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