Mobile World Congress in Barcelona usually has the lion’s share of big Android smartphone reveals for the year. It definitely didn’t disappoint on that front in 2016, but there were plenty of other surprises at this year’s show that left us impressed. If you’re wondering what’s going to be hot in the world of mobile this year, read on for our favorite gadgets from MWC 2016.
Best Smartphone – Galaxy S7 Edge
We were torn between this and the LG G5, but the Galaxy S7 Edge edged out LG’s latest. Call it a safe pick — the LG G5 is playing with a lot of new ideas (we love the slide-out battery and the potential for their modular system), but the S7 Edge is just too reliably great. We know it’ll be a terrific performer, and we can’t help but be impressed at how Samsung has slowly but surely turned the Edge displays useful and convenient. Add in great water resistance, the return of the microSD card slot, and a much larger battery than before, and Samsung once again has the Android smartphone to beat this year.
Best New Mobile Technology – Project Tango on Lenovo’s Tablet
At CES 2016, we found out about the smartphone Lenovo is building with Google’s Project Tango. At MWC, Google and Lenovo showed off a tablet taking full advantage of Project Tango’s indoor mapping feature. By using an array of cameras and sensors, the tablet can help create a map of any building, from a house to a mall. Users can even add extra information at certain points on the indoor map that can be used with augmented reality. The target market for this device is also starting to take shape — while consumers will be able to buy the tablet eventually, we can see these being purchased in bulk by museums to loan out as interactive guides, using augmented reality to call up extra information about various exhibits or works of art. As always, its success will be determined by third party developers like GuidiGO, whose mapping app is pictured above.
Best Mobile Accessory – ZTE Spro Plus
Strictly speaking, the ZTE Spro Plus is a projector. You’d think it was a tablet by looking at it, though — and a pretty good one, too. With an 8.4″ 2560 x 1440 AMOLED display and a quad-core processor, this thing has all the power and performance of a premium tablet. But, you can tell by its thickness that there’s more going on here. The souped up projector now has laser projection capable of creating a 1080p image up to 120″ in size. Add in a two to four hour battery life, and you’ve got a must have if you’re planning on throwing any outdoor movie parties this summer.