Day 1 in Berlin: Slick smartwatches, 360-degree speakers, and 4K Blu-ray

IFA 2016 is so big this year, German’s tech extravaganza now stretches across two days of press announcements to cover it all. Today, Asus, Bang & Olufsen, Panasonic, and Samsung showed off some of the new gear we can expect to see in the coming months. We walked away impressed, and we’re just getting started.

Asus Zenwatch 3 smartwatch


Asus’ new Zenwatch 3 finally sports a round face after two years of rectangular iterations. A  1.39-inch AMOLED display covered in Gorilla Glass should also prevent shattering on impact after a fall. Under the hood of this classic-looking timepiece is the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100, developed specifically for wearable devices. It charges extremely quickly — just 15 minutes on the charger restores 60 percent battery life — and lasts up to two days on a full charge. If that’s not enough, Asus offers a battery pack you strap to the watch’s back to extend its life further.

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Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches

Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends

Not to be outdone, Samsung took the wraps off the Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier smartwatches, which Digital Trends’ Andy Boxall and Malarie Gokey consider serious contenders. Everything we liked about the Gear S2 watch is represented, but with noted alterations, including traditional Swiss design, steel finish, and an always-on, full-color display. Unfortunately, we found them a bit bulky to look natural on a lady’s wrist, but Samsung insists it is doing its best to work around the complexities involved in cramming so much tech into such a tiny device.

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Bang & Olufsen Beosound 1 and 2 speakers

B &O BeoSound 1 and 2
Kristofer Wouk/Digital Trends

We’ve been disappointed with the 360-degree speakers we’ve seen over the past few years, but Bang & Olufsen figured out how to do it right. The Beosound 1 and 2 speakers manage to deliver stunning design you’d be proud to place in your home, along with rock-solid sound quality, a combination that, until now, has remained elusive. You have to see and hear them to believe them, but we can tell you they support Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Google Cast, along with Spotify, Deezer and other popular streaming music services. Oh, and they really do sound great from any vantage point.

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Panasonic DMP-UB700 Ultra HD Blu-ray player

Panasonic DMP-UB700 Blu-ray-player
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Panasonic left a big crowd of video enthusiasts in the dust when it introduced its pricey UB900 Blu-ray player earlier this year at CES 2016, but the new UB700 delivers most of the same premium features in a more affordable version. Of course, the UB900 is only just making its way to the U.S., so it’s anyone’s guess when we might be able to purchase the more wallet-friendly version.

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We’ll have plenty more to share tomorrow, as Samsung, LG, Sony, Sharp, and others show off their hottest wares, while even more emerging tech will be on display at tomorrow evening’s Showstoppers event. Visit Digital Trends often for the latest developments emerging from IFA 2016 in Berlin!


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