The best of IFA – part 2

With IFA but a distant memory, there were a plethora of announcements from the two tech giants Samsung and Sony. So we thought we should give you a round up of what caught our eye at Berlin’s Messe.

After the media frenzy at the Samsung booth for the Galaxy Tab, we caught a glimpse of Samsung’s more traditional laptops which looking strikingly similar to Apple’s MacBook Pro range. The Samsung QX range is the best looking Windows-based laptops we have ever laid eyes on, apart from a dual-booting Macbook of course.

Samsung-IFA

These top-of-the-range laptops, which look more than similar to Apple top-of-the-range MacBooks, are crafted from aluminum to deliver high performance and mobility in three screen sizes – 13.3” (QX310), 14” (QX410) and 15.6” (QX510). They feature Intel Core i5 CPU, NVIDIA graphics (GeForce 310M / GT or GeForce GT 420M), 3D SRS sound, 6.9 hours battery life, gesture pad, up to 640GB HDD (no SSD option), CD drive, up to 8GB RAM and a webcam.

Samsung also outed a gorgeous new 3D LED TV. The 65-inch 8000 Series 3D LED TV is a stunner and is apparently the ‘right’ size for watching 3D movies. Samsung did not reveal any hard specifications yet for this TV. But expect a great contrast ratio and 3D compatibility.

Elsewhere, Sony also had a rather clever new Vaio. They have taken their 3D tech from the PS3 and managed to ram it into a new notebook. It also comes with an IR receiver allowing you to sync it up with Sony’s Bravia 3D glasses.

No details on price and release date were given and the laptop was only a prototype in an old F series case. But we expect 3D laptops to be available early 2011.

Sony also announced “Video On Demand powered by Qriocity”, a premium streaming video service, will be available this autumn in five European countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

With “Video On Demand powered by Qriocity,” (pronounced curiosity), you can choose from hundreds of box office hits from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM), NBC Universal International Television Distribution, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, as well as popular content from top local studios. Many movies are available in HD as well as SD, and all can be rented at the touch of a button on Sony’s 2010 models of network-enabled BRAVIA TVs and Blu-ray Disc players, and Blu-ray Home Theater systems.

One of the biggest video game-related announcements at IFA is that Sony is planning to launch an entirely new online music store, accessible from the PS3.?? It is kind of mind-boggling that the Xbox 360 and PS3 have extremely well-established digital video stores but neither has any sort of way to buy and download music.

It totally makes sense to have something, because both platforms want to be the perfect digital entertainment system. ?According to the Financial Tines though, that will soon change. The publication is reporting that Sony has been in talks with a number of major record labels to bring a Sony Music service to the PS3. The service will also be connectable by Sony Vaio computers, Sony Bravia TV sets, and Sony Ericsson mobile phones.

Digital music hasn’t exactly been a forte for Sony. Back in 2008 it had to shut down its Connect platform due to extremely sluggish sales.

Currys and PC World Christmas range preview

LatestGadgets were invited to a preview of the new Christmas ranges for Currys and PC World.

3D is very much in demand for TVs, gaming and cameras with an explosion of products set to launch this year and it is expected that 25% of TVs at Currys and PC World will be 3D by December. Sky are launching their 3D channel this year. The PS3 has the capability for 3D now and there are 3D cameras launching this winter.

The most outstanding 3D TV was the Samsung 55C9000. The Samsung UE55C9000 55″ Full HD 3D LED TV has a 3D HyperReal Engine and mega contrast technology and at 7.98mm thin, it is one the slimmest televisions around. However, at £6999.00, it is also one of the most expensive. We also got to see Devil May Cry played in 3D on a laptop. There was real depth to the image and brought a whole new experience to playing Devil May Cry and made me want to play it all over again.

This month, Currys and PC World are introducing a new range of exclusive home electronic brands, which will include basic utility products as well as higher end technology. The brand is designed to combine functionality and aesthetics without the big brand price tag. Think “the IKEA of technology”. For example, the Sandstrom S40LDIB10 is a 40” Full LED TV with High Contrast Dynamic technology, which at £749.99, is pretty decent value.

Advent, the well established range of PCs and laptops at PC World, will be launching a range of personalised laptop covers. Unlike the skins which you can currently get to cover the casing, these replace the casing and look durable. You can select an image from 500 options or upload a photo and have it put on the case, so you can have a picture of your family or holiday on your laptop.

Digital cameras have seen considerable innovation with manufacturers developing features to differentiate from the competition. Here are some the most innovative cameras. The compact Samsung PL100 has not 1 but 2 screens. There is 1.5” LCD display on the front of your camera as well a screen on the back so you can take self-portraits. Casio’s Z335 shoots in High Definition and for the ladies out there, it has a make-up mode, which automatically eliminates blemishes and highlights the face. No bad for £99.99 The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Micro Four Thirds Camera + 14-42mm Zoom Lens SCS also caught my eye. The successor to revolutionary G1, the camera adds an intuitive touch-screen, which allows the photographer to both focus and release the shutter by touching the on-screen subject.

There were some standout audio products on show for music lovers. The Amethyst Superpig iPod Docking Station is a statement piece with a bling look. It has a 4” subwoofer with 25 watts of crystal output so it packs a punch in a small package. For headphones, Monster Cable Lady Gaga Heartbeats Headphones are high-end performance headphones inspired by Lady Gaga’s unique and ultra-fashionable sense that will definitely turn heads. Monster Beats Active Noise-cancelling Headphones by Dr Dre are also available, which hold a noise-cancelling feature to eliminate outside noise and noise from your headphones so no one will hear your music. The sound is of premium grade, enabling you to hear all the bass and detail just as the artist intended. If you like the sound of anything, why not buy yourself a very early present?