While you enjoyed your weekend, the tech world has been all abuzz. Mobile World Congress (MWC), the largest smartphone and gadget trade show of the year, kicked off with a bang on Sunday. Both LG and Samsung flew in to announce their biggest phones of 2016 here in Barcelona, Spain and they were joined by HTC, Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, and many other tech heavyweights. Below is our hand-curated recap of the four biggest announcements of the day.
LG G5 and its modules
Modular smartphones are here, and LG’s one of the first companies to want to sell us one. It’s the G5, and the modular design doesn’t just mean you can replace the phone’s battery, but also plug in accessories — that LG cutely calls Friends — like a camera grip with manual controls, and a high quality audio module. There are two camera lenses on the G5, and one is dedicated to taking spectacular wide-angle shots, and both can be used together to create some really weird composite pictures. The G5 is also LG’s first all-metal phone, doesn’t have any ugly antenna bands, and most importantly — it comes in pink. You’ll be able to grab one of these revolutionary phones around April, but we’re still waiting for a price.
Huawei didn’t use Mobile World Congress to announce a new phone, but showed off a massive 12-inch 2-in-1 laptop/tablet convertible called the MateBook. It runs Windows 10, is powered by an Intel Core M7 processor, and comes with up to 512GB of SSD storage. Huawei’s concentrated on making cool accessories, announcing a water-resistant keyboard, a dock, and a highly sensitive stylus, making it a true contender to the iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface range. You’ll have to splash out though, it starts at $700 and goes all the way up to $1600, and that’s without the accessories. It’s coming soon, so start saving up.
Virtual reality using the HTC Vive is something you must experience to understand, and luckily, you may get the chance fairly soon. HTC and its partner Valve — the company behind the popular Steam platform for PCs — finally showed off the finished version of the Vive. It will retail for $800 and ship in early April, with pre-orders starting on Leap Day, Monday February 29th. As a bonus, early adopters will get a copy of two launch games: Job Simulator, which is nowhere near as boring as it sounds, as you serve robot overlords in the year 2050, and Fantastic Contraption, an intriguing puzzle game.
LG may be going modular with its G5, but Samsung is doubling down on what got it to the dance, its curves and its camera. The new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge fix some of the biggest pain points of last year’s Galaxy S6 phones. Most notably, the Galaxy S7 Edge is far more comfortable to hold, and has an updated swipe-out Edge menu with more widgets, apps, and features than last year. The camera has seen some improvements as well and Samsung promises its low-light performance and auto-focus will outperform even the best phones, and that includes the iPhone 6S Plus.