Take a tour of the phones at Mobile World Congress 2015
The biggest phone show of the year
Thousands of people are gathering in Barcelona this week to see the latest and greatest phones from the biggest names in the industry. From Samsung's hottest new devices to phones built for emerging markets, this show has it all.
We're rounding up all of the phones from the show, from flagship to budget. Check back for updates as they come in from Spain.
Photo by: Stephen Shankland/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung's new flagship device leaves behind its plastic predecessor with a new metal design. It offers plenty of new features, including a revamped UI, HD display, Android 5.0 Lollipop and mobile payment system Samsung Pay.
Along with the Galaxy S6, Samsung built a curved-screen phone called the S6 Edge. Like the Note Edge, this phone has a curved bezel where it displays extra information on the side of the screen. Like the regular S6, the phone has impressive specs, such as a 64-bit Exynos octa-core processor, fingerprint sensor and a 16-megapixel rear camera.
Samsung's highlighting its Tizen mobile operating system with the Z1, a budget device for emerging markets that will cost about $90 (roughly £60 or AU$115) when it goes on sale. Though the operating system isn't too far off from Android, with similar design features, Samsung built it from the ground up to offer an alternative to Google's OS. To keep costs low, Samsung gave the phone low-end specs, including a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a 4-inch, 800x480-pixel-resolution display and a 3.8-megapixel main camera.
Not to be overshadowed by the Galaxy S6, Samsung's Galaxy A7 is a sleek and slim, yet less premium alternative. Like the S6, the A7 has a metal design, which makes it feel more luxurious than earlier plastic models.
No word on pricing or release dates just yet, but we do know that it has 5.5-inch full HD AMOLED screen, 4G LTE support, 1.8GHz quad-core and 1.3GHz quad-core processors and 2GB of RAM.
The HTC One M9 doesn't look all that different from its predecessor -- and in the case of this rather attractive device, that could be a good thing. It sports a 5-inch display with a 1,920-by-1,080 pixel resolution, and all metal body, and a speedy octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. Of particular note are the cameras: HTC's Ultrapixel shooter has moved up front to offer premium selfies, while a 20-megapixel camera sits on the rear.
The Lumia 640 might not be the Microsoft flagship phone we're anticipating, but if you're looking for a relatively inexpensive taste of Windows Phone, this could be a solid option. The phone is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. There's 8GB of storage, which you can expand with up to 128GB microSD cards. The 2,500mAh battery is also removable, should you need a bit more juice. The 5-inch display has a 1,280 by 720-pixel resolution (294 ppi), and there's an 8-megapixel camera on the rear; don't expect stellar selfies from the 1-megapixel front-facing camera. The price for the LTE model will be about $180, which converts to £117 or AU$230. The 3G model will set you back about $160, which converts to £101 or AU$204. It's expected to ship later this spring.
The Lumia 640 XL is exactly what it sounds like: a slightly larger version of the Lumia 640. The 5.7-inch display has the same 720p resolution as its smaller sibling, thought it offers a 13-megapixel camera on the rear, and a 5-megapixel camera up front. You'll also find a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, though the 3,000mAh battery is slightly larger. You can also expect to spend a bit more: the Lumia 640 XL will cost $240, or about £155 or AU$310 for the LTE version. The 3G model, will cost $210, roughly £135 or AU$270. It will be available later this spring.
The LG Magna and Sprit both run Android 5.0 Lollipop, offer 8GB of internal storage, and come in 4G and 3G models. They'll offer a either 1.2 or 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, as well as either a 5- or 8-megapixel rear camera -- both devices also shoot 1,080p HD video. But the Magna sports a 5-inch, 294 ppi display, as compared to the Spirit's 4.7-inch 312 ppi display. And both phones offer a subtly curved display, much like LG's flagship G Flex 2.
The LG Leon brings Android Lollipop to folks on a tight budget. It sports a 4.5-inch FWVGA display, 8GB of storage space and 1GB of RAM. The CPU and rear camera will vary by market, but you can expect either a 1.2 or 1.3 GHz quad-core CPU, and a 5- or 8-megapixel camera.
