Tech world’s one of the biggest events, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016 has come to an end. The event kept every tech blog on its toes with back to back launches of some of the most-awaited smartphones. We, at TelecomTalk, had sleepless nights covering most of the launches. But, the wait and work were worth it all, as we witnessed the unveiling of some of the top of the line smartphones that will stay under the spotlight for the year 2016, at least.
With so many launches, most of you must be having a hard time in remembering the best of the lot. So, we decided to give you a little roundup of the top smartphones that were unleashed at MWC 2016, Barcelona. Time flies, and next year we will be witnessing another set of amazing launches at MWC, but, for now, let’s take a look at the best of the lot.
Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge
Well, we knew that Samsung is going to come up with the Galaxy S7 line-up and thanks to the leaks that started flowing in from mid-2015. Both the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge took the event by storm and we couldn’t ignore the fact that Samsung worked pretty hard on these phones. Let’s take a look at what these smartphones offer.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge feature a 5.1-inch and 5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screens respectively. Samsung has crafted both the smartphones with 3D glass and metal that give sturdiness and curves to the phones, which results in better grip and form factor. As seen on the LG G5, these two phones are also packed with “Always-On Display”. The new display mode is targeted at presenting users with an easy zero-touch experience that will ensure that notifications won’t go unnoticed.
In terms of hardware, both the smartphones are powered by either the 64-bit 2.3GHz octa-core Exynos or a 64-bit 2.15GHz quad-core Snapdragon 820 chipsets. Samsung asserts that the CPU and GPU performances on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are greater than their predecessors Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. Both the smartphones support 4G LTE Cat 9 (up to 450 Mbps of download speeds) in terms of connectivity.
Furthermore, these two smartphones are also equipped with IP68 water and dust resistance. Samsung has integrated a one-of-its-kind Edge UX in the Galaxy S7 edge, which will provide an upper-level edge experience to the users. The Edge UX offers convenience and productivity by organizing simple shortcuts for the most-used apps or features by users, such as e-mail, third-party applications, selfie mode, panorama mode, and many more.
In the photography department, both the flagships sport a 12-megapixel Dual Pixel camera, which is promoted by the company to produce brighter and clearer images in low light conditions. The camera is outfitted with a sharper lens clubbed with a wider aperture and a larger pixel that results in fast shutter speed. Besides, the camera module has also been made slimmer and thankfully, the lens does not protrude anymore, unlike the Galaxy S6. It also features a 5-megapixel selfie camera with a f/1.7, aperture, which ensures brighter selfies.
Following the past leaks and rumors, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge come studded with a microSD card slot, which can be further expanded up to 200GB. It bears 32GB/64GB internal storage, which will vary as per the variant you will go for. Both the devices are paired with 4GB of RAM, and are expected to feature Hybrid SIM slot for select markets. It means that users can use the one of the slots for either a microSD card or a SIM card. On the software front, both the devices run Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
These new flagships by Samsung are equipped with 3,000 mAh (for Galaxy S7) and 3,600 mAh battery (for Galaxy S7 edge). Both the devices support fast charging on wired and wireless chargers.
Now coming on to the pricing and availability, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will go on sale in the US on March 11 onwards. The pre-ordering will commence on February 23. The Galaxy S7 will be up for grabs in Gold, and Black color variants, on the other hand, the Galaxy S7 Edge will be available in Silver, Black, and Gold color options.
After a series of speculations, LG finally unveiled its much-awaited flagship, the G5 at MWC 2016 in Barcelona. The device, as expected, comes with powerful specs and features such as dual rear cameras and a hardware expansion slot.
The LG G5 comes packed in a fluid metal body and a 5.3-inch QHD “always on” display, which offers a pixel density of 554 ppi that in-turn makes it a bit smaller than the G4’s 5.5-inch display panel. Before the launch, many of the leaks suggested that the LG G5 might feature a 4K display; but thankfully it doesn’t as that would have taken a massive toll on its battery. LG’s latest flagship is powered by a Snapdragon 820, which is Qualcomm’s newest chipset with 64-bit Kryo cores. Such powerful chip is paired with 4GB of RAM, which is expected to deliver a powerhouse performance.Talking about LG G5’s camera, Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf, suggested that users will see a DSLR-like image quality and console-grade gaming on the G5.
