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Nokia 720 and oversized phones from LG, ZTE at MWC

The first official day of Mobile World Congress was packed with exciting launches and press conferences from Nokia, LG, ZTE and Asus.

CNET staff hit the ground running on the first official day of Mobile World Congress yesterday, turning up bright and early with not a bleary eye in sight to make it to Nokia's 8.30am press conference.

A series of budget and midrange handsets were launched, chief among them the latest additions to Nokia's Windows Phone 8 range, the Lumia 720 and 520. At the budget end of the scale was the Nokia 105, a €15 phone, which with a 1.5-inch screen and weeks' worth of battery life in standby mode, harks back to the Nokia we know of old.

According to Nokia, its target demographic for the Lumia 720 are younger, trendier, social people who don't require the highest level of hardware technology, but who still demand quality. It sports a 4.3-inch LCD display and a 6.7-megapixel camera and will go on sale for €249 at full retail price, or about £214. Its little brother, the Lumia 520, will be available for around €139 (£119).

The rest of the day was packed with exciting launches and we delivered you live blogs of press conferences from some of the big guns of the smart phone world. Without Samsung and HTC to stand in their way, the likes of Asus, LG and ZTE threw down the Android gauntlet.

LG, clearly determined to build on the success of the Google Nexus 4, unveiled a range of devices across the whole pricing spectrum. At the top end was the 5.5-inch 'phablet', the Optimus G Pro, with the F7 and F5 aiming to offer LTE functionality to those on a mid-range budget, and the L series bringing up the rear.

In a move that reinforced Samsung's position as a company that likes to set itself apart from other manufacturers of high-end Android phones, it did not deign to announce a top-of-the-range device at Mobile World Congress for the second year running. Instead it confirmed to CNET that it would unveil the Galaxy S4 at an event next month in New York.

To keep Samsung fans happy, we managed to go hands-on in the meantime with the budget Galaxy Fame and Young, as well as the rugged and waterproof Galaxy Xcover 2.

You'll have to concentrate for this one, as Asus revealed the secret behind its 'Metallic Miracle' trailer was not one, but two very different devices with almost, but not quite, identical names. The PadFone Infinity is a pricey 5-inch LTE smart phone that becomes a 10.1-inch tablet when docked into the Infinity Station. The Fonepad, on the other hand, is a $249 (£214) 7-inch Jelly Bean tablet that makes calls. Got that? Good.

The day saw ZTE launch the Grand Memo, a 5.7-inch challenger to the Galaxy Note 2, and its first phone to run the new Firefox OS, the ZTE Open.

These devices represent the biggest, splashiest products of the day, but if you don't want to miss out, be sure to head over to our dedicated Mobile World Congress page, which is jam-packed full of first takes, slideshows and hands-on videos. We'll be adding plenty more analysis and news about hot products throughout the week, so keep checking back.

What's your favourite product from Mobile World Congress so far? Are you impressed or disappointed with this year's lineup? Let me know in the comments, or over on our phone-swamped Facebook page.