IFA is over for another year – and IFA 2020 was different from any other we've seen before.
That's because the Covid-19 pandemic led to huge restrictions on attendance, with only a select few journalists and industry representatives invited to attend – and that pushed brands to unveil their latest products via virtual conferences and briefings.
Many brands eschewed the tech show altogether, though some did make announcements at 'IFA-adjacent' events, which means we still saw plenty of new tech.
From new headphones to 8K TVs, here we've rounded up all the news so far from IFA, as well as reviews of some of the biggest new products to be announced. This year, we had a bumper crop of home cinema tech from Philips, a cheaper 5G phone from Samsung, new smartwatches from Honor, and as well as new gadgets that could help you get through the pandemic.
No tech show would be complete without some weird and wacky inventions – be sure to check out these 10 insane innovations from the back rooms in Berlin for the low down on wearable subwoofers, "sea air" simulators, and cat exercise machines.
Even though the format of IFA 2020 was very different to the norm, our coverage of the tech show is just as in-depth as always – so without further ado, here's all the news, reviews, and analysis from Europe's answer to CES:
- All the best laptops in one place
- Check out the best Android phones
- CES 2021: what to expect as the tech expo goes online
What is IFA?
IFA 2020: what you need to know
- What is IFA? Europe's biggest technology showcase, held in September every year in Berlin, and attended by most of the major players in the industry.
- When is IFA 2020? This year's event still went ahead in the German capital, though portions of it moved to an online format: the key dates were September 3-5.
- Which brands exhibited? Most of the key tech companies were involved in some way or another, with Apple being the one significant exception – Apple prefers to hold its own events and stick to its own schedule.
- IFA 2020 Special Edition: 10 insane innovations from Berlin
- 7 gadgets perfect for a pandemic from IFA 2020
IFA 2020 news
All the news from IFA 2020
Phones and tablets
It hasn't exactly been a bumper year for phones and tablets at IFA 2020, but there were still a few new devices that caught our eye – and the focus was very much on 5G.
Samsung gave us what could be its cheapest 5G phone, the Galaxy A42 5G, while Qualcomm's latest chipset promises to bring laptop smarts to our 5G phones – and it could make them cheaper than ever before.
Even so, there was a bigger focus on tablets than phones, with TCL launching a new line-up of budget-friendly Android tablets to compete with the Amazon Fire range.
- Move over, smartphones: IFA 2020 was all about cheap Android tablets
- Read our hands-on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review
- The Galaxy A42 5G could be Samsung's cheapest 5G phone
- Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G promises to bring the best of laptops to smartphones
- 5G phones are about to get much cheaper
- Samsung’s new Wireless Charger Trio does what Apple AirPower couldn’t
- TCL takes the fight to Amazon Fire's range with new cheap Android tablets
Wearables at IFA 2020 has largely been dominated by smartwatches, with the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy Fit 2, the Honor Watch GS Pro, Honor Watch ES, and a new TCL smartwatch designed for seniors, complete with a fall detection feature.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, we saw a battery-powered face mask from LG – this nifty device doubles up as an air purifier, though the company was careful not to suggest that it will prevent coronavirus infections.
- The new Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 challenges Fitbit's crown with two-week battery life
- LG unveils new battery-powered face mask that doubles as an air purifier
- TCL unveils smartwatch for seniors, with fall detection
- Honor has two new smartwatches, and one is very similar to the Huawei Watch Fit
TVs, soundbars, and projectors dominated IFA 2020 – not least due to Philips' bumper crop of new devices, including a new OLED TV and home audio system.
Samsung also had a decent showing with a more consumer-friendly 8K TV (both in terms of price and size), as well as the world's first HDR10+ projector and an outdoor QLED TV.
