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Day 1 of IFA brings fresh OLED competition, 4K phones, a turntable revival

The first of two press-only days at IFA 2015 is now in the books, and it was Panasonic and Sony who nabbed the biggest headlines.

Panasonic’s biggest announcement was the arrival of its new THX-certified 4K UHD OLED TV, and believe us: All those acronyms add up to a whole lot of awesome. Panasonic has always been well known for its TVs’ outstanding picture quality, but the company claims this is its best-looking TV yet. Aside from perfect black levels and excellent contrast, the new OLED TV is said to offer Panasonic’s most accurate color ever, delivering stunningly lifelike images. The new OLED TV’s arrival is also a big deal because it stands as the first competition LG has seen since it launched its first OLED just over three years ago.

Panasonic’s specialty audio brand, Technics, also garnered attention with some new premium digital audio components, but it was a prototype turntable that got reporters to rush the stage. Technics turntables have been an iconic fixture on many a DJ’s performance rigs, but the company called it quits on vinyl shortly before the brand was shut down five years ago. Apparently, though, Technics’ triumphant return last year was received warmly, so the company is going revive its turntable, this time redesigning it from the ground up.

Technics also introduced some new audiophile headphones at the event. Featuring 50 mm titanium-coated drivers and 14 mm tweeters, the EAH-T700 headphones are intended to compete with the best premium cans currently available. We tried them on, and not only were they extremely comfortable, but they sounded great as well. The cans are still in development, so no word on yet on when you can buy them and how much, but we’ll certainly be keeping an eye out.

Sony’s big news centered around a new Experia Z5 smartphone, boasting an eye-popping 4K screen. Do you really need a 4K screen on your smartphone? Who cares? Sony is doing it regardless. In all, there are three new Z5  phones: the 4.6-inch Z5 Compact, the 5.2-inch flagship Z5, and the 5.5-inch Z5 Premium is a phablet with the first 4K smartphone display. A few changes to the phone’s construction were changed but, don’t worry, the Z5s are all waterproof.

That’s it for press day number one. We’ll be back tomorrow with a roundup of the second press day ahead of the show’s official opening this Friday.