IFA is now done for another year and our annual trip to Berlin will live long in the memory. We had a packed week full of new product announcements, and it's tough to know where to begin.
Traditionally IFA is a big PC show and 2015 didn't disappoint on that front. What did take us a little by surprise is how much gaming was a focus. Computex is usually the big hitter for PC gaming hardware but some of the biggest manufacturers in the space rolled out new models, even new brands, at IFA.
So, we had a lot to wade through, but we've narrowed it down to ten. So, here's the full list of the Windows Central top picks of IFA 2015.
1. Acer Jade Primo
The first Continuum phone. We don't really need to say anything else. OK, we will. We're not actually expecting to see the Jade Primo until 2016, but it had its grand announcement at IFA and caught us completely off guard. Microsoft may well get its Continuum phones on the market first, but Acer takes the crown when it comes to making it public.
We don't know an awful lot about the Jade Primo, a few specs such as a Snapdragon 808 CPU, 21MP rear camera and a bunch of Continuum related accessories, but sadly we've not been able to touch it. Expect this one to get a big launch from Acer when it's ready.
We can't wait to get our hands on it. Until you actually see a company bar Microsoft committing to the platform, it's a little nerve jangling. But Acer made a commitment back at Mobile World Congress and it's shooting for the top.
2. The Razer Wildcat
Razer's pro-class controller for the Xbox One was officially announced the week before IFA at PAX Prime up in Seattle. However, the jaunt to Berlin represented our first opportunity to go hands-on with it and we like what we see. Microsoft has set a high-bar with its Elite Controller but competition is never a bad thing, nor is an expansive ecosystem of products.
There are some similarities to the Elite and there are some differences. Not least that the Wildcat doesn't need a companion app to remap its buttons. It'll cost about the same as Microsoft's offering and go on sale at a similar time.
Begun, the controller wars, have.
3. Lenovo Ideapad MIIX 700
It's Lenovo's answer to the Surface. We've already gone over why the arrival of the MIIX 700 is good for Surface, Windows and Microsoft as a whole, but away from that, it's just really nice. There's a lot to be said for a 3:2 Windows 10 tablet with a kickstand and a keyboard (sure don't have to convince us) and Lenovo did a good job.
It's packing a FHD+ display, Intel's latest generation Core m5 or m7 CPUs, SSD storage up to 256GB, up to 8GB of RAM and a great Bluetooth keyboard cover. Perhaps most important of all, however, is that you can get it in gold. And those watch hinges that Lenovo uses are as smooth as ever.
The MIIX 700 is taking an ever more popular form factor and wrapping it up with latest generation hardware (even an optional rear facing Intel RealSense camera) in a good value for money package. One we're looking forward to putting through its paces.
4. Acer Predator 15 & 17
The name alone is a winner for us, here. Acer, like many others, has done gaming targeted notebooks before. But with the continued growth of the segment, the gaming brand is being spun off under the Predator banner. Sits quite well with the aggressive stylings of popular gaming laptops today.
The Predator notebooks don't just have styling in their favor. They're packing the latest hardware inside including Intel Skylake Core i7 CPUs, DDR4 RAM and one of our favorite features, a swappable cooler. That's right, if you want additional cooling you can swap out the optical drive for a module from Cooler Master. They're essentially the same machine in two sizes, though the 15-incher can be spec'd up with a 4K display.
5. Toshiba Dynabook
Toshiba's latest Windows 10 two-in-one doesn't officially have a name yet, but for now it's being referred to as the Dynabook. It was introduced during Microsoft's keynote as a sneak peek and subsequently removed to be rehomed behind a glass case.
So, what do we know about it? It's slim as all hell, has a pen, Windows 10 and is a 12-inch tablet with a keyboard dock. Toshiba will preload it with some productivity software, but beyond that, no firm details.
We may have to wait a while to find out more and to play with it, but that doesn't curb our excitement for it. The Dynabook is a shining example of what two-in-ones can be.
6. Acer Revo Build
We like modular and so we like the Acer Revo Build. In a similar way to the Lenovo Thinkpad Stack that was announced at CES, the Revo Build is made of different modules that can stack together as part of a mini desktop PC. Where it moves ahead of the Stack, which is just an accessory.
One of the neatest modules on the Revo Build is the Qi compatible battery pack. Stack it up on top of your unit and charge your phone on top of the PC while at your desk. If you're heading out of the office, detach it, throw it in a bag and you've got a portable wireless charging battery pack.
The ability to customize your PC hardware by just stacking blocks is such an interesting idea, we're looking forward to seeing where it goes in the future.
7. Toshiba Radius 12
If you want a slim, sleek looking 12-inch Windows 10 laptop with a ridiculous 4K resolution display, look no further. The Radius 12 from Toshiba is just that and it's a stunning piece of hardware. Better still, it's a convertible, allowing you to fold that display right over and have yourself a 4K tablet.
There will be options for lower spec, more affordable models, but it's the highest end model that Toshiba has been showing off at IFA and the one that has us hooked. The Windows 10 device ecosystem gets stronger by the day and the Radius 12 is certainly going to stand out.
8. Lenovo Ideapad Y700
Gaming laptops are often styled to attract a younger audience, but not all gamers are into such wild looking machines. Enter Lenovo and it's newly spun off Y Series. There are two things which stand out here. The first is that it's got a little bit of the wild, but it doesn't go too far. There are red accents, yes, but not too many of them. And the red backlighting on the keyboard can go away. It's one of the more subtly designed gaming laptops we've seen recently. When you close the lid it looks, well, practically normal.
We also like the lack of optical drive. For some that might be a dealbreaker, but given the amount of games and media delivered digitally these days, is it such a loss? What removing it does is help shrink down the form factor. It's still big, but it's pretty slim all things considered. Almost what you'd call portable.
And there are a whole host of other accessories to go with your new Y computer. Headseta, keyboards, mice, Lenovo has the full gaming ecosystem covered.
9. Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 460
Lenovo has been making some of the best Windows convertibles around for a while now and the new Thinkpad Yoga 460 is no exception. It retains everything we love about the Yoga, namely its rotating screen, packing in the latest hardware to it's premium chassis.
That latest hardware includes Intel's new Skylake CPUs, an optional NVIDIA 940M graphics card, QHD display and DDR4 RAM. You also get a rechargeable pen included in the box, perfect for using with Lenovo's WRITEit software.
It's no longer a clear recommendation in the convertible space, but it remains a strong contender with this latest model.
10. ASUS ROG GX700
It's a gaming laptop. With a huge liquid cooler. This type of cooling is usually reserved for desktop rigs, but ASUS, never too afraid to try something new and insane, decided that didn't have to be the case. So it created the GX700, a gaming laptop in its ROG (Republic of Gamers) range, and this enormous growth that docks to the back of it.
Besides the cooler it's also a stonking piece of kit. Skylake, NVIDIA graphics, a 4K, 17-inch display. It'll be expensive, very expensive, but that's not the point here.
It. Is. Ridiculous. That's one of the things we love the most about ASUS. The crazy ideas that sometimes come out of its factories. And this is right up there with the best of them.
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