The Mobile World Congress took place in Barcelona this week and a torrent of tempting new devices was unleashed. Sadly, some manufacturers chose to avoid the show for their flagship smartphone announcements, refusing to share the limelight. That’s why we heard about the HTC One before the show and it’s why Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S4 on March 14th. Even without some of the big guns there was plenty to get excited about. Here’s our best of MWC roundup.
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
Best in show when it comes to the tablet arena was definitely the sexy new Xperia Tablet Z from Sony. Hot on the heels of the Japanese company’s Xperia Z flagship smartphone, this is the slimmest (6.9mm) and lightest (495g) large tablet on the market. There’s a 10.1-inch 1920×1200 pixel resolution screen, a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and an 8.1-megapixel camera. The tablet also supports Wi-Fi, DLNA, MHL, and Bluetooth which means it’s easy to share content with other devices. With NFC you can tap on another NFC-enabled Sony device, whether it’s a smartphone, HDTV or a speaker, and instantly share whatever is on the tablet. To round things off it’s waterproof, so you can even take it into the bath with you. It’s due to go on sale in the UK in Q2 and should cost around £400 for the Wi-Fi only version and closer to £500 if you want 4G LTE support.
LG Optimus G Pro
There was a flurry of new smartphones from LG at MWC designed to hit every segment of the market, but the flagship was definitely the Optimus G Pro. With a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 13-megapixel camera, this is one serious beast of a phone. It runs the latest flavor of Android, Jelly Bean, and has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from LTE connectivity to NFC support. Whether this flagship will be sailing to British shores is not yet clear, but it doesn’t look good after the UK Product Manager Shaun Musgrave told Tech Radar, “4G is immature in the UK and it won’t start to pick up until the second half of this year.”
We’ve discussed the trend towards bigger phones and phablets which combine smartphone and tablet features, but here’s another take on the hybrid idea. The new Asus release, the Padfone Infinity is a smartphone that can be docked in a tablet so you get the best of both worlds. With a 1.7GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM it certainly isn’t underpowered. The phone has a 5-inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera, and support for 4G LTE, NFC, and it runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It slots into a tablet shell with a 10.1-inch 1080p display and a bigger battery. It should land in April, but you’re looking at laying out £800 to get one. What do you think? Genius idea or overly expensive flop?
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
It may have kept the S4 under wraps, but Samsung was happy to show off the Galaxy Note 8. It’s a small tablet with an 8-inch display and a 1.6GHz quad-core processor. It runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, has optional 3G or 4G LTE support, and comes with Samsung’s special stylus – the S-Pen. It also has a 5-megapixel camera and a microSD card slot to boost the 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage. It’s another spring release for the UK, but the price has yet to be revealed. Since the Note 8 is clearly designed to compete with the iPad mini which starts at £269 we’d expect it to be comparable.
Nokia Lumia 520
It was an underwhelming show for beleaguered Nokia as the company focused on the budget end of the market, but anyone feeling the pinch right now will be glad to hear about phones like the Lumia 520 which will be available from April SIM-free for just £170. The specs of this Windows Phone 8 smartphone won’t blow you away, but it does have a 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, a 4-inch 800×480 pixel resolution display, and a 5-megapixel camera. The 8GB of storage can be bolstered via the microSD card slot. It looks like a decent entry-level device for the money.
What was your pick of the show? Anything got you saving up the cash or checking when your next upgrade is due? Post a comment and tell us.
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