Digital Trends Top Tech of MWC 2016 award winners

top tech of mwc 2016 award winners awards v2

If you live for the latest phones and mobile gadgets, there’s no greater place to be than Barcelona, Spain each February. Walking around the halls of the Fira Gran Via for Mobile World Congress is like chugging extra-pulp OJ; you can practically feel the tech getting stuck in your teeth.

More than 94,000 people are filling the halls of MWC this year in roughly 2,200 different booths chock to the brim with new mobile tech, including virtual-reality headsets, smartphones, tablets, wearables, accessories, and apps. Our mobile team flew in from Portland, New York, Edinburgh, and London to cover the show, and you can read and watch everything we’ve produced so far at on our MWC 2016 page, or follow us on Twitter.

But if you just want the good stuff, this is where to find it. We’ve worn our feet out scouring the show floor and press events for the past four days to bring you our seven favorite products at MWC. These are the most useful, innovative, fun, and downright insane products at Mobile World Congress. We hope you enjoy!


LG G5

Best of Show
LG G5 and its ‘Friends’

top-tech-of-mwc-2016-winnerWhen Google first unveiled its modular phone concept dubbed Project Ara a few years ago, it was a moonshot — an impossibility. But now, the modular smartphone is not only possible – it’s here. LG’s G5 and its accompanying Hi-Fi Plus audio and Cam Plus modules are the first realization of the modular smartphone concept in a device that’s as powerful and elegant as it is user friendly.

Add to that a standalone 360 VR headset and 360 Cam, plus an adorable Rolling Bot, and you’ve got something that’s much bigger than a smartphone.
You don’t have to be a technician to pop modules in and out of the G5, and each of them adds a range of intriguing features, from high-res audio to improved camera functionality. It may sound geeky, but the ability to completely alter your phone and grant it new superpowers with a quick switcheroo is nothing short of revolutionary. There are nearly endless possibilities for modules, and LG is just getting started.

Smartphones are enjoying a renaissance, but innovation is also slowing down. LG has reversed that downtrend and hit the gas straight into the future with a fascinating and exciting ecosystem of modules along with a high-powered smartphone. It represents the best of MWC innovation in 2016 and the clearest idea of where phone technology may go in the coming years.

– Malarie Gokey


Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Phones & Tablets
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

top-tech-of-mwc-2016-phone-tabletsThe deliberation over which smartphone should win the 2016 award went on and on, and even when a decision seemed to be reached, it was still difficult to close the conversation. Yet, we always arrived at the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. All those annoyances over the previous models have been fixed. It’s water resistant again, there’s a MicroSD card slot, the battery capacity has been increased, and the S7 Edge is way more comfortable to hold. By addressing these aspects, Samsung made an excellent phone even better.

Beyond that, the camera takes staggering low-light shots, easily eclipsing the S6 and the iPhone 6S Plus, and it’s compatible with the best smartphone accessory you can currently buy: the awesome Gear VR. Pre-order the phone, and you’ll get one for free, which is a kickass deal. The S7 Edge also gets our recommendation — a first for an Edge phone — because it’s heart-achingly good-looking, especially in the chrome-like silver finish. It’s up there with the most attractive phones we’ve seen, and finally loses the sharp sides that made the S6 Edge painful to hold.

Put simply, it’s the 2016 smartphone-of-the-moment you should buy, because it does everything you could want, and compromises less.

– Andy Boxall


HTC Vive

Virtual Reality
HTC Vive

top-tech-of-mwc-2016-vr

This is the HTC Vive’s third trade show award from Digital Trends, and for good reason: It’s the most amazing product in one of the hottest areas of tech right now. We’re big fans of VR when it’s done right, and the HTC Vive has consistently represented the pinnacle of VR you will be able to buy at home. Using laser base stations to track your location, it creates a surreal experience that’s as close as you can come to a Star Trek Holodeck. Instead of sitting down and looking around, the Vive lets you walk around virtual worlds, interacting with them using a 360-degree motion controller in each hand.

At MWC this year, HTC — and partner Valve software, maker of the popular Steam platform, which will power Vive — gave us a look at the final edition of the Vive, revealed its price ($800), and even showed us a couple new demos. One demo gave us a laser gun in each hand, as waves of flying robot drones attacked from all sides. Dodging with our own body, aiming with our own hands, and pulling up a shield to block shots was so natural we could do it all day, proving that the Vive is capable of redefining even the simplest game concepts. You need to try it to understand, and we highly recommend you do. It goes up for pre-order on Leap Day, February 29, 2016.

– Jeffrey Van Camp


Avegant Glyph

Wearables
Avegant Glyph

top-tech-of-mwc-2016-wearables

Going from Kickstarter pipe dream to a real, working product that anyone can buy isn’t easy, but Avegant has battled its way uphill to bring its brilliant new multimedia device, the Glyph, to market in the next few weeks. This “mediawear” device is like a cross between a pair of headphones and a VR headset, sourcing just about any media you want — from mobile games to Netflix. The Glyph’s crystal clear display tech trades a traditional screen for two million tiny mirrors to create a thrilling portable media experience, and win our award for best wearable at MWC.

– Ryan Waniata


Project Tango

Cool Tech
Project Tango by Google

top-tech-of-mwc-2016-cool-techWe can’t wait for the day when finding friends in a crowd, navigating to your seat in a major venue, or finding a specific painting in an art gallery is painlessly easy, and if the latest Google Project Tango demo is anything to go by, we won’t have to wait too much longer. Tango could do for indoor navigation what Google Maps did for outdoor navigation. Although Project Tango isn’t available on any device you can buy right now, it will be coming to a Lenovo phone this summer.

With the right phone or tablet, we can enjoy indoor directions so precise, you’ll literally see a painted trail on the floor leading to your destination. We’ll also be able to find people by looking for their avatars, visible through walls or floors, and attached above our heads, perhaps providing information we want to share. Project Tango tablets coupled with software like Glympse and GuidiGo, gave us a sneak peek at what this will be like, and we loved it.

Project Tango is what the original promise of augmented reality was all about, and it’s within touching distance.

– Simon Hill


LG G5 Hi fi Plus with B&O Play

Audio
LG G5 Hi-Fi Plus module with B&O

top-tech-of-mwc-2016-audio

There have certainly been smartphones on the market with hi-res audio support in the past, but few have added a solution as innovative and elegant as LG with the G5’s new module, Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play. LG did its homework here, sourcing top DAC and amplification components from ESS’ lauded Sabre brand, and providing a way to use the module both clipped into the phone or wired in via USB Type-C connection. With its brilliant new design that makes it easier than ever to take your top quality music files with you  — no matter where you go — LG’s Hi-Fi Plus module takes home our Audio award at MWC 2016.

– Ryan Waniata


Mu

Accessories
Mu System Worldwide Traveler

top-tech-of-mwc-2016-accessories

This stylish and elegant solution for smartphone charging is simple, but so useful, it’s astounding. The original product was about shrinking down the cumbersome three-pin U.K. electrical plug so you can take it with you easier, but the world traveller system brings European, North American, and Australian plugs into the mix. Clip the connection you need into the body, which sports a standard USB port, and you’re all set. The European plug can be flexed to find the right angle for a comfortable fit.

The Mu comes in black or white and it’s satisfyingly simple to slot together, minimizing the space you need in your bag for a charger. This mobile accessory is an absolute essential for globetrotters.

– Simon Hill

Mobile

You forgot all about these 5 phones of 2018. Prepare to forget them again

The best phones of the year are memorable, exciting, and ones we all want to buy. But what about the others? We're not talking about bad phones, we're talking about forgettable phones -- ones that aren't even bad enough to be remembered.
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2018

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Mobile

The best weather apps for the iPhone

Don't rely solely on your local meteorologist to stay up to date on the weather. Take matters into your own hands with one of these weather apps, each of which brings something unique to the table.
Web

Google’s updated Santa Tracker entertains and teaches coding throughout December

Google's Santa Tracker is in its fifteenth year and is back again with even more features. You can have fun with more than 20 games, learn about different holiday traditions around the world, and enjoy some festive animations.
Wearables

The $200 TicWatch C2 smartwatch is now being sold in the U.S. and U.K.

Digital well-being and disconnecting from your phone is one of 2018's big trends. Mobvoi wants you to think about its TicWatch C2 smartwatch as a great way to help you use your phone less.
Mobile

The Palm has been revived, and is now available in the U.S. and U.K.

A reboot of the classic Palm is finally here and it's tiny. It syncs to your phone and acts as a secondary device -- with a feature to help you disconnect from technology. The Palm will be available exclusively through Verizon for $350.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Mobile

Yes, we really are getting a special McLaren edition of the OnePlus 6T

OnePlus has announced a partnership with McLaren F1, emphasizing a shared interest in speed. The phone company is known for producing special edition devices. Here's what we know about the OnePlus 6T Mclaren Edition.
Deals

Simplify your life with one of these wireless smartphone charger deals

Banish nightly cable fumbling with a wireless smartphone charger. If your smartphone is compatible with wireless charging, the simplicity of placing it on a pad is a beautiful thing. Wireless chargers are also excellent gifts for coworkers.
Mobile

Microsoft Outlook for iOS gets big redesign, with Dark Mode coming soon

Microsoft has deployed a huge redesign for its Outlook for iOS app, which includes new blue branding and some quality-of-life improvements. Dark Mode isn't included, but it's coming soon.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

Finding the best routers for gaming is no easy task. With so many out there, how do you know which to pick? We've looked at the many options available and put together a list of our lag-free favorites.
Mobile

Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 now available on the Apple Store

The Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 is now available on the Apple Store for $150. The sensor strip, which is only 2 millimeters thin, automatically tracks a wide array of sleep data when placed under the user's sheets.