If you’re into gadgets and love your phone, there’s no better place on Earth than Barcelona, Spain, each February. Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the largest mobile trade show on the planet, with more than 100,000 visitors each year, from more than 200 countries.
Though it’s a beautiful place to visit, it’s not easy to get to Spain in late winter, and attending MWC is more expensive than buying a new iPhone. We’re here to help. Our crack team of mobilers, led by DT Mobile Editor Malarie Gokey, has scoured the halls of the Fira Gran Via, and put their grubby mitts on every phone, tablet, gadget, and device they could find. You can read and watch everything we’ve produced so far on our MWC 2017 page, or follow us on Twitter (#dtmwc).
But if you just want to know what the hottest stuff is, we’ve got it for you. Below are our absolute favorite phone, tablet, gadget, wearable, accessory, and piece of emerging tech at the show. Topping the list is our favorite overall pick. Feast your eyes on the most delectable tech at MWC!
Best of Show
LG pulled off something of a miracle with the G6 to make the best device we’ve seen at MWC 2017. The sharp, clear 5.7-inch screen takes up nearly the entire front of the phone, leaving minuscule bezels sitting at the top and bottom. Even though it has one of the biggest screen sizes you’ll see on a flagship phone, the G6’s physical size is smaller than many 5.2-inch phones.
With a lot of labor and a little bit of magic, LG has accomplished two contradictory goals — to create a bigger screen and a smaller phone. It wasn’t easy, but LG pulled it off in style. The G6 has a gorgeous metal and glass build that picks up on the recent trend toward attractive, glossy phones. A strong metal frame and slightly thicker profile make the G6 comfortable to hold and sturdy.
As always, the cameras on LG’s phone are fantastic. The twin 13-megapixel cameras on the back of the phone give you the option of taking a wide-angle shot or a standard image. Meanwhile, the front camera offers up wide-angle selfies anytime you want to snap one with your friends when there’s a great view in the background. We’ve been taking shots around Barcelona, and the G6 keeps impressing us.
The G6 boasts a giant 3,300mAh battery that juices up incredibly quickly with Quick Charge 3.0, and the U.S. model even supports wireless charging. Although the processor may not be the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, the G6 is lightning fast and Android Nougat has never looked better.
LG’s designers used the phone’s unique 18:9 aspect ratio to customize its GUI interface overlay. GUI is subtle and attractive. Some apps divide the screen into two perfect squares to make the most of 18:9 (2:1) aspect ratio.
We were hesitant to name the G6 our top product of MWC. After all, LG did sponsor our coverage this year and we don’t want to give the appearance of favorites. But we couldn’t help ourselves. The G6 is simply the best all-around phone we’ve seen at MWC this year.
– Malarie Gokey
No one likes a dead smartphone. That’s why we’re always on the hunt for charging accessories that can keep our phones fully operational. No wonder, then, that the super-svelte Kado Wallet caught our eye at MWC this year.
This is a truly portable accessory, about the thickness of three credit cards and extremely lightweight. As the name suggests, it fits comfortably into a wallet. It comprises two square halves. On one half, the prongs fold out to plug into a standard power outlet; on the other, there’s a groove that holds the cable to insert into your smartphone. It can deliver up to 10 watts, so you’ll have no trouble charging your phone up quickly.
Kado is planning to offer Lightning, Micro USB, and USB Type-C versions of the Kado Wallet, so this gadget can charge up any phone. You can also slide the Kado Wallet apart in the middle to reveal a USB connector that enables you to plug your smartphone into a laptop or desktop computer and transfer data, while charging at a slower rate. It’s a smart, slim, practical device that you can slip into your wallet or bag and forget about until you need it.
– Simon Hill
LiFi-X by PureLiFi
We’ve been following the development of Li-Fi for a few years now. It all started more than a decade ago when Professor Harald Hass, the father of Li-Fi, saw the inevitable spectrum crunch approaching and began to research the possibility of transferring data at high speeds using LED lighting technology instead of radio frequencies like traditional Wi-Fi.
PureLiFi was founded in 2012 and tasked with commercializing the technology, and it has come a long way since then. Last year, we saw a prototype in action, streaming video from YouTube via a dongle plugged into a laptop that was connected to the internet by way of an overhead light. That product is now commercially available through business agreements with PureLiFi, which counts Cisco and British Telecom among its partners.
It’s capable of delivering speeds of 42 Mbps up and down. With Ethernet cabling, individual lights can provide fast, efficient connectivity for multiple devices, and deliver far more data in a small area than Wi-Fi can. It’s also extremely secure – if you want to make sure no one else connects, simply draw the shades. It can even be retrofitted into existing power lines.
PureLiFi continues to work on miniaturizing the technology, improving the power efficiency, and boosting the speed, and we expect to see it evolve beyond dongles to be integrated into devices like smartphones in the next few years. This exciting technology could transform the way we access the internet.
– Simon Hill
Nokia and HMD Global stole the thunder from all of this year’s flagship smartphone launches at Mobile World Congress 2017 with a dumb phone — the Nokia 3310.
