Smartphones have long almost endless functionality at your fingertips. Now more product makers have decided that doing just one thing isn’t enough for them either. At Europe’s major tech showcase in Berlin, IFA 2022, brands large and small have introduced a number of dual-purpose products. Tech gimmicks, are you crying? Some certainly make much more sense than others.
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LG PuriCare AeroTower
Get used to seeing LG on this list: The Life’s Good team has embraced the idea that two features are better than one. You may have seen refrigerators built into outdoor tables before, but the AeroTower takes things in a slightly different direction. The company slapped a tabletop onto the noggin of an air purifier. It’s a less subtle take than Ikea’s Starkvind ($259). But, we say, why not? It offers 360-degree air-purifying capabilities and, as part of LG’s Puricare Objet Collection Aero Furniture range (spicy!), it offers bold colors with names like Cream Rose, Cream Yellow and Cream Grey. You can control it all in the LG ThinQ app, and there’s also wireless charging and some mood lighting. No price or release date yet for this hybrid kit.
This dual-purpose wonder comes from the lesser-known accessory brand Goui. If you’re someone who always carries a reusable bottle with you to stay hydrated, the 420ml Loch bottle can help keep your phone (as well as your water intake) topped up. Yes, that’s right – this bottle is part, well, bottle and part wireless charger. Just unscrew the 6000 mAh battery pack on the bottom and, voila, a base to charge your phone wirelessly – at 5 watts, ie. The Goui Loch ($35) is out now and comes in a variety of colors. This seems like a pretty smart and simple idea, which makes us wonder why people like Chillys and Frank Green haven’t tried this battery idea. It’s a little heavier than a regular bottle, but we think it might be worth it.
XGIMI Magic Lamp
If you know the XGIMI brand, you can probably guess what makes this lamp so magical. It is also a projector. Nestled in this room light is a projector that offers a 100-inch screen, with a speaker to boot. This isn’t exactly a new product for XGIMI, which released a previous generation in Japan in 2018, but it has come to China this year and a US and European launch is expected soon. An understated dual device like this won’t come cheap, though. Priced at about $1,170 (about £999 / AU$1691) in China.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
Earlier this week, Asus fully unveiled its first foldable screen laptop – the ZenBook 17 Fold OLED – and proudly proclaimed it the world’s only 17-inch foldable PC (check out WIRED’s exclusive look at the Asus prototypes). But in 2020 Lenovo actually came out of the gates first with a foldable PC of any kind, and just one day after Asus’ big reveal, it was back in the game with its new 16.3-inch second-generation model.
What both devices offer is a smaller laptop experience on the one hand and a larger PC screen experience on the other. Both companies use different ‘modes’, but that’s the gist. I’ve tried both and the technology is pretty exciting – especially the Lenovo, which offers a stylish and portable experience that I’m happy to review in full. What’s not exciting is the price. The Asus will cost $3,499 for the full package and will arrive in the fourth quarter. The Lenovo X1 Fold starts at $2,499, and the new keyboard and stylus will cost another $250. It is expected to launch in November this year.
Swiss Rig Bresson MK 093
The Bresson MK 093 accessory aims to be “the Swiss army knife for makers”. The two most important features are the audio capabilities and the thumbstick control for recording video. The first includes a short condenser microphone, a high-quality cable, a studio-quality headphone jack and more. The latter lets you use a 5-axis thumbstick to precisely control your zoom in the dedicated app. The bright red block also offers a built-in battery pack and, most importantly, stores firmly on your MagSafe-compatible iPhone. There is no price or release date, but you can join the waiting list.
LG MoodUp Fridge
Let’s go back to LG for more dual-function household food. Again, this product is reduced to its core capabilities: it is a refrigerator and a large block of mood lighting. In addition to all the high-tech features you get with an LG cooler, from knocking on the door to take a peek inside, to being notified when the door has been open too long, there are some pretty gross additions. Is it classy or tacky to have a fridge that can turn your ordinary kitchen into a party kitchen? That’s up to you to decide. But there’s certainly a lot of interesting customization going on here – from a choice of 22 light colors for the top LED panel and 19 colors for the bottom. You can choose the Season, Place, Mood and Pop color themes if you want to take your pick. Then there’s the built-in Bluetooth speaker to get things going, and yes, it will go with the music. There’s no price or release date for this one, but we’ve been told is come – vibes and stuff.
The seriously cute Enabot Air keeps an eye on your house and plays with your pet. As a plus, it’s also not made by a giant data-guzzling tech company. The Enabot has a 1080p camera and can either be controlled remotely in your home or roam freely in Auto Cruise mode – or ‘monitor’, as Enabot says, but it’s a ball that’s less than 10 inches long. There are two-way communication, robot vacuum-style automatic charging, motion detection and multi-user login. As for sitting on a pet, the roaming ball wields a laser pointer to keep your pet bouncing around happily. You can even schedule play sessions for your pet while on the go. Correctly.
LG OLED Flex
No, not the LG G Flex from 2013. This new hybrid TV gaming monitor can dynamically switch between a curved and flat panel. This is a TV, but LG is fine with it being showcased for gaming too, with its G-Sync and Freesync capabilities and a 4K 120Hz display. You can even resize the content on the screen to better suit games, such as shooters, where fast twitch responses are required, and it’s better optimized when everything is in your direct eye line. To be clear, the screen does not physically change to this size; we’re not quite there yet. Instead, you get a 27-inch window on this 42-inch panel. Switching between curved and flat is quick with a remote that allows you to adjust the curve at different levels between the two settings. LG sells this as an all TV games, sports, movies, you name it. No release date or price yet, but LG did emphasize that the display technology is similar to the regular LG C2 TV, which costs $1,250.