Huawei, LG, Samsung and Nokia unveil new devices in the lead up to MWC
With Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 starting today, major tech companies have flocked to Barcelona to show off their new devices.
Huawei announced the latest iterations of its ‘P’ smartphone range, the P10 and P10+. Like the P9, the devices attempt to differentiate themselves through their advanced camera capabilities. Huawei has partnered with storied camera manufacturer Leica for the second time in order to bring credence to this.
Like its predecessor, the P10 boasts a dual camera system with one lens taking black and white photos while the other takes colour. When pictures are taken, the phone uses data from both lenses to create photos that boast greater contrast than typical phone sensors are capable of.
The dual-cameras are composed of a 12MP RGB + 20MP monochrome sensor with a large F/1.8 aperture to capture more light in low-light situations.
The phone features a front camera also designed by Leica that Huawei says can create superb portrait shots and has 3D facial detection technology.
The P10 and P10+ launch in a range of colours that were developed with input from colour experts Pantone. Huawei has given a series of perplexing names to the available colours: Mystic Silver, Rose Gold, Graphite Black, Dazzling Gold, Dazzling Blue and Greenery.
The devices also feature super-fast charging, thanks to Huawei’s proprietary SuperCharge technology that should allow for a day of usage after just half an hour of being plugged in.
The P10 and P10+ will be available in Europe and China from March 2017, followed shortly after by Asia, Latin America, South Africa and Russia in April, 2017. The P10 will cost €649 (£550) with 64GB of storage and 4GB Ram while the P10+ (64GB + 4GB) is €699, or €799 for the 128GB + 6GB version.
The phones are powered by Huawei’s in house Kirin 960 processors that are optimised for photography with embedded ISP and real-time viewing of depth-of-field changes and facial features.
The Huawei Watch 2, the Chinese company’s Android Wear Smartwatch, was also unveiled featuring a round 1.2-inch face, a 420mAh battery, LTE connectivity and powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 2100. Huawei promises up to two days of usage from its new wearables which assume a sportier look than the first generation watches. The Huawei Watch 2 will go on sale in April starting from €329.
LG showed off its G6 smartphone which uses a new display format in an 18:9 aspect ratio (otherwise known as 2:1) unlike the 16:9 ratio that is typical to most smartphones. The device features a high screen to body ratio and also uses a dual camera system that has become so prevalent amongst flagship smartphones in the last year.
The G6 takes a back-to-basics approach after last year’s G5 which tried to push modules that added additional functionality to the device and could be plugged in at the bottom.
It features a 5.7-inch QHD+ (2,880 x 1,440 resolution) display, and it says the unusual aspect ratio offers more viewing space and a more immersive experience when streaming videos and playing games.
G6 buyers can also take advantage of a “Game Collection” promotion that bundles in-app purchases worth up to $200 for six games – Temple Run 2, Spider-Man Unlimited, Crossy Road, SimCity BuildIt, Cookie Jam and Genies & Gems.
Dual 13MP rear cameras are featured on the back of the device which LG was at pains to point out do not protrude out from the rest of the device. One of the sensors uses a 125-degree wide angle lens to capture panoramic shots that regular phones cameras can’t.
The 5MP front camera also comes with an expanded 100-degree field of view which is designed to take similar pictures to those achieved using a selfie stick.
The G6 is certified as IP68 water and dust resistance, making it safe to be immersed in up to 1.5 meters of water for as long as 30 minutes.
Google Assistant, which was previously exclusive to Google’s own Pixel devices, will also come built-in. It is designed to work seamlessly with LG apps to allow users to get fast answers and manage everyday tasks at speed.
The device packs last year’s Snapdragon 821 Processor rather than this year 835. This is rumoured to be due to large purchase orders from Samsung and limited production capacity at the moment.
The G6 packs 4GB RAM and 32GB or 64GB of memory with a MicroSD slot and a 3,300mAh battery. Pricing is yet to be announced.
Samsung unveiled two new tablet computers, the Galaxy Tab S3 and the Galaxy Book that look like an attempt to compete with Apple’s iPad Pro.
The Galaxy Tab S3 (above) which it says will offer an “enhanced mobile entertainment experience” to users via its 9.7-inch display that can support 4K definition video and an enhanced graphics chip for gaming.
The Galaxy Book (below), a tablet/laptop hybrid device, comes in two screen sizes - 10.6 and 12 inches - runs Windows 10 and is equipped with a keyboard folded into the case to replicate a laptop setup.
Both Apple and Microsoft also have hybrid devices in the form of the iPad Pro and Microsoft’s hugely successful Surface Pro line.
Samsung confirmed the Galaxy Tab S3 would go on sale in the UK on March 31, but is yet to confirm a release date for the Galaxy Book.
Both devices will also support use with Samsung’s smart stylus the S Pen, with the ability to make quick notes on the device screen even when it is off having been applied to both tablets.
Samsung also revealed a new version of their Gear VR virtual reality headset, adding a controller for the first time to help users navigate the virtual world by removing some controls from the headset itself and placing them in a user’s hand.
It also took some time out to discuss safety following a major recall of its Note7 smartphones last year due to battery fires.
The company’s David Lowes called the last six months “the most challenging in our history”, adding that the firm did not meet the “high standards consumers expect from us”.
Samsung has since conducted an internal investigation and implemented a new eight-step testing programme for all new smartphones.
The South Korean firm concluded the event by confirming the tech giant will unveil its next flagship Galaxy smartphone, expected to be the S8, on March 29.
Samsung traditionally announces the latest generation of the Galaxy S during MWC, but reportedly pushed back the reveal this year following the Note7 scandal and new safety procedures it has introduced as a result
Nokia announced it would relaunch its 3310 mobile phone in an attempt to capitalise on nostalgia for the hardy devices with long battery life that released at the turn of the century.
An updated version of the 3310 (above), first launched in 2000, complete with the classic mobile game Snake and a month-long standby battery life is to go on sale later this year, new manufacturer HMD Global confirmed.
The company said the device, which will not have internet connectivity, will cost 49 euro (£41) and is aimed at those looking for a second or so-called “burner” phone to make calls and send texts.
Having once been the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia has since slipped behind all its major rivals and was sold off by previous buyers Microsoft last year.
As well as the 3310, Nokia also revealed a new line of mid-range modern smartphones - including the Nokia 6 the company released in China at the start of the year, as well as a limited edition gloss version called the Arte Black - alongside the new Nokia 5 and Nokia 3.
All four devices are made from aluminium, with each device shaped from an individual block of metal.
Each also runs the latest version of Android - Nougat 7.0 - while Nokia has confirmed pricing as starting at €139 for the Nokia 3, rising to €229 for the 6 and €299 for the Arte Black version.
HMD Global chief executive Arto Nummela said the new line-up of phones would build on Nokia’s reputation in the industry.