Best of MWC 2017: Here are the best phones and tablets launched at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, including flagship phones from Sony, LG, Nokia and Huawei, old-school 3310 action and a fresh pro tablet from Samsung.
In and amongst the hordes of people dribbling over shiny tech at MWC 2017, the Recombu Mobile team has been busy running from one brand new smartphone to another. While blowing the froth off a cerveza or two in between, of course. They’re only human.
This year MWC has seen the birth of a few flagship stunners, as well as a trip down memory lane in the form of the 17-year-old Nokia 3310, which has been brought back from the dead and mated with Android. Fingers crossed it’s just as bullet-proof and has an eight-year battery life. You also have fresh flagship phones from the likes of Sony, LG and Huawei, as well as a gorgeous new Android tablet from Samsung.
Check out our MWC 2017 hub for all of our hands-on reviews and more of the latest phones and tablets from Mobile World Congress. And if you only want to know about our favourite mobile tech launched at MWC, read on for our pick of the best.
Sony XZ Premium / Xperia XZs: Flagships aplenty
The Sony Xperia XZ is a rather fresh face in mobile, but Sony has just launched two more Xperia XZ handsets at MWC 2017 and both seriously up the ante.
To start, the Xperia XZs is largely similar to the XZ, down to the 5.2-inch size and Full HD resolution, but that extra letter signifies a faster Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM ─ an increase of 1GB. You also get Sony’s fresh new 19-megapixel rear camera, with that seriously impressive Super Slow Mo tech built in.
Sony’s new Xperia XZ Premium is a super-sized 5.5-inch smartphone boasting the world’s first 4K HDR screen, as well as that all-new camera again. And this is another handset packing Qualcomm’s super-powered Snapdragon 835 chipset, which boasts up to 1Gbps download speeds – essential if you’re streaming a load of Ultra high-def HDR movies.
LG G6: 18:9 is the new black
Although LG’s latest flagship phone packs a rather massive 5.7-inch screen, it’s surprisingly compact once you get your mitts on it. That QHD+ panel stretches across the majority of the front panel with an unusual 18:9 aspect ratio, meaning not too much bulk. In fact the G6 is built for movies, thanks to its crisp resolution, Dolby Vision HDR support and that stretched design. Truly stunning stuff.
Packed inside you get a powerful Snapdragon 821 processor, and around the back you get LG’s dual-lens camera tech, with a wide-angle snapper for cool-looking vista shots.
Check out our LG G6 hands-on review for more on this awesome mobile.
Huawei P10 Plus: 4K phwoar
Huawei pulled back the curtain on a pair of blowers at MWC 2017, including the sizable 5.5-inch P10 Plus.
Boasting a Quad HD screen for pin-sharp visuals, the P10 Plus is more of a media machine than the dinkier P10 handset. You get the same Kirin 960 chipset of Huawei’s own design, but the Plus model has a meaty 6GB of RAM stuffed inside for even smoother performance. Then there’s the 3750mAh battery, which should hopefully keep you going for well over a day between charges.
Nokia 3310: One-way ticket to Nostalgia Street
The original Nokia 3310 has amassed near-mythical status over the 17 years since its initial release and now Nokia has revived that original design with a new S30-based feature phone, packing the same name.
This more slender and colourful reboot features a 1200mAh removable battery, microSD memory card support and a fresh new glossy finish. That microUSB port makes the new 3310 a much more usable device and you can expect up to a month of standby battery life per charge, or up to 22 hours of possible talk time. Definitely doing the original phone proud.
Nokia’s S30 OS doesn’t just put Snake back at your fingertips. The phone’s 2.5G network support means you can jump on the web using the preloaded Opera browser and access services like Twitter and Facebook, albeit in a less complete form than other phones.
And unlike the original 3310, you can actually snap colour photos by way of a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera with an LED flash. Picture quality is as terrible as you might expect, at least when viewed directly on the phone, but for nostalgia fans there’s reason enough to pick this up as a fun and funky festival phone.
Take a look at our hands-on review of the Nokia 3310 (2017 edition), complete with some lovely hands-on Snake action (oo-er).
Moto G5 Plus: Nothin’ but a G Plus thang
The Moto G5 Plus represents a noticeable departure from its G4 Plus predecessor, although once again Lenovo’s wallet-friendly handset packs an affordable price tag. The G5 Plus is more compact than last year’s G4 Plus and boasts a metallic finish for a more luxurious touch, but weighs the same as before at 155g. You still get a Full HD screen, now reduced to 5.2-inches for easier handling and even sharper visuals.
