Mo­bile World Congress round-up

A round-up of the best tech on show at this year’s MWC

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Sam­sung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge

Af­ter win­ning our crown for best phone of 2015 with its Galaxy S6, Sam­sung has gone one bet­ter with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. There aren’t many revo­lu­tion­ary fea­tures, but Sam­sung has added an al­ways-on dis­play, bumped up pro­ces­sor- and cam­era per­for­mance and, as fans will be glad to know, brought back the mi­croSD slot and wa­ter­proof­ing, and im­proved bat­tery life.

LG G5

Usu­ally ap­pear­ing a lit­tle later in the spring, LG has opted for an early launch for its G5 flag­ship. If Sam­sung has skimped on revo­lu­tion­ary fea­tures, the LG fills that gap. In com­mon with the S7, the G5 has a new al­ways-on dis­play, but what’s re­ally in­trigu­ing about this phone is its ‘Friends’.

Sony Xpe­ria X and XA

Sony has killed off its Xpe­ria Z-se­ries of flag­ship phones and re­placed it with a new X range, of which the Xpe­ria X and XA are the first mod­els. The Xpe­ria X and XA are no­tably lower in spec­i­fi­ca­tion than the S7 and G5, but they each have a 23Mp cam­era – and pho­tog­ra­phy is an area in which Sony ex­cels. With af­ford­able price tags the X-se­ries could con­tinue to com­pete against the Sam­sung, LG and HTC flag­ships, but we’ll have to wait and seer.

Xiaomi Mi 5

Xiaomi has taken the wraps off its next flag­ship An­droid phone, the Mi 5. It’s a Snap­dragon 820-pow­ered beast with up to 4GB of LP-DDR4 RAM that Xiaomi reck­ons scored over 140,000 points in AnTuTu. The spec­i­fi­ca­tions looks good, the price looks bet­ter; check it out on page 34.

LG X Cam and LG X Screen

In ad­di­tion to the G5, LG has in­tro­duced two new mid-range smart­phones with a flag­ship fea­ture each. The LG X Cam has a dual-cam­era, and the LG X Screen has a sec­ondary dis­play for quick ac­cess to short­cuts and tools.

Fair­phone 2

The Fair­phone 2 (pic­tured) is an ex­cit­ing smart­phone with a mod­u­lar de­sign that means you can re­pair it your­self so it lasts longer than a reg­u­lar hand­set. The cur­rent de­vice doesn’t have out­stand­ing specs so won’t ap­peal to power users but when you can upgrade parts things will be very dif­fer­ent.

HTC One X9

Al­though there’s a lot to like about the HTC One X9, it’s not the flag­ship phone we were hop­ing for. It’s a mash up of a few dif­fer­ent pre­vi­ous phone from the com­pany. A larger phone with some de­cent spec­i­fi­ca­tions s will ap­peal to some, but we’re hold­ing out for the One M10.

Len­ovo Vibe K5 Plus

Though the Vibe K5 Plus won’t stand up to the likes of the Sam­sung Galaxy S7, we think that for a price of only $149 (UK price TBC), it’s im­pres­sive. Fea­tur­ing an octa-core Snap­dragon 616 pro­ces­sor cou­pled 2GB of RAM, 13Mp cam­era and Dolby au­dio, it’s not a smart­phone to be sniffed at.

Len­ovo Tab3

The Len­ovo Tab3 tablets are cheap and cheer­ful, of­fer­ing lots of fea­tures for fam­i­lies at a bril­liantly low price. Where it re­ally shines is in its soft­ware. Mul­ti­ple users on a tablet is a real boon, par­tic­u­larly when you can make some of those users kid-safe ac­counts to pro­tect kids on the in­ter­net and stop them from stum­bling across web­sites and apps that they shouldn’t be.

HTC De­sire 530

Aside from the fun de­sign, there’s noth­ing par­tic­u­larly out­stand­ing go­ing on with this en­trylevel smart­phone, but that’s not to say it’s not worth buy­ing. We’d say it’s a good choice for teenagers look­ing for a starter smart­phone, but if you’re in the mar­ket for a smart­phone that’s low-cost, good­look­ing, but doesn’t have any bells and whis­tles, then the HTC De­sire 530 and HTC’s other De­sire mod­els are well worth check­ing out.

Al­ca­tel Idol 4s

While the big brands stole the show at MWC, the Idol 4s was a dark horse. Fea­tur­ing a pre­mium de­sign, a QHD dis­play and even a free VR head­set, the mid-range smart­phone has a lot to shout about.

CAT S60

The phone with the built-in ther­mal imag­ing cam­era. Based on our lim­ited time with the Cat S60, we’re not too sure whether it’ll be po­plar with the gen­eral pub­lic. Its bulky form fac­tor may be off-putting for some, and the ad­di­tion of a ther­mal cam­era may not be enough to per­suade a con­sumer to buy the smart­phone – sure it’s a cool ad­di­tion, but we’re not com­pletely con­vinced that it’s more than a gim­mick. With that be­ing said, if you’re in an in­dus­try that re­quires the use of a ther­mal cam­era or if you’re prone to break­ing your smart­phone, then it’s an ideal op­tion.

ZTE Blade V7 and V7 Lite

Both of ZTE’s Blade V7 smart­phones are de­cent mid-range of­fer­ings with screen sizes we’ve come to favour. They both look like stun­ning phones with gor­geous de­sign, and we’re pleased to see that they’re made with alu­minium rather than plas­tic, but on closer in­spec­tion the build qual­ity leaves a lot to be de­sired. There’s noth­ing par­tic­u­larly out­stand­ing about ei­ther phone and it’s odd that ZTE has de­cided to in­clude the fin­ger­print sen­sor in the Lite model and ex­clude it from the V7 it­self, but the cam­era sets are good for the price and the pro­ces­sors shouldn’t be slug­gish un­less you in­tend to reg­u­larly multi-task or run power-hun­gry apps.

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