The Best Phones of Mobile World Congress 2016


Every year, some of the biggest names in tech gather in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress. This year, we saw new phones from Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, and others.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 was undoubtedly the biggest announcement of MWC. The S7 is the next version of Samsung’s flagship smartphone, and it packs quite a punch. With a 5.1-inch qHD 2560-by-1600 pixel display and a new 12-megapixel camera that takes even better photos in low light, the Galaxy S7 masters the basics of what a good phone should be. 

Samsung also revived an old feature with the S7: expandable storage. Up until last year’s Galaxy S6, Samsung’s phones had microSD card slots that allowed users to add up to 200 gigabytes to the internal storage of the device. With the S6, Samsung made the back of the phone glass, making it impossible to remove the back and access a microSD slot. With the S7, there is still no removable back, but the microSD slot is now cleverly hidden in the SIM card tray. The S7 has an always-on display, which allows users to check the time, calendar appointments, and notifications without touching the phone. The S7 also has a bigger brother in the Galaxy S7 Edge. The Edge sports a slightly bigger 5.5-inch display with curved edges that show extra information.

The LG G5 was another big announcement from MWC. The G5 is the new flagship phone from LG, and it has a few interesting new features that set it apart from the competition. The G5 has a beautiful all-aluminum exterior with a removable bottom. By removing the bottom of the phone, users can swap out batteries and add special components. LG specifically demonstrated a camera attachment that mimicked a traditional camera with zoom and a shutter button.  The G5 also has many minor upgrades, including a new, fast fingerprint reader on the pack of the phone and a dual lens camera system that allows for wider angle shots.

The Xiaomi Mi 5 was the wildcard announcement at MWC. Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi has become known for its high end, yet inexpensive smartphones. The Mi 5 is no exception. The new phone improves upon last year’s Mi 4 in a few key ways. For one, the Mi 5 packs in a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, three gigabytes of RAM, and a 3000 mAh battery, making it much faster and more energy efficient than its predecessor. The Pro version of the phone also has a high-quality ceramic back which makes it more comfortable in the hand. The biggest feature of the Mi 5 is its price; even with all of its upgrades, the phone costs only about $260.

The new phones debuted at MWC are an exciting next step in the world of tech and will drive the smartphone industry for the year to come.