Modeled after the original, which was released in 2000, the Nokia 3310 will never replace our smartphones, but it’s an excellent gadget to own. It can act as a burner or backup phone, or as a gadget to give to kids if you think they’re too young for a smartphone.
It has a 2.4-inch display, runs on the Nokia Series 30+ software platform, and covers all the basic essentials — texting, calling, and, most importantly, playing Snake. That’s right, the classic Snake game is back.
The Nokia 3310 has a lot of important features that smartphones don’t. For example, its size contrasts with what we see in the smartphone world, where 5.5-inch smartphones are the norm. Unlike most phones, the 3310 will fit in almost any pocket.
The battery greatly differs, too — HMD said it lasts 31 days in standby mode. You’ll get 22 hours of talk time, which harks back to the days when you didn’t need to charge your phone every day.
We’re quite fond of the Nokia 3310’s bubbly and colorful design, which is different from the black, gold, and white colors most smartphone-makers seem to offer.
Sure, the 2-megapixel camera on the rear offers up photos that look like they’re straight out of “Paranormal Activity,” but it’s also a part of the 3310’s charm.
In fact, nostalgia is a huge part of the 3310’s appeal, and at a price of 49 euros ($52 U.S.), it’s easy to see the phone becoming a fun gadget gift for anyone.
– Julian Chokkattu
We have been impressed by the Huawei Mate 9 already this year, so it comes as no surprise that the company has followed up last year’s P9 camera phone with another winner. The Huawei P10 takes everything that made the P9 desirable, enhances key features, then adds the power that makes the Mate 9 such a capable business phone. The best part? All this is inside a slick, compact smartphone body available in some delicious new colors.
The dual-lens rear camera gets the Mate 9’s second-generation Leica hardware, and is now tailored to take amazing portrait photos, rather than only landscapes and vistas favored by the P9. There are also some cool new features, including the monochrome lens now re-creating the trendy bokeh blurred background effect. We’ve spent some time with the camera, and love the pictures it takes. Rather than only being sold in black, gold, or white, the P10 comes in dazzling blue, and greenery, two new hues created with color experts Pantone. The green is love-it-or-hate-it, but we adore the new blue, which catches the light in a very special way.
The P10 is a very modern device, and perfectly encapsulates Huawei’s growing maturity, attention to trends others are missing, and keenness to listen to feedback from those who use its phones. We love it.
– Andy Boxall
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
These days, if you’re not looking for an iPad, it’s hard to find a tablet at all. The Android tablet market has dwindled so much in the last few years that we didn’t even have a tablets category at our MWC awards last year. It’s nice to have a tablet to award this year, and the Galaxy Tab S3 had already been on our minds for a few months now.
Samsung’s latest tablet is an all-out assault on Apple’s premium $600 iPad Pro, and it looks ready for the fight. With a comfortable new keyboard case (extra) and a revamped S-Pen (included), it’s well-suited for some productivity and artistry right along with web browsing, apps, and watching Netflix in the kitchen.
With a glass finish and metal exterior, it also looks as nice as an iPad. And for once, Samsung has a big edge on Apple: AMOLED. The Galaxy Tab S3 has a 9.7-inch AMOLED screen with HDR. This likely makes it the best tablet screen available (possibly ever). AMOLED screens have far deeper blacks and richer, more vibrant colors than other screen types. With quad speakers tuned by AKG by Harman, it also sounds pretty good, too, giving the Tab S3 a serious edge as a portable Netflix machine and travel buddy.
We don’t know the price or release date yet, but we’re excited to say that Samsung is taking tablets seriously again.
– Jeffery Van Camp
Huawei Watch 2
While Google and LG may have intended the Watch Sport to be the shining example of Android Wear 2.0, the Huawei Watch 2 takes the cake and is our choice for best wearable at Mobile World Congress 2017.
Smartwatches shouldn’t be thick, bulky, and uncomfortable like the Watch Sport, and that’s everything the Huawei Watch 2 isn’t. It’s light, comfortable to wear, and it resembles a watch more than a smartwatch.
There are actually two variants — the Huawei Watch 2 and the Huawei Watch 2 Classic. The sportier variant has LTE, GPS, and NFC for Android Pay. The two differ slightly in style. For example, the Classic comes with a leather strap, whereas the sport model has a rubber-like band. Both have an IP68 water-resistant rating.
Huawei has basically managed to fit everything in the Watch Sport into a much smaller and lighter case, though it may have had to sacrifice the screen size, which is only 1.2-inches.
There’s also no digital crown to help scroll through the operating system, but the Watch 2 is still a strong showcase for Android Wear 2.0, which runs quite well thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor.
One of the best features of the Huawei Watch 2 is the Watch Mode, which lets you swap to a display that only shows the time and your steps walked — all other features are turned off to conserve battery. Huawei claims the watch should last up to 25 days in this mode, which is an excellent solution to the poor battery life seen on most smartwatches.
The Huawei Watch 2 is the best wearable we’ve seen at MWC 2017.
– Julian Chokkattu