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The Best Of MWC 2017

The who's who of the mobile world converged at Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress in the last week of February. Here are my picks of the best from the show

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Best Phone: LG G6: For a show that is all about phones, LG’s refined G6 was the star of the show. Stepping away from the polarising modular concept from last year's G5, LG’s G6 achieved two seemingly opposing goals — to fit a bigger screen into a smaller phone! The G6 fits in a 5.7-inch screen into a form factor, similar to many 5.2-inch display phones — the result is a nearly zero-bezel, elongated big-screen phone that is easy to operate with one hand. The tall design also means that the phone has a unique 18:9 (2:1) aspect ratio, which is great for watching videos or even for working on multiple apps side by side. Add to that, water resistance, a large 3,300mAh battery and excellent dual 13MP cameras. While the processor may not be Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835, the G6 is a snappy, capable and mature flagship for 2017.

Best Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: For years, consumers have been asking Samsung to bring over the S-Pen tech from its Note series to its other products, and Samsung has finally delivered with the Galaxy Tab S3. It goes toe-to-toe with the iPad Pro in its refined and feature-rich stylus capabilities, and ticks off all that you would want from an Android tablet: a 9.7-inch quad-HD display, Android Nougat OS, four speakers, a flagship-level Snapdragon 820 chip and an optional keyboard case. Its productivity and creative features makes the Tab S3 the best Android tablet I have seen in a really long while.

Best Gadget: Sony Xperia Touch: From the insanely-cool-gadgets-department comes the Sony Xperia Touch, a short-throw projector, which uses infra-red and a built-in camera to convert any flat surface into a 23-inch interactive touch screen. You could beam your favourite Android apps to watch movies, or switch orientation to project onto a table for working or playing games. Seriously cool.

Best Wearable: Huawei Watch 2: Smartwatches as a segment are struggling, but fitness trackers are booming, and Huawei’s tapped into the latter with a bevy of fitness-oriented features in the latest Watch 2. It can constantly monitor your heart rate for all-day fitness tracking, create a personalised running plan with real-time coaching and guidance during runs, and even measure your VO2 Max (a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use during a workout) to give you an indication of your cardio-fitness levels. Unlike many recent smartwatches, the Watch 2 is light and comfortable to wear, runs Google’s latest Android Wear 2.0 wearable platform and comes in two variants — sporty and classic — to suit your style. And when the battery runs low, as is inevitably the case with smartwatches, the Watch 2 has a special power-saving mode that will continue to track your steps and display the time, for up to 25 days!

Best Innovations: Sony Motion Eye and Oppo 5X zoom: Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium is packed to the rafters with the latest in tech — a 5.5-inch 4K display, a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835 processor — but its standout feature is Motion Eye system with its ultra-slow motion 960 frames per second shooting mode, which can capture amazing perspectives on everyday action sequences. And if you thought Apple’s 2X optical zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus was nice, you’ll love Oppo’s 5x optical zoom prototype shown off at MWC, which employs a sunk lens system and a 90-degree mirror system to fit in a 5X telephoto zoom without bulking up the thickness of the handset.

Best Accessory: Nokia 3310: No, you are not reading this wrong, and neither have you been transported back to the turn of the century. The 2017 Nokia 3310 is actually a thing, and it stole the thunder from pretty much every announcement this year at MWC. Modelled after the original, the 2017 refresh will never replace your smartphone — it runs the ageing Nokia Series 30+ software platform, has a 2.4-inch non-touch display and a 2-megapixel camera and while it offers a browser, its 2.5G compatibility means that it’s best (and only) suited for old 2G networks. What it does let you do is make calls, send text messages…and play a 2017 version of the age-old classic, Snake! Claimed battery life? A standby mode of 31 days, and 22 hours of talk time, figures that hark back to a time when charging your phone was not a daily ritual. Perfect as a backup phone, or for elders in the family.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tushar Kanwar

The author is Technology Columnist and Program Manager in Bengaluru, India

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