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Best of MWC 2017: Our picks of the best Android and computing devices
Another year, another trade show, and yet another Mobile World Congress has come to an end. Without doubt, this year’s show will be memorable for several reasons including the return to the table of Nokia and the absence of Samsung, although its upcoming Galaxy S8 event was announced on the eve of the show.
Over the past week, we’ve had ten members of the team ploughing the show floor, attending press conferences and briefings and sifting through the rubbish to find the gadgets and technology at the show that truly matter.
Want to know what stood out from MWC 2017 and why? You’re in the right place: here’s our picks of the best Android and general technology related announcements for MWC 2017, bought to you by Android Authority and our sibling site TabTimes!
Where else to begin than a product we heard so much about before MWC that its eventual unveiling wasn’t a surprise. A lot of the info came from LG direct, who continued their habit of revealing everything about their new smartphone ahead of the press conference.
The LG G6 is official and it’s unlike the G5 that preceded it in many ways; there’s no modularity, the updated dual camera array is rather cool and it has the world’s first 18:9 display on a mobile phone. The result is a smartphone which – at first glance at least – is certainly impressive.
HUAWEI P10 & P10 Plus
From one returning flagship to another and like clockwork, HUAWEI didn’t disappoint as they took to the stage in Fira Montjuic on their now familiar Sunday afternoon slot to announce the HUAWEI P10, P10 Plus and two variants of the HUAWEI Watch 2.
Both P10 models are an evolution of the HUAWEI P9 with elements of the HUAWEI Mate 9 (and Porsche Design) thrown in. New features include the Leica dual camera 2.0, under-glass fingerprint sensor and – in the case of the HUAWEI P10 Plus – the first QHD screen on a widely available HUAWEI flagship – both the Porsche Design Mate 9 and Mate 9 Pro were only available in selected markets while the P10 Plus is expected to come to many more. The Mate 9 was a solid handset and with a few tweaks, the P10 and P10 Plus deliver the same experience in a smaller, prettier form factor.
The BlackBerry KEYone technically isn’t a new phone, having been first handled as the BlackBerry Mercury back at CES 2017 but nonetheless, it made its grand debut in the earliest press event I can ever remember at MWC 2017, on the penultimate day before the show began.
Nonetheless, it was worth turning up for with the BlackBerry KEYone sporting a full physical keyboard combined with a large display, the latest Android Nougat OS and several distinctive BlackBerry features such as the BlackBerry Hub, convenience key and gestures on the keyboard. At first glance, the specs might not appear the best, but the experience doesn’t disappoint and the KEYone has us excited about what’s to come.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium isn’t the first 4K handset to be released but it is the successor to the first – the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium. The XZ Premium looks and feels like a Sony smartphone but offers an excellent user experience, 4K HDR Triluminos display, great build, and a feature set that’s up there with the flagships.
It’s not perfect but the 4K screen helps make up for many of the handset’s other shortcomings. Like the Xperia Z5 Premium, it runs at 1080p natively to save battery but boosts to 4K HDR when viewing content that is 4K and/or HDR. The other standout feature, especially for vloggers and YouTubers, is the new 960fps slow motion recording, which is part of Sony’s new camera sensor. All in all, there’s a lot to like about the Xperia XZ Premium and it’s worthy of our Best of MWC award.
Lenovo Tab 4 Plus
The Lenovo Tab 4 Plus is the first award you might not have expected us to hand out but Lenovo has created a tablet that’s plenty powerful, has a great IPS display and provides a solid tablet experience.
In the hand, the Tab 4 Plus feels premium and offers Dolby Atmos audio through the dual speakers. The package also includes 3GB RAM and 16GB of ROM or 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM while a couple of cameras, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner and the latest Android Nougat OS complete a more than satisfactory tablet specs list. All in all, a solid tablet from Lenovo and one that’ll make many Android fans happy.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
For years, readers have been crying out for Samsung to bring its incredible S-Pen to other product ranges aside from the Galaxy Note series. We’ve had a few tablets but the experience on these has left a lot to be desired, until now that is: the Galaxy Tab S3 is the first tablet with an S-Pen that you’d want to use.
The iPad Pro range is certainly amongst the best stylus-enabled tablets on the market and the Galaxy Tab S3 can certainly match it. The S-Pen is arguably the most refined and feature-rich stylus on any consumer device and the rest of the specs include a 9.7-inch HDR-ready QHD display, excellent processor, Android Nougat OS and flagship-level Snapdragon 820 chipset. If you’ve been searching for an iPad Pro running Android, look no further than the Galaxy Tab S3.
Samsung Galaxy Book
Our next award takes us to another new Samsung Galaxy product, also featuring an S-Pen. Available in two sizes, the Galaxy Book brings the same Galaxy DNA and S-Pen as its tablet sibling but runs Windows with laptop-level specs.
All this means that this 2-in-1 can rival the absolute best laptops and tablets on the market and with features that include full-power Intel Core i processors and superfast SSDs. There’s also a new Galaxy Flow feature across the entire new range that offers seamless multitasking between Galaxy products including smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Lenovo Mix 320
If you’ve ever wanted an insanely cheap laptop that’s perfect for light work on the go or a cheap convertible that served multiple purposes, you need to stop looking. Forget the Chromebooks, the Lenovo Mix 320 is the answer and this incredible product is launching next month from just $200. Let that sink in for a moment.
Lenovo Mix 320 hands on and details
For that you don’t get the most stellar specs but you do get an Intel Atom X5 processor, which is good for light usage including Office and web browsing, as well as a 10.1-inch Full HD display. Sure, Chromebooks probably offer a slightly better experience on paper but the Mix 320 runs full Windows, making it perfect for companies everywhere. At $200, it’s almost a no-brainer.
OPPO 5x Zoom
Most years, we wait for companies to turn up at the show with new products that we’re almost expecting to see and it can be difficult to be truly impressed and surprised. Just occasionally, companies can still truly surprise us and OPPO did just this at MWC when it showed off its 5x zoom camera prototype.
That’s optical zoom, not digital zoom and the result is lossless quality as you zoom in without needing a bulky camera lens. All in all, a first for mobile phones and made possibly by OPPO thinking rather cleverly about how to circumvent the usual problem of a thick optical zoom lens. We can’t wait for the first phones to ship with this new camera array.
Nokia 3310 – the return of Nokia!
We saved the best until last: Nokia’s back, so is Snake and a firm favorite: the Nokia 3310. In a show where no less than four major flagships were announced, it was a sub €50 feature phone that everyone knows exceptionally well that stole the show. Nokia remade the 3310 and in doing so, confirmed it knows how to generate the hype.
From catchy pre-conference ceampaigns reminding everyone just how much they loved Nokia of all, to the iconic Nokia ringtone – sung by a choir nonetheless – and a partnership with Google to offer the Pure Android experience on the Nokia 6, 5 and 3, Nokia is back. It might be HMD Global and not Nokia making the phones, but this is more than just name-slapping and Nokia is most definitely Nokia, whoever’s at the helm.
The 3310 won the award as we felt it to be the most apt representation of Nokia. We never like to see a titan fall and one of the biggest of all time has returned with Android in tow.
There you have it, our picks for the Best of MWC 2017! It’s been a great show and you can check out of all the coverage from Barcelona in our portal! Stay tuned for reviews of the LG G6 and HUAWEI P10 in the coming days as well as more in the coming weeks and of course, plenty of trade shows along the way.