A lot has happened this week at MWC 2014, including the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2 and a whole lot more. In this week’s Friday Debate take a look at MWC’s many announcements to discuss our overall impression of the event and what excited us the most.

Join us in the discussion, vote in our poll, and sound off in the comments!

Robert Triggs

The HTC Desire 816 was a nice little surprise, and one of my personal highlights. It’s one of the few examples where good last gen tech eventually makes its way into a midrange handset. I suppose other manufacturers refuse to develop similar handsets for fear that they’ll undermine the older gen flagship, but this is something that I’d really like to see more of, so big points for HTC on this one. Similarly, the midrange Huawei Mediapad X1 tablet offers up some really competitive hardware at a (hopefully) midrange price point, it was really a good showing for the mid-tier this year.

The Nokia X was so-so for me, a timid entry into the world of Android, but we couldn’t have expected much more given the company’s relationship with Microsoft. To be fair to Nokia, the X range is a safe bet, and plays to the company’s remaining strengths.

I suppose I can’t get away with refusing to comment on the Samsung Galaxy S5? Well overall it’s a great handset, my one (small) disappointment is that Samsung continues focus on gimmicky side projects, rather than going back to basics as it said it would. S Health and an infrared heart rate monitor, of all things, are totally lost on me, I really just don’t understand why these are advertised as flagship features on a smartphone, other than to sell more accessories. Samsung’s vision for the smartphone is obviously worlds apart from my own.

However, I can’t fault Samsung on its choice of hardware, and the camera is sublime. It’s always tempting to get caught up in the rumours and expectations, but when you step back, the Galaxy S5 is a top tier piece of hardware, and certainly not worthy of a lot of the criticism that’s been levelled at it.

This year’s MWC has given us some excellent devices. The Galaxy S5, despite the negative community feedback, and Xperia Z2 both step ahead of the pack once again, and are the two best handsets on the market, for now. What more could we ask for?

Joe Hindy

I think the shorter list would be things I’m not excited about coming out of Mobile World Congress 2014. Frankly, there was a lot of awesome stuff announced and I’m excited about pretty much all of it.

The Galaxy S5 made a noticeable step forward from the S4 and S3 in terms of build quality (band-aid gold aside, of course), camera, and software. It looks nice and according to our first impressions videos it seems to work really well too. It’ll be exciting to see how many people buy it. I’ve heard there are 100,000 preorders already! Madness.

I’m also quite excited about the Xperia Z2. I’ve had my eye on that phone since the rumors started pouring out a few months ago and it appears that it’ll be the best phone available when it drops. I may actually get one of those, they look really, really nice.

I also agree with Robert, the Desire 816 was a nice phone. It’ll be competing with other mid tier phones and, of course, the perception will be wholly determined by price (which HTC hasn’t announced yet to my knowledge). If they sell it at a good price off contract, then it has the potential to make some serious waves in the smartphone world which is good news because the EVLeaks picture of the HTC One doesn’t inspire much confidence.

I was a tad disappointed in the wearables. I know it’s a new technology and they’re still fleshing out problems but I’m still waiting for that “first big leap forward.” Similar to when Android got dual core and quad core processors for the first time and everything changed. When the smartwatch market hits that first big step forward things will be exciting. Until then, I will remain unimpressed. I heard Motorola is doing some awesome stuff in this department and I’m excited to hear about it.

Really surprised more people aren’t talking about Project Ara, but that is about a year out.

Andrew Grush

I’ll start with some honesty: I am really more excited by the Sony Xperia Z2 than the Galaxy S5. My main reason for this is because I’m a fan of stock Android, and while the Z2 doesn’t quite bring a true stock experience to the table, it stays much closer to this vision than Samsung. There’s also several other new improvements to the display and specs that make the Xperia Z2 an interesting looking next-gen handset.

That said, I don’t think the S5 is a bad handset and is a major improvement over the S4, especially in areas like camera performance and the new waterproof/dustproof capabilities. The real problem is that various rumors and even comments from Samsung execs lead us to believe the GS5 would be radical departure from older members of the Galaxy S family, and it’s not. This lack of change will be enough to push some folks away from the GS5, but others will more than likely get past their initial disappoint and will end up truly enjoying the device. Bottom-line, looking at pre-orders it is clear that the Galaxy S5 is still a must-buy for many Android users out there.

Turning my attention to the smaller players out there, I was very happy to see a next-gen YotaPhone announced this year. While the original wasn’t exactly that impressive, it was a pretty unique idea and I’m glad to see that the next-gen version takes the same concept but enhances it with better design and much better overall specs. I was equally impressed by HTC’s newest Desire, at least based on what we’ve seen so far.

That’s far from an extensive list of everything that piqued my interest at MWC, as I truly enjoyed every moment and there were just so many announcements that it’s hard to mention them all!

Adam Koueider

In my opinion the two big devices from MWC were the Gear Fit from Samsung, and the Xperia Z2 from Sony.

I’ve told myself from the beginning of MWC that I wouldn’t be getting the Z2 and that I’d stick with the Xperia Z1, but as time has gone on, I’ve pretty much been convinced to buy one. I probably won’t be purchasing the Gear Fit, unless Samsung decides to open up to other Android devices, but it’s proven that wearables CAN be stylish and beautiful. It’s also gotten me into purchasing one of those shiny sports activity trackers (it’s a shame the Fitbit Force got recalled, so if you have a recommendation let me know!).

These were the two big highlights of the show, but there were a few others. The Samsung Galaxy S5’s camera will perhaps make or break the device, and if it’s as good as Samsung claims it is, it should take the crown as the best smartphone camera for an Android device (the Nokia Lumia 1020 might have a word in when it comes to all smartphones).

The Xperia Z2 Tablet is a stylish tablet, which has enough of a premium feel for it to go head to head with the iPad Air, and as long as the battery doesn’t suffer from the razor thin design, it could be my next tablet to replace my ageing 3rd gen iPad. There’s also the HTC Desire 816, which looks better than the successor to the HTC One (if the leaked images are to be believed).

Nokia also fulfilled the dreams of millions of Nokia-Android fans, although the device was mostly more of a nightmare than the saviour that many people were waiting for. MWC was a really fun event, and it’s stamped itself on the calendar as a place of many interesting devices in the mobile market while CES becomes less and less important.

What do YOU think?

Join us in the comments and vote in our poll.

[poll id=”476″]

Andrew Grush
Andrew is one of the three Managing Editors of Android Authority, primarily responsible for the overseeing of US team of writers, in addition to several other projects such as VR Source and more. He loves tech, gaming, his family, and good conversations with like-minded folks.
  • Shark Bait

    Sony z2 wins best in show by a long shot.
    Samsung wins biggest disappointment.

    Also really interested to see some innovative camera tech coming out of the works, not just more mega pixels. Things like dual lenses look awesome, HTC could be very interesting.
    I think now days , screens and processors are almost a level playing field leaving cameras and battery’s to improve upon. Since no one has pulled their weight in battery’s yet the only interesting developments look to be coming from the world of imaging.

    • Clarence Alvarado

      From Xperia Z1 Compact of CES, to Xperia Z2 and Xperia Tablet Z2 of MWC… And soon Xperia Z2 Ultra and Z2 Compact on IFA, it will be Sony’s year for 2014…

      Just they shouldn’t ruin their own parade by showcasing the same design again. Change is constant.

    • wat

      I really do wonder what Samsung would have had to have done to impress people like you. Would it having a 2k screen wowed you? Would having 3GB RAM change your opinion? Snapdragon 805? Iris scanner? Shoot fucking lasers?

      • Shark Bait

        Yes, pretty much. And what do you mean by “people like you?”. People with an opinion?? I’m not saying it’s a bad phone, just disappointing. we were told to expect a metal body, new software design, 2k screen. And in the end it just felt disappointing.

        Sony hit the nail on the head, nice design, nice software and great specs. And I expect HTC will one up sony in a few weeks too.

        Its just a poor effort from a tech giant!!

        • Android Developer

          What exactly is new with the Z2 ? How much does it differentiate itself from other devices (in terms of originality and features) or its previous version?

          I think SGS5 disappointed me only because they still enlarged the device instead of minimizing the bezels, and that like most devices, it still has speakers on its back. Also I didn’t like the USB cover that is used for protecting against water and dust.

          Nevertheless, I think the SGS5 has a lot more goodies and features than any other device that was shown.

          • Shark Bait

            The z2 has great specs (like the s5) coupled with great design (unlike the s5) . its just these days I think specs are pretty much a level playing field, leaving good design as a great way to differentiate, and I think Sammy has missed this.

