MWC just wrapped up and we saw some amazing smartphones and tablets at the show and if you’re looking to upgrade your device, these are the phones worth waiting for.
I’ve been attending MWC for the last four years and this year is by far my favourite one thus far. Every smartphone brand put their best foot forward with some amazing features that are worth waiting for.
MWC or Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest mobile phone show where major brands come to show off what they have been working on. Brands like LG, Sony, Huawei, Nokia, Blackberry, Motorola all came with something worth talking about and although Samsung didn’t bring us a smartphone, they announce two tablet devices.
LG G6: The year of no bezels
LG has ditched the G5’s modular design and have come back with a device that’s compact, yet has a big display. With the reduction in bezel size, LG has managed to offer a better display with an aspect ratio that could set the tone for other manufacturers.
The new LG G6 has a large 5.7” screen phone with almost zero bezels, super wide 18:9 aspect ratio with an HDR10 display. With its new aspect ratio, it means when you watch movies on Amazon Prime, for example, you don’t get a letterbox effect – the top and bottom black bars.
To bolster its display, LG also employed Dolby Vision and when demonstrated using Amazon Prime video, the result is amazing. Video looks sharp and combined with HDR, blacks are deep without compromising viewing angles.
Google’s own Pixel and Pixel XL were the first devices with Google Assistant built in, making the new G6 will be the first smartphone outside of Google to offer Google Assistant out of the box.
Under its metal chassis, you have a non-removable 3,300 mAh battery that should last a day and a Snapdragon 821 processor and although it isn’t the latest chipset, it still offers the speed you’d expect in a high-end smartphone, however, the only compromise is the lack of Gigabit LTE.
Elsewhere, there’s a 32GB storage, two 13MP cameras, one for wide angle photos and a standard one. First impressions, they take amazing shots in low light too.
All in all, the G6 could arguably be the best device for media consumption with HDR and Dolby Vision combined with smaller bezels to look at. Oh, it’s also iP68 water and dust resistant – it’s also built to last.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium – World’s first 4K HDR display
The Xperia XZ could be Sony’s best yet! With a 4K display, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 chipset, it’s set to be a fast smartphone and claims the world’s first smartphone to offer 960fps super slow motion video capture.
It’s 5.5″display is not only 4K but features HDR and when compared to a standard display, you can see the difference in vibrancy, colour saturation and how deep the blacks are for consuming media.
Under the hood, there’s a 3,230mAh battery, 4GB RAM and 64GB on-board storage for your super slow-mo videos. Besides offering the world’s first 4K HDR display and 960fps, I also liked the predictive capture technology which means you never miss a moment, with 0.2 second latency.
Sony also announced the XZs, XA1 and the XA1 Ultra which offers lower specs but of value for those who aren’t looking for the super-powerful XZ Premium.
Huawei P10 and the P10 Plus – Leica camera on the front now too
Out of all the smartphones announced, the P10 is probably the one that didn’t offer a huge deal of upgrade from its predecessor. It doesn’t come with an HDR display and it’s only FHD compared to Sony and LG’s offerings.
If you want a QHD display, you will have to opt for the P10 plus. Powering the P10 is Huawei’s Kirin 960 chipset which proved to be powerful in the Mate 9 and coupled with 4GB of RAM there shouldn’t be any issues with performance.
Up from the P9, there’s now a 3,200 mAh battery which should last a day and although you only get a 64GB on-board storage option, you can expand it using a microSD card by an additional 256GB storage space.
I also really liked the previous Huawei Watch and this year Huawei announced Watch 2 which is more robust and rugged compared to its predecessor. Users who loved the highly-praised design of the Watch 1 may be disappointed with the new design, but let’s hold off on our judgement till we review one.
Early verdict? The P10 and P10 plus offers the level of camera quality we have become accustomed to with Huawei, although there’s no HDR or 4K display on the P10, FHD is ok. There’s Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI overlay but in turn, we get no Google Assistant baked in.
Motorola Moto G5 and G5 Plus – Budget smartphones with Google Assistant
If you want a smartphone that’s not pricey but still packs good specs, Motorola will soon be releasing the G5 and the G5 Plus for you. Both devices feature Android 7.0, metal chassis, fingerprint sensors, FHD displays and decent cameras with fast auto-focus.
They will feature Google Assistant which makes them the cheapest Android smartphones with Google’s AI baked in out of the box. What you need to be aware of here is that only the Plus version has NFC built-in for Android Pay.
Nokia won the show with the 3310
For around £195 you will soon be able to pick up HMD Global’s Nokia 6 which sold out in minutes during its previous release. Although it doesn’t come with high-end specs, it’s still very competitive for the price point.
The Nokia 6 packs a 5.5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 430 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, 16MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, fingerprint scanner and a 3,000mAh battery, no wonder it sold out in no time.
Elsewhere, HMD also announced the Nokia 5 and 3 Android smartphones with slightly lower specs to the 6. The 5 offers a lower RAM size at 2GB and the 3 doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner.
What really stole the show, though, is the Nokia 3310 come back. Nokia’s nostalgic star offers a camera, looks slimmer, it’s lighter and with a coloured display, you can even play the new Snake game. There’s even a microSD card slot which supports up to 32GB expansion and a headphone jack for music, all for around £35.
Blackberry KeyOne will get you typing with accuracy and precision again
Blackberry also turned up with an official release of what they called the KeyOne and hopefully that now means we will see KeyTwo, KeyThree etc in the future.
The KeyOne is not for everyone with its physical keyboard and touchscreen combo, but those who have loved their Blackberry in the past for that reason will soon find their way back if Blackberry continues in this direction.
In hand, the KeyOne feels solid, Blackberry went all in with the design, software and even offer a good mix of Blackberry features like security and less bloatware to offer as close to a pure Android 7.0 experience as possible.
Time will tell if the KeyOne is worth upgrading to, but it’s a good start for Blackberry and staying true to what people loved about Blackberry devices in the first place.
Samsung teased us with Unpacked event announcement for the S8
Whilst most of us knew we won’t be seeing the next Galaxy smartphone phone, possibly the S8 at MWC, it was still worth checking out what they had in store.
Samsung announced two tablet devices, the Galaxy Tab S3 and the Galaxy Book. The Tab s3 keeps a possibly dying market of Android tablets alive with a device that’s 6mm thick and 429g heavy(more like light).
What’s special about the Tab S3 is the addition of S-Pen support, something we loved about the late Note 7. It comes with all the S-Pen features like writing on its screen, screenshot capture and gif maker. There’s also a game suit built-in now for screen recording your games.
For those that wants a good alternative to the Microsoft Surface Pro, you can expect Samsung’s latest Galaxy Book to offer the level of power you’d expect from a 2-in-1 Windows device.
The Galaxy Book comes in a 10.6inch model with dual-core Intel Core m3 and a 12-inch version with a dual-core Intel Core i5 variants. Just like the Tab S3, it also supports S-Pen which is super useful when using Adobe Photoshop for example. Samsung also teamed up with Staedtler for what looks like a real pencil but works just like the S-Pen.
Finally, Samsung used their event to confirm a March 29th Unpacked event where they will most likely announce the Galaxy S8 which teases a bezel-less display. Stay tuned for this.
I write about all things tech!