Best-of-IFA

Latest Gadgets at IFA 2011: Best of the best part one

It’s that time of year again, when the biggest and best in the tech world cram themselves into the labyrinthine Berlin Messe and proudly display their latest and greatest products. There’s *a lot* on display here and we’ll be looking in depth at some of the releases over the next few weeks. But until then here’s a quick run down of some of the more eye catching releases.

Best-of-IFA

One of the heavy hitters of home entertainment, Epson as you’d expect unveiled a series of new projectors. More unexpected however, was their sudden embrace of 3D after their refusal to jump in last year – apparently now the time is right. Even more surprising was the pricing – full details will be unveiled on Monday but they are clearly hoping to win over hearts and minds with some wonderful aggressive pricing.

Also unexpected was the launch of the Epson MG-850HD, which features a little iDevice dock enabling you to project slideshows and movies or play music, which was a nice feature on a budget device.

iDevices are never far from sight at IFA (I’ve never seen so many iPads as I did on my press bus) and Gear4 went to town with a range of cool new iToys. My favourite was Pocket Loops a keyboard attachments that you can slot your iPhone directly into.

They also had a range of Angry Birds iPhone docks that looked amazing – if you like Angry Bird. The AirZone home stereo speaker featured AirPlay, which is clearly the future of iPod docks.

They were most excited about the Renew SleepClock that monitors your movements in bed using beams of some description and wakes you up at the optimal point in your sleep cycle. Whilst similar devices utilising this technology exist, most involve wearing some sort of strap or bracelet so this is a lot more natural. They refused to let me nap in the little bed to test it out however.

The Alesis IO dock was there for the serious iPad musician and slots the iPad into a host of MIDI and high-quality audio inputs and outputs. The limitations of the 30-pin connector however, means that you can’t record simultaneously, which is a shame but this minor grip notwithstanding you can get some serious music made using this dock.

I was quietly mixing up a storm with Numark’s iDJ iPad peripheral. The jog wheels and fader are not the world’s best but are more than adequate for rocking a small house party and crossfading your Jive Bunny megamixes. There is a USB version that looks identical bar the connectors, although frustratingly you don’t appear to be able to use them interchangeably. Rather than simply buying one device and having two cables, flitting from laptop to iPad as you see fit, you apparently need to buy a dedicated controller for each. Boo! Still it’s a great device.

If you want to hear all those great sounds TDK had some amazing headsets on offer. Leading on from the wonderful sounds of the ST800s that we recently tested, the also had the high-end inner ear BA100 and BA200s on show – with balanced armature and dual balanced armature engineering. The sound quality was, as you’d expect, superlative.

To be continued …