BERLIN -- With announcements covering almost every gadget category, the IFA show is a tech hodgepodge in the manner of CES. Smartphones don't take center stage like they do at Mobile World Congress, but in a fast-changing mobile world, they still grab a fair share of the spotlight. And even though the fun in the German capital doesn't officially begin until Friday, a handful of new handsets have already made their debut.
For a full tour of all of the new devices, browse through this photo gallery. Click the links to see CNET's full assessment of each phone, complete with more photos and video. We'll expand on the gallery throughout the week as the 2013 Internationale Funkausstellung progresses.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 improves on the Galaxy Note 2 by delivering a beefier processor (2.3GHz), a higher-resolution camera (13 megapixels), more RAM (3GB), and a bigger battery (3,200mAh). The display also gets a bump to 5.7 inches and it runs on the latest version of Android Jelly Bean (4.3). And that trademark S Pen? It gets to do a whole lot more.
Acer's Liquid S2 strikes a new path by combining 4G data speeds and 4K video. Yes, the Liquid S2 really can shoot ultra-high-definition video or drop back to *just* 1080p. Of course, with a pixel resolution of 368 pixels per inch, the Liquid S2's 6-inch Gorilla Glass display doesn't support the extra detail that 4K delivers, so you'll need a fancy TV to really appreciate it. Otherwise, the 13-megapixel f2.2 camera fires up from the lock screen for quick snapping of still shots.
Building off the Sony Xperia Z, the Xperia Z1 inherits its predecessor's water-resistant design while supercharging the quad-core processor to 2.2GHz and boosting the camera resolution to 20.7 megapixels. The display measures 5 inches, and under the hood are Android 4.2.2, Sony's Music and Video Unlimited streaming apps, and a 3,000mAh battery.
Call it a simplified HTC One; the HTC Desire 6 takes cues from its more expensive sibling, but is larger than the HTC One Mini. Also, though it replaces the One's metal skin for a plastic shell, it retains a sturdy and attractive construction. Features include a 4.7-inch display, a dual-core 1.4GHz processor, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and a 5-megapixel camera.
The HTC Desire 300 will sit at the bottom of HTC's already budget-conscious Desire line. The 4.3-inch 800x480-pixel resolution won't scream for your attention, nor will its minimalist design and plastic body. Inside there's a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 1,650mAh battery, and a 5-megapixel camera.
The Lenovo Vibe X has a 5-inch 1080p HD display with a resolution of 440 pixels per inch. Gorilla Glass 3 protects the screen, and the phone is encased in a slim polycarbonate shell that has a laser-engraved 3D finish. Its feature set includes a 13-megapixel camera, a 5-megapixel shooter around front, a 1.5GHz quad-core MTK 6589T processor, 16GB of internal storage, and 2GB RAM.
Alcatel's premier IFA smartphone is the One Touch Hero. Front and center is a 6-inch, 1,920x1,080-pixel-resolution display that takes up almost the entire front of the phone's 6.2-inch frame. Features include wireless inductive charging and the option to mirror your phone's screen on a connected device, Android 4.2, a 3,400mAh battery, a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, and either 8GB or 16GB of internal storage. It also comes with a stylus.
The midrange Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha scales things down a bit with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, support for 3G networks, 16GB of memory, a 13-megapixel camera, and a 2,000mAh battery. Outside there's a 0.29-inch aluminum frame, a smooth matte back, and a 4.7-inch IPS LCD 1,280x720-pixel display.
On the budget end is the Alcatel One Touch Idol S. Expect a 4.7-inch screen, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, and 4GB of internal storage. Design-wise there's not much that stands out beyond its colorful metal matte back cover.