IFA 2016 was something of a subdued show compared to previous years, but that didn't stop the companies that we know and love from bringing their A-game to Berlin. On the Windows side of things we saw a great showing from companies like Acer, ASUS, HP, and Lenovo. It was definitely the year of experimental and ground-breaking designs, and that's reflected in our choices for the Windows Central Best of IFA 2016 Awards!
Lenovo Yoga Book
There's one device that captured the imagination of everybody who saw it: the Lenovo Yoga Book. It's easily the most innovative device to come out of this year's CES, pairing a 10-inch Windows 10 tablet through a hinge with a touchpanel that serves as both keyboard and pen surface. It's impossibly compact and surprisingly affordable at $549, and hands-down the one device we most want to spend more time with. Whether its unique form factor will find a purpose in everyday life or if the potentially underpowered hardware will be able to keep up is an open question, but there'es no question to the uniqueness of this device and our hopes that it lives up to our expectations.
Acer Predator 21X
And on the complete opposite side of the portable spectrum is the Acer Predator 21X. This sucker is portable in name only, but its enormous size and weight is made up for with its extreme specs. This notebook PC sports a 21-inch curved ultra-wide display, Intel Core i7 processor, dual NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPUs, five cooling fans, a full-size mechanical keyboard, eye tracking, and a design that will strike fear into your LAN party opponents. Of course, this sucker won't come cheap, but Acer's not talking about price or availability just yet.
Lenovo Yoga 910
Lenovo's next-generation Yoga 910 notebook takes everything we've loved about the previous Yoga 900 and makes it thinner, lighter, faster, and overall better. It retains the signature watchband hinge that's defined the Yoga line, but packs a larger 13.9-inch display in the same footprint as before thanks to reduced bezels all around. Add in a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a touch fingerprint reader and you've got a convertible laptop that's setting the standard for excellense in design and engineering.
Acer Swift 7
Acer went big with the Predator 21, but they're also going super slim with the Swift 7. This ultrabook, part of the all-new Swift line of laptops, is the thinnest laptop ever made, measuring in at just 9.98mm when closed. Inside its aluminum unibody shell Acer managed to pack a brand-new 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, and a 13.3-inch display. It's simply beautiful and thin and light; you'll be able to get one starting in October 2016 for $999.
Sometimes you need a truly mobile workstation, and for that you need more screen real estate than any laptop can provide. ASUS aims to solve that problem with the ZenScreen, a portable USB-C-powered 15.6-inch Full HD monitor. With its folding cover stand and compact, narrow-bezel design, the ZenScreen stands ready to earn a spot in many a mobile professional's arsenal.
HP Pavilion Wave
One of the biggest problems with getting PCs into the living room is that most desktop computers simply don't look good. You don't want a big ugly box of metal and plastic sitting out for everyone to see, and HP's looking to solve that with the Pavilion Wave. This is one of the most attractive desktop PCs we've ever laid eyes on, with a fabric-wrapped design and integrated 360-degree Bang & Olufsen-tuned speaker for high-quality room-filling sound.
LG 38UC99 ulta-wide monitor
LG's long been a leader in ultrawide and curved displays, and the artfully-named LG 38UC99 pushes both to new extremes. This monitor is a beast, measuring 38 inches diagonally with an UltraWide QHD+ resolution of 3840x1600. The panel itself is a beautiful IPS LCD with an extra wide color gamut that hits 99% of the sRGB color space. It even has a USB-C port and stereo 10-watt speakers that you can connect your phone to via Bluetooth.
Lenovo Miix 510
You wouldn't be wrong in calling the Lenovo Miix 510 a "Surface clone," but just because the two share a similar design doesn't mean this isn't a 2-in-1 tablet worthy of consideration. Packing a Core i5 or i7 processor, 12.2-inch HD display, and up to 7.5 hours of battery life, the Miix 510 is a worthy Windows 10 tablet. Throw in a $599.99 starting price that includes the detachable keyboard and pen that don't come with a Surface Pro 4 and suddenly Lenovo's take on the 2-in-1 seems a lot more competitive.
Acer Spin 7
The Acer Swift 7 might have captured hearts and minds with showstoppingly thin profile, but its much less flashy Acer Spin 7 cousin is an equally impressive machine. Sporting similar specifications that notably include the new 7th-generation Intel Core i5 and a 14-inch HD touch display in the footprint of a 13-inch laptop, this convertible PC still manages to measure a mere 10.98mm thick — just a mm thicker than its non-touch non-convertible stablemate. If a thin-and-light convertible notebook is what you want, the Acer Spin 7 will be well worth consideration.
HP Elite Slice
HP's take on the stackable modular computer is a unique one. Really, the concept in general is a neat one, and it's nice to have more companies giving it a try. You start with a compact base computer to which you can literally stack on top additional modules to expand its capabilities. When the HP Elite Slice goes on sale later in September, it'll bring with it modules for speakers, DVD drives, wireless phone charging, speakerphones, and more.