But most enticing of all is the Moto G5’s new 12-megapixel camera, which sports an f/1.7 aperture for capturing stronger low light shots and some tasty bokeh, along with its Dual Focus technology.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: Return of the tab
If you can remember back to 2015, you will remember the Galaxy Tab S2. Well, now the tablet, which was available in two flavours, has been replaced by the lone Galaxy Tab S3, which comes with a keyboard, S Pen and Android Nougat 7.0.
The USB ports, front camera, rear camera, processor and operating system are all improved, plus it gets a MicroSD slot for expanding the storage. The display, meanwhile, is the same 9.7-inch Super AMOLED offering with a resolution of 2,048×1,536 pixels.
Check out our Galaxy Tab S3 vs iPad Pro comparison review, to see how Samsung’s new Android pro tablet stacks up to Apple’s tab.
Huawei Watch 2: The smarter smartwatch
The Huawei Smartwatch 2 appears to be a rather functional companion for your wrist, thanks to its rugged design and fresh new Android Wear 2.0 operating system. You get GPS support, storage for listening to music on your run, a bunch of built-in workouts and full water resistance. So far, we’re loving our review sample.
Available in Classic and Sports versions, expect to see the Watch 2 in shops as we head deeper into 2017. A price of €379 has been mentioned for the 4G-enabled version.
Nokia 6: The budget Android flagship
Forget Windows Phone, Nokia has a new owner at the helm and one that values the power of Android – which is why the new Nokia 6 comes with Google’s Android Nougat 7.1 crammed inside.
Considering the low €229 price tag, you get some solid specs with the Nokia 6, making it a solid rival to the Moto G5 Plus as far as value for money goes. A 5.5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 430 processor, 3GB of RAM and a 16-megapixel rear camera should make for a solid user experience. And we particularly love the copper finish.
A pricier Nokia 6 Arte Black model will also be available at launch, which adds an extra gig of RAM and doubles the 32GB storage space. The Arte Black can be yours for just €70 more.
Check out our Nokia smartphone comparison here.
Nokia 5: The mid-ranger
Sitting in between the Nokia 6 and Nokia 3 is the Nokia 5, which means it has to deal with middle-child syndrome.
Luckily it has the specs to make it relevant, including a 5.2-inch HD-ready display, Android Nougat 7.1, 2GB of RAM, 13-megapixel rear camera and 16GB of storage space. Price: €189.
Samsung Galaxy Book: A real page-turner
The Microsoft Surface Pro needs a proper rival and while the Samsung Galaxy Book is as yet unproven, it appears to bring the right weapons for the job.
It can be had with a 10.6-inch display and a punchy list of specs, or you can really up the ante with the SSD-enhanced 12-inch version, which also has HDR support and a proper Intel i5 processor of the seventh-generation variety. Comparison here.
Nokia 3: All the cheap
For those who like Nokia but lack a lot of spending money, the budget-friendly Nokia 3 could be for you.
It features an HD ready resolution of 1,280×720 pixels, 2GB of RAM, MediaTek 6737 processor and a part-aluminium, part-polycarbonate body. Android 7.0 and an eight-megapixel rear-facing camera complete the package. A snip at €139.
BlackBerry KeyOne: Business users, unite
BlackBerry is back in 2017 with the KEYOne, which marries the old with the new to satisfy long-term fans and BB noobs alike.
Beneath that crisp, colourful and rather square 4.5-inch screen, you get a physical QWERTY board that also doubles as a touchpad. A fingerprint sensor is built into the space bar and you get BlackBerry’s awesome DTEK security software to boot, which offers advice on how to beef up your phone’s defences.
That processor might not be as premium as we’d like, as a Snapdragon 625 runs the show, but our hands-on with the KEYOne showed Android Nougat running as smooth as butter, even with BlackBerry’s excellent additions. This is the most functional and feature-packed Blackberry phone to date and we’re already big fans. Here’s hoping that 12-megapixel camera, which boasts the same sexy Sony sensor as the brilliant Google Pixel snapper, can round off a truly excellent package.
Read next: Ten things you need to know about the KEYOne
Alcatel A5: LED on the dancefloor
Alcatel who? That’s what most of us are probably thinking, but the Alcatel A5 is actually one of the most visually arresting smartphones at MWC 2017.
The potential Motorola Moto G5 rival features a back plate that is comprised lots of LEDs, which can change colour depending on the notification you received. Failing that, you can always hang it from the ceiling and get your disco on.
What about the other phones and tablets launched at MWC 2017?
Plenty more. We have tested the phones that really matter and those we haven’t yet will be added to this very article. But how do they stack up against each other? Check out our all comparisons and hands-on videos at the MWC 2017 hub to find out. Or head to YouTube. And if you want to see our video round-up of the best smartphones launched at MWC 2017, check out our highlights video below.