Next week on Feb. 26, Mobile World Congress 2018 will rear its head once again. Every year, the world's biggest mobile industry trade show is the place to see new phones, laptops, smartwatches and more debut. We take a look at some of the show's highlights from last year and see where they are now -- if they were successful, launched in the first place or ended up as vaporware.
LG's G6 flagship phone ditched the modular-like design of its 2016 predecessor and added water resistance and wireless charging for certain markets. But since then, LG announced in January that it's rethinking its mobile planning strategy. Instead of launching the next G6 (presumably called the G7) at this year's MWC, LG confirmed that it'll introduce a revamped variant of its high-end V30 instead.
When the Galaxy Tab S3 launched, it was billed as one of the first HDR-ready tablets (as in, it has the processor and screen to show high-dynamic range video). But by the time we got our hands on it for review in March 2017, Netflix confirmed it didn't have any plans to support HDR on the Tab S3, and both Amazon and FandangoNow said HDR content will be available "soon." Other than that though, we dug the tablet's brilliant screen, capable stylus, and loud speakers.
Thought to be BlackBerry's comeback phone, the KeyOne hit a big snag a week after hitting the market in June. With some aggressive bending, the phone's screen can pop right off the device (and we confirmed this on our on review unit). Since then, Android Police reported that BlackBerry added more adhesive and that newer units are more durable.
Though the 2017 version of Samsung's Gear VR looked nearly identical to earlier models, it was the new controller that stepped up its game. The easy-to-use controller added one-handed control in apps, while new VR software updates added higher resolution, web browsing and smoother performance.
Lenovo's pair of affordable Moto phones, the G5 (right) and G5 Plus (left) both have 5.2-inch displays and splash-resistant designs. But we liked the G5 Plus so much -- with its slightly better specs, solid dual-camera and bigger battery -- that we dubbed it the best budget phone and awarded it our Editors' Choice in April 2017.
Though we really liked the Sony Xperia XZ Premium's sharp screen, fast processor and super slo-mo function that can shoot at an impressive 960 frames per second, we found that, in the end, the phone needed more refinement and a less familiar look to justify its $800 and £649 price tag (that converts to about AU$1,090 in Australia).
In addition to the XZ Premium, Sony showed off two budget-friendly phones, the Xperia XA1 (right) and XA1 Ultra (left), last year too. Both phones featured a nearly edge-to-edge display and a 23-megapixel rear camera. The 5.2-inch XA1 costs about $210 and £199, while the 6-inch XA1 Ultra costs $280 and £299.
Introduced at MWC 2017 as a prototype, Sony's second-gen Xperia Ear is still in development. It resurfaced in January during CES 2018 and the company is appearing to lurch closer to a shipping date. The noise-canceling earphones lets you still pick up on traffic sounds or people's voices, without having to take it out of your ear canals. It also connects to your phone via Bluetooth and can pick up calls too.
The Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 puts a very bright and responsive pen-enabled touch display that can survive -- and operate -- in all types of adverse conditions where a normal tablet wouldn't survive. Several accessory and mounting options both new and old allow it to fit in with your organizations needs. In general, we found the device to provide a flexible platform for pros who need a durable weatherproof tablet, a laptop or both.
As the other tablet Samsung introduced at last year's MWC, the Galaxy Book impressed us later with its excellent screen, strong performance and long battery life. And while we think the Galaxy Book beats the Surface on value by including a keyboard cover and stylus in the box, the Surface's design is still much more refined.
Huawei's Watch 2 is one of few watches that supports 4G connectivity, (though not in the US, unfortunately) and it does fitness tracking as well as any other wearable. But that doesn't mean it's one you need to buy if you're not already sold on wearables.
Lenovo's Tab 4 tablets were priced on a budget. The 8-inch variant (pictured here) in particular, is an affordable, small tablet with good battery life. It has front-facing speakers, a microSD card expansion slot and it works with the Lenovo Home Assistant dock.
But we preferred the 10-inch model slightly better, with its bigger screen, long-lasting battery and front-facing speakers.
When we saw Nokia launch its three Android phones, we liked their minimalist designs. The Nokia 3 (left) is dirt-cheap, looks good and is comfortable to hold in one hand. The Nokia 5 (center) is also affordable, has a battery that won't quit before the day's done and was our favorite of the trio. And lastly, the Nokia 6 (right) had a sluggish performance, but its low price and slick metal jacket went a long way to make up for it.
When HP unveiled the Pro x2 612 G2, it had us seeing double with the Microsoft Surface Pro. But the 12-inch tablet also had a fold-out kickstand and the latest seventh-generation Intel processors. You can nab it now starting for $999 (roughly £714 or AU$1,264).
LG's mid-range X Power 2 didn't cause any sort of stir during its debut at MWC 2017. That's because it only had a 1.5GHz processor, a 13-megapixel camera and a 5.5-inch display. It did, however, feature a 4,500mAh battery that LG estimated could last throughout the whole day and then some. In the US, the phone rebranded as the X Charge and goes for about $80-$100 on prepaid networks.
Lenovo's Miix 320 is a 10-inch Windows 10 tablet that starts at around $350 in the US. That price includes a detachable keyboard and touchpad that gives you a more traditional laptop experience. The tablet is powered by an Intel Atom X5 processor with up to 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera.
In addition to the Miix 320, Lenovo unveiled the 15.6- and 13-inch Yoga 720 and the 14-inch Yoga 520. In the US, the smaller 720 starts at about $800, while the bigger model costs $900. Both are equipped with IPS touchscreens and feature resolutions up to 3,840x2,160 pixels. As for the 520, you can nab it in the UK for £500 or in Australia for AU$1,300.
The Alcatel A5 was a modular phone that attached to a speaker, a battery pack and a programmable LED case that lit up when you got a notification. It never sold through official channels in the US, and can be hard pressed to purchase elsewhere. This isn't quite surprising since modular phones in general never really took off.
Last year, Waverly Labs showed off a "Star Trek"-like universal translator. The Pilot Translation Earpiece are wireless earbuds that is capable of translating conversations in real time. The company has begun shipping a few weeks ago and will send out a second batch in spring. If you're interested, you can pre-order the device for $250. Also keep in mind that Google released its own version of this concept called Pixel Buds.
Editors' Note: This gallery slide has been updated on Feb. 20, 2018 to include additional information about Waverly Labs' shipment progress.
ZTE's new budget-friendly Blade V8 phones may not have all the bells and whistles of other devices, but both phones promise to be easy on your wallet. The most noteworthy feature is the dual rear cameras. The Blade V8 Mini is equipped with both a 13- and a 2-megapixel camera on the back. This lets you shoot photos with blurred backgrounds similar to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. There's also the ability to refocus an image after you've already snapped the photo.
The Sony Xperia Touch runs Android and is able to turn a wall or surface into a 23-inch interactive screen. A built-in infrared sensor lets you touch and interact with the "screen" like you would with your phone and the projector can be used to browse the web, stream music and videos, beam a movie onto the wall, video chat with friends (it's got a built-in camera), play games and more. But this all comes at a high price -- $1,700, £1,400 and to be exact.