Five eye catching gadgets from this year’s IFA

Lenovo Yoga Book - The light-based keyboard

€499 (Android), €599 (Windows), available in UAE from Novem­ber

In a world where “breakthrough innovation” has become a largely meaningless phrase, plaudits to Lenovo for trying something genuinely different and new. The Yoga Book 2-in-1 10.1-inch tablet is beautifully designed and just 9.6mm thin when screen and keyboard are folded together. But it’s the non-mechanical Instant Halo keyboard – a touch-sensitive surface with haptic feedback, which can be used for drawing on as well as typing – that makes the Yoga Book such a unique device. Time will tell whether customers are ready to make the shift to a typing on a flat surface (although many of us are already typing emails on our iPads), and the internal specs are a little on the light side. But full marks to Lenovo for creating an elegantly designed, genuinely innovative product that attempts to change the way we interact with our keyboards.

Sony Xperia XZ – The return of premium design

Dh2,299, available in the UAE from October

Six months on from the launch of its Xperia X range, Sony may fin­ally have hit the sweet spot with the new Xperia XZ smartphone. The 5.2-inch flagship has the sort of simple but classy premium design we used to take for granted from the Sony, with a clean metal and glass casing (now available in "forest" blue) with perfectly rounded edges and joins. Beyond the XZ's premium design, Sony is banking on advanced camera and battery specs to claw back some market share; there's a 23MP rear camera that uses "triple image sensor" technology, as well as a 13MP selfie snapper. Sony also claims the XZ's battery will last twice as long as its competitors, thanks to intelligent charging based on the owner's indivi­dual usage patterns. Such claims couldn't be checked out on the exhibitor's stand, but if they stand up, Sony could have a serious competitor on its hands.

Samsung Gear S3 – the even smarter watch

Pricing and availability to be confirmed

One of only a handful of smartwatch launches at IFA (the Asus Zenwatch 3 the other highlight), the Samsung Gear S3 was the Korean firm's major product announcement of the show. The company's newest timepiece comes in two versions, the Frontier and the Classic. Both editions now sport GPS, as well as a heart rate sensor, accelerometer and barometer. The Frontier comes with LTE connectivity, enabling you to make calls from your watch without a connected handset nearby. While both versions are a little thicker and heavier than the S2, both are perfectly attractive watches, albeit ones geared more towards men's wrists. As an added bonus, Samsung now allows you to use any 22mm wrist strap you please. The new features may not change anyone's mind about buying their first smartwatch, but the Gear S3 is among the best options for those looking to smarten up their wrists, at least until the unveiling of the second Apple Watch later this week.

Moto Z Play – who needs “Friends” when you can have “Mods”?

Available in the UAE from October, pricing to be confirmed

The LG G5’s modular smartphone got us excited back in February, but hasn’t made much progress since, with just two add-on “Friends” available to date. Step forward the Moto Z Play, with its range of “Mod” accessories. Instead of removing the bottom of the phone as with the LG, the Z range lets you remove the back cover and magnetically attach the “Mod” of your choice, be it a mini-projector, extra battery pack or external speaker, with a new Hasselblad camera “Mod” unveiled on Wednesday. It could be very fiddly, but attaching the “Mods” is far more seamless than with the LG, with the added bonus that the handset doesn’t reset each time. Time will tell if the modular smartphone experiment will ever take off, given that the current range of add-ons is expensive, not particularly plentiful, and trap the consumer into a single ecosphere. Nevertheless, the Moto Z range is the most convincing attempt so far.

Windowmate – For when your human window cleaner is sick …

Available in China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, Vietnam

You know what I hate? Cleaning windows. Frankly, I’m glad my building pays someone else to do it for me. But suppose your trusty human window cleaner is unavailable after the Shamal gives your beachside view a sepia tint? The Windowmate could be just the ticket. An inside and an outside module, each about the size of a chair cushion, clamp themselves together on either side of your dust-strewn window via “powerful neodymium magnetics.” Then you simply press the on button, and the Windowmate does its thing. Smoothly and hypnotically, it moves itself up to the top corner of the window, and then proceeds to clean the window with a “zig-zag movement pattern,” returning to its starting positing after once your windows have been wiped free of grime and grit. It’ll remain there in the top corner of your window, if you want it to, even after it’s turned off. Manufactured by Korea’s RF Co, the Windowmate is available in white, blue, red, gold and black.

jeverington@thenational.ae

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