MWC 2016 roundup: the biggest new phones announced at this year's Mobile World Congress

 
Steve Hogarty
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The new LG G5 can be modified with clip-on hardware

LG G5

LG’s new flagship handset is one of the first modular designs to market, allowing you to remove part of the phone to snap on new accessories to upgrade or add functionality. So far LG has shown the G5 customised with a camera grip – which adds additional battery capacity as well as shutter controls – and an audio-enhancing external DAC pack from Bang & Olufsen. The LG G5 is essentially the Lego of phones, but even before you consider the customisation options, it boasts an impressive set of features as standard. The 5.3” handset has a USB Type-C connection and features a secondary rear camera that allows for wide-angle photography. The screen never sleeps either, always displaying the time.

HP Elite X3

The only Windows phone on this page and the first phone HP has made since 2014, the Elite X3 is a superpowered little device that’s capable of transforming into a desktop PC once hooked up to a television or monitor. Enabling this transformation is the X3’s top-end Snapdragon 820 CPU, bolstered by 4GB of RAM, which is more power than you could feasibly ever need from a phone. That’s hardware to write home to your mother about, but with the dearth of apps on the Windows Store it could all be for naught. It’s big too, with a 6” screen you could eat your dinner off.

CAT S60

From the folks who built all of those yellow trucks and diggers smashing around outside your office window comes this rugged brick of a phone. Designed for use on construction sites, the bulky Cat S60 boldy claims to be able to survive “military drop tests”. The thing looks like it could survive a nuclear blast, with its reinforced die cast frame happily withstanding 1.8 metre falls on to concrete. This hulk of a phone is also dustproof, waterproof to a depth of five metres, works with wet and gloved hands and, strangest of all, comes with a built-in thermal imaging camera. Ideal for checking insulation, or hunting for hot ghosts.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

The S6 is still one of the best phones available today, so it’s unsurprising that Samsung hasn’t made radical design changes with their newly announced Galaxy S7. There are two models, one with the familiar curved screen edges and one without. Both have been improved by aesthetic tweaks that make the phone more comfortable to hold, such as a smaller camera bump and a flush fingerprint sensor. Inside is where you’ll find the biggest changes. The higher-specced S7 Edge model has a beefier processer, a longer lasting battery and a massively improved 12MP camera. It’s waterproof too, because the future will be wet.

Sony Xperia X series

Rather than announce a new flagship handset – that crown is still worn by the super high-spec Sony Xperia Z5 – Sony instead revealed a trio of new mid-range phones at this year’s MWC: the Xperia XA, the Xperia X and the Xperia X Performance. The latter is the most interesting of the bunch, a top-of-the-line phone with boosted specs that rival the Xperia Z5. A super high-resolution 23MP camera boasts what Sony is calling “predictive hybrid autofocus”, which uses a mixture of science and magic to predict where your subject will be before they actually get there, leading to better focusing on moving targets.

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