Mobile World Congress, the biggest mobile tech show in the world, has come and gone, but this year may go down as one of the best. For the first time in years, almost every major phone maker put its best foot forward, announcing a slew of surprising and big-budget devices in Barcelona, Spain. And it wouldn’t be an MWC without the DT crew on hand for all the action. Andy Boxall and I have been running around the show like mad for the past five days taking in the sights, and there were plenty to behold. Here are the phones, tablets and technologies we’re most looking forward to playing with later this year.
Hot damn did Sony hit it out of the park. We’re biting our nails hoping the price isn’t massive, but the Xperia Z2 Tablet may be the nicest tablet we’ve ever used. Well, no. It is. The Z2 Tablet is more powerful than any smartphone we’ve seen with 3GB of RAM and the new Snapdragon 801 processor – the fanciest of the fancy when it comes to mobile chips. It’s 6.4mm thin (with no bumps) and IP57 water resistance, meaning you can take it in the pool if you’d like. The sharp color and snappy interface of the Z2 Tablet make it one of the first Android tablets we’d put on par with the iPad Air. We look forward to reviewing it.
Samsung’s newest Galaxy isn’t a crowd pleaser on the outside. It looks nearly identical to the Galaxy S4 and S3 before it, but looks aren’t everything. With an IP67 water and dust resistance rating, the S5 can handle its own, and Samsung’s new interface is far less cluttered and overstuffed than the GS4. It also has a heart-rate monitor and fingerprint scanner for those times when you really need to check your heart rate on the go. Mostly, Samsung has delivered yet another very good phone this year. So good that we’re forgiving it for being a little safe on the outside.
What can we say? We like the Yoga Tablet. The first version of it came out late last year, but it had some problems. This time around, LG upped the screen resolution and fixed the kick stand so it isn’t so wobbly. The new tablet now sports powerful specs, a built-in stand, 14 to 18 hours of battery life (more than any other tablet), and because all the weight is inside its edge, it’s both comfortable to hold, and feels light. Keep up the good work, Lenovo.
LG showed off a few new phones at the show this year. The G Pro 2 and G2 Mini both impressed us, but LG’s announcement that almost all of its phones would get Knock Code was impressive. The knocking idea started on the G2, one of our favorite phones of 2013. You can double tap on the screen of the G2 to wake it up from sleep. This works because LG has found a way to keep the touch layer of its screens active, even when the pixels are shut down. Now, with Knock Code, you can enter a tapping pattern on the screen that’s uniquely yours, so no one else can unlock your phone. Knock Code adds more security than a standard 4\four-digit PIN, and it a lot more fun to enter. Every phone should have this.
Andy and I are fighting about this pick. I don’t think the Nokia X is worthy of a Best of Show award, but he is adamant that it’s simply amazing. If you’d like to read our differing opinions, you can read my editorial about how Nokia should fully embrace Android or Andy’s full hands-on with the Nokia X.
That does it for this year. If you’re one of the crazy folk who think the 7-inch Huawei MediaPad X1 is the best phone, keep it to yourself.