds, especially since these ones look pretty ordinary on the surface. However, what JBL’s new Tour PRO 2 buds do is super interesting and, admittedly pretty clever.
At first, they certainly seem normal enough. The buds have 10mm drivers, up to 10 hours of battery life, ANC, and Bluetooth 5.3. It’s when you check out their case that things get a little weird. There’s a 1.4-inch LED display on the front, and you can use it to control things like ambient sound and ANC. What’s cool is it connects to your phone so you can see notifications come in, answer calls, and more.
JBL is targeting people who don’t have a smartwatch but want that functionality, and having it on your earbuds could be interesting. They won’t even be crazy overpriced or anything at €249 (about $249.75).
Best Concept: Panasonic OLED TV
You would think what Panasonic made here was an ultra-thin OLED TV, but there’s far more going on than meets the eye, and it’s grabbing my Best Concept award as a result.
The TV doesn’t actually have any internals, besides the ones that make the OLED panel work. Instead, they’re all kept separately in a box that uses an ultra-fast wireless connection to power things like the interface and streaming. Granted, it’s not necessarily new concept as single-cord connections from TVs to their internals and wireless HDMI are both common practice for some higher-end sets. But Panasonic combines the two in this case to create something that, on the outside, looks remarkable. The company even disguised the box by making it look like a book on a bookshelf.
If you hate having a chunky TV in your living room and want something that looks simpler and blends in with your aesthetic, perhaps something like this will hit the market in the near future. Until then, it’s remaining a concept, a very appealing one at that.
Editor’s Pick: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
I couldn’t leave Lenovo’s next-gen ThinkPad X1 Fold off my list of IFA 2022 awards, so I’m giving it my Editor’s Pick badge for being my most anticipated gadget out of the entire show.
Compared to the previous version, it’s doing a lot of things right. It trimmed down its form factor to something a bit more portable, it offers a modern aesthetic with slim bezels and a 16-inch screen, the chassis is much nicer with a high-quality woven fabric exterior, and the specs are much beefier. I got to play with it a bit during a briefing in New York, and I fell in love with it from the moment I picked it up.
We’ll have to see how those feelings translate in my review process once I get one to try out, and I’ll obviously be evaluating whether it’s worth the high $2,499 asking price. But if you ask me, this iteration of Lenovo’s foldable PC signals the company’s dedication to the market segment, one that needs at least a few players who are serious about nailing down what a folding computer should do. I think Lenovo might have something here, but only time will tell.