10 best bits of tech from IFA 2012

10 best bits of kit from IFA 2012
The Asus ROG TYTAN CG8890 is just one great product from IFA 2012

It's been eight long months since the gadget glamour of CES in Las Vegas. That's eight months for all the big technology companies to have prototyped exciting new Windows 8 tablets and even bigger HD televisions.

So will IFA 2012 surprise you? Maybe. Some of the Windows 8 hardware is certainly inventive, and you'll find tablet-style devices that are much larger than you expect. There are also new super-phones and smarter cameras; glassless 3D TVs and a robotic Jamie Oliver.

Here's our pick of the best tech on show at IFA 2012.

1. Asus ROG TYTAN CG8890

On the outside, this high-end Asus desktop PC looks like some sort of Star Wars imperial droid with built-in missile launchers. On the inside, fat-walleted PC gamers will lick their lips at the prospect of a liquid-cooled computer powered by Intel's six-core Core i7-3960X processor and packing Nvidia's GeForce GTX 690. Storage comes courtesy of dual 128GB SSDs and the case 'transforms' to increase airflow when the CPU is overclocked.

Need a monitor to go with it? Asus would urge you to pair the ROG TYTAN CG8890 with one of its new Designo screens, either the 27-inch MX279H or 23-inch MX239H. They both look lovely.

2. 90-inch Sharp Aquos LED TV

10 best bits of kit from IFA 2012

Panasonic undoubtedly thought that it would hit the headlines with the new 60-inch Smart Viera TX-L60ET5 - the company's biggest ever LED TV. But not only does the 75-inch Samsung ES9000 LED Smart TV eclipse it, the mammoth 90-inch Sharp Aquos LED TV trumps them both.

There's no futuristic 4K or 8K technology here. This is one giant 1080p panel and the price? It will dent your wallet to the tune of $11,000 (£7,000) when it goes on sale next year.

3. Sony Xperia T

10 best bits of kit from IFA 2012

The new Xperia T is Sony's latest top-end smartphone, and we like five of its six main features. With curvy design echoes of the old Xperia Arc, the Sony Xperia T is dominated by a stunning 4.6-inch (1280 x 760 pixel) Reality Display that's only slightly smaller than the 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen on the Samsung Galaxy S3.

We like the 13MP digital camera, 1080p video recording capability, 16GB of internal storage (plus microSD expansion) and the fact that the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system will evolve into Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Eventually. The only niggle is Sony's choice of a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, when other flagship phones are moving to quad-core chips.

4. Panasonic 145-inch 8K Super Hi Vision TV

10 best bits of kit from IFA 2012

No sooner have we been seduced by 4K TV (3840 x 2160 pixel) TV sets such as Sony's KD-84X9005, this 145-inch 8K Super Hi Vision Panasonic plasma TV delivers a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels - 16 times the resolution of today's 1080p HD.

It's impossible to appreciate the true, mind blowing picture quality of this 145-inch 8K Super Hi Vision television from a photograph. You need to stand in front of it, jaw well and truly dropped, letting the sumptuous visuals gently smooch your widened eyeballs.

5. Sony Vaio Tap 20

10 best bits of kit from IFA 2012

Is it a Windows 8 tablet? Or a touchscreen desktop PC? Apparently the Sony Vaio Tap 20 is both, a shining example of the versatility of Microsoft's new OS. Of course, if you use the 20-inch multi-touch display as a tablet, there's a good chance that it will feel awkward and unwieldy. It's the size of a laptop tray, after all. Or a small painting. With no hands free, you'd need to control it with your nose. But just imagine watching movies on the sofa with it.

As for specs, the Tap 20 boasts an Intel Core i5-2217U processor and is somehow fitted with 4GB memory and a 1TB hard disk. Sony calls it a 'family touch PC'. That certainly makes more sense than a giganto-tablet.

6. Samsung Galaxy Note 2

10 best bits of kit from IFA 2012

The original Samsung Galaxy Note blurred the lines between devices - too big to be a usable phone and too small to be a functional tablet. The 5-inch Dell Streak had a go at this market segment in 2010 and failed. But thanks to a superior spec and the inclusion of its S-Pen stylus, the Note soared where the Streak crashed and burned.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 gives the original a tune-up - expanding the 720p display by 0.2 inches and upgrading the engine from a 1.4GHz dual-core chip to a 1.6GHz quad-core CPU.

7. Samsung Ativ S

10 best bits of kit from IFA 2012

Samsung unveiled its new 'Ativ' brand at this year's IFA, which will be applied to any device running Windows 8. The Samsung Ativ S smartphone is out to impress with a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display, 16/32GB of memory and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. Windows Phone 8 will look stunning and perform beautifully on this baby.

The Ativ S is joined by a pair of Windows 8 PCs - two Windows 8 PCs, the Ativ Smart PC and Ativ Smart PC Pro, plus a Windows 8 RT tablet dubbed the Ativ Tab that's worth keeping half an eye on.

8. HP Envy x2

10 best bits of kit from IFA 2012

Hybrid devices are definitely a theme at IFA 2012. There are monitors that act like tablets, cameras running the Android OS and, like the HP Envy x2, laptops that transform into touchscreen slates.

For mobile workers, such a combo could be the perfect mobile device. It's why Microsoft's Surface concept is such a promising idea. The Envy x2 isn't as striking. But the 11.6-inch screen neatly detaches and acts as a Windows 8 tablet, transforming into a more traditional laptop when you dock it into the aluminium keyboard.

9. Samsung Galaxy Camera

10 best bits of kit from IFA 2012

Imagine gluing a Samsung Galaxy S3 to the back of a compact camera. The resulting combo device might look a little like the Samsung Galaxy Camera. On the front, it boasts a 16 million pixel CMOS sensor and a 4.1-86.1 mm f/2.8-5.9 lens. Flip it over and the entire back side is a button-free, 4.8-inch (1280 x 720 pixel) touchscreen.

Most of the camera's clever controls are accessed through a user interface baked into Android 2.3. And thanks to its phone heritage, the Galaxy Camera includes 3G and Wi-Fi, so you can snap and share images.

10. Philips HomeCooker

10 best bits of kit from IFA 2012

Despite what you may think, IFA isn't all about colossal televisions and legions of look-alike smartphones. Look around and there are other clever gadgets on show, including high-tech headphones, sat navs and time-saving cookery devices.

Philips can usually be relied on for some kookier gizmos, so enter the Philips HomeCooker. Developed in conjunction with British chef Jamie Oliver, we've described it as an "amalgamation between a slow cooker, an electric wok, a steamer and a stirrer." It can also chop, thanks to a 5-in-1 DirectCut feature that can slice, shred or cut Julienne while you're still hunting for a sharp knife. It's on our Christmas list.

So what can we take away from IFA 2012?

  • Your next laptop might be a transformer
  • Your next camera might also be a phone
  • Windows 8 is getting everywhere
  • 8K is the new 4K
  • 1080p HD TVs are so 2011
  • We're still not sure that the Samsung Galaxy Note is a phone
  • The word 'phablet' probably won't catch on
  • IFA is never as exciting as you hope it will be