Mobile World Congress, MWC, is the largest mobile trade show of the year. It’s where we’ve seen some of the biggest handset launches over the past few years and 2016 has been no different.
The show started with a bang, with a big offering from LG and Samsung, with the old Korean rivals showing their wares. Some of the expected announcements didn’t appear and some of the highlights came from unexpected quarters. Xaomi a Chinese phone maker made its debut; Alcatel drops the One Touch part of its name while HP, Lenovo, HTC, ZTE and Sony mobile showcased their offerings.
LG’s next flagship is a huge step-change in design. It is modular in nature, has a Quad HD display, dual camera on the rear, and comes with a metal body with a removable battery. The two bolt-on accessories take advantage of the G5’s modular nature. The LG Cam Plus is a companion for the camera. It provides better grip, gives you a shutter button and video button, offers an analogue zoom dial, as well as boosting the battery life. Then the LG Hi-Fi Plus. This has been produced and tuned in partnership with B&O Play. It’s a 32-bit DAC and amp, giving you high quality audio, but seamlessly integrated.
Samsung Galaxy S7
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a 5.1-inch smartphone, with an octa-core processor. It also has a dual pixel 12-megapixel rear camera that is capable of extremely clear shots even in very low light conditions. The phone is water and dust proof down to 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes, and the front-facing camera is 5-megapixels. Another of the big new selling points is its always-on screen, which displays the time, date, notifications or a personalised screen at all times, yet uses very little battery power.
Alcatel Idol 4
The Idol 4, its latest high-end smartphone that wants to offer an alternative to the mainstream players. There’s a quality feel to this handset, with a metal and glass construction, a far cry from the cheap plastic handsets the company was once known for. There are two versions, the regular Idol 4 and the more advanced Idol 4S, the latter of which offers a 5.5-inch Quad HD display. There’s also a neat arrangement of JBL speakers, promising stereo sound whichever way round the phone is.
Sony Xperia X and the Xperia XA
Sony released two new “slightly higher than mid-range” handsets called the Xperia X and the Xperia XA. The new phones both focus on the camera, battery and design. The Sony Xperia X comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor under the hood, while the Xperia XA offers an edge-to-edge display.
HP Elite X3
The HP Elite X3 is a 6-inch device that can, through the use of a couple of optional accessories, also become a desktop PC and/or notebook as it plans to use the power of Windows 10 to its full advantage.
The smartphone is powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, which will be supported by 4GB of RAM, as well as feature Bang & Olufsen speakers and a huge 4,150mAh battery.
HTC launched three mid-range phones that adds to the Desire range. The company announced the Desire 530, Desire 630 and Desire 825.
The specs of the Desire models are average, aside from Hi-Res Audio support, but they offer a distinctive new finish that HTC has unveiled, called Micro Splash. Rather than just giving you a single colour, Micro Splash sees a spray of colour scattered across the handset for a totally unique finish.
Huawei MateBook with Dock
The MateBook goes firmly after the iPad Pro and Surface 4 with its detachable keyboard cover and MatePen stylus, the latter of which triples up as a laser pointer and projection clicker. A 12-inch display with a 2160 x 1400 resolution is on board, alongside a full metal body that measures just 6.9mm slim and hits the scales at 640g. It also comes with a side fingerprint sensor for fast and secure unlocking. There is the 128GB model, with 4GB of RAM and an Intel Core M3 Processor and the top of the line 512GB model, with 8GB of RAM and an Intel Core M7 processor
ZTE Spro Plus
THE Spro Plus is an 8.4-inch Android AMOLED touch-screen with 2K resolution, paired with a whopping 12,100mAh battery and a built in 500 lumen projector capable of projecting an image up to 80 inches across from 2.5m away.
The Spro Plus is bigger and more powerful than its predecessors, with an 8.4-inch, 2560 x 1600 pixel Super AMOLED display, making it more of a tablet-sized device than the earlier versions. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 801 or 625 processor, comes in both Wi-Fi and LTE variants with support for VoLTE, and runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Its projector is a 500 lumens projector capable of projecting an image up to 80 inches across from 2.5m away, WXGA resolution laser unit, which is more than twice as bright as the projector in the Spro 2.
The Spro Plus also has video conferencing capability with an external camera and two four watt JBL speakers. All of this is housed in a frame that’s significantly thinner than the Spro 2 and is powered by an enormous 12,100mAh battery. ZTE says that’s good enough for at least four hours of streaming video projected on a wall.
ZTE really wants the Spro Plus to be “second most used device after your smartphone”, which helps explain why it’s tried to cram so many features into the box.