- Every new TV and projector from IFA 2020
- Philips Hue now lets you turn any TV into an Ambilight
- New Samsung 8K TV is cheaper than the Q800T QLED – and with a more desirable size
- Samsung Premiere is the world’s first HDR10+ projector – here’s why that matters
- Philip's flagship OLED TV goes big on speakers and specs, even at a 48-inch size
- Philips and DTS Play-Fi wireless home audio system launches for TVs and soundbars
- Optoma CinemaX P2 is an ultra-bright 4K projector – with some fierce competition
- Samsung's outdoor QLED TV is coming to the UK and Europe
Noise-cancellation was the name of the game for audio at IFA 2020, with new noise-cancelling headphones and true wireless earbuds from JBL and Philips. Meanwhile, Qualcomm revealed its new ANC Adaptive technology, which improves the noise cancellation of poorly fitting earbuds.
In the world of speakers, we saw a new Sonos Move-style portable smart speaker from Harman, as well as a host of rugged waterproof speakers from JBL.
- Harman takes on Sonos Move with a smart speaker you can take outside
- JBL announces AirPods Pro-style true wireless earbuds
- JBL's upgraded waterproof Bluetooth speakers sport a stylish new look
- Philips unveils new noise-cancelling headphones – including AirPods Pro-rivaling earbuds
- Philips Fidelio L3 noise-cancelling headphones launch to rival Sony WH-1000XM4
- Do your true wireless earbuds suck at noise cancellation? Qualcomm may have the answer
There wasn't loads to shout about in the world of computing at this year's IFA show. However, there were a few cool devices that caught our eye, including what we think might be the most beautiful PC we've seen.
- The most beautiful PC of 2020 is a metal cube powered by AMD
- Honor unveils a rival to Apple's MacBook Pro at a third of the price
- Read our Honor MagicBook Pro (2020) review
The biggest brands at IFA 2020
News by brand
We're keeping our ears pressed firmly to the ground and we've got all the information you need on the top brands at IFA 2020, so keep an eye on the sections below to learn everything that's emerged from each manufacturer.
IFA 2020: Samsung
Technically, Samsung didn't IFA 2020 – but it did run an online event at the same time as IFA, so it's just about the same thing. The event was called Life Unstoppable, and took place on September 2 (the day before IFA started, which is typically the day for press events).
That event brought us a new 8K Samsung TV that's cheaper than the Q800T QLED, as well as a new Samsung Galaxy Fit 2, which could challenge Fitbit's wearable crown with a two-week battery life. Samsung also unveiled a new high-end projector that could rival the best projectors, as well as a UK/Europe rollout of its outdoor QLED TV, The Terrace.
And that's pretty much it – which isn't surprising considering how many gadgets Samsung unveiled in August, including the Galaxy Buds Live and the Galaxy Note 20.
We did, however, also catch sight of a wireless charger device that can juice up three gadgets at once – say, earbuds, a smartwatch, and a smartphone all in tandem – which is pretty neat.
IFA 2020: LG
LG usually has a big presence at IFA, though things are obviously different this year. LG opted out of a physical presence and instead presented a virtual showroom, though there isn't much in the way of new devices.
LG CTO Park Il-pyung delivered a keynote presentation online, largely about the future potential of LG's ThinQ AI platform, and the promise of more LG smart appliances to come.
The LG Velvet smartphone (which is effectively the LG G9) broke cover ahead of the event, as did news of a new LG CineBeam HU810P projector with adjustable 48-300 inch images (though currently just for US audiences).
LG did also announce a new battery-powered face mask that doubles as an air purifier. While LG was careful not to claim this mask will protect you from the novel coronavirus, the company said that it seeks to "resolve the dilemma of homemade masks being of inconsistent quality and disposal masks being in short supply."
IFA 2020: TCL
TCL is well-known for its affordable TVs, and it recently made the jump into smartphones as well, so we were looking forward to seeing what it has in store for IFA 2020 – and it didn't disappoint.
