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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Messe Berlin

Fake Eiffel Tower

Hooray beer

T-Mobile climbing wall

Philips salon

Giant robot

T-Mobile touch screens

Samsung X3

Sony Vaio X

LG borderless TV

Panasonic 150-inch plasma TV

Philips 3D widescreen

Samsung LED TV

Samsung LED TV profile

Sonim rugged phone

Pat Says Now mouse aquarium

IFA Berlin just opened to the public on Friday, and is still going strong on Saturday. Visitors from Berlin and from around the world are crammed into the sprawling Messe Berlin, where the gadget expo is taking place.

Here's a quick photo tour of some of the best stuff from this year's show.

Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
The distinguishing feature of the skyline at the Messe Berlin is what I like to call the Fake Eiffel Tower. The real name is the Funkturm Berlin, which was built as a radio tower in the 1920s and hearkens back to IFA's roots. The show was inaugurated in 1926 as a radio expo, before expanding to all types of electronics in later years. While it's no longer a functioning broadcast tower, there is an observation deck and a restaurant on the tower. It also acts as a crucial point of reference for attendees making their way around this gigantic maze of a building.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
Let's just say this: Berlin does technology shows right. For one, this booth, belonging to a company called Tobit Software, was a functioning bar. Service started as soon as the show opened at 10 a.m. Even CES in Las Vegas can't top that.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
Besides beer, there's other fun to be had completely unrelated to technology at some of the booths. Take this climbing wall in the T-Mobile booth, where anyone could give scaling the wall a go. The connection to the wireless phones and Netbooks on display was slightly unclear.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
Over at the Philips booth, you could get your hair styled or your beard shaved, sort of a hands-on demo of the consumer home appliances the company had on display.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
And what gadget show would be complete without a giant robot? This hulking automaton is currently residing at Panasonic's booth. It's a character from the upcoming movie "Avatar," which Panasonic is using to promote its Full HD 3D television and Blu-ray products due sometime next year.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
Speaking of movies, this long ribbon of a touch-screen surface PC-like display in the T-Mobile booth had tinges of Minority Report.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
But for those who are just here for the tech goods, there is of course a ton of new gadgets that attendees can get their hands on, like Samsung's new notebook, the X3. The company claims it will have a 9-hour battery life. It weighs just under 4 pounds, has a 14-inch screen, and the matte casing will come in pearl white, titanium silver, and pearl black.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
At less than half an inch thick and weighing 1.5 pounds, this Sony Vaio X, introduced Thursday, certainly could be one of the thinnest thin-and-light notebooks out there. It has a carbon fiber exterior that's so thin it's actually slightly flexible, which should help with durability.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
Big, glossy high-definition displays are all over the place. Here's one from LG, a so-called "borderless" TV. There's a single sheet of glass and no space between it and the bezel, making it look a lot like an oversized version of the LCD screen on a MacBook Pro.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
Though it's not new, Panasonic trotted out its ridiculously huge 150-inch plasma TV just because it could.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
Philips' extra-wide widescreen display has a 21:9 resolution. The display appears blurry here because it's actually a demonstration of 3D video technology. However, Philips said it is just a prototype because it's just not quite ready for prime time. The company has no plans of making this a real product right now.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
Samsung's LED TV isn't quite as big as Panasonic's oversized plasma, but it sure makes a pretty picture.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
It's also incredibly thin. Here's the LED TV in profile.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
Though it certainly won't win any points for aesthetics, this could be practical if you have a habit of dropping your phone in swimming pools, toilets, or large bodies of water. The Sonim phone is built extra rugged so that it's able to withstand a variety of extreme conditions, apparently up to and including being submerged in an aquarium, as seen here.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
Though likely not submergible as with the previous gadget, this customized mouse has its own built-in aquarium. It was one of many different funky takes on the computer mouse on display from a company called Pat Says Now.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by Erica Ogg/CNET
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