Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016 pulled the curtains last week but the wide-range of innovative smartphones and gadgets showcased have left a lasting impression on our minds. Be it smartphones with modular designs, which give us a glimpse of the future, or the ones which dazzled us with their imaging capabilities and innovations galore, here’s a look at our curated list of the most innovative smartphones that headlined this year’s event.
With the influx of a high number of “flagship” smartphones, Korean technology giant LG felt the need to differentiate its top-of-the-line model, the LG G5 (first impressions). Packed with top-notch hardware, the G5 flaunts a gorgeous all aluminium body but still manages to feature a removable module that houses the battery and lets users swap in additional add-ons dubbed as “friends” for the smartphone which include the Cam Plus camera grip and Hi-Fi Plus audio modules. The smartphone also sports a dual-camera setup at the back with the second wide-angle lens camera allowing it to capture more subjects in a given field of view.
US-based Caterpillar Inc. showcased the Cat S60 rugged smartphone at this year’s MWC where it awestruck users with its integrated FLIR thermal imaging camera, which made it the world’s first smartphone to possess such technology. The accolades do not end there as the S60 also scoops up the title of being the “most waterproof smartphone” for it is capable of taking dives up to five meters and can stay submerged for one hour. The S60 is covered with a 1mm coating of Corning Gorilla Glass screen protection and borrows power from a mammoth 3,800mAh battery. The thermal camera is assisted by a normal 13MP rear-facing camera and the smartphone is powered by a Snapdragon 617 processor paired with 3GB of RAM.
Alcatel Idol 4S
Alcatel Idol 4s (first impressions) starts with the retail packaging itself, which actually is a virtual reality (VR) headset compatible with the smartphone. The device flaunts the signature Alcatel reversible design in a glass-metal combination body and the phone can be used in both vertical and horizontal orientations. It features dual front and rear-facing JBL and Waves-powered speakers and stereo sound is automatically adjusted based on the orientation of the device. The Idol 4s also houses the “Boom Key” which is a context-aware hardware button that allows users to perform a variety of operations based on the application being used at a given instance.
At MWC 2016, Gionee didn’t only modernise its logo to a revamped variant, but also lifted the sheets off the innovative, all-metal Gionee S8 (first impressions). The smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer features a pressure-sensitive display, becoming the first Android phone to fully implement such a feature. The S8 is the world’s first smartphone to feature an invisible loop antenna, which maintains the uniformity of the design, while delivering excellent signal strength. Interestingly, the phone also lets users use two WhatsApp or WeChat accounts on their phone.
Panasonic FZ-F1 and FZ-N1
Panasonic released the FZ-F1 running Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise and the FZ-N1 running Android v5.1.1 Lollipop. Both are rugged smartphones which offer sunlight-viewable displays with glove touch support. For durability, they come with IP65, IP67 and MIL-STD-810G ratings, which ensure that they can stand up to the abuse of harsh environments. They can also survive drops from up to six feet height, and are submersible, in up to 3.3feet of water for 30 minutes.The company has packed an angled 1D/2D barcode reader on these handsets and is also offering optional 6,200mAh long-life battery packs for these phones.