We pick our best-in-show award winners from MWC 2016
This year’s MWC has been excellent, with some great products that have shown real innovation. We often get a couple of great phones from MWC but this year all the headliners have really shone and there’s also been a huge number of high-quality accessories, as smartphone manufacturers move to put the smartphone at the centre of its own ecosystem of devices.
Our expert team in Barcelona has had a good look at all the top devices on the showfloor and has bestowed our Best of MWC awards on our favourites. These are products that we’re expecting to make the bigger impact with consumers over the next year, bringing improvements to familiar devices and whole new experiences as well.
All of our MWC 2016 coverage in one place
It’s worth noting that we don’t have set categories that we feel the need to fill. If there isn’t anything worthy for a particular category we don’t give out an award, while we’;re also flexible enough to come up with new categories if there’s enough competition in an unexpected area, as with the swathe of accessories this year.
LG G5 – Best Smartphone and Best Innovation
Two awards for one phone might seem like overkill but the LG G5 really impressed us. The attractive metal chassis alone brings LG right up to speed with its competitors but the innovation here is jaw dropping, compared to its rivals who have been have to refine existing ideas. The modular lower section allows you to both add extra capabilities and to switch out the battery in an instant, while the wide-angle camera gives you bigger group shots and wider vistas.
Samsung Gear 360 – Best accessory
The Samsung Gear 360 is initially similar to the Ricoh Theta range and LG’s 360 CAM. However, 360-degree photography is best viewed using a VR headset and it’s Samsung that has done the most to date to bring VR to its handsets with the excellent Samsung Gear VR. The Gear 360 also has other advantages, such as a replaceable battery, a built-in tripod and the fact that it looks awesome as well doesn’t hurt. It’s our favourite of the smartphone accessories at this year’s show.
Sony Xperia XA – Best mid-range smartphone
Just because a smartphone isn’t a highly-prized and highly-pricey flagship model doesn’t mean it should have a little wow factor. The Xperia XA certainly brings something extra with a screen that stretches from one edge of the handset to the other. It’s just 7.9mm thick as well and feels great in the hand. The specifications are nothing to get excited about, but with a 5in display and smooth Android 6.0 performance we had no complaints. Sony describes it as a ‘super mid-range’ handset and we agree.
Huawei MateBook – Best Hybrid Device
Huawei rather surprised us with the MateBook at its press conference, we came to see phones and left having seen a brilliant, all-metal Surface Pro 4 contender. The build quality was great and there’s a huge range of specs on offer, plus it’s actually cheaper than the Pro 4 for the same specification. Huawei could have a huge hit on its hands with this Windows 10-powered device.