The IFA tech show has wrapped up for another year, leaving us daydreaming about the tech of the future. And no surprises that the show was crammed with all kinds of smart products designed to make life a little easier.
We saw it all this year. A trip from one end of the show hall to the other had us gawping at robotic cushions, bladder-monitoring wearables and crystal-clear OLED TVs.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the weirdest sights of IFA 2019.
Five weird and wonderful IFA 2019 products
1. Qoobo – the calming, cat-shaped cushion
We couldn’t talk you through the weirdest sights of IFA 2019 without mentioning the Qoobo, a ‘therapeutic robot cushion’ shaped like the back end of a cat. Designed to reduce your stress levels, this odd accessory wiggles around when stroked to simulate the movements of an actual cat.
But the Qoobo can only wiggle so much. Sooner or later, you’ll need to power up the furry cushion, which we’re told will last around eight hours on a single charge.
So how much does a robotic, headless cat cushion cost these days? If you pick up the Qoobo on Amazon, you’ll have to pay around £167. That seems rather pricey, but on the plus side you won’t need to stock up on cat food every month or empty the litter tray.
2. Cybic E-Legend – the Alexa-enabled bike
Even bikes are getting the ‘smart’ treatment now. Cybic showed off its Alexa-enabled fleet at IFA this year, which consists of three new bikes – the Cybic Legend, Cybic E-Legend and Cybic Zero.
With Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, cyclists can get directions, play music and get information on cycling speeds. A touchscreen attached to the handlebars acts as the information hub, displaying turn-by-turn directions and weather updates. You can even send a text while you’re hurtling down a hillside. Cybic’s futuristic bikes come with a built-in Vodafone Sim with three years of 3G data included.
A selection of enhanced safety features will keep riders protected. Crash detection sensors will alert your emergency contacts if the bike detects a collision, while LED front and rear lights (with voice activation) keep you visible for evening rides. There are also LED indicators built into the handlebars.
Exact pricing for the Cybic range is yet to be confirmed, although estimates from earlier in the year were around the £1,000 mark.
Our independent tests reveal the e-bike motor systems that truly last the distance. See our guide on the best electric bikes for 2019.
3. SimpleHuman Sensor Mirror – speaker meets mirror
Why buy a mirror and a smart speaker separately when you can get both products in one? SimpleHuman reckons its £423 ‘smart mirror’ is the perfect companion if you enjoy listening to music as you get ready in the morning.
The Sensor Mirror, which lights up automatically as you get closer to it, uses the Alexa voice assistant to control music, weather updates and web searches. The brightness of the lights circling the mirror can dip or strengthen depending on the time of day. SimpleHuman is promising ‘crystal-clear sound’ from the integrated speaker.
By downloading the SimpleHuman Sensor Mirror app to your smartphone or tablet, you’ll be able to adjust the audio tones, save lighting presets and activate night light mode.
If you’re not convinced by this smart mirror, save some money and see our tested wireless speakers with voice assistant support.
4. PowerWatch – the wearable that doesn’t need charging
Having to recharge your wearable every evening can be a pain, but the PowerWatch team has come up with a solution. The brand’s new Series 2 smartwatches don’t need charging as they run entirely on body heat.
There are three models to choose from, all up for pre-order – the Series 2 Standard Edition (£499), Series 2 Premium (£599) and Series 2 Luxe (£699). The cheapest of the bunch has a full-colour display, GPS tracking, sleep monitoring and calorie counting functionality. It’s finished in black steel and water-resistant up to 200m.
Tempted by a smartwatch but don’t want to spend big? Our expert smartwatch tests have revealed the best cheap smartwatches to buy in 2019.
5. Everybot – the floor-mopping robot
The £233 Everybot is a wireless cleaning assistant that can work its way around the living room without you having to keep an eye on it. It aims to leave hard floors and tiles sparkling using its dual rotating mops. The mops are detachable, making them easier to scrub down.
There are six cleaning modes to choose from, each having an impact on the route that the dust-busting Everybot takes. For example, you can leave the robot to figure out everything on its own on auto or activate Corner Cleaning. If you want to take the Everybot for a spin yourself, you can manually steer it around the room from your sofa.
With this mini but mighty robot measuring just 14cm tall, it can drive underneath certain obstacles without getting caught.
Our reviews reveal the best robot vacuum cleaners based on rigorous lab tests that assess how each robot vacuum navigates around the house. Discover our expert robot vacuum cleaner reviews.
Products worth getting excited for
Not everything demoed at IFA 2019 was as silly as the Qoobo cushion. We also saw foldable smartphones and audio products battling for the spotlight.
Revamped Samsung Galaxy Fold
After build quality issues plagued the original Galaxy Fold back in April, Samsung was forced to go back to the drawing board.
The brand showed off its updated Galaxy Fold at IFA 2019. The new model is more durable, with an improved hinge. It’s also less prone to having dirt get caught underneath the display thanks to a larger protective film.
It’s still early days for foldable smartphones, but the list of options is growing as Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi work on their own alternatives.
New h.ear headphones from Sony
Sony used IFA 2019 as a platform to launch the follow-up to the h.ear on 2 headphones. The new WH-H910N h.ear on 3 wireless headphones have noise-cancelling and rock a stylish, two-tone design.
They’re up for grabs at £250, putting them out of reach of buyers on a tight budget. For the money you get a foldable design, built-in microphone, voice assistant support and touch controls. Sony is promising 35 hours of battery life between charges.
With the new h.ear on 3 headphones on sale, now could be a great time to save some money on the previous model. See our Sony WH-H900N h.ear on 2 Wireless NC review.
Sonos Move Bluetooth speaker
Sonos’ new Bluetooth speaker begins shipping at the end of this month. It’s a £400 battery-powered smart speaker, suitable for outdoor and indoor use.
The Move, which can be controlled hands-free using voice commands, is protected by a weatherproof shell. Sonos is confident that ‘deep bass’ and ‘a wide soundscape’ will have audiophiles tapping their feet.
This smart speaker will arrive bundled with an indoor charging base that powers up the Sonos Move while it cycles through your favourite tunes. You can pair it with your smartphone and stream that way or sync the speaker with other Sonos products in your house.