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The five most exciting computing launches from IFA 2014

Asus Zenbook UX305
Asus and Lenovo raised the wonderbar at IFA
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Ticked off with the amount of attention smartwatches received during IFA 2014? Come in, step right this way and grab yourself a chair. You only had to cast an eye over the svelte and shiny Ultrabooks, monster desktop rigs and battery-sipping tablets emerging from West Berlin this week to see that computing was the real winner.

The category had a lot going for it this year, not least in the way of variety, with more form factors than you could shake a bendy stick at - from 2-in-1 convertibles to conservative classics, extendable hinges and dual-mode designs. Throw in Intel's latest Core M CPUs, high-end AMD graphics chips and affordable Windows 8.1 tablets into the mix, and you've still only scratched the surface.

Don't believe us? Check out the following computing devices that hit the IFA 2014 show floor, which were just a few of the many silicon-packing products to make our palms sweat and wallets quiver.

Toshiba Chromebook 2

Chrome OS is pretty, in a minimalist kind of way, and its rich colour palette looks even better when shown off on a quality IPS display - such as the one on the HP Chromebook 11. For that reason, we're pretty excited about the Toshiba Chromebook 2, which landed at IFA sporting a gorgeous 13-inch full-HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution) IPS display.

Toshiba Chromebook 2

It's been fixed onto a machine that's thinner and lighter than the original Toshiba Chromebook, and its Skullcandy speakers have apparently been fine-tuned with deeper bass and more precision vocals. It's all available for a penny under £200 (around $326, or AUS$347), so you won't have to break the bank to get your hands on one.

Lenovo Erazer X315

Did you hear the one about PC gaming being on its deathbed? Judging by the Erazer X315 gaming desktop PC, which boasts serious internal grunt at a price tag that could see it take on the Xbox One and PS4, somebody forgot to send Lenovo the memo.

The dark destroyer

While we don't doubt that the price will rise when configured with more powerful specs, a cost of £363 for the base unit, which fetches you a quad-core processor and AMD R9 graphics chip, makes this angular battle station a seriously attractive proposition. There are more than 65 million subscribers on Steam's gaming service, and with rigs like this one hitting the market, we reckon that figure is only set to grow.

Asus EeeBook X205

Remember netbooks? Of course you do - you might even have one collecting dust in a drawer, quietly sobbing while contemplating how its plans for world domination went horribly wrong. With its EE PC, Asus single-handedly launched the netbook era, and now seven years later it has introduced the EeeBook X205 in a bid to recapture some of that lost netbook magic (as opposed to their sluggish performance, terrible battery life, cramped keyboards and masses of bloatware).


The EeeBook X205 features a netbook-like 11.6-inch non-touchscreen display, but totes a full-size chiclet keyboard, rather than the cramped old variety. Best of all is the price: a wallet-friendly £163, which makes it a more affordable option than convertible touchscreen offerings like the Asus T100. If you're seeking excellent portability without the frills, wrapped up in a classic form factor, the EeeBook could be the way to go.

Asus Zenbook UX305

Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air used to be the de-facto benchmark that its rivals measured up against, but Ultrabooks such as the Asus Zenbook UX305 show that the gap is now so wide that the comparison no longer presents a fair fight. The UX305, according to Asus, is the thinnest QHD+ laptop in the world measuring a mere 12.3mm (versus the Air's 17mm) while weighing just 1.4Kg (versus the Air's 1.35Kg).

It'll also fetch you a dazzling, Retina-beating 3,200 x 1,800 pixel-resolution display, which is an exciting proposition made more tantalising by the fact that it's not a touchscreen variant - meaning it should bear a slightly more affordable price tag when it hits the shelves.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active

Ruggedised tablets are, more often than not, designed for enterprises - and they're usually big, bulky monstrosities so expensive you'd need an IT budget to afford one. Cue the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active, which was unwrapped at IFA with the claim of being the "world's thinnest ruggedised tablet". An 8-inch device protected with an anti-shock covering that can withstand a 1.2-metre drop, it houses a 1.2 GHz Quad-Core processor, is powered by Android 4.4 and takes up to 1.5GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

Ready for the great outdoors

Moreover, it's one of the first ruggedised tablets that, despite being made for businesses, wouldn't make you look daft if you were to carry it around. Pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard, plug in a mouse and you'd be left with a super portable, near-indestructible productivity station. The question is: will it be affordable? We're quietly optimistic, but won't hold our breath.

Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.