However, we do think that it might not be that cool overall as the “removable” battery that backs the device is just 2800mAh battery. Only saving grace that LG can use in its favour to cover up the small battery issue is that the G5 come with a bespoke, custom core, which takes the load off the main processor and that can pretty much save the battery life too. The smartphone comes with 32GB internal storage, which is expandable up to 2TB via microSD card. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and supports connectivity options such as 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual-band), GPS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, Fingerprint sensor, and USB Type-C connector. The device measures 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7~8.6mm; and weighs 159 grams.
In the photography department, the LG G5 comes with substantial improvements over its predecessor. It sports a features a dual primary camera. One camera comes with 75-degree Field of View (FoV) and a 16-megapixel sensor while the second camera comes with a wider 135-degree FoV and an 8-megapixel sensor. Interestingly, users will also be able to merge the images from both the main cameras and can also add a variety of effects to them with real-time preview. The device, obviously, comes with a selfie camera, which is of 8-megapixel.
LG has also announced hardware expansion modules to enhance device functionality. These modules are — CAM Plus and Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play. As revealed in the leaks, LG has also introduced a variety of companion devices named as “LG Friends”. These devices can be transformed into a digital camera, Hi-Fi player and much more.
Xiaomi Mi 5
After a long wait of nineteen months, Xiaomi finally unveiled the Mi5 at MWC 2016. The Xiaomi Mi5 brings the same metal-and-glass build with curved edges on the back that’s reminiscent from the Xiaomi Mi Note and the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro. However, the back is now ceramic, unlike its earlier devices. The biggest addition to the device is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, which is one of the fastest mobile chipsets in the world right now.
The Mi 5 (Pro) comes with a 5.15-inch IPS LCD display with Full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) and upto 600 nits of maximum brightness. Other new things include a fingerprint sensor in the home button and a USB Type-C port at the bottom. Moreover, the device is water-resistant, just like the Sony Xperia Z5/Z5 Premium and the Samsung Galaxy S7 (and the Galaxy S7 edge).
The device sports 4GB of LP-DDR4 RAM and 128GB of internal storage space. The company went with UFS 2.0 storage instead of eMMC 5.0 for faster transfer speeds. The Xiaomi Mi 5 lacks a microSD card slot, and the company is continuing with providing non-expandable storage on its top-tier smartphone even though brands like Samsung, HTC, LG, and Sony are providing it.
On the imaging front, the Xiaomi Mi 5 comes with a 16-megapixel primary camera (IMX298) with phase-detection autofocus, 4-axis OIS, dual-tone dual-LED flash, and 4K video recording. There’s a 4-megapixel front-facing camera with large 2.0µm pixels, so the sensor might be the same one that HTC is using in its devices. The primary camera uses DTI (Deep Trench Isolation) technology in its sensor, and it’s similar to Samsung’s ISOCELL technology.
Connectivity-wise, the Xiaomi Mi5 comes with a dual-SIM card slot with 4G+ connectivity. This is something almost all brands are doing these days, at least in China and India. With the increase in demand for high-end smartphones with dual-SIM card slots, brands like HTC, LG, Samsung, Microsoft, and Sony have also released flagship smartphones with two SIM card slots.
There’s dual-band Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v4.1, Infrared port, NFC, USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s a 3,000 mAh removable battery, and Xiaomi has also implemented Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 feature that comes with the Snapdragon 820 processing chipset. The device will be available in Black, Gold, and White colours. We expect the 4GB RAM and 128GB storage variant of the Xiaomi Mi5 to be priced as high as Rs. 30,000 in the country. It will be available in China from March 1, 2016, but the company hasn’t revealed anything about its availability in India yet.
Sony Xperia X series
Sony’s latest high-end and mid-range smartphones – Xperia X performance, Xperia X, and Xperia XA have gone official at MWC 2016, Barcelona. These devices feature a 5-inch 1080p Triluminos display, and run Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Except for the Sony Xperia XA, the other two handsets are equipped with fingerprint sensors embedded in the power button. This time around, Sony fixed its focus on the camera feature of smartphones and worked closely with the engineers from its Alpha hybrid camera products team to equip the new Xperia X smartphone line-up with worthy camera performance.