TCL unveiled a huge number of products across various categories, including new tablets, a smartwatch designed for seniors, true wireless headphones, a new e-paper screen, and even foldable phones. Well, the latter we've seen before, but TCL has provided some updates on foldable products that it's unveiled but not yet released.
The main one worth mentioning is the TCL 10 Tab Mac, which is a 10.1-inch tablet with a stylus, designed to emit less blue light and limit eye strain. But TCL also announced a smartwatch with fall detection called the Move Time Family Watch (yup), and a paper-like digital display tech called Next Paper (likely to release in a device next year).
We didn't hear anything about new TCL TVs, though, despite IFA 2019 seeing two 8K TVs debuted by the Chinese brand.
IFA 2020: Huawei
Huawei's issues with the US and its companies continue to rumble on, but it's certainly committed to IFA 2020, describing it as an "excellent platform" for promoting "products and strategies" – so expect more in the way of products and strategies at IFA 2020, which could be anything from phones to a vision for the future of 5G.
Huawei has a wide range of electronics in its portfolio, from laptops to tablets to phones, and so we could see almost anything at IFA 2020. Last year we saw a new phone and a new mobile chipset from Huawei at IFA, and while we're not exactly sure what's coming this time around, it'll be worth looking out for.
IFA 2020: Honor
With Huawei comes its more affordable sub-brand Honor, whose theme this year is 'Expand Your Smart Life.'
The Honor Magic Watch 2 sits in our list of the best smartwatches, and Honor has just unveiled its successor – well, spiritual successor – and another novel smartwatch.
The company also showed off some laptops and two tablets: the Honor Pad 6 and Pad X6, which are two cheap Android tablets.
The two new Honor smartwatches are the Honor Watch GS Pro, a ruggedized version of the Magic Watch 2 with a few more features and protected design, and the Honor Watch ES, a fitness smartwatch that looks curiously like the Huawei Watch Fit (Huawei is the parent company of Honor, and the brands have previously put out eerily-similar watches too).
Check out our hands-on Honor Watch ES and Honor Watch GS Pro reviews.
IFA 2020: Philips
Philips had a lot of new products on offer at this year's IFA-adjacent virtual briefing.
The brand has released not one but three new pairs of noise-cancelling headphones. The Philips H9505 are a pair of over-ear headphones, next up there's Philips' flagship true wireless earbuds, the T8505, and the Philips T8505, which look like the Apple AirPods.
All three pairs come with a hybrid active noise cancellation system, which adapts to your surroundings. Philips has now also announced a new wireless home audio ecosystem for connecting Philips TVs and soundbars, based on the multi-room capabilities of DTS Play-Fi.
The announcement has naturally come alongside a number of new TV and audio products Philips no doubt hopes you'll be connecting together on its platform, such as the 2020 flagship Philips OLED+935 television, the Philips Fidelio B95 soundbar, or Philips' new W6505 / W6205 wireless speakers.
IFA 2020: Realme
Realme's first appearance at IFA, saw in a bunch of product announcements, including a 55-inch TV, smart lightbulbs, and a smart camera.
The company also announced two new true wireless earbud models with active noise cancellation Realme Buds Air Pro and Buds Wireless Pro, plus a new smartwatch called Realme Watch S Pro.
The Chinese company is already fairly big in Asia, but its IFA debut marks a renewed effort to break into the European market, with the new products landing in the region "soon".
IFA 2020: Qualcomm
The opening keynote for IFA 2020 was from Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon, and revealed a number of new processors for all different kinds of tech, including the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 for computers, and also a new 5G smartphone chipset that sits far below its existing ones – possibly meaning that 5G phones are about to get much cheaper.
Qualcomm also announced a new technology designed to improve noise-cancelling headphones; according to the company "Qualcomm Adaptive ANC is designed to enhance user comfort and provide consistent sound quality for true wireless earbuds by adapting its performance to meet variations in how an earbud fits in a user’s ear, and adapt in real-time to changes in fit as the earbuds are in use".