Top 10 best gadgets at IFA 2011

Top 10 best gadgets at IFA 2011
IFA 2011's red-haired mascot, Miss IFA, shows off a selection of Samsung Galaxy tablets

It's been a great year for gadgets at this year's Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) in Berlin with all kinds of surprises - from internet-connected TVs to super-sized smartphones - in the exhibition halls. Here are just 10 of the best in show...

1. Sony Android tablets

Sony's long-rumoured rivals to the Apple iPad 2 finally made their debut at IFA 2011 - and they confounded as much as they surprised. The Sony Tablet P (£499) and Tablet S (£399), both include Nvidia Tegra 2 mobile processors running Android Honeycomb OS, front- and rear-facing cameras, a USB 2.0 port and an SD card slot.

Just like the iPad 2, both tablets are available in Wi-Fi only and 3G models, but it's the clamshell Tablet P that really piques our interest. For the Sony Tablet P sports not one, but two 13.9cm (5.5-inch) touchscreens - one in the base and one in the lid.

This certainly makes it easier to stick in your pocket than most tablets and it obviously has advantages with certain applications - e.g. using the virtual keyboard or playing games where the Tablet P apes the split-screen controls of the Nintendo 3DS to a certain extent.

What's harder to get around is whether Sony will have any success persuading developers to create applications that take advantage of the split-screen. And, of course, for movie viewing it's rubbish.

2. Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone

Apple's iPhone 5 maybe imminent, but it's going to face some stiff competition from Samsung's latest smartphone, the Galaxy Note.

Sporting a massive 13.5cm (5.3-inch) display - the biggest of any smartphone so far - with a WXGA resolution of 1,200 x 800 pixels. Other crowd-pleasing goodies include a 1.5GHz dual-core processor running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, front- and rear-facing cameras, the second of which has a resolution of 8MP and can be used to record 1080p high definition video. Wow.

Weirdly, it seems that styli (styluses?) are back in vogue, with the Samsung Galaxy Note sporting an S Pen, which is ideal for accurate, pressure sensitive handwritten notes and sketches. What's wrong with the good old finger, eh?

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet

Samsung galaxy tab 7.7

Sharing the Top 10 gadget honours with the Galaxy Note is Samsung's new Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet, complete with a 19.6cm (7.7-inch) 1,280 x 800 WXGA resolution AMOLED display, a dual-core 1.4GHz processor and a choice of 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of storage.

Throw in a microSD card slot and you'll be able to increase that to a phenomenal 96GB, which is probably just as well as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 offers 1080p high definition movie playback too. The Tab 7.7 also features the Android 3.2 OS with Samsung's TouchWiz user interface laid over the top.

4. HTC Titan smartphone

HTC titan smartphone

Continuing the trend for super-sized smartphones at IFA 2011 is the HTC Titan, a showcase for the latest version of Windows Phone 7 'Mango'.

The HTC Titan comes with an 11.4cm (4.5-inch) display. Its wide, but slim form factor enables it to sit comfortably in your hand, although it may not slip as easily into your shirt pocket. Sadly, the Titan's display resolution doesn't quite match up to its big screen billing offering just 800 x 480 pixels of resolution, although it's bright with impressive colours and good black levels.

Windows Phone 7 Mango also runs smoothly on the HTC Titan's 1.5GHz single-core processor. The best thing about the Titan is what HTC has managed to with it - adding dedicated applications and an improved camera, which enables you to shoot panoramas and includes a handy burst mode.

5. Lenovo IdeaPad U300 / U400 ultrabooks

Lenovo ideapad u300 ultrabook

Undoubtedly one of the biggest surprises at IFA was the arrival of the first ultrabooks - ultra-thin PC alternatives to Apple's Macbook Air that meet or exceed specs set out by Intel. Available in luxurious U300 and U400 models, Lenovo's IdeaPads are milled from a solid block of aluminium - sound familiar? - and offer a choice of 33.8cm (13.3-inch) and 35.6cm (14-inch) displays, Intel Core i7 ultra-low voltage (ULV) processors and AMD Radeon HD5470M graphics.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300 includes 256GB of SSD storage, while the U400 offers a choice of a 256GB SSD drive or a 1TB hard disk. Battery life is pegged up to eight hours of 'productive use' and up to 30 days of standby time. The U300 and U400 are both available in a choice of Graphite Grey and eye-watering Clementine Orange colours. UK prices have yet to be confirmed.

