The unsung heroes of IFA 2014

The unsung heroes of IFA 2014
Huawei's own entry - check Mate

You can pretty much pick out the likely star products at IFA well before the first banner has been hung in Berlin - a Z phone from Sony, check, a Note from Samsung, check.

But sometimes the really interesting products aren't the ones given whole sections of the big players' stands, but phones, gadgets and accessories that take a back seat.

TechRadar's time at IFA 2014 has been enlivened this time around by some of these very products, so without further ado, here are our favourite unsung heroes from IFA 2014.

Nokia Lumia 735

Nokia Lumia 735

Yes, you have read that right: we have put a Nokia phone as one of the unsung heroes of IFA 2014.

The Nokia Lumia 735 is tailored to be the ultimate selfie phone, appealing to a more youthful demographic - it's a cheap and cheerful phone offering that even lets you enhance your mug shots with some effects and enhancements. And you can use the rear camera as well, providing a countdown beeper to help you time your shot.

It also comes with the new OS update Lumia Denim, a 720p display, a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage and a 2220mAh battery. In short: there is enough here to entice you away from other affordable options.

Moto Hint

Moto Hint

Hidden somewhat behind the Moto 360 hype was the Moto Hint, a wireless Bluetooth ear bud that's been designed to let you talk to your Moto phone.

Given that we have never been seen to utter anything to our phone outside of reviewing it, something that makes the process a little less mortifying is certainly a nice idea.

The Hint sits prettily in a charging dock thing when it's not in your ear and certainly does not look like you've wadded your ear with slightly dodgy coloured cotton wool to block out your other half's snores and forgotten to take it out in the morning. Which is a bonus.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

It's no surprise that the Note 4 stole all the plaudits at IFA 2014, but spare a thought for the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, which absolutely rocked our world with its design and functionality.

Marc Chacksfield got his hands on the device in Berlin and he was positively lavish with his praise.

"I was smitten by its look and feel. The entire design of the handset is punctuated by premium," he said.

"If you can forgive its screen shortcomings and the lack of expandable memory, what you are left with is a beautifully designed phone that is up there with the likes of the HTC One (M8) and the iPhone 5S.

"It's a handset that proves Samsung is pushing the boat out when it comes to style."

Huawei Ascend Mate 7

Huawei Ascend Mate 7

Given how impressed we were with the OnePlus One, there's no reason at all that more Chinese manufacturers can come to the fore and provide us with some lower-price competition to the big players.

And Huawei looks to have done just that with the sizeable Ascend Mate 7, competing with the Galaxy Note 4 for the market formerly knows as 'phablet'.

TechRadar phone guru John McCann explained in his Hands on: Huawei Ascend Mate 7 review: "It looks and feels like a surprisingly accomplished handset, and at it's attractive price point it can really give the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 a run for its money.

"I still have a few questions on the performance side of things, but the interface may be fine tuned before it makes it to market.

"The fingerprint scanner is the star of the show here, working wonderfully well, and coupled with a decent screen and a strong spec list I look forward to putting the Ascend Mate 7 through its paces in the full review."

Philips Spotify Connect wireless speakers

Philips Spotify speakers

We're all big fans of Sonos, but it's not necessarily the best option for those people on a budget, so we were delighted to see the ever-reliable Philips putting its stamp on this corner of the market with the Philips Spotify Connect wireless speakers.

The Philips SW700M (priced at about £100) and SW750M (c.£150) are two lounge-friendly wireless speakers, offering some of the cheapest ways to ditch the cables in your audio setup.

As the name suggests they let Spotify subscribers stream away to their heart's content - and might well prove to be an attractive option.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active

Yes, it may be built for the outdoor workplace but the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active is sure to rope in other demographs as well. It is the slimmest ruggedised tablet on the market by some margin and can withstand pretty much anything you throw at it.

It comes complete with its own S Pen-like stylus, the C Pen, and it is the first of Samsung's tablets to come with a replaceable battery. Samsung has been consulting with a number of Fortune 500 companies to make sure this device is up to their outdoor needs so it is definitely one of the more interesting tablets around.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.