With the flag-bearing P-series enjoying a stand-alone launch and the Mate opening at CES, Huawei’s considerable presence at IFA caused a lot of hype. What the world got is a new premium midrange device family and a new MediaPad M3. Let’s focus on the smartphones because everyone knows the tablet market is declining. The Novas get Qualcomm’s trendy power-sipping Sanpdragon 625, 3 GB RAM, 1080p displays and metal build as standard. Nova Plus distinguishes itself with a 5,5-inch screen (Nova is 5-inch) and a 16 MP main camera with OIS (Nova uses 12 MP). While the smaller unit is out of the same paint tin as the P9, the Plus can be seen as a Mate S successor. Talking about paint, the P9 now comes in red and blue colours.
Sony took the IFA stage to remind the world that it still exists and brought two new handsets to market. The Xperia XZ is the phone the Xperia X should’ve been. It comes with a new “Loop” design (long edges are rounded), premium price-worthy hardware (Snapdragon 820) and a new three-pronged camera focus system which uses laser-assist, contrast and phase detection. Still no mechanical OIS though, and, depressingly because you can only imagine the high cost for this device, only 3 GB of RAM. USB type-C makes an appearance too. Alongside it is a glass and plastic Xperia X Compact – which is a shrunken down Xperia X that isn’t water resistant, but does borrow the optics from the XZ.
Confession time: I love Jabra earphones. Naturally, I love these. The Elite Sport earbuds are wireless and each unit has two microphones for voice capture and and noise reduction. How does it set itself apart from the similarly in-ear heart rate tracking Samsung Gear Icon X? You can use only one at a time and you can submerge the buds (IP67 water resistance). I’m not a huge fan of the in-canal seating because it blocks ambient noise, but being able to only use one at a time is great. Oh, there’s also the problem with having to use the Jabra app for VO2 Max estimates and other advanced features, but that seems okay.