Smartphones have long offered near-endless functionality at your fingertips. Now, more product makers have decided that doing just one thing isn’t quite enough for them either. At Europe’s big tech showcase in Berlin, IFA 2022, brands big and small have introduced a bunch of dual-purpose products. Tech gimmicks, you cry? Some certainly make a lot more sense than others.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-Year Subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
LG PuriCare AeroTower
Get used to seeing LG on this list—the Life’s Good team has really embraced the idea that two functions are better than one. You may have previously seen fridges built into outdoor tables, but the AeroTower takes things in a slightly different direction. The company has whacked a tabletop on 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 purification capabilities and, as part of LG’s Puricare Objet Collection Aero Furniture range (snappy!), offers up bold colors with names like Crème Rose, Crème Yellow, and Crème Grey. You can control it all in the LG ThinQ app, and there’s wireless charging as well as some mood lighting too. No pricing or release date for this hybrid bit of kit just yet though.
This dual-purpose wonder comes from the lesser-known accessory brand, Goui. If you’re someone who always has a reusable bottle on you to keep hydrated, the 420-ml Loch bottle can help keep your phone (as well as your water intake) all topped up too. Yes, that’s right—this bottle is part, well, bottle, and part wireless charger. Simply unscrew the 6,000-mAh battery pack from the bottom and, voila, a plinth to wirelessly charge your phone upon—at 5 watts, that is. The Goui Loch ($35) is available now and comes in a range of colors. This seems a pretty clever and simple idea, leaving us wondering why the likes of Chillys and Frank Green haven’t given this battery idea a go. It’s slightly heavier than a regular bottle but, we think, possibly worth it.
XGIMI Magic Lamp
If you’re aware of the XGIMI brand then you can probably guess what makes this lamp magic. It’s a projector too. Nestled in this room-brightener is a projector that offers up a 100-inch display, with a speaker to boot. This isn’t actually a new product for XGIMI, having released a previous generation in Japan back in 2018, but it’s made its way over to China this year and a launch in the US and Europe is expected soon. An understated double-device like this won’t come cheap though. Priced at around $1,170 (around £999 / AU$1691) in China.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
Earlier this week, Asus fully revealed its first foldable-screened laptop—the ZenBook 17 Fold OLED—proudly proclaiming it the world’s only 17-inch folding PC (check out WIRED’s exclusive look at the Asus prototypes). But in 2020, Lenovo was actually the first out of the gates 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-gen model.
What both these devices offer is, on the one hand, a smaller laptop experience and, on the other, a larger PC screen experience. Both companies espouse several “modes,” but that’s the gist. I’ve tried both and the tech is pretty exciting—with the Lenovo, in particular, offering a stylish and portable experience that I’m looking forward to reviewing in full. What isn’t exciting is the price. The Asus costs $3,499 for the full package and is coming in Q4. The Lenovo X1 Fold starts at $2,499, with the new keyboard and stylus costing 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 creators.” Its two key functions are its audio capabilities and the thumbstick control for shooting video. The former includes a short condenser mic, high-end cable, studio-grade headphone jack, and more. The latter lets you use a 5-axis thumbstick to precisely control your zoom inside the dedicated app. The bright red block also offers up a built-in battery pack and, importantly, slaps securely onto your MagSafe-enabled iPhone. There is no price or release date, but you can join the waiting list.
LG MoodUp Refrigerator
Let’s head back to LG for more dual-function household fodder. Once again boiling this product down to its core capabilities: It’s a refrigerator and a big block of mood lighting. In addition to all the high-tech features you get with an LG cooler, from knocking on the door in order to take a peek inside, to notifying you when the door has been open too long, there’s some pretty cool additions. Is it stylish or tacky to have a refrigerator that can turn your regular kitchen into a party kitchen? That’s for you to decide. But, there’s certainly a whole lot of interesting customization going on here—from a choice of 22 light colors for the upper LED panel and 19 colors for the lower. You can opt for Season, Place, Mood, and Pop color themes if you want the choice taken out of your hands. Then, there’s the built-in Bluetooth speaker to get things going, and, yes, it’ll vibe with the music. There’s no price or release date for this one but we were told it is coming—vibes and all.
The seriously cute Enabot Air will monitor your home and play with your pet. As a plus point, it’s not made by a giant data-guzzling tech corporation, either. The Enabot has a 1080p camera and can either be remote-controlled around your home or allowed to roam free in Auto Cruise mode—or “guard,” as Enabot says, but it’s a ball that’s less than 4 inches tall. There are two-way comms, autocharging in robot vacuum-esque style, motion detection, and multiuser login. As for the pet-sitting, the roaming ball wields a laser pointer to get your pet bouncing around with glee. You can even schedule play sessions for your pet while you’re out and about. Neat.
LG OLED Flex
No, not the LG G Flex from 2013. This new TV-gaming-monitor hybrid can dynamically switch between a curved and flat panel. This is a TV, but LG is perfectly fine with it being showcased for gaming, too, with its G-Sync and Freesync capabilities as well as a 4K 120-Hz screen. You can even customize the size of the content on the display to better suit games, like shooters, where fast twitch reactions are required and it’s better optimized if everything is in your immediate eye line. Just to be clear, the screen does not physically change to this size; we’re not quite there yet. Rather you’ll get a 27-inch window on this 42-inch panel. The switch between curved and flat is done swiftly with a remote that lets you adjust the curve at various levels between the two settings. LG is selling this as an everything TV—games, sports, movies, you name it. No release date or price yet, but LG did stress the display tech is similar to the regular LG C2 TV, which costs $1,250.