The LG Joy's 4-inch display sports a pixel density of 233ppi, and the phone also offers a 5-megapixel camera. The rest of the phone's fixings are dependent on the market it ships in: you can expect either Android 4.4 KitKat or Android 5.0 Lollipop, and either a dual- or quad-core 1.2GHz processor
If you regularly find yourself accidentally washing your smartphone in the kitchen sink, Sony's Xperia M4 Aqua might be worth a look. The phone pairs an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with 2GB of RAM. That hardware powers a 5-inch display with a 1,280-by-720-pixel resolution. There's a 5-megapixel camera up front, and a 13-megapixel shooter on the rear. But more importantly it's fully waterproof, so you needn't worry too much when you're browsing CNET in the shower. It'll be available sometime this spring for €299, which converts to $340, £220, or AU$435.
Sony's Xperia E4g is a followup to the Xperia E4 and it adds 4G LTE. It has the E4's basic specs too, including the promising two-day battery life. The E4g will be available in April for a very respectable €129. Which countries will get the phone and how much it will cost in each region have yet to be confirmed, but that converts to around $145, £95 or AU$190.
The Liquid M220 is Acer's first foray into the world of Windows Phones. Its 4-inch display has a pixel density of 233 pixels per inch, and though the meager 4GB of storage space, 1.2GHz dual-core CPU and paltry 512GB of RAM don't necessarily impress, its price tag might. It'll be available in select European markets this April for €79 -- that converts to about $88, £57, or AU$113.
The Liquid Jade Z is one of the lightest smartphones around, weighing in at just 3.8 ounces. It'll be light on your wallet too, starting at €199 -- that's about $223, £144, or AU$285. The 5-inch, HD IPS display is powered by a 1.5GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. Storage space is limited to 8GB, so you'll want to pick up a microSD card. There's also a 13-megapixel camera whose lens boasts a fast F1.8 aperture: that could come in handy for snapping pics in low light
The Liquid Z220 and Liquid Z520 aren't especially exciting, but they might be a good fit if you want something in expensive. The Liquid Z520 has a 5-inch display, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and runs Android 4.4 KitKat. The Liquid Z220 has a 4-inch display and a 5-megapixel reare shooter, but runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. Both of these are 3G devices, and over optional support for dual SIM cards.
ZTE's newest flagship, the Nubia Z9 Max, has plenty of camera prowess. Not only does it come equipped with a 16-megapixel main lens, it also includes camera controls to capture the best shot. In addition to meters for adjusting white balance, ISO levels and exposure, it has many shooting modes that take advantage of the camera's long-exposure feature, such as star track mode for shooting stars as they move through the night sky. Scheduled for the end of March, it will launch in China first and is estimated to cost about $450 (£293 or AU$574, conversion).
The ZTE Grand S3 has a very unique feature: Eyeprint ID. Instead of your fingerprint, the phone scans your eyeball with the front-facing camera to verify that it's you before unlocking the phone. It's running Android 4.4 and sports a front 8-megapixel camera.
Google's Project Ara is shaping up to be a really cool look at the future of Android. These modular phones have components, like cameras and processors, that you can swap out to customize your device.
Smartphone maker Yezz is the first company outside of Google to build a Project Ara phone. Yezz says that when its Project Ara smartphone goes on sale in Puerto Rico, it'll be hoping to attach a price tag of approximately $200 (which translates to roughly £130 or AU$256).
Silent Circle's smartphone runs a privacy-focused, Android-based operating system, and is designed to keep your data and communications secure. Calls and text messages are encrypted, as is your contact lists. You can even encrypt calls and messages with folks who aren't using Blackphones, to keep prying eyes and ears out of your business.
Huawei is going big this year with a phablet so large and thin, it rivals the rest. The MediaPad X2 is a 7-inch phone and tablet hybrid that likely won't fit in your pants pockets. The dual-SIM-packing Huawei gadget houses a powerful 2GHz Kirin 930 chipset with a 64-bit eight-core CPU and Mali-T628 GPU. It comes in two versions: a model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage that dons a sliver aluminum back, and a gold version with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.
A budget phone through and through, the Huawei Ascend Y360 is packing low-end specs and a price to match. It's slated to cost £100 in the UK ($150 or AU$200). For your money you get a low-power 1.2GHz quad-core processor with a measly 512MB of RAM. There's 4GB of storage built-in, too. It also features a 4-inch, 854x480-pixel screen, which gives you just 244 pixels per inch.
