MWC 2018 is finally coming to an end, and tons of great products have been shown off at the trade show. High-end smartphones, low-end smartphones, concept smartphones, and even chipsets that power these smartphones were unveiled this week.
It’s difficult to choose which products are the best, but we’ve managed to narrow it down to eight. Here are Android Authority’s best of MWC 2018 awards.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is the big one of the show, which should come as no surprise. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of these devices is how much there is to talk about. We were expecting only an iterative update from the Galaxy S8 line, but we got much more than that.
Top of the line specifications, a dual-camera setup in the Galaxy S9 Plus, and a mechanical iris with support for dual apertures makes the S9 and S9 Plus truly special smartphones. Samsung even tried to make its own version of Apple’s Animoji, even if they are much creepier than what you get on the iPhone X.
Just when we thought Samsung couldn’t make its flagship lineup any better, we were proven wrong once again this year with the Galaxy S9.
The Vivo Apex concept smartphone brings innovative and refreshing smartphone ideas at this year’s MWC.
It sports an in-display fingerprint sensor that allows for dual-fingerprint recognition, a pop-up front-facing camera, and cleverly hidden sensors that allow the phone to have a bezel-free front.
This is only a concept phone for now, but we can’t wait until it comes to market.
Flagships steal all the limelight, but the other end of the spectrum is just as important. Google biggest play yet in the ultra-budget segment is Android Go, which was one of the biggest themes of MWC 2018.
First introduced last year, Android Go combines a slim version of Android Oreo with optimized apps designed to work on phones with 1 GB of RAM or less. Devices like the Alcatel 1X, Nokia 1, or ZTE Tempo Go show it’s possible to bring a quality Android experience in phones that cost less than $100.
The best part about Android Go is it will give more security and more features to users who would be otherwise left out in the cold. Long term, this could raise the bar for non-Android Go devices and make it less painful to use a dirt-cheap phone.
Nokia 8 Sirocco
Nokia’s market dominance has all but disappeared since the Windows phone platform ceased development, but that doesn’t mean the company is calling it quits. The Nokia 8 Sirocco is the company’s biggest play yet to break into the world of Android.
With a striking glass-and-steel design, flagship-level specs, and one of the cleanest versions of Android available, can the Nokia 8 Sirocco help the company reclaim its dominance in the mobile space? With Android One and the power of Google behind it, it might just have a fighting chance.
Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus
With truly wireless audio becoming more popular, the need for a reliable connection between devices continues to grow. Earlier this year, Qualcomm introduced a chipset designed to help with the overall experience, and here at MWC the company has refined it even further. The QCC5100 chipset has been updated with Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Stereo technology.
Most true wireless earbuds require one earbud to receive the signal from your phone and then transmit it to the other earbud, all while accounting for any delays so they can play simultaneously. The new chip allows for the earbuds to share that responsibility, and does so while reducing power consumption by 65 percent. It also splits up the audio signal to the left and right earbud individually. With less data needing to be shared between the ‘buds, the result is a stronger and more stable connection for the user.
MediaTek Helio P60
If you think you need to buy a $500+ flagship smartphone to get machine learning features, think again.
The Helio P60 is MediaTek’s most notable release in a long time. Brining dedicated machine learning hardware to a more affordable price point and new markets is an important step in the push toward ubiquity.
Best of all, it will open up new features ranging from facial recognition through to real-time translation and enhanced imaging processing without having to buy a $1,000 smartphone. We should start seeing new phones powered by the Helio P60 in Q2 2018, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Cat’s S60 caught all the headlines in 2016 because it was the very first smartphone with a built-in thermal imaging camera, but it wasn’t without its fair share of issues. Now Cat is releasing a new model called the S61, which aims to bring plenty of improvements and new features to the rugged smartphone line.
The Cat S61 still has a built-in FLIR camera, though it’s now capable of capturing HD photos, up from VGA quality. It also comes with an air quality filter that will notify you if the air is too polluted, as well as laser-assisted distance measurement which can measure point-to-point distances up to 10 meters.
Oh, it’s also running Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. Samsung can’t even say that about its brand new Galaxy S9.
Asus ZenFone 5Z
Asus isn’t holding anything back with its latest flagship, the ZenFone 5Z.
The ZenFone 5Z rocks a little notch at the top of the screen, a la iPhone X, which houses the front-facing camera. The 19:9 aspect ratio display leaves little room for reading notifications, but all applications render below the notch so you still get a full-screen experience. It also packs a Snapdragon 845 SoC, 6 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, dual-SIM support, a 3,300 mAh battery, and a dual-camera setup.
The best part? It’ll come to market for less than €500.
We would like to make something clear — we love the idea that this phone is priced very reasonably and doesn’t sacrifice on the specs. However, Asus’ decision to blatantly copy Apple’s design and call every smart feature “AI” is less than appealing.
That’s it — Android Authority’s best of MWC 2018 awards! What was your favorite product from the show? Do you think anything else deserved an award? Be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments.