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The Z3 Compact made the list
As the dust settles at what was a busy IFA event in Berlin, we can take a look back and see what were the best products launched during last week. This year the choice was a little harder as smartwatches have made their presence felt, a new category no, but certainly this is the first time they have made a big splash at IFA. Although, we were surprised in the office how little wearable products featured in our discussion.
So, what were the best devices of last week?
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Yes, the Note Edge (more on that soon) is more innovative, but the full blown Galaxy Note 4 is the pinnacle of smartphone tech right now. Not just in its raw hardware, but the complete package that Samsung has thrown together, even using a visible metal frame this time around. The result is a phablet powerhouse that oozes sophistication, a professional power users dream with the S Pen and make no mistake, one of the best smartphones ever made. The ball is in your court Apple.
High end specs just topple from the Note 4, including a Super AMOLED Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) panel, an Exynos 5433 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 clocked at 2.7GHz depending on region, 3GB of RAM, a 16 megapixel camera, and up to 64GB of on board storage (expandable).
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Xperia Z3 Compact
Sure, Sony rolled out the Xperia Z3 flagship at IFA, but the real star of Sony's range is the smaller version, the Z3 Compact. If anything, the Compact looks better than the larger daddy of the range, while it packs just about all of the flagship hardware and performance. As with the Xperia Z2 Compact, Sony is showing how the god awful mini flagship idea should look, high end, not watered down; a flagship device in the truest sense.
The handset has a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage and Android 4.4 KitKat. One of the standout features is Sony's excellent 20.7 megapixel Exmor RS sensor that the company has made tweaks to. Of course, this being Sony the Compact is waterproof to an IP68 level, while the screen is 4.6-inches and has a 720p resolution.
HTC Desire 820
We were tempted to opt for the Huawei Ascend Mate 7, but considering availability outside Asia will be limited, we thought the Desire 820 would be a better choice. It is a fantastic handset too, not in the way the Galaxy Note 4 is of course, but in its own right the Desire 820 does most things right. For a start it will be affordable (likely retailing for around $350) and it looks stunning, while its specs hit a mid-range sweet spot that make the Desire 820 a very compelling handset.
It has a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 with 2GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch 720p screen, a solid if unspectacular 13 megapixel camera on the rear, an 8 megapixel lens on the front, 16GB of on-board storage, and microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC support up to 128GB.
Galaxy Note Edge
We have heard countless times that Samsung does not innovate, but the simple truth is, if Apple had launched the Galaxy Note Edge first the world would now be basking in the ray of Cupertino's innovative magnificence. Because it is a Samsung device though we have seen reports saying the Note Edge is unnecessary, doomed to failure, and is just another example of Samsung flooding the market.
It goes without saying that there are something's on this device that peg it very much as a first attempt. For example the added side strip screen will remain a novelty until app developer support catches up, but still, that is a nice added notification center. Other problems such as the device being wide, the screen edge being sharp, and the fact it will like be ultra-expensive point to the Note Edge being very much a niche item.
However, this is Samsung possibly pointing the way to the future of smartphone technology and while the Note Edge misses some marks, the Korean giant should be applauded for that.
Yes, before you write in, Motorola was not at IFA so we are very much being terrible cheats here. However, the company was so in the mix last week that it would be remiss not to mention it, but which device to choose. Motorola launched the Moto 360, Moto X, and Moto G in Chicago last week and the truth is all of them are extremely good devices and could find a place in this list, however only one does.
The Moto 360, the company's first true smartwatch is a triumph of tech design, and while in terms of performance, software, and features it matches all other Android Wear products, on the outside Motorola is winning the war, at least for now. This is the smartwatch to get at the moment, but be quick because this will be selling out right through Christmas.