IFA Day 2: A retina-scanning phone, Logitech’s home remote, 4K UHD Blu-ray

The second of IFA 2015’s two press-only days is in the can and it came with a few pleasant surprises. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Samsung delighted home-video buffs with its announcement of the first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UHD-K8500. The new Blu-ray format will deliver the best picture quality 4K TV owners have ever seen at home with high-bitrate 4K video, full HDR (high dynamic range) support, and upscaling of both standard Blu-ray discs and DVDs. As part of the same announcement, 20th Century Fox pledged its full support of 4K UHD, promising all new titles will be issued in the new format, with older titles re-mastered and re-released over time. Samsung indicated the new players would appear in Europe in early 2016, but we’re holding out hope the U.S. might see them in time for the holidays. You can learn more about the new 4K UHD Blu-ray player here.

Chinese smartphone maker, ZTE, announced its latest offering, the Axon Elite. The good news is that the phone sports some really cool tech. The bad news for anyone outside of Europe is that you can’t have it. It’s bound for European customers only. The Axon Elite features the same top-shelf hardware as the standard Axon available in the U.S., including a dual-lens camera, but tacks on security measures in the way of voice-authorization, a fingerprint scanner and — get this — a retina scanner. It all works remarkably well, too. We’ve got a hands-on report on the new phone coming soon.

Finally, Logitech announced  several new additions to its Harmony remote lineup, including the Harmony Elite. The Harmony Elite works with Logitech’s Harmony Hub to control not only your entire entertainment system, but smart home devices such as lighting, thermostats, door locks, window shades and more as well. The remote allows the programming of so-called “Harmony Activities,” which will sequence several commands at once. You could power on your entertainment system, dim the lights, draw the shades and lock the doors, for instance, all with the press of a single button. The possibilities are only limited by the number of home automation devices available.

That’s it for day two. Tomorrow, the IFA 2015 show floor opens to the public and Digital Trends will be roaming around in search of more new tech. Be sure to check back in for all the latest coverage of the big show, plus the announcement of the Digital Trends Best Tech of IFA 2015 awards in 10 different categories.

Editor’s note: Ignore the frazzled narrator at the end of the video! The winners of Digital Trends’ IFA 2015 awards will be announced this Saturday, not Friday.


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