Every year the great and the good of the smartphone world descend on sunny Barcelona to announce their latest new tech. Here are some of the smartest, most interesting, and best-looking phones this year:
ASUS ZenFone 5Z
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but let’s give ASUS the benefit of the doubt here, there are only so many ways you can make the slab that is a smartphone look unique.
The new ZenFone 5 series of phones from ASUS certainly do resemble another player in the smartphone game, but that’s no bad thing, especially when their flagship is a bit of a beast. This 6.2-inch phone runs Android 8.0 and is powered by the new Snapdragon 845 mobile chip boasting a mighty 8GB of RAM, so it promises to be no slouch, and has extra AI chops built in to further optimise battery life and performance.
It’s not out until June though, but at the relatively cheap cost starting from €479 it could well be worth the wait.
Nuu Mobile G3
Face unlock, 4K, 3D fingerprint scanners and curved edges are usually the reserve of the pricier end of the smartphone spectrum, but the new, erm, Nuu G3 packs that all in for under £249.
For that money you also get 13MP + 5MP rear dual cameras, a 5.7-inch, 18:9 screen and a modest 4GB of RAM. Ok, it’s not the most heavily specced phone on show, and is still running Android 7.1, but Nuu are running a special offer when it launches in April and you can pick it up for £199 – go on, take my money then.
LG V30S ThinQ
So the LGV30 isn’t actually new to MWC this year, but it has had an update. Like most of their new gadgets announced at CES, LG have introduced their ThinQ AI platform into their flagship smartphone.
So what does the introduction of new AI add to the already excellent phone on top of the Snapdragon 835 chipset, 6.0-inch 18:9 OLED Display and 6GB RAM? Photo skills for the most part, promising better low light photography and image recognition to optimise the settings. It’ll also recognise products you photo to getter shopping results and works alongside Google Assistant for better search.
Oh, and it also comes in a greener Moroccan Blue colour.
Alcatel 5, 3 and 1
If you like your phones with an 18:9 ratio and cheap then the new range from Alcatel will probably turn your head. All of them come with the aforementioned screen ratio and the most expensive, the Alcatel 5, will set you back €229.99. Not bad.
For that you get face unlock, fast charging, a suite of features to raise your selfie taking game, including a forward camera that’ll flip to wide angle when it spots more than two people in the frame, and a “bezel-less” screen. That’s not exactly what the pictures look like, but for that price we’ll take a few liberties.
Nokia 8110 4G
Believe it or not, there was a point in history that Keanu Reeves was the coolest dude around, thanks entirely to his spring-loaded phone. Well it’s back (the phone that is, not Keanu Reeves’ career).
Like the Nokia 3310 before it, the Finnish company have decided to reissue one of their most iconic phones, and although this one isn’t spring loaded (not that the original was, that was added for the film The Matrix), it still oozes retro charm but with an updated look and operating system. It doesn’t run Android, but it still has a few of your favourite apps available, like Facebook, Google Assistant and Twitter, and all with added zip thanks to working over 4G.
And yes, it does have Snake.
Nokia 8 Sirocco
The revamped 8110 is not the only phone Nokia released at MWC, in fact they launched four more devices, Nokia 7 Plus, new Nokia 6, Nokia 1 and the premium Nokia 8 Sirocco.
As you’d expect from a high-end smartphone, it has a Snapdragon processor (although it is last year’s 835), ultra-slim profile, pOLED 2K 5.5-inch screen and wireless charging, but where it sets itself apart is the vanilla Android, and as part of the Android One set of phones it’s not clogged up with puffy apps slowing it down and taking up storage space.
There is a lot of competition out there for you €749, so it will be interesting to see how far the Nokia brand can hold up, but the rest of the phones are all much more keenly priced so those could, in fact, be the ones to look out for.
Sony Xperia XZ2
Sony must feel they are always a little under the radar when it comes to their rivals Samsung and Apple, but be in no doubt that they make excellent, elegant phones that look as high-end as they cost.
So what have they done differently to grab that spotlight? A new design is a good start, trimming down the bezels and softening out the edges, but on top of that, being Sony they have crammed in even more features to keep you entertained.
A new sound chip should make audio sound better than ever, even if you’re playing it out of the phone’s speakers, which themselves are their loudest yet. There is a 5.7-inch HDR screen, and for extra immersion there is even a Dynamic Vibration feature that rumbles your phone much like a PlayStation controller when you’re playing games or watching movies.
There’s more fun to be had with the camera, which can shoot at 960fps for super slow-mo video, as well as create 3D avatars of your face. That’s quite a lot to think about already…
Samsung Galaxy S9
Of all the phones that were released at MWC, the Samsung Galaxy S9 was probably the worst kept secret of them all, with constant leaks letting slip nearly every feature before its big reveal. What they revealed was that the phone was not much of an upgrade from the S8 or the S8+,. Is that a bad thing though? They were pretty great phones.
What is different is a slightly smaller bezel, a repositioned fingerprint scanner under the screen and a new camera, which is what Samsung are pinning their hopes on. This new camera will flick between two different aperture settings, f2.0 and f1.5, when it needs to let in more light and can also film video at a super-slow 960fps. Other than that, a faster processor and Dolby Atmos built in, it is very much as-you-were. Well, if it ain’t broke…