IFA is one of the most important events on the consumer tech calendar, and it’s rare for the show to disappoint. Whether you’re interested in the best TVs, upgrading your smart home devices, or gadgets that are straight-up weird, IFA’s the place to look if you want to see everything that’s coming in the weeks and months ahead.
Sustainability was one of the biggest trends in Berlin this year, with companies going all out with their push on more sustainable and environmentally-friendly goals. We’ve also started seeing a lot of big names taking mini-LED seriously, with several showcasing all their own examples of the next generation displays.
After meeting the companies on the show floor, and spending far too much time navigating the labyrinth that is IFA 2023, we’ve found a lot of amazing gadgets and gear that we know people are going to love. Here we present our very favorites in the form of the Best of IFA Awards 2023, coming to you directly from the writers and editors of Tom’s Guide.
Best of Show: Lenovo Legion Glasses
Gaming on the go is great, but don’t you wish you weren’t limited to such a small display? The Lenovo Legion Glasses can make that happen, offering a virtual 27-inch display that displays all your visuals in up to 1080p resolution and with a 60Hz refresh rate. If you’ve had doubts about face-based wearables before, the Legion Glasses should wipe them away.
They’re light, comfortable and have none of the ugly side-effects that can stop so many other people enjoying games on larger virtual and augmented reality headsets.
The best part is that while the Legion Glasses are launching alongside the Lenovo Legion Go handheld and Legion 9i gaming laptop, those devices don’t get exclusive access. In fact, Lenovo says the Legion Glasses will work with just about any device that supports AR — including Android and iPhones. Lenovo’s specs may not be as technologically impressive as the Apple Vision Pro, but they certainly seem more appropriate (and affordable) for most of us to use — Tom Pritchard
Best Design: LG StanbyME Go
There are plenty of screens you can take with you in the world, but size and portability are often the limiting factors. What if there was a TV-sized screen that was literally built for travel? That’s where the LG StanbyME Go comes into the mix. This isn’t just a TV you can take with you when you explore the world, it’s a 27-inch mobile TV that comes with its very own suitcase.
Simply open up the case, unfold the stand and pray you didn’t leave the remote at home. You can use the touchscreen if that’s the case, but what good is a TV if you have to stay within arm’s reach all the time?
The StanbyME Go has everything you’d expect from a modern smart TV, except the ability to tune into traditional broadcast signals. Not that it matters when you have a full suite of streaming apps, HDMI input, a web browser and three hours of battery life. Because your odds of finding a power outlet in the park aren’t great. — Tom Pritchard
Innovation Award: Fairphone 5
The Fairphone 5 is not designed to beat the iPhone 15 or Galaxy S24. Fairphone is all about offering fair wages to people involved in making the devices, and ensuring manufacturing relies on as many ethically sourced materials as possible — with an emphasis on recycled and sustainable options.
From a consumer standpoint you do get a drop in hardware compared to the latest flagships. But the “fair” part of Fairphone applies to you, too, so what you lose in terms of raw hardware you get back in better repairability and software support that other phone makers couldn’t dream of. Full Android support up to Android 18, and further software support to at least 2031 — perhaps even extending to 2033. If you still have the phone by then, of course.
Other phone makers are only just starting to take sustainability and long-term phone support seriously, but they’re going to have to seriously step up their game if they want to try outdo Fairphone. — Tom Pritchard
Best of Computing: Lenovo Legion 9i gaming laptop
We tend to see a lot of gaming laptops, and the Lenovo Legion 9i has already found its place on my letter to Santa. That’s because of how incredible this machine really is. Not only is there a svelte carbon fiber design, which Lenovo says makes the look of each Legion 9i unique, there is a lot of great hardware under the hood. Plus a liquid cooling system, which hasn’t been done in a 16-inch gaming laptop before.
The Legion 9i runs from a 13th generation Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU paired with a Nvidia GeForce RTA 4090 laptop GPU – with support for up to 64GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. Suddenly that liquid cooling system doesn’t seem like such a wild idea, because this laptop could easily be a powerhouse that needs to take advantage of that extra cooling. Plus, you get a sharp and colorful 16-inch 3.2K mini-LED display.
There’s a lot going for the Legion 9i, especially with support for the AR Legion Glasses. Frankly, we can not wait to review it. — Tom Pritchard
Best Phone: Honor Magic V2
IFA’s not known as a smartphone show, but Honor’s chosen this event as the ideal platform to announce the global launch of its Magic V2 foldable. And what a foldable it is.