Sony Xperia X performance and Xperia X:
In the imaging department, both the phones sport a 23-megapixel primary camera with Sony’s latest Predictive Hybrid Autofocus technology, which lets a user select the subject and it then foretells its motion. It allows users to capture the action in precise and blur-free focus; other than this the camera also packs in features such as Exmos RS sensor, Predictive Hybrid AutoFocus, 1080p video recording, 1/2.3 sensor, f/2.0 sensor. Both the devices boast a 13-megapixel selfie camera coupled with 1080p video recording capability, 1/3” Exmos RS sensor, 22mm wide-angle f/2.0 lens. Both the devices feature 32GB internal storage, which can be further expanded up to 200GB via microSD card.
On the hardware front, the high-end Xperia X performance comes powered by a 64-bit Quad-Core Snapdragon 820 14nm chipset while the mid-ranger Xperia X is powered by a Hexa-Core Snapdragon 650 chipset; both are equipped with 3GB of RAM. In terms of connectivity, both the devices will be available in single and dual-SIM variants with 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+, Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac (2.4GHz / 5GHz) MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/ GLONASS, and NFC. The Xperia X performance is backed by a 2700mAh battery while the Xperia X is backed by a 2630mAh battery; both the devices feature Qnovo’s Adaptive Charging technology, which provides quick charging.
Sony Xperia XA:
The Sony Xperia XA is a mid-ranger by Sony with a 5-inch curved glass edge-to-edge display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. It is powered by a 1.8 GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 (MT6755) chipset paired with 3GB of RAM. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and bears 16GB internal storage, expandable up to 200GB via microSD card. The device sports a 13-megapixel primary camera with with 1/3” Exmos RS sensor, Predictive Hybrid AutoFocus, 1080p video recording functionality; along with an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with Sony Exmor R sensor, 88-degree wide-angle lens. It is backed by 2300mAh battery featuring Qnovo’s Adaptive Charging technology for fast charging.
Sony has not revealed any information regarding the pricing of the aforementioned smartphones, however, they are set to go on sale in Summer 2016. All these devices will be available in White, Graphite Black, Lime Gold and Rose Gold color options.
In its first stint at MWC 2016, Barcelona, Gionee unveiled its flagship device, the Gionee S8. At the event, Gionee also unleashed its new logo, which comes with a tagline that reads, “Make Smile.” The Gionee S8 will be retailing at EUR 449 (approx. Rs. 34,000) and will be up for purchase by the end of March in Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold color options.
Coming on to the specifications, the device comes with 3D Touch (like the Apple iPhone 6s? Yes!). The functionality of the pressure-sensitive 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) AMOLED display used on the device is similar to the iPhone 6s. Gionee claimed that the device can sense up to 3 levels of force, which includes a touch to select an app, tap to preview app content, and press to make the app run.
The smartphone features 74.9 percent of screen-to-body ratio, and is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 (MT6755) chipset paired with 4GB of RAM. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Amigo OS 3.2 on top, and boasts fingerprint sensor, which is integrated into the home button. In terms of storage, the device comes with 64GB of internal storage, which can be further increased up to 128GB via microSD card.
Moreover, Gionee has introduced a host of new features with the S8 smartphone. These new features are — dual WhatsApp support for each SIM, floating window feature to watch video while texting on WhatsApp or surfing on the browser. The company has promised an update to Amigo OS 4.0 in June for the device. The device is backed by a 3000mAh battery, and 4G connectivity that supports dual 4G, FDD, and TDD, 7 modes and 14 bands, Gionee touts these bands to be ideal for global roaming. Other connectivity options include Hybrid dual-SIM, 4G LTE with VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, and GPS.
In terms of camera, the device sports 16-megapixel primary camera bearing f/1.8 aperture, PDAF, laser autofocus, RWB technology, and LED flash. Gionee claims that the camera app has been overhauled for the S8 and it now comes equipped with text recognition (OCR) support (English and Chinese) and beauty effects for videos. The device comes with an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.
