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The best new tech from IFA 2019

All the major announcements are in. Here are the coolest, most impactful products we saw at Europe biggest trade show.

It's tricky to cover IFA, Europe's largest trade show, from the perspective of an American consumer. A lot of the products announced here won't come to the US right away, if ever. That makes it hard to filter things a bit. Will readers back home care about a TV they might never have a chance to buy? 

We're approaching this list with optimism, then, although for the products we've selected, I don't think it's too much of a stretch. Some of them we already know will come to the US. Others have an air of inevitability, or are at least exciting enough that the demand will ensure the various manufacturers respond.

Here's where we landed.


An executive from Grundig shows off the first OLED TV with Amazon's Fire TV built-in.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Best TV: Grundig OLED TV with Amazon Fire TV and Alexa

Although, yes, it's only available in Germany, Grundig's OLED TV with the Fire TV operating system is a notable first, combining the peerless image quality of OLED with Amazon's solid streaming system. It's also the first Fire TV, and one of the only TVs period, to offer built-in hands-free Alexa action, just like an Echo speaker. Now let's get one in the US, please.  


Samsung only had a nonworking floor model of the AirDresser here at the show, but our hopes are high for this.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Best appliance: Samsung AirDresser

If your hotel stays typically include wrestling with an integrated hotel iron and ironing board combo to press your shirts, you will appreciate the Samsung AirDresser. It's not the first closet-based clothes steaming system for getting out wrinkles, but since LG introduced the similar Styler a few years ago, it was inevitable that Samsung would respond. Samsung hasn't announced a price or availability for the AirDresser, but the LG Styler will run you about $2,000. Hopefully competition will do its thing and drive those numbers down.  


You can use the LG G8X ThinQ phone with one screen or two.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Best mobile phone: LG G8X ThinQ 

The biggest phone at the show will probably end up being the Samsung Galaxy Fold, but we can't call it the best since it was more of a mulligan. In terms of new products here at IFA that will have an impact on their category, we look instead to the LG G8X ThinQ. An attachment for G8X doubles the size of the screen, giving you the extra screen real estate of a foldable, but with a core phone design that stays true to that of the familiar, non-folding smartphone if you leave the screen attachment off. It's a welcome alternative for anyone put-off by the bulkiness of the foldable phones we've seen so far.


The Asus ProArt StudioBook One in all its glory.


Best laptop: Asus ProArt StudioBook One

The most novel laptop debut at the show was the Asus ProArt StudioBook One, part of the company's ProArt line of professional graphics gear. It launched in conjunction with Nvidia's new Quadro RTX 6000 GPU chip, which the company claims packs desktop-class performance into a normal-size laptop without requiring throttling to keep it cool. It does so by using a novel design that puts most of the heat-generating components behind the display to keep them from scalding your fingers or lap. 


The Jabra Elite 75t earbuds compete very strongly with Apple's pricier AirPods.


Best earbuds: Jabra Elite 75t

Due out in October, the successor to the popular Elite 65t has a 20% smaller design but 50% more battery life (7.5 hours) and USB-C charging. The sound hasn't improved, but it should fit more ears comfortably and is water-resistant, with an IP55 rating. The one downside is that at $200, it costs more than the Elite 65t and Elite 65t Active.  

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless headphones hold their own against Bose and Sony.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Best headphones: Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

The third-generation Momentum headphone features improved noise canceling, excellent sound quality and voice calling, as well as Tile integration that allows you to locate your headphone if you misplace it. While they're expensive at $400, they're competitive with offerings from Bose and Sony and are one of the top noise-cancelling headphones of 2019.  


Philips new Vintage-Style LED bulbs.


Best smart home product: Philips Hue Vintage-Style LEDs, Hue Smart Plug, and Hue Smart Buttons

The smart home category may have plateaued a bit here in 2019. It's hard to imagine anything else you can automate around your home, and with all the concerns with privacy, you couldn't be blamed for looking at the entire category with a skeptical eye. There's something wholesome about Philips and its Hue smart lighting family. It doesn't want to record your conversations, enable video chats or insinuate itself into corners of your home where you hadn't previously wanted or needed technology. There are more affordable options out there, but all Philips wants to do is give you as many options as it can for controlling your lights, as exemplified here at IFA by its new Vintage-Style LEDs, and the new Smart Plug and Smart Button accessories.


Garmin's new Captain Marvel and Captain America smartwatches look pretty nice.


Best wearable: Garmin Legacy Heroes Series smart watches

Garmin's newest watch updates look promising, including a fancier hybrid analog VivoMove 3 watch with color displays. But the ones that caught our eye the most were the surprisingly subtle Marvel-themed Legacy Heroes watches coming this year.