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Mobile World Congress recap

by Andrew Okwuosah, Digital Editor

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Mobile World Congress has come and gone, and a smorgasbord (don’t ask why I’m obsessed with that word) of new devices were announced at the tech industry’s premier mobile expo in Barcelona, Spain. Here are a few devices spotlighted at the show to keep an eye on:

 

LG G6

LG looks to bounce back from the flop that was the G5 with the G6 (sadly it’s not being marketed with a certain Far East Movement track). My personal gripe aside, the phone looks extremely promising and I can definitely appreciate it taking a “back to basics” approach.

The phone sports a 5.7-inch FullVision display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. That’s a key feature for the G6 that’s getting a lot of marketing attention for LG. The company is offering the G6 Game Collection with up to $200 of in-game content for a selection of games in the Google Play Store including Temple Run 2, Crossy Road, and my personal favorite SimCity BuildIt.

Basically, the screen is wider than your typical 16:9 screen to allow for a wider field of view (a big positive for multi-window users). The display also sports all of the other buzzwords of today, including High Dynamic Range, which promises a wider range of colors.

Sculpted with aluminum and glass, the G6 is a minimalist package that comes in the not at all flashy colors of black, platinum, and white.

On the rear is dual 13 megapixel cameras, one with a 125-degree wide angle lens and the other with a more traditional 100-degree field of view. On the front is a 5-megapixel camera.

The device is also rated for IP68 water resistance, meaning that it can be immersed in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.

 

Nokia 3310

Nokia is trying to win the hearts of this generation with an old classic. Most of our parents have fond memories of the 3310, a feature phone that focused on calling and texting and lasted forever on a charge back in 2000.

This time around, the $52 device comes in red, yellow, blue, and gray. It features a color screen (yay!), a two-megapixel camera that you’d rather be caught dead than use, the infamous Nokia ringtone, and the Opera Mini web browser for trying to check Instagram. In the spirit of pure nostalgia, it also comes baked with a remastered version of the popular Snake game.

Like I said, the battery life lasts forever. It’s rated for 22 hours of talk time and a month of standby time.

For those looking for a more… modern experience, Nokia also has three new mid-range Android smartphones that might tickle your fancy.

 

Xperia XZ Premium

Sony needed a wow to bounce back from a lackluster 2016, and I think they’ve done it with the Xperia XZ Premium.

The phone has the world’s first 4K HDR display that should look absolutely incredible, and the cool new Motion Eye camera system. Sony has embedded fast memory into the camera stack here, allowing it to produce super-slow motion video of 960 frames per second at 720p resolution.

This also translates to the everyday photographic experience. Sony starts buffering shots as soon as the camera detects motion in the frame with that fast memory – so there’s no lag when you press the shutter button. The company brings back the triple-sensor autofocus system from the Xperia XZ with lasers, infrared for adjusting white balance, and an updated image sensor. The latter’s is down slightly to 19 megapixels.

Both colors (chrome or black) are fingerprint magnets like most other Sony smartphones with glass wrapped around both sides with metal antennas on the top and bottom of the device in a package that looks oddly similar to your favorite candy bar.

In terms of specs, this is one of the first phones in the industry to pack in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor (a major upgrade that we’ll be seeing a lot over the coming months) and also includes a thin 7.9mm profile, water resistance, a fingerprint sensor, and microSD card support.

The Xperia XZ Premium is set to launch in late spring or early summer.

 

Galaxy S8

Usually, I would have more to go on for “The Next Galaxy” than a short teaser trailer at this point, but there was a tiny explosion (lots of tiny explosions). In case you were under a rock for the last six months, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was recalled after batteries began bursting into flames. Samsung lost a lot of its trust and credibility, and gained the worthy award of being the first smartphone to be banned by the Federal Aviation Administration on all commercial flights.

It’s ironic that you couldn’t go to an airport (where I imagine a lot of business types would’ve carried around their Note 7s to get stuff done) without hearing a reminder about the Note 7 being banned for its explosive tendencies.

All bombs aside, the next Galaxy is even more important to watch this year. Yes, it will still probably sell more units than every other phone not made by Apple and set the tone for literally every other smartphone release for the rest of the year. This will be an important first step for Samsung if they hope to regain the trust of consumers disheartened by the Note 7’s publicity nightmare.

Anyways, the trailer (embedded above) shows off various imagery of phones before pausing on what can be assumed as the Galaxy S8 with the tagline “Unbox your phone.” It’s anyone’s guess what this could mean, but Samsung typically brands its standalone product announcements under the Unpacked moniker, so it could just be a reference to that.

We’ll be watching for the keynote on Mar. 29 in New York.

For more Workaholic, follow me around the Interwebs.

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Mobile World Congress recap