            What goodies does the s5 have other than a fingerprint scanner or heart rate thing?

          • Android Developer

            but “great design” is subjective. Does the new design help you in any way in terms of functionality? The good thins is that they finally put the navigation buttons as part of the screen, but sadly they still left a huge bezel on the bottom (and on the top). The design of the Z2 looks pretty much the same as its previous one .
            Also, will you still cover the device with anything to customize/protect it? If you will, the design still doesn’t matter since you won’t see most of the design of the device. You will still have the same feeling as any other device you’ve covered before.
            Personally, I prefer not to have metal on the device, because it usually has too many disadvantages over polycarbonate: heat, radiation, durability, bending, scratches, and reception.

            About SGS5, even though I still think it could be much better, I can list a few things that might still be better than any other device:
            1. it still has removable battery & sd card support . Z2 may have sd card support (which is good) and much higher battery capacity, but the battery is still hard to replace.
            2. it probably still has low SAR, as its previous versions, though sadly it seems like they have it being increased in the few recent versions of Galaxy series. I hope it will get lower this time, or at least be lower than others.
            3. it will probably still be able to record calls (though sadly only through ROMs and root), as its previous versions, as opposed to most of the other devices. I know it’s illegal on some countries, but in mine it’s only illegal if all sides of the call don’t know it’s recorded. I know there are many app that claim to be able to record calls, but I haven’t found any that does it well in both sides of the calls and in all cases.
            4. in terms of software, I don’t know how intuitive the contacts app is on other devices, but I think it’s much easier to manage them on touchwiz than on the vanilla (which I have tried). I also like the camera app and the keyboard app compared to the vanilla apps.
            5. wasn’t mentioned, but maybe SGS5 supports touching with gloves.
            6. it has some features that i don’t know if they are available on Z2 and other devices, like the “download booster” which I think uses both 3g/lte and WIFI at the same time. another nice features which weren’t described much (and I hope are good): privacy mode, kids mode, super low brightness (probably useful for when you connect it through HDMI), emergency battery-saving mode which this time uses B&W colors to save on battery (don’t remember its name). It also has USB3 support, which probably makes it a little less time to charge.
            I probably forgot some other features too.

            Of course they have improved the camera and other hardware stuff (“better faster stronger,…”) , but that’s the usual improvements which all companies do all the time. I think both devices have a good camera (and specs), and without the ability to test it out myself, I can’t tell which is better. I can say that based on what I’ve seen, both seem to have good specs.

            These times, specs doesn’t mean a lot for me. All high end devices perform very well already. I would be more impressed about other things that seem to be forgotten, like much longer battery life, shorter battery charge times, being eco-friendly (to both the user and its environment), …
            I would also be impressed by making the device like what the ubuntu phone does – making it the ultimate computer of the house (replacing all smart TVs, all desktop computers , all game consoles,…) . I think that sadly we are still very far from this future.

          • Shark Bait

            Yes, well every think is subjective. My thing is at the moment, functionality is pretty much the same, so good design really matters now.
            And no, I don’t use a case for the exact reason you just mentioned! But that’s a whole other discussion

          • Android Developer

            Well I don’t know if we’ve reached to the point of not being afraid that the device/screen will shatter/scratch when it falls (and it will fall, eventually). that’s also why I care less about design. sharp edges also don’t mix well with that.
            I like the Z2 design, but beauty isn’t the only thing that can impress me, and it can’t be the major thing that will cause me to prefer it over other devices.

        • wat

          People who berate it like it is a piece of shit. Other than the Z2 it sitill blows every other phone in existence out of the water, except the Note 3 which happens to destroy the Z2 anyway. I really think the times have changed and that the Note series is really their flagship now and not the Galaxy S. Wait til Autumn for some serious mind blowing specs I reckon.

          • Android Developer

            please don’t talk like this. he didn’t use this language…
            it’s just his opinion. he prefers Z2.
            most of us didn’t even have the chance to try those devices.

          • Stu14nmUD64bit7″

            I tried to like your comments, but something’s up, agree, see my comments above.