On the camera front, the smartphone sports a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.8 aperture, PDAF, laser autofocus, and LED flash. The company claimed that the camera app on the S8 has been redesigned and comes with features such as text recognition (OCR) support (English and Chinese); the video also comes with beauty effects; time lapse and Slow-mo. There is an 8-megapixel front camera on board as well.
Lenovo Vibe K5 and Vibe K5 Plus
Lenovo announced two new mid-range Android smartphones – Lenovo Vibe K5 and Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus – during MWC 2016. Both the smartphones come with metal bodies and Dolby Audio certification with dual-speaker setup. These devices can be seen as cut-down versions of the Lenovo K5 Note, which was launched last month.
The Lenovo Vibe K5 comes with a 5.0-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, and a octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 415 processor. The Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus on the other hand comes with a a 5.0-inch display higher resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor. Both the devices run Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, which is a shame at the point of time. Lenovo did say during its media briefing that these devices will get Android 6.0 Marshmallow update after a few months because they are still trying to integrate some good features from Motorola’s software.
Both the devices come equipped with 13-megapixel rear-facing cameras and 5-megapixel front-facing cameras. Nothing exciting here. On the hardware side, they come with 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, and a microSD card slot. On the connectivity front, they come with dual-SIM card slots with 4G LTE.
Interestingly, both devices are supplied with 2,750 mAh removable batteries, and they weigh the same inspite of differences between them in terms of chipset and screen. There’s no fingerprint sensor on these devices unlike the company’s Lenovo K5 Note. The Lenovo Vibe K5 and the Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus will be offered in three colours – Champagne Gold, Graphite Gray, and Platinum Silver – and are priced at $129 (Rs. 8,765) and $149 (Rs. 10,124), respectively. Lenovo said that these devices will be available starting next month (March, 2016).
HTC’s New Desire line-up (Desire 825, Desire 630, Desire 530)
Honestly, we weren't expecting a lot from HTC. Given its present market condition, it is pretty cool of HTC to do its bit. The new Desire line-up is certainly not the best that HTC could have done. However, these devices are focused on the mid-range segment, so we thought that they are worth a mention.
HTC announced new range of smartphones with polycarbonate exteriors at MWC 2016, Barcelona. The exterior for these devices have been treated with a micro-splash process that creates a unique pattern of paint specs for each phone. All the three smartphones are launched under HTC Desire series, named as — Desire 825, Desire 630 and Desire 530. They will hit the stores in March, however, the pricing is still kept under wraps.
On the specification front, HTC Desire 825 comes with a 5.5-inch display of 720p resolution. It is powered by 32-bit Snapdragon 400 chipset coupled with 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage. There is a 13 MP camera at the rear end and 5 MP camera in the front for clicking selfies. The phone can also record 1080p videos. The operating system is Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The phone comes packed with a Hi-Res headset and will have dual-SIM options in certain markets. It has LTE connectivity. Its 2700mAh battery would provide a decent talk time. The exterior of Desire 825 is Stratus White, sprayed with a combo of Pink and Grey, and in Graphite Grey Remix, sprayed with Gold colour paint.
HTC Desire 630 is a slightly smaller phone than Desire 825 and features a 5-inch display of 720p. Its exterior would be similar to that of HTC Desire 825 and comes with Hi-Res audio set-up. The process would be S400 chipset (2GB RAM, 16GB storage) and single-band Wi-Fi (b/g/n). The HTC Desire 630 will be dual-SIM only. The battery is also slightly smaller, 2,200mAh battery. On the other hand, the HTC Desire 530 is the lowest version of all the three. It comes with a 5-inch display and its processor is Snapdragon 210 with 1.5GB of RAM. The phone’s back camera is that of 8 MP and the front-facing is 5 MP. Unlike the other two models, the phone doesn’t come packed with a headset. A pair of speakers is given at the front. The phones’ exterior can be customized further with snap-on cases that received the same micro-splash paint effect.
Phew, that was a lot of information, right? Now, it is your turn to pick one smartphone that managed to impress you the most. Hit the comment section below and let us know.