MWC 2018: the best gadgets announced at the show

MWC, one of Europe’s biggest technology conventions, wraps up today, having hosted the unveiling of a wide range of new product releases.

The annual conference, attended by over 100,000 people every year, is a major date in the technology calendar, where OEM’s parade their new devices promising the latest and greatest features.

While some OEM’s like Motorola and HTC did not make an appearance this year, Samsung, Sony and others were on hand to show their latest flagship models.

Samsung

Samsung’s Galaxy S9 boasted a number of impressive camera tricks including ‘super slow-mo’ and excellent low-light capabilities

Visually, the device is very similar to the previous generation with the same 5.8" screen (6.2" on the S9+) that takes up most of the front of the device.

The S9 comes equipped with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 845 processor and an improved dual-aperture camera (F1.5/F2.4).

In addition, the company added ‘AR emojis’, slightly odd-looking cartoonish versions of the user that they can animate in a variety of poses and expressions, similar to the Animoji feature that Apple introduced last year with the iPhone X.

Samsung also included an improved facial recognition system in an attempt to compete with the iPhone X’s Face ID.

For the full rundown check out E&T’s coverage on launch day. 

Sony

Sony’s Xperia XZ2 has a couple of major new tricks namely its ‘Dynamic Vibration System’, which uses haptic feedback to create a more immersive media experience, and its ‘Motion Eye’ camera which has the first 4K HDR Movie recording in a smartphone.

Elsewhere, the device includes a 5.7" HDR Full HD+ display, stereo speakers and the same Snapdragon 845 that is expected to show up in most flagship devices this year.

The Dynamic Vibration System effectively uses haptic feedback in an attempt to enhance media playback, for example an onscreen explosion in a film would translate to physical vibrations on the device.

This could be the next thing in cinematic immersion, although it’s more likely just a gimmicky feature that will never be used by 90 per cent of XZ2 owners.

While the 4K HDR features are impressive, most consumers will not own televisions capable of displaying the content in full resolution.

The device also comes in a 5" ‘compact’ variant, an often ignored niche for users who want something a bit more like a phone and less like a mini tablet.

Nokia

Nokia’s Android devices aren’t actually produced by the Finnish OEM these days, but rather farmed out through a licensing deal to manufacturer HMD Global.

Nevertheless, five phones were launched at MWC this year: Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7+, Nokia 6 and Nokia 1 along with a revamped 8110, the slider phone originally popularised in The Matrix.

The Sirocco was the flagship device this year although curiously using last year’s Snapdragon 835. It has 6Gb of Ram, 128Gb of storage and a 3260mAh battery.

Nokia 8 Sirocco

It also comes with a curved glass, 2K 5.5" pOLED screen not unlike Samsung’s S9.

Dual rear sensors with Zeiss optics combine an ultra-sensitive, wide-angle primary camera for impressive low-light performance and a secondary 13MP sensor with 2x optical zoom.

The Nokia 7+ and 6 are cheaper midrange phones, while the Nokia 1 is firmly aimed at the budget sector, touting tech specs that come straight out of 2012.

The 8110 revamp is another stab at leveraging nostalgia for some of Nokia’s early noughties devices after the new version of the 3310 last year. 

However, the slider phone loses the original’s aerial and adds 4G, a camera and MP3 playback capabilities, along with a colour version of the classic game Snake.

Vivo

Considering it is relatively unknown in the smartphone sector, Chinese company Vivo has demonstrated probably the most interesting new device exhibited at MWC this year.

The Vivo Apex, the company’s concept phone, boasts a screen that takes up the entirety of the front of the device, unlike the iPhone X (with its notch) and the Galaxy S9 (with its top and bottom bezels).

Most unusually, the Apex includes a flip-out front-facing camera, since there is nowhere on the front of the device to put it.

The eight-megapixel lens pops out in 0.8 seconds and automatically retracts after use.

The phone also includes a fingerprint reader under the screen, technology that the likes of Apple and Samsung have been trying (and failing) to perfect in recent years.

Instead of the typical speaker at the top of the device to hear callers, the Apex screen vibrates to produce sound.

In this way, the entire display becomes a speaker which should save on power, reduce sound leakage and offer a superior audio experience, according to Vivo.

Whether the phone will ever actually be released to consumers is another question, but it offers a glimpse into the kind of features we can expect to appear in devices in the next few years.

Huawei

Huawei declined to show off any new smartphones at this year’s MWC, instead merely offering a tease of its upcoming P20 which it will reveal in France later this month and is heavily rumoured to have three rear cameras.

Huawei's MWC line up

It took the opportunity to unveil new tablets and laptops, the latter of which takes aim at Apple’s MacBook Pro.

First up, the company showed off its MediaPad M5 series of tablets, coming in 8.4" and 10.8" sizes.

They boast 2K resolution displays, 4Gb Ram and are powered by Huawei’s in-house Kirin 960 chipset.

MediaPad M5

Huawei has included an 8MP front-facing camera for video calls, something tablets are generally pretty good for, but also a 13MP camera on the back for taking photos and annoying everyone around you.

The 10.8" model comes in a Pro variant with ‘S-Pen’ support, which is great for artists who want to draw on their tablets.

MateBook X Pro

The MateBook X Pro, on the other hand, is a premium laptop positioned to compete with the likes of the MacBook Pro and Dell’s XPS 13.

The 13.9" notebook features a 3K touchscreen display with impressively thin bezels and is powered by an Intel i5 or i7 processor, depending on configuration.

The laptop’s main trick is that its webcam is embedded underneath the F6 key which pops up when pressed.

Although a nifty addition, the angle at which it points leaves something to be desired, with video call recipients likely to see the user’s chest and chin rather than their face.

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