          • Shark Bait

            I never said it was shit, I dont think it’s shit. I think its a disappointment because someone with the resources and engineering might of Samsung, could do better

      • David Avila

        With all the hype Samsung and the press generated, those improvements you mention should be there, instead of not differentianting from the competition (And looking more to the S4 with small improvements)

  • Arcybiskup

    For me the winner of biggest disappointment award is… Nokia… Sansung lands on 2nd place.

    I really hoped for a “true-android” Nokia, but also a high-end model. Something like lets say 1020 with “true-Android”. I am disappointed like hell. I am asking where the f… is that Nokia, that i can remember? Innovative, nice, awaking desire to buy that device…

    • thartist

      You know why nobody mentioned it? Because it’s so stupid it doesn’t even count.

  • Memphis May [S]unjay

    The Sony Xperia Z2 won while the S5 was a disappointment. Nokia’s announcement was great but i’m not sure if i’m interested in an Android device without Google services.

    • Rick jaan
      • MasterMuffin

        It’s beautiful :3

      • Memphis May [S]unjay

        Awesome! It can now be a Nokia android phone with compromises.

    • K

      S5 will still win in sales, as it has stronger partner ships with carriers and retailers. And ofcourse marketing. Sony spends less than samsung in advertising.

      • Stu14nmUD64bit7″

        Samsung will spend $US 15 billion this year on advertising, more important though, is that they are spending 10 billion on 14 nm chip production. Obviously to get the benefits from this they’ll want to go 64 bit, it means hundreds of GPUs, 4/6 GB of GRAM. You may have seen SanDisk are selling 128 GB micro SD cards, for $100, useful for the 7″ UD screens content. If we can now do QHD in 5″, then we can do UHD in 7″, although I might wait until a Nexus 7 UHD. As I have a 39″ UDTV selling for $400, that along with my 32 GB Nexus 7 and 5 FHDs, will do for now.
        Good to see a 10″ UD screen tablet, being demoed at WMC, to show off Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805, that and Nvidia’s K1 are already pretty good for UHD, even though they’re not 14 nm, or 64 bit.

      • Memphis May [S]unjay

        Yes, that is true.

      • eliy hooo

        yes u are right Gs5 will win for 2reasons retailers and marking unfortonaly if HTC could do better markting then maybe they could move up

    • Stu14nmUD64bit7″

      Google puts most of the money into developing Android, Amazon and Microsoft pinches it, stops Google’s revenue, Microsoft charges Android OEMs licence fees, it may not be illegal. But it sure seems immoral, unethical, lacking in conscience.

    • Dud

      Xperia z2 was similar like z1. So nothing special at mwc 2014. I was disapointed with S5 too

      • Memphis May [S]unjay

        The Z1 is 6 months old and better than the S5.

        • eliy hooo

          please are u blind or just brain dead the GS5 is better the Z1 the camera is much better and its water and dust prof

          • Memphis May [S]unjay

            I think you are the one who is blind or brain dead. the Z1 has a better camera than the S5. Samsung only raised the megapixel count of the S5 camera. The Z1’s camera has a better aperture, bigger sensor and a way higher megapixel count. The S5 Also isn’t water and dust proof, it’s only water resistance while the Z1 is water and dust proof. Please know your facts before you throw insults around.

    • gnnerut

      Here’s a few other Tablets to Launch at CES 2014 and MWC that stand out —

      – Tegra Note 7 Android tablet – 4G edition ($299) – offers world’s fastest processor for a 7-inch device and offers innovative photo-taking technology and stylus features.

      – Ramos i12 ($339) – features a 12-inch 1920X1200 HD screen display and powered by an Intel Z2580 2.0 GHz processor; with specs that include Bluetooth 4.0, MicroSD Memory and 10,000 mAh battery–compares to the new Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 but more competitively priced.

      – Ramos i10 Pro ($399) – Hybrid Android/Windows 8.1 Dual Boot tablet with 10-inch 1920×1200 HD display and powered by an Intel Baytrail Z3770D processor – 2.0 GHz – 2GB/64GB Storage and 10,000 mAh battery.

      – Pipo M7 Pro – 32GB ($229) compares to the LG-G Pad and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ but priced considerably less – features a Quad Core processor – 2GB/1.6Ghz, a Samsung brand 8.9″ 1920×1200 HD screen, Bluetooth and GPS.

      – Hisense X1 MAXE Mega-phone – 4G LTE ($389) — 6.8-inch phone with 1920X1080 HD display and powered by a Snapdragon 800 CPU – 2.3 GHz /2 GB RAM. Phone calls handled through speakerphone or Bluetooth headset. The X1 features Android 4.4 Kit Kat, Bluetooth 4.0 / NFC, GPS and 13MP camera — and also offers a mini 2.5-inch Bluetooth phone add-on that works with the X1.

      TABLETMAXX — is one of the first sources to feature these new products and has more details on each of these new models.

  • Jaun Lombard

    I will take a Z2 tab because it looks awesome….but I will buy later this year the S5 an gear fit….just think the combination is better than the Z2 and its fit thing.
    Z2 looks good but I want more goodies in a phone and not almost stock android plus in South Africa…not all of SONY’s services are supported thus you buy a sony but apps like PS took years to get support!

    • Brendon Brown

      True, Im in South Africa with an Xperia Z and i have to agree with you on that.

  • Gagandeep Singh

    Good thing that happened for me I guess is HTC Desire 816 , and Xperia M2 because I do not want to spend too much but want to just have good mid range phone with good display size.Now as discussed earlier price of HTC desire will matter a lot.

    Apart from this android in noika X series does not look good and it is certianly a nightmare for android fans and nokia build quality lovers.But yes now microsoft is attached to noika and microsoft is out of its mind as we already know.So what can we say.

    Z2 is great from sony and Samsung has done fair job with S5.

    • asdf

      You from Rick Hansen?

  • Poya

    Nokia X announcement is the most exciting. Why no Nokia X in poll above ? I’m disappointed with AA.
    As expected, Nokia X didn’t come with Google apps, been hinted by many previous leaks. No surprise here.
    The best thing is Nokia X will be available in my country. Rejoice. As developer, I’ll publish app on Nokia Store. But as user, I’ll stick with my lovely One X a bit longer.

  • XMC993

    Was most excited about the Ubuntu phone announcements. Can’t wait to use it as a daily driver!

  • Anonymousfella

    Gear Fit

  • wat

    Huawei MediaPad X1 for me. Great piece of kit if the price is right when it comes to England.

  • Heisenberg

    I’m not impressed with the GS5 but it shocks me people are impressed with the Z2. Both are minor upgrade.

    • Stu14nmUD64bit7″

      Wanted to like your comments too, still something wrong, see my comments above.

  • Suthan Sivekumaar

    The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 are two wonderful high-end flagship smartphones. Sony Xperia Z2 had 3 GB of Ram where the S5 had only 2 GB of Ram. The Sony Xperia Z2 has a 3200 mAh battery, where the S5 has a 2800 mAh battery. Both of these smartphones are running Android 4.4.2 . The Z2 has a 20.7 MP(Rear Camera) and 2.2 MP(1080@30fps)(Front Camera).The Z2 has a 5.2 inch screen(1080 x 1920 pixels = 423 ppi) where the S5 has a 5.1 inch screen(1080 x 1920 pixels = 432 ppi).The Z2 has Quad-Core 2.3 with Snapdragon 801 and the S5 has a Quad-Core 2.5 with Snapdragon 801. And finally the weight of the Z2 is 163 grams(5.75 ounces) where the S5’s weight is 145 grams(5.11 ounces). There are many big differences and small differences between these two devices.

  • arcwindz

    In my opinion, the poll speaks for itself. Z2 gave out the most impression in mwc 2014.
    Not because others got bad phones, but how sony answer their shortcomings.
    Bad speaker volume and placement, fixed
    Bad display, fixed
    Outdated specs, fixed
    Slow updates, partially fixed
    Big bezels, well, they cut some here and there
    And big big battery, it’s 3200!
    All the while keepin their simple classy design on both hard and software

    The other big one which is s5, doesn’t really answer the critiques.
    Yes it’s a great phone, great specs, great new camera tech, and so on. But s5 doesn’t really answer their shortcomings, one of which is the design languange. And that’s probably why people think “same old stuff, just another GS series with better specs” even if it has many improvements.

    • Guest

  • renz

    nothing really interesting for me. mid range phones still using soc like snapdragon 400. this year mid range phone (like Xperia M2/ LG G2 Mini) should have snapdragon 600 performance while the flagship will take any the fastest soc available this year. we often see big performance jump on the flagship but very small on the mid range

  • Mike Newitt

    Yawn… What ???