8 biggest announcements of Mobile World Congress 2014

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#MWC2014 has come and gone, leaving behind it a trail of highly anticipated mobile releases. With big announcements from Samsung, LG, Sony, and more, we’re running down our favorites. If you missed any of our coverage throughout the week, these are the smartphones (and smartwatches) you need to know about.

1. Samsung Gear Fit

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Samsung’s smallest new offering perhaps made the biggest splash. Winning “Best Mobile Device” honors at the show’s close, the Gear Fit takes Samsung’s Tizen-based smartwatch platform and couples it with fitness tracking sensors to measure heart rate, add up daily activity, and track sleeping habits. Particularly impressive is the Fit’s build, which features a curved Super AMOLED display as part of a compact watch design. [HANDS ON]

2. Nokia X

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The Android phone that everyone wished Nokia would make turned out to be anything but. Still, despite the device’s mediocre spec sheet, the Nokia X should not be dismissed entirely. The announcement of the phone, along with the concurrently announced X+ and XL, is a bold move by the company. Their primary focus, however, remains Windows Phone with Android relegated to budget models. [HANDS ON]

3. New YotaPhone

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Our surprise favorite of Mobile World Congress 2013 got a sequel this year, and the result was no less impressive. The second-generation YotaPhone takes the dual-screen concept introduced by the original and ratchets it up a notch. While its specs won’t blow anybody away, an improved design supporting the YotaPhones signature eInk secondary display make the device another strong contender for best of MWC 2014. [HANDS ON]

4. Samsung Galaxy S5

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 might not have been the phone many wanted and expected, but it was one of Mobile World Congress’ most major announcements. A little under a year since Samsung unveiled the successful Galaxy S4, an upgraded model debuted in Barcelona with a bigger display, faster processor, and “glam” design. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Samsung even included a fingerprint sensor in the new device. Actually unexpected: a heart rate sensor with readings only a fingertip away. [HANDS ON]

5. LG G Pro 2

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While we await LG’s followup to their G2 announced last year, a device introduced at last year’s Mobile World Congress saw a refresh. The LG G Pr0 2 enters as the company’s primary contender in the phablet category. A massive 6-inch display is paired with some of the most powerful hardware you will find in a smartphone. While the sheer size might be a turnoff for some, the device lays the groundwork for a truly impressive LG G3 unveiling later this year. [HANDS ON]

6. Samsung Gear 2 & Gear 2 Neo

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Samsung manages to get a third spot on our list with the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. These updates to the company’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch seek to improve upon Samsung’s first attempt at wearable tech while further refining the experience. This includes a switch to Tizen, an operating system developed in part by Samsung, dropping the Galaxy brand in the process. The original Galaxy Gear wasn’t a great performer for Samsung but the company would appear dedicated to turning those fortunes around. [HANDS ON]

7. Sony Xperia Z2 & Xperia Z2 Tablet

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Sony had some updates to their Xperia Z line of flagship devices on hand, including the Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet. The Xperia Z2 smartphone is particularly impressive with a list of specs that would please any power user and a sleek design featuring waterproof construction. Sony wasn’t shy about showing the handset’s ability to take a swim and suffer no major damage, as has been a running theme for the company’s smartphone lineup. Sony has yet to make a real splash with consumers (pun intended). Perhaps the Z2 could change this. [HANDS ON (Xperia Z2), HANDS ON (Xperia Z2 Tablet)]

8. HTC Desire 816

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HTC makes our list more as an honorable mention. The Desire 816 isn’t the followup to the HTC One that fans have been craving, but it’s yet another example of HTC’s commitment to quality design. The new Desire 816 (as well as 610) won’t do much to challenge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG G Pro 2, but the announcement should tide us over until HTC is ready to roll out the big guns. [HANDS ON]


Disagree with our list? Think we left something off? Let us know your favorite finds of Mobile World Congress 2014 and sound off in the poll below.

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  • robjackson81

    Samsung moving their Gears to Tizen and showing off some Tizen prototypes seems like a sleeping giant. I thought the Gear Fit was awesome until I noticed how awkward it would feel to use the screen given the orientation.

    I hate the back of the Galaxy S5 (at least from pictures). If I bought it… it would be the first time I’ve EVER bought a case/cover… and only to hide the hideous speckled back.

    Really disappointed in the Nokia X from what I saw. Was really hoping it would be an elite low-end offering. Maybe it still will be… who knows.

    Too bad I can’t just tell these companies what to make… it’d be the best event ever.

    • Joseph Kool

      Samsungs best days are behind them

    • mcl630

      Samsung moving toward Tizen is certainly a big story. I voted for the Nokia X. I know, I know… it’s an unimpressive phone, but it’s a big story that Nokia (soon to be part of Microsoft) is releasing Android phones.

      If the question was most impressive announcement, I’d say the Z2.

  • drzfr3shboialex

    Based on the Desire 816 I will say that a 4/5 ultrapixel/megapixel front camera will be in tow, as well as an SD card slot for up to 128GB.

    • Guest

      What makes you think that HTC is going to do anything beyond ‘towing the line’ with regards to specs? They’re a dying company and their last hail mary was a flop. Expect a bigger screen (yawn) and some hokey half-baked software features in their next iteration of the One. Gonna predict they backtrack the ultrapixel BS and just put in an 8MP rear camera with zoe and call it a day.

      • Joseph Kool

        HTC is on their deathbed

      • No_Nickname90

        Huh? What are you talking about? I thought HTC did bad only because they didn’t advertise the phone very well.

        Are you saying the HTC One *wasn’t* a good phone? I’m confused on how you’re saying the HTC One was a bad phone and not on par with the