IFA — Internationale Funkausstellung — is one of the oldest electronics exhibitions on the planet, and continues to be one of the best and biggest. 2017 was no exception, with PC makers bringing their A-game with a selection of impressive new tablets, laptops, and even desktop towers.
There's a lot to explore, so let's dive right in!
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Best of IFA 2017, Best Design: Acer Predator Orion 9000
It's not often a pre-built desktop PC can impress us enough to warrant a Best of Show award, let alone also snagging Best Design, but the Acer Predator Orion 9000 is no ordinary PC. With an Intel Core i9 processor with 18 cores, 128GB of RAM, 44TB of storage, and four graphics cad slots, the Orion 9000 is an utter beast. And even though it's a powerhouse meant for the most serious of gamers, Acer didn't deck it out in neon red lights and super aggressive styling. It's still fairly aggressive, but the light blue illumination and softer lines make for an attractive — and technically impressive — desktop.
Best of IFA 2017: ASUS ZenBook Flip 14
We're always chasing thinner and lighter and more powerful, and the ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 checks all of those marks, coming in as the world's thinnest convertible laptop with a discrete GPU. What you get is a 14-inch display powered by the latest 8th-gen Core i5 o i7 processors and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 in a 13.9mm-thick chassis. It's one compact and powerful convertible, and it's relatively light at 1.4kg and will still run for up to 12 hours on a charge.
Best of IFA 2017: Lenovo Yoga 920
Lenovo's Yoga 900-series has stood as one of the best convertible laptops around, and the new Lenovo Yoga 920 is a strong contender. With an 8th-gen Core i5 or i7 CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage all driving a 14-inch 4K IPS touch display — and weighing barely a hair over three pounds — the Yoga 920 is one highly impressive convertible, and looks likely to be one of our favorites for the coming year. That beautiful watchband hinge certainly doesn't hurt.
Best of IFA 2017: Lenovo Explorer Mixed Reality Headset
Windows Mixed Reality is just getting started, and Lenovo's jumping right into the fray with their take on the MR headset: the Lenovo Explorer. With a conservative and comfortable design, the Explorer is designed for bringing Windows 10 Mixed Reality to life with ease. It doesn't hurt that it'll be available for a starting price of just $349.99.
Best of IFA 2017, Most Innovative: Acer Switch 7 Black Edition
Microsoft's Surface spawned a whole market of 2-in-1 tablets, and some companies are really running with the concept. Take the new Acer Switch 7 Black Edition, for example. It sports the latest internals (including the speedy and efficient 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor cooled by a unique dual-loop liquid heat pipe system), a fingerprint reader embedded under the glass, and a kickstand that's designed to make sitting down and getting to work quicker and easier than ever: just press the base of the tablet onto the table and out pops the kickstand.
Best of IFA 2017: ASUS ROG Chimera
For gamers, few specs are more important in a display than the refresh rate, and the best typically comes from a big, expensive monitor. Which makes the ASUS ROG Chimera with its 144hz display all that more impressive — this beast of a gaming laptop sports a 17.3-inch screen with a refresh rate that bests many dedicated gaming monitors. It's all powered by a 7th-gen Core i7 processor paired with a pixel-shredding GTX 1080 GPU. Cross one more thing off the list of things that gaming laptops can't do.
Best of IFA 2017: Lenovo Yoga 720
The Lenovo Yoga 720 might not be as impressive as its bigger and flashier brother, the Yoga 920, but it's still an impressive convertible laptop in its own right. With a 12.5-inch HD display, 15.75mm-thick body, and a light 1.15kg weight, it's already a decent convertible. Throw in a $649 price tag and you've got a bargain of a laptop.
Best of IFA 2017: ASUS Mixed Reality Headset
ASUS's entry into the Mixed Reality headset race is a real head-turner (cue rim shot). While it sports all of the standard mixed reality features, including a pair of cameras facing outwards for tracking motion and position and a pair of Microsoft-designed light-up controllers, it's the faceted matte black face that gives this things a futuristic look befitting its futuristic purpose.
Best of IFA 2017: Acer Swift 5
The Swift 7 set the bar for thin-and-light at IFA 2016, and the new Acer Swift 5 is setting a new mark at barely-there 950 grams (that's 2.1 pounds for those that prefer imperial measurements). Even as a featherweight it still isn't a slouch, with a 14-inch HD IPS display, the latest 8th-generation Intel Core processors, and even Dolby Audio tuning for the speakers. It's a solid all-around ultra-portable, with availability in December 2017 and a starting price of $999.
Best of IFA 2017: ASUS ZenBook Flip 15
You want a convertible laptop. You want it to be thin and light. You want it to be powerful. Not long ago, you couldn't get all of those in one laptop. But the new ASUS ZenBook Flip 15 challenges that preconception, packing an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, an NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU, and a 15.6-inch 4K touch display into a 21.3mm, 2kg package. Sure, that's not paper-thin and feather-light, but with internals this powerful you need a lot of space for cooling and battery to power it all. When it comes to being an on-the-go powerhouse convertible, the ZenBook Flip 15 checks almost all the boxes.
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.