The Magic V2 offers larger displays inside and out than the obvious comparable models from Samsung and Google, but remains slimmer and lighter than both. It’s also got a larger battery using cutting-edge silicon-carbon technology and upgraded camera sensors befitting a flagship phone. And if the current Honor Magic Vs is anything to go by, it’ll be quite a bit cheaper than a Samsung or Google foldable in the markets where it’s available.
We’ll want to spend more time testing the Magic V2 before adding it to our best foldable phones list. But we’re very excited for what this kind of competition to the Galaxy Z Fold 5’s dominance will mean for foldable buyers in the near future. — Richard Priday
Best of TV: TCL X955 QD mini-LED TV
TCL’s latest TV reveal could put it in the running for our list of the best TVs. Not only does the TCL X955 feature a QD mini-LED panel, and gargantuan 85- and 98-inch sizing options, TCL claims that this beast will have over 5,000 local dimming zones and the ability to output 5,000 nits of HDR brightness. Typically it’s rare for TVs to exceed 2,000 nits, so this is a very big deal.
Why does that matter? The more control there is over the TV’s light the better the picture quality you’re going to get. The X955 also packs a 4.2.2 channel speaker system, with Dolby Atmos and a 160w power output, alongside a 144Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision and AMD’s Freesync Premium Pro.
We don’t know about U.S. Availability, or even how much the TCL X995 will cost, but it goes without saying that it’s not going to be cheap. But with display tech like that, you know you’re paying for something special. — Tom Pritchard
Best of Audio: JBL Authentics smart speaker
With wireless smarts running to both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, the new JBL Authentics smart speaker series was the standout audio showcase at IFA 2023. The new series integrates both Alexa and Google voice assistants and marries JBL’s sound prowess to a retro design — inspired by the legendary JBL L 100 stereo speakers from the 1970s.
Three Authentics models each offer different cabinet sizes and power outputs. Whether you opt for the flagship 500, portable 300 with 8-hour battery life, or the compact 200, each speaker is a full music system that can be integrated with the other model in the series in multi-room setups. And you can even pair two of the same speakers together for traditional stereo sound with the speakers spaced several meters apart.
Hearing the sound blast out of each of the individual speakers was impressive, even though the exhibition space was marred by high levels of ambient noise. Each model made itself heard and bass levels cut through the noise. But it was the Authentics 500 with Dolby Atmos support that impressed the most thanks to the 270W power output and 6.5-inch down-firing subwoofer which stole the show. — Lee Dunkley
Best of Gaming — Lenovo Legion Go
There’s going to be no shortage of handheld gaming PCs in the future, but they’re going to have a hard time living up to the Lenovo Legion Go. This handheld has “Steam Deck killer” written all over it, with an impressive set of hardware specs, a screen like no other and hardware that should give Valve pause for concern.
That screen is an 8.8-inch touch-enabled panel capable of QHD+ resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate. On top of that you have up to 1TB of storage, 16GB of RAM, and up to an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip. Not to mention 2 USB-C ports, a microSD card slot, headphone jack and a nice big kickstand.
Because the Legion Go runs a full version of Windows 11, with all the features and capabilities the operating system offers, there are two mouse options to make up for the analogue sticks’ shortcomings. That includes a trackpad and an “FPS Mode” that turns your right controller into an actual mouse for that more refined PC gaming aiming experience. — Tom Pritchard
Best of Smart Home: Eufy E330 (Professional)
Every smart camera company offers incident-based recording, but Eufy is taking things a step further with the E330 (Professional) camera system. Not only are these cameras recording non-stop, like a hi-tech CCTV system, the system uses AI to splice together footage from multiple cameras into a single chronicle of events.
The E330 cameras also come with all the same perks and benefits of other Eufy products, including 4K resolution, 8x zoom, super-sharp night vision, AI face and object recognition and subscription-free local video storage. Plus, the Eufy HomeBase 3 can support a hard drive up to 16TB in size, which means you’ll be able to keep a bunch of the footage safe for a long time. — Tom Pritchard
Best robot: Ecovacs AirBot Z2
Robots in the home are nothing new, but the idea that there are robotic air purifiers is blowing my mind a little bit. And products like the Ecovacs AirBot Z2 do exist, with the ability to freely roam around your home like a miniature Dalek hell-bent on exterminating air pollution.
Ecovacs claims that this bot has the ability to manage the air in “five dimensions”, which in layman’s terms means it has 5 specific air-purifying functions. That includes removing pollutants, antibacterial effects, fog-free humidification, permanent air freshening and a special function for filtering out both pet hair and odors.
The only real downside is that it doesn’t vacuum as it roams around your house. — Tom Pritchard