It's been 93 years since Albert Einstein opened IFA (or the 'Great German Radio and Phonographic Exhibition', as it was then known) for what was the European trade show's sixth outing. Quick maths will tell you that the event is now in its 99th year, and it's come a long way since 242 attendees ogled technology for twelve whole days during the inaugural show.
This year's IFA is now live, until Tuesday 5th Sept, and many of the biggest names in consumer electronics – LG, Samsung, Hisense, TCL and Sennheiser, to name just a handful – have descended on the Messe Berlin exhibition centre to show off their latest and greatest wares. Brands who are not officially attached to IFA are also using the period to get in on the act of launching new products, too.
What Hi-Fi?'s roving reporters are on the show floor and you can see all the news and show highlights below...
IFA 2023 news and highlights
Audio Technica announced on August 18th via "Twitter" (we know about the name change) that the brand would be attending IFA 2023. It mostly focused on the unveiling of a pair of new microphones, but there was a nice showcase of the limited edition "Ice Blue" version of the ATH-M50xLB over-ears, as well as a fun, audiovisual booth which showcased a lady walking around Japan banging drums and thrusting a microphone into the faces of unsuspecting natives.
We're not entirely sure what Anker has in store for us at IFA 2023, but what we do know is that they will be making an appearance at the ShowStoppers official press event on Thursday, August 31st. That likely means that the Chinese electronics manufacturer will be present as an exhibitor, though given the broad gamut of products it produces, what will actually be shown off is anyone's guess.
We've included Fauna on this list purely because of the relatively unknown brand's rather novel foray into the world of sunglass-based audio (check out the IFA website for a sneak peek of what we mean). Suffice it to say, we'll be looking to try on a pair to see if the shades' sound matches their style.
Honor launched its latest foldable, the Magic V2, for the China market last month, but it looks as though it will be going global very soon. The world's thinnest and lightest foldable phone looks set to take centre stage during the company's IFA 2023 keynote 'Unfold Tomorrow' on 1st September, so hopefully we'll get pricing and availability details then. What's more, it could treat us to a sneak peek of a second, as-yet-unannounced foldable phone...
If you like headphones and earbuds, you probably won't be short of distractions at this year's IFA. Danish electronics brand Jabra made an appearance both at the ShowStopper event and as an exhibitor, and they've announced two new wireless earbuds with Dolby Atmos support: a premium Elite 10 pair to challenge the Sony and Bose flagships, and a sporty pair of Elite 8 Active buds with military-grade toughness.
Jlab is an American audio brand that specialises in colourful, low-cost electronics for fitness, gaming and the youth-oriented market. Jlab was present at the event this year, giving us the chance to get a look at the company's newly-announced JBuds Mini - as you'll see from the pics, they're small enough to fit on a keyring. Cute.
JBL is historically prolific around IFA time, and this year will be no different. While JBL weren't technically at IFA itself, they used this busy, buzzy period to launch some very exciting new models: the Dolby Atmos-enabled PartyBox, a rather retro-tastic wi-fi speaker (also with Dolby Atmos) and its first-ever pair of air conduction earbuds.
Lenco didn't exactly advertise its presence at IFA, so we were surprised to be faced with not one, not two, but three new Bluetooth turntables launching: the eco-friendly LBT-335 bamboo turntable, the LBT-345 Bluetooth turntable and the LS-470 turntable-and-speaker combo system. We don't have pricing details just yet, but are curious to find out how this new trio will sound when they officially go on sale later this year.
Majority showcased a rather nice range of wares at IFA 2023., including a host of budget soundbars, streaming systems, headphones and radios. Crucially, the brand's new internet radio, the Oakington, was making an appearance, giving us the chance to have a feel, a look and a (brief) listen to the upcoming model.
Motorola, under the label "Motorola Sound" will be at IFA this year, and is officially unveiling some brand-new products in the world of audio and AV.
Samsung held a press conference on 31st August (and had a whole building daubed with the company's branding and logo). To go with that fanfare, the South Korean brand unveiled its flagship 98-inch Neo-QLED 8K TV with a Dolby Atmos system, as well as its first-ever 89-inch Micro LED TV. There was also hands-on opportunity with Samsung's new The Freestyle 2nd Gen projector.
