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The best from a bumper IFA

gadgets Updated: Sep 12, 2013 14:02 IST

This year's event proved to be one of the highlights of the consumer electronics calendar with a number of big brands choosing Berlin over Taipei or Las Vegas to showcase their latest offerings.

The big news from this year's show will no doubt be the launch of a number of smartwatches, chief among them Samsung's Galaxy Gear and the Qualcomm Toq. However, the event also served as a barometer of what's hot and what's not in terms of computer and tablet design trends.

All in one

For desktops, it seems that the all-in-one design -- i.e., the form factor the iMac created and perfected -- is now the norm. HP in particular had some very well-executed models on show.

Shrinking down Windows 8
Toshiba debuted its 8-inch take on a full Windows 8 tablet, the Satellite Encore and, unlike the only other device in this market, the Acer Iconia W3, this has a full HD display and is made of much sterner, well-quality materials. As such, it could well be the shape of small Windows things to come.

If you can't decide between a Windows tablet or a Windows notebook, Lenovo, Toshiba and Sony wanted to give you both with their hybrid offerings. They fold this way and that to enhance touchscreen use or to convert entirely into Windows-based tablets. While ASUS took things one step further with a second-generation Transformer Book Trio, which is a standalone tablet, a notebook and, when docked a desktop.

Table tops continue
What started as a curiosity is now officially a trend. Sony revealed a full HD 21.5-inch display computer -- the Vaio Tap 21 which can be used as a standalone tablet, as did Lenovo with its Flex 20, which despite its name, only has a 19.5-inch screen which can be used as either a monitor or a tablet for family game playing.

4K overload
Panasonic and Philips both unveiled their first UHD TVs while Samsung and LG decided to extend their existing range of sets with even bigger variations. Samsung now offers a 98-inch and a 110-inch Ultra high definition smart TV and LG offers a 55-inch and 77-inch curved OLED TV set.

Sony's QX10 and QX100 lens cameras are well-conceived, have a really clear use and although a bit pricey (€250-€500) have the power to breathe life into even the most dated of smartphone cameras. In fact, they can bestow professional photography capabilities on a mundane handset -- depending on how good a photographer its user is, that is -- and will no doubt find their fair share of admirers and prove to be big hits. Likewise the Ricoh Theta does one thing -- take perfectly spherical, 360° photos -- and does it very well. But at €300 it is a lot to spend on a single use device.