6. Toshiba AT200 Excite tablet

Toshiba at200 excite

If HP's recent TouchPad fire sale told us anything, it's that competing with the Apple iPad 2 isn't easy - especially when you have rivals like Samsung and Sony all trying to do the same thing.

That hasn't deterred Toshiba, which wowed IFA 2011 with its own take: the AT200 Excite - a 25.6cm (10.1-inch) tablet that also happens to be the world's thinnest, measuring just 0.3-inches (7.7mm) front to back.

Inside the Toshiba AT200 Excite, you'll find a 1.2GHz processor running Android Honeycomb, 1GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage, which is pretty respectable.

Battery power is pegged at up to eight hours and the display has a maximum resolution of 1,200 x 800 pixels.

7. Samsung MV800 Multi-View compact camera

Samsung mv800 multi-view compact camera

One of the undoubted highlights of IFA 2011 has been the launch of three new compact cameras from Samsung including the 18x superzoom WB750 and the 20MP NX200. Our pick though is the MV800 - the first compact camera to include a flip-up screen.

Flip-up screens have been a big deal on digital SLRs for a while because they're great for use in situations where a conventional viewfinder or display won't do - such as trying to get a clear view of the action which you're in the middle of a crowd, for example.

The MV800's 7.62cm (3-inch) touchscreen can be angled at up to 180-degrees to help you get the shot - the view even flips around if you turn the camera upside-down. Other goodies include a Live Panorama, which enables you to create wide-angle shots by stitching images together. Specs include a 16.1MP sensor, 5x optical zoom and a 26mm wide-angle lens. UK price? Around £249.

8. Sony SMP-N200 Network Media Player

Sony smp-n200 network media player

One of the tech trends of this year's IFA 2011 has been the rise and rise of internet-connected Smart TVs, but what happens if you want to join the party and want to hang on to your existing non-Smart set?

Enter Sony's SMP-N200 Network Media Player, which enables you to do exactly that. The SMP-N200 Network Media Player includes Bravia Internet Video, which enables you to watch streaming content from BBC iPlayer, movies from Lovefilm as well as high definition and even 3D content. Naturally enough, the Network Media Player is compatible with the new Tablet P and Tablet S, erm, tablets, that Sony also launched at IFA.

9. LG PenTouch TV

LG pentouch tvs

As any parent will tell you, pens and TVs normally go together like small fingers and electrical sockets, so the launch of LG's PenTouch range of plasma TVs is both surprising and a little alarming.

LG's PenTouch TVs, of course, use a special light-sensitive pen that enables you to write and sketch on screen or edit and organise photos stored on your PC. But it's surely only a matter of time before Junior mistakes the 'special pen' for a ballpoint and you end up with a more permanent version of his scribbles etched onto the display.

Perhaps you can keep him or her distracted by the other things the PZ8590T can do: like enable you to watch 2D or 3D content. Or watch 2D content in 3D using a 2D to 3D conversion engine. The PenTouch TVs are available in 140cm (55-inch) and 152cm (60-inch) display sizes. There's no news yet on UK pricing.

10. Philips Cinema 21:9 TVs

Philips cinema 21:9 platinum tv

These super-sized, super-expensive TVs have been a staple of IFA 2011 for a few years now but, dang it, they just keep getting better and better - which is why we have no qualms about adding them to our top 10.

Now available in Platinum and Gold versions, Philips new Cinema TVs boast an astonishingly cinema-like 21:9 aspect ratio (hence the name) 3D viewing with 2D to 3D conversion and Smart TV features that gives you access to a compelling portal of online content. Heck, you can even watch internet TV and regular TV at the same time using the split-screen viewer.

Other goodies include LED backlighting and Philips' Ambilight technology, plus a 0.5-second refresh time and a 1,200MHz refresh rate. No UK prices as yet, but we can't wait to get on our hands on them.

What are your favourite gadgets from IFA 2011? Let us know in the comments below.