Mobile World Congress (MWC) is currently in full swing over in sunny Barcelona. It’s the place where the best up-and-coming smartphones and mobile gadgets are unveiled to the world ahead of their official launch dates. Here’s a look at the current cream of the crop — from HTC’s gunmetal One M9 to Samsung’s all-glass Galaxy S6.
[Note: At present, an official Australian release date has yet to be announced for the majority of these smartphones. However, you can expect them to land around the same time as other major markets.]
Samsung Galaxy S6
For the past few years, Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S series has been one of the most popular Android handsets on the market. The S6 is looking to continue the trend thanks to a beefier processor, 5.1-inch Quad-HD Super AMOLED screen and an all-glass finish.
The Galaxy S6 is powered by an octa-core CPU that comprises a quad-core 2.1GHz processor and a quad-core 1.5Ghz processor. It also packs in 3GB of RAM. Other noteworthy features include a 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, an inbuilt heart-rate monitor, a 2550mAh battery and the latest version of Android 5.
The camera comes with a range of new features, including infrared white balancing and face tracking for moving subjects. The lens on the rear-facing camera is an f/1.9 lens, compared to the GS5’s f/2.2.
On the downside, the battery is non-removable and there is no expandable microSD storage slot. Boo-urns. To help make up for the latter, Samsung is bundling the device with 115GB of free Microsoft OneDrive storage.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has similar specifications to the S6 with one major difference: it comes with a curved screen that cascades down both sides of the phone, giving you access to widgets and information without taking up your entire screen.
On one side you get the Information Display which feeds you notifications, news and other relevant data. The other side boasts a new feature called the People Edge. On it you get five contacts, all colour-coded to a new person. It acts as a drawer you can quickly swipe open to select people to contact. On top of that, the People Edge can be used while the phone is facing down to notify you of new calls and SMS messages. When a contact gets in touch while the phone is facing down, it glows with a the subtle hue of the colour you chose for them.
Other features include a 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, an inbuilt heart-rate monitor, a 2550mAh battery and the latest version of Android 5. (Like we said, it’s much the same as the S6.)
HTC One M9
At first glance, the HTC One M9 looks much like last year’s M8. However, beneath the hood is a superior Qualcomm Snapdragon 810: an octa-core processor featuring a quad-core 2GHz processor and a quad-core 1.5GHz processor sandwiched together. You also get 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage which is expandable via a microSD card slot. The five-inch display boasts full HD 1080p video playback complimented by Dolby-certified BoomSound speakers.
The device has also received a cosmetic upgrade. It comes with a dual-tone metal unibody and a hairline brush finish reminiscent of a high-end watch. There’s also a scratch-resistant coating on the backplate. It comes in gold on silver, gunmetal grey and all gold. Other highlights include a 20-megapixel camera, an advanced inbuilt photo editor, a location-based widgets mode and a new “theme manager” which lets you redesign the phone’s layout however you like.
Huawei MediaPad X2
The latest flagship from Huawei features a seven-inch ultra HD IPS screen powered by an ultra octa-core chipset. According to the company, it’s the first 64-bit ultra octa-core, 4G-enabled LTE dual-sim phablet on the market. It’s also impressively thin, measuring just 7.28mm at its thickest point.
It comes with an aviation-inspired aluminum metal finish with a borderless screen design. The 1200 x 1920 HD IPS display boasts a resolution up to 323ppi. It also comes with a massive 5000 mAh Li-Polymer battery that supports non-stop video streaming of up 12 hours.
LG Spirit / Magna
The LG Spirit and Magna are two mid-range Android handsets that boast distinguishing curved screens. Screen resolution is full HD, the processor is a quad core and an option of 3G or LTE. The Magna has a slightly bigger five-inch screen and a better camera. Otherwise both models are very similar. If you’re keen to walk around with a curved screen, these models will probably be your best bet.
There are plenty more gadgets trickling out of the conference. We’ll be back with a roundup of wearables later in the week!
Additional reporting by Gizmodo.