Powerful flagship phones and VR dominate the biggest day of Mobile World Congress 2016
The show hasn't even opened yet, but there's a lot of new stuff to see.
Sarah MitroffManaging Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
It's the day before Mobile World Congress 2016 officially starts in Barcelona, but there's already plenty of exciting new products to behold.
Sunday, Samsung revealed its new Galaxy phones, the S7 and S7 Edge and LG debuted the G5. LG also took the wraps off a few cameras, a VR headset and a home-monitoring device. HTC announced the price for its Vive VR headset. Plus, we got a look at fresh new tablets and laptops from Lenovo.
It's that time of year again for new Samsung phones. The Korean company debuted the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, which will replace 2015's S6 and S6 Edge. These new phones are once again water-resistant (just like the S5) and boast bigger batteries and faster processors. There's a fingerprint reader, too, plus expandable storage, which was missing from last year's models.
VR headsets are everywhere, but cameras that can shoot 360-degree videos for those headsets? Not so much. Samsung's built the Galaxy Gear 360 for just that. This camera ball shoots in 360 degrees and connects with the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge to process the video.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at Samsung's press conference to talk about Facebook's plans to make virtual reality more social. Maybe one day we'll browse our News Feeds from a headset.
LG brought a lot to MWC this year, including a VR headset and a brand-new phone, the G5. What makes the G5 so special is that you can swap out the battery and replace it with accessories such as the LG Cam Plus, a camera grip and shutter accessory that also adds more power. The LG G5 is somewhat of a modular phone, like Google's Project Ara phone, and it's first of its kind that we've seen that will actually be sold around the world.
LG also showed off the Stylus 2, a phone meant to rival Samsung's Note line with its own stylus. It ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and has a 5.7-inch screen.
VR headsets, robot balls and snap-on phone gadgets: Say hello to LG's amazing new G5 accessories
For the home, LG created the Rolling Bot, a security camera, smart-home device and pet toy in one. It can keep an eye on your home, turn on the lights for you and entertain your puppy or cat while you're away.
Lastly, LG is getting into the VR game with its own headset, the LG 360 VR. It's much smaller than other headsets we've seen and it plugs into your phone, instead of you putting your phone inside.
HTC also announced the One X9 for the US. The striking all-metal phone has been available only in China until now.
HP's new phone is a computer, too
Following in the footsteps of Microsoft's Lumia 950, HP's Elite x3 phone can be used as a computer too with the help of a dock. It's running Windows 10 and can plug into a monitor so you can use it as a full-functioning Windows computer. Unplug it, and it's a phone again.
Projectors all around
Tiny projects are a thing now, designed to slip into your pocket and set on a table for a presentation. ZTE announced the Spro Plus, an Android-powered projector that uses lasers instead of LEDs. Oh, and it has a JBL sound system too, so you can watch movies or TV with it.
There's also the Akyumen Holofone, a Windows phone with a built-in projector. It's not the coolest-looking phone, but it's practical, and the company is selling both a consumer version for all of us and an educational version for classrooms.
Lenovo's budget tablets and versatile laptops
At MWC, Lenovo introduced three new tablets, all with the option for LTE and all under $200 (or roughly £140 in the UK and AU$280).
The company also introduced smaller Yoga laptops. There's a new 11-inch model of the Yoga 710 that uses Intel's Core M line of low-power processors, plus 8GB of RAM and up to a 256GB SSD. Meanwhile, the Yoga 510 gets a makeover with a new streamlined design. Called the Flex 4 in the US, the laptop flips all the way around like the high-end Yoga models, but with a more budget-friendly price.
Watch this: Lenovo launches trio of super cheap Android Marshmallow tablets
Lenovo's new Ideapad Miix 310 is a Windows tablet that comes with a snap-on keyboard. It'll cost only $229 when it hits stores in the US later this year and €269 in Europe (approximately £208/AU$419), much cheaper than a Microsoft Surface.
Also part of Lenovo's lineup is the Vibe K5 Plus, a supercheap $149 smartphone (directly converted, that's around £100 or AU$210). Its specs are no slouch for that price, including an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 13-megapixel camera and dual-SIM card slots. For a little less, the Vibe K5 costs just $129 (roughly £90 or AU$180) and has similar features.
Barcelona welcomes Mobile World Congress (pictures)