MWC 2018: The best new phones, tablets and launches from Mobile World Congress
MWC 2018 is officially open, although many of the biggest new phone and tablet launches took place during press conferences before the public got a look in.
Samsung launched its Galaxy S9, Sony unveiled its latest XZ handsets, Nokia released a myriad phones (including a 1990s throwback) and Lenovo refreshed its Yoga range.
We have a handful of intrepid reporters on the ground in Barcelona, feeding back the latest news, so keep an eye on this page for news and hands-on reviews as the show progresses.
Below we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about MWC 2018 as well as the highlights from Samsung, Sony, Nokia and more.
MWC 2018: Highlights
Asus MWC 2018
At this year’s CES, it was all about the Asus Zenbook range. At MWC 2018, it’s all about the Zenfone – the Zenfone 5 and Zenfone 5Z to be precise.
Both handsets have whopping 6.2in, FHD+ displays. The ZenFone 5 runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 with 6GB RAM and 64GB of built-in storage while the ZenFone 5Z features the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, has up to 8GB of RAM and comes with 128GB storage. On the rear of both phones is a 12-megapixel cameras on the rear, with 8-megapixels on the front.
Both handsets will go on sale this summer, and the 5Z will retail at £500 – a bargain price for such a powerful phone.
Read our Asus ZenFone 5Z review
Sony MWC 2018
MWC 2018 kicks off proper today, and ahead of doors opening to the public Sony has revealed the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact.
Sony went quite hard on its announcements at CES 2018 and showcased its budget and mid-range Xperia XA2, Xperia XA2 Ultra and Xperia L2 handsets so we’re not surprised to see these new releases at MWC 2018.
The former is a big beast of a smartphone: 5.7in with an 18:9 2,160 x 1,080 display, Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB RAM and a 19-megapixel camera, capable of shooting 4K HDR video and HD slow motion video of an impressive 960fps. The smaller Xperia XZ2 Compact shares the same specifications in a (slightly) smaller package: it’s still 18:9, but is a 5in device. Both handsets are due to launch in April.
Sony Imaging, the camera arm of the Japanese giant’s business, additionally introduced a new 4K, full-frame mirrorless camera line-up, the α7 III (model ILCE-7M3). It goes on sale in Europe in March and will cost around £2,000/€2,300 (body only), or £2,200/€2,500 for a kit with the SEL2870 lens.
Samsung MWC 2018: Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus make their debut
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is now official. It was hardly a secret Samsung was planning on following up the enormously successful Galaxy S8 with the Galaxy S9, but it’s nice to make it official.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S9 review
The Samsung Galaxy S9 looks quite like the S8 – albeit now in a very stylish purple – but comes with the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, and improvements to the already excellent camera. The major difference between the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus is the S9 has has a 5.8in, 18.5:9 QHD+ display, while its larger sibling has a 6.2in display. You can read more about both phones on our Samsung MWC 2018 highlights page.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus review
Nokia MWC 2018: Five phones including a 1990s throwback
Last year Nokia made a triumphant return to MWC with four new handsets. After outselling the likes of Google, HTC and Sony at the end of last year, the Finnish firm has come back with a further five, ranging from a £70 feature phone, all the way up to a £660 Android flagship.
Leading the way is the Nokia 8 Sirocco, a 5.5in stylish-looking 18:9 flagship with 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage. One fly in the ointment: it uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor which is no slouch, but very much the 2017 flagship processor of choice.
Read our Nokia 8 Sirocco review
Elsewhere in Nokia’s Android lineup, the firm announced the Nokia 7 Plus, an updated version of last year’s Nokia 6 (dubbed New Nokia 6) and the Nokia 1 – which costs just $85, runs Android Go and is aimed at emerging markets.
Finally, on the back of the 3310’s surprise success last year, Nokia has another feature phone: the Nokia 8110, which actually has 4G this time around, as well as Snake – very much the best of both worlds.
Read our Nokia 8110 review
Huawei MWC 2018: Three tablets and a laptop
Huawei was first out the blocks with an MWC-flavoured announcement, but it’s not a mobile. The Chinese giants instead unveiled three tablets and a laptop: the Matebook X Pro.
The three tablets are members of the company’s Mediapad family: one 8.4in slate and two 10.8in versions. Why are there two 10.8in editions? Because one is a “Pro” version, which comes with the M-Pen stylus, offering 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. More interestingly, it also switches from Android to a “Windows S environment” when docked in the optional keyboard adapter.
But it’s the Matebook X Pro that’s the most intriguing: a Windows 10 laptop, with next to no bezel at all. Not only is it beautiful, but its led to some pretty interesting design decisions – with no space on the screen for a webcam, for example, it now pops out of the keyboard when in use, and is easily hidden away again when not.
Read our Matebook X Pro review
Lenovo MWC 2018: Chromebooks, everywhere
Lenovo hasn’t exactly made waves at MWC 2018, but it has showcased a number of updates to Moto Mods and its Yoga range of laptops.
The Motorola Health Mod can be clipped to the Moto Z and measures five vital signs including systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Meanwhile, Lenovo unveiled the new Yoga 730 (in 13-inch and 15-inch models) alongside a 14-inch Yoga 530 as part of its 2-in-1 range. All run Windows 10 and the Yoga 730 uses AI to give intelligent assistance hands-free thanks to both Cortana and Alexa built-in.
Moving onto laptops, Lenovo’s 500e, 300e 2-in-1’s and 100e Chromebooks are now available for consumers. The 300e Chromebook comes with so-called Enhanced Touch technology, meaning you can use everyday objects to interact with the screen, while the 500e Chromebook comes with an EMR Pen to help with writing and sketching.
Alcatel MWC 2018: Alcatel 5 to Alcatel 1X
Alcatel released a myriad phones at MWC 2018 ranging from the Alcatel 5 to the Alcatel 1X.
The Alcatel 5 has a 5.7-inch, bezel-less, 18:9 display, an octa-core processor and a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with a front-facing 5-megapixel lens and built-in LED.
The Alcatel 3 comes with a 5.5-inch, 18:9 display, face unlock and a fingerprint sensor, while the Alcatel 3V is the mid-range version of the Alcatel 3. It has a 2K display, a 12-megapixel camera with a 2-megapixel on the front.
And finally, the Alcatel 1X is the budget handset in the range. It comes with a quad-core MT6739 processor, 16GB of storage, a 2,460mAh battery, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and either 1 or 2GB of RAM.
STK MWC 2018
STK may not be a name you recognise but the London-based smartphone manufacturer has used MWC 2018 to launch its latest “luxury” device, the STK X2, and the firm wants a slice of its rivals’ mobile pie.
Sitting at the higher end of the mid-range market, and running pure Android Oreo, the STK X2 has a 5.7in HD 1,440 x 720 resolution screen and is powered by 4GB RAM. The phone has 128GB storage, a 16MP camera on both the front and back of the device, a fingerprint scanner on the rear all charged by a 3,000 mAh battery.
The STK X2 launches in April and will cost an extremely reasonable, given the specs, £269.99 from STK’s website in black or gold.