Sennheiser launched its a more compact and affordable version of its iconic Ambeo soundbar, the fittingly named Ambeo Mini (read our review now). They also unveiled two new colourways for its excellent Momentum 4 headphones (Denim and Black Copper), as well as a further wearable surprise that, sadly, we can't reveal just yet...
Funky name, funky brand. Shokz specialises mainly in sports-related audio wearables and has confirmed its attendance for the Berlin 2023. According to the because Shokz will have a presence at the show to demonstrate their latest product innovations. Maybe something bone-conduction related..?
American audio brand Shure is also part of the IFA ShowStoppers event, showcasing the brand new Aonic 50 Gen 2 wireless over-ear headphones with spatial audio and hybrid ANC. The brand's wired in-ears, such as the Award-winning Aonic 3, have been big hits with us in the last few years, so this new model could definitely make a big splash.
Toshiba's appearance at IFA has been a case of teasing the crowd rather than giving them what they actually want. When we were kindly invited to snoop around the company's official stand, and while nothing was officially announced or released, there were teases of multiple TV concepts that had us wishing they were more than just prototypes. Maybe one day...
Urbanista specialises in trendy designs and, more recently, innovative products utilising light as their predominant source of power. Following its Los Angeles over-ear headphones and Phoenix earbuds, the light-powered Malibu portable Bluetooth speaker is the latest Urbanista product to utilise innovative Powerfoyle light-reactive technology courtesy of Exeger. We got a hands-on feel at this year's event, and thankfully that feared blackout across Berlin didn't materialise.
Japanese brand Yamaha is, a little like fellow compatriots Sony, jacks of all trades and masters of quite a few, excelling as makers of fine pianos, electric guitars, headphones, amplifiers, soundbars and much more. Yamaha has announced not one but two products at IFA 2023: the entry-level R-N600A network receiver and MusicCast 200 desktop audio system, an exciting double-whammy that delivers a whole bunch of streaming conveniences in two distinct hi-fi packages.
A new projector dubbed the "Horizon Ultra" has been Xgimi's big reveal, even if that surprise was rather ruined thanks to a picture of said projector and a countdown to its full unveiling taking pride of place on the Xgimi website. The Ultra promises to be "The World’s First 4K Long-Throw Home Projector with Dolby Vision" (a coveted title), so we'll keep you updated as we look to hunt one down.
Xperi (DTS and TiVo)
Xperi, the American multinational software company that develops platforms and solutions for consumer electronics, boasted two showcases at its well-furnished IFA stand. Not only were we treated to a taster of DTS Play-Fi's wireless immersive audio expansion with 12-channel home theatre support, we also glimpsed TiVo's multi-level viewing platform, complete with smart voice control, from the company's neat little demo rooms.
When is IFA 2023?
- What is IFA 2023? Internationale FunkAusstellung Berlin is one of the biggest (and oldest) global annual trade shows for consumer electronics and home appliances.
- IFA 2023 dates: Friday 1st to Tuesday 5th September
- IFA 2023 location: Messe Berlin, Germany
What to expect at IFA 2023
This year's IFA continues the world's return to 'normalcy' following the disruption of the global COVID pandemic. Present at 2023's event are 26 full main halls of exhibitors across a 130,000sq m space (the unrelentingly functional Messe Exhibition Centre in Berlin), welcoming roughly 2059 brands from 48 countries to mingle alongside a rather whopping 180,000 visitors from 144 nations.
Much of the familiar exhibits and events from last year's showcase return, although there are novel tweaks that make 2023's effort a distinct experience, including not only more brands and showcases but three Tesla cars, a Starlink satellite demo and the Berlin Tech Week festival, a city-wide project that sees IFA break from the confines of the Messe and onto the 'streets' of the German capital.
For the first time ever, IFA now has a 'Sustainability Village' with an on-site 'Mend and Repair Shop' where users can take (most) electronic goods to be, as the name suggests, spruced up a little.
IFA Next is back this year as a rather pleasing way for startups to showcase their ideas within the Messe's hallowed halls, something that proved a big success last time around. There's even a House of Robots for those of us obsessed, or indeed unconvinced, by the notion that James Cameron's apocalyptic, Terminator-esque view of the future is very much on the way, albeit with more automated vacuum cleaners and fewer killer automatons made of weapons-grade titanium alloy.