A step up from the Ascend Y390, Huawei's Y635 has a 5-inch screen and 4G LTE. Beyond that, its specs are unimpressive, but it's a budget phone that will cost around £120 in the UK, around $160 or AU$200.
Huawei's Honor 4X is a bright, budget phone that doesn't sacrifice too much for the price. It's an 5.5-inch Android KitKat smartphone with a 720p display, a 16-bit octa-core processor, clocked at 1.2GHz, and a 13-megapixel camera.
European phone network Orange plans to bring smartphones to parts of the world where advanced mobiles are not yet commonplace with the Klif, a small, inexpensive Firefox phone built by Alcatel.
It will be sold only through Orange's Klif bundle, which starts at $40 (or €35) and will be made available in the first half of the year in 13 countries, including Egypt, Botswana, Mali and the Ivory Coast.
At Mobile World Congress, Alcatel debuted big and bigger versions of its new flagship, the OneTouch Idol 3: a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch option. Both new models share the same sleek design and Android 5.0 Lollipop. They're made of plastic, but look nice, with a brushed finish on the back and silvery accents throughout. Very slim, the phones have an embedded battery and a microSD card slot that shares space with the SIM card tray (there are dual-SIM variants of the two as well).
This 6-inch smartphone runs on a 2GHz octa-core MediaTek processor, has a 1,920x1,080-pixel display, and packs a built-in stylus. You'll also find a 13-megapixel rear camera, with 5-megapixel shooter on the front. But the real star is the opearting system: The OneTouch Hero 2+ is running the Cyanogen OS, the open-source operating system based on Android 4.4 KitKat.
There are many OneTouch Pixi 3 smartphones: this one has a 5.5-inch display, and runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. The phone will run on 4G LTE networks in the US, the UK, and Asia, though there'll also be a 3G variant. The phone offers a meager 8GB of storage, but its microSD card slot can support up to 128GB cards. There's no word on pricing or US availability, but you can expect this phone in Europe starting this summer.
Lenovo's photo-centric Vibe Shot is the shutterbug's smartphone. The start of the show is a 16-megapixel rear shooter paired with a tricolor flash. The phone also packs a physical shutter button, and a "pro" mode that serves up a slew of manual controls. The phone will be available in June for $349 -- that converts to about £226 or AU$447.
This 5.5-inch smartphone brings Dolby Atmos sound for a respectable $169 -- that's about £110, or AU$220. The Atmos technology should create the illusion of an immersive surround experience in your headphones -- we'll need to wait until this phone is available in March to see how well those claims hold up.
Haier's Voyage smartphones covers the full specturm: from inexpensive dual-core budget devices to 5-inch, octa-core juggernauts. Prices range from around €79 (about $90, £60, AU$115) up to €349 ($390, £255, AU$500), but availablity outside of select European markets hasn't been announced.
Haier's Ezy line is aimed at anyone who wants simplicity with their smartphone, with a streamlined design and very friendly software. The A6 is the smaller of the two, but both devices have similar features, including a dedicated SOS button for emergencies. These phones are also designed with people with hearing concerns in mind, with powerful speakers can reach up to 90dB and they're M4/T4 hearing-compatible.
Up-and-coming smartphone brand Kazam came to MWC with a heap of new phones. The Thunder 450W and 450L are two Windows Phone devices with style. The 450W is a 3G phone with vibrant, loud color choices, while the 450L is a 4G phone with a more subdued design. Both phones are powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz MSM8212 processor, with 1GB of RAM and have 8GB of storage.
The Kazam Tornado 455L can survive a rainstorm, thanks to its waterproof casing and scuff-proof Gorilla Glass screen. It's a thin phone, at just 6.9mm (0.27 inch), yet sturdy. It's got a 5.5-inch screen, Android 4.4 KitKat, a quad-core 1.2GHz processor and a 13-megapixel camera. No word on pricing yet, but it looks like this phone will stay in Europe for the foreseeable future.
Following up latest year's super-slim Elife S5.5, Chinese company Gionee kept the same thin design but upgraded the specs for the Elife S7. This pricy smartphone will retail for €399 (converted, $450, £290 and AU$575) and comes with a 1080p display and a 13-megapixel camera.