Mobile World Congress is the biggest smartphone event of the year. After a relatively uneventful CES, all eyes were on MWC 2016 and the companies demonstrating their products did not disappoint. Here is our list of the best of the best from MWC 2016 in Barcelona.
Samsung’s Beastly Galaxy S7/S7 Edge:
We did a completely separate post on Samsung’s latest flagships. But to sum things up, Samsung came into MWC after having carefully listened to their customers’ response. Folks complained about the battery life, absence of expandable storage and water resistance on the S6 and Samsung offered up exactly what people were demanding. They refined the completely new design of the S6 and made what some critics are jokingly calling the “Galaxy S6 S”. Nevertheless Samsung delivered a product that has already impressed the masses and are looking to make a statement in the smartphone market this year.
LG’s Groundbreaking Modular G5:
LG electronics knew very well its South Korean neighbour and chief competitor Samsung would iterate on the successful design of the S6 and not make many physical differences. They saw the opportunity and made the G5 from the ground up, completely reshaping their approach to their flagship line. The G5 has a beautiful metal unibody design with near identical specifications to the S7 but its main highlight is the “Magic Slot”. This is basically a modular component that allows users to remove the device’s battery and attach new modules that expand functionality. At their press event, LG demonstrated a battery extending camera grip and high-fi audio attachment. The G5 is the first major flagship to embrace the modular approach and has instantly made the future of smartphone technology far more interesting.
Xiaomi’s Mi5 Pro Flagship Killer:
The S7 and G5 are expected to retail for somewhere north of $650. While you may think that is a fair price for what the devices are offering, take a quick glance at the Mi5 Pro. The device comes with a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, a 16MP Sony IMX298 sensor, 128GB of on-board storage, 1080p display, a fingerprint reader and Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Xiaomi’s MIUI 7. Do the specifications sound familiar? Well that is because they are identical to the S7 and G5, minus the display. What is most remarkable, the device will cost ONLY BDT 28,800 (without taxes). The Mi5 Pro isn’t just copying specifications and competing with price, the device features a 3D moulded ceramic back and full metal chassis. The Mi5 Pro will also see a wider global release however Xiaomi has not specified which particular markets.
Samsung Goes Mainstream With 360 Degree Video:
360 degree video and virtual reality go very well together. They have seen an unprecedented rise in popularity over the past year and Samsung looks to be at the forefront with their Samsung Gear 360 video camera. The compact spherical device comes with a small tripod and has a flat bottom so that it can be placed on any flat surface. It uses two cameras to stitch together a 30MP image. While quality is not outstanding, Samsung is more focused on getting the tech in the hands of consumers to kick start a 360 video movement. The device can be controlled by Samsung’s new flagships on the fly and features a microSD card slot for storage expansion up to 128GB. The Gear 360 will also make an appearance at the Samsung sponsored 88th Academy Awards in the hands of famed YouTuber Casey Neistat so keep your eyes open. LG released a 360 degree camera too however it did not gain as much attention as Samsung’s.
OPPO’s Revolutionary Super VOOC Mobile Charging:
OPPO has been an industry leader in smartphone charging for quite some time. Its VOOC charging solution is highly regarded in the smartphone world and each year OPPO improves the technology further. This time OPPO has outdone itself. They did not show off any new smartphones at MWC but did wow audiences with Super VOOC. With Super VOOC, you can charge a phone with a 2,500mAh up to 45% in 5 minutes and 100% in 15 minutes! If OPPO can successfully execute this technology in their new smartphones without sacrificing the lifespan of their batteries, they will effectively solve the universal problem of battery anxiety.
Events like MWC are portals to what the future holds for the technology world. It is always interesting to see companies try to outperform one another and at the end of the day the consumers benefit from the wonderful innovation and ingenuity. This year we observed that there is still a lot of fight left in the companies trying to gain the upper hand in the hypercompetitive smartphone market. We also saw new technology getting embraced and pushed out into the hands of consumers. 2016 looks to be a very eventful year and it will be interesting to see which companies rise and shine in this space.
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