Mobile World Congress 2016 is over, and it was a truly exciting time. One of the best trade show of the year, MWC 2016 didn’t disappoint. It was a struggle to see as many things as possible, but here are what we think are the heavy-hitters, and the absolute must see of this show. Handsets have the lion share of our “best of”, but computers, VR/AR equipment, and even robots share the spotlight this year.
Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge
Undoubtedly one of the most important announcement of the show, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge have set the technical bar not only for MWC16 but probably for the rest of the year, for all smartphones. They both have a top of the line system on chip (SoC), larger battery capacity, an amazing new camera sensor and a consistently excellent design and display. To make things even better, Samsung has brought back the water and dust resistance with an IP Rating of IP68, which is one of the highest ratings for consumer handsets, even besting some “rugged” handsets.
LG G5 Modular Phone
LG has come to MWC16 with a playful attitude. With the mindset of breaking the rules, LG is leading the industry into uncharted smartphone territory by introducing a new modular all-metal design for its LG G5. This design allows users to replace the battery (this was once deemed “impossible” with such designs), and also to extend their phone’s capabilities with Modules ranging from high-end audio DAC+amp (digital to analog converters and amplifiers) to camera grip. The Modules and other accessories are called LG Friends.
Huawei MateBook & MatePen
Huawei wasn’t known as a laptop manufacturer, until MWC16. With the introduction of the Huawei MateBook, Huawei enters the Windows laptop market with a bang, thanks to an ultrathin design, powered by an Intel Core M processor. It also features a Wacom digitizer which makes it a great companion for Photoshop users, but also for executives and professionals looking for an ultralight computer. Huawei leverages all its knowledge in the mobile space to enter the PC platform. A “new style of business” indeed.
Sony XPERIA X Series
Say goodbye to the Z-series. In 2016, the XPERIA X will become the new “high-end” line of Sony smartphones, with the XPERIA X Performance at the top, and the XPERIA X and XPERIA XA to cover other market segments. Once again, Sony has put some emphasis on the camera by introducing an advanced motion autofocus tracking, and the ability to take a photo even when the phone is OFF, to never miss a moment again. It’s so fast that even whack-a-mole characters can be photographed, with a phone in sleep mode.
HP Elite X3 Windows Phone
HP presents the HP Elite X3 as a new category of device. Technically speaking, it is a powerful Windows 10 smartphone with a large 5.9” Quad HD display and a power Snapdragon 820 processor. What makes it different from other phones is Microsoft’s Continuum feature that turns the X3 into a “real” computer capable of running on a large display, with a keyboard and mouse, or with the extender above. Because Continuum can manage two different screen spaces (vs. display cloning), you can do office work, and use your phone normally, at the same time.
Samsung Gear 360: quality VR videos for the masses
Samsung is advancing at full throttle into “VR space” and is giving users the means to create their content. The Samsung Gear 360 is a dual-lens camera which is capable of shooting “near-4K” 360 videos with an impressive quality. We have seen 360 cameras before, but they were either bulky and hacked together with a bunch of 2D cameras, or had nearly half the number of pixels. The Gear 360 is a consumer 360 camera which is simple, elegant and performant. Once the 360 movies are ready, Samsung’s Gear VR and other VR headsets can be used to visualize the content.
LG Rolling Bot: the cutest telepresence
The LG Rolling Bot has won the hearts and mind of many people at MWC16. The idea is simple: you can pilot the robot from the Internet with a simple driving app that lets you “see” from the robot’s eye. It has a microphone, speaker, and infra-red emitter, so you can converse with it, or even use it as a remote for your air conditioning, TV and other home appliance. The robot also has a laser pointer that will let you entertain your cat, even when you’re not home. A great idea from LG, and we can’t wait to see if the final product delivers on all these promises.
Lenovo VIBE K5 Plus: affordable multimedia
Aimed at making multimedia use more affordable to the masses, the Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus comes with a 5” 1080p display, a 2750 mAh (removable) battery and a Snapdragon 600 series hardware platform (SoC). Expandable through a MicroSD slot, Lenovo made sure that users get the best possible cost per GB of storage, since these memory cards are so cheap. The $149 price of the Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus is what makes it so interesting, and gives it an excellent battery capacity, for the price.
Oppo Super VOOC battery technology: want!
Battery life is one of the few topics that does not benefit from the same rate of evolution as other areas of electronics. It is arguably the most important. Oppo, a relatively unknown handset maker in the U.S claims to have created a battery called VOOC that can charge super fast (0% to 10% in less than 15 mins), but without having any of the usual effects of such a rapid charge: shortened battery life, overheating. Oppo is tight-lipped on how it does it, but since its staff cannot talk about the battery chemical composition or the amperage of the charger… look there.
Epson BT 300 smartglasses: for professionals
While many companies have failed in the augmented reality (AR) consumer space, Epson has been quite successful in business-oriented AR. Their BT 300 glasses are used for industrial application where people don’t fear looking nerdy, and where the heads-up display (HUD) brings a tremendous boost in productivity (and therefore, money). The new Epson BT 300 smart glasses bring an image clarity beyond anything we had seen before in AR, and at the same time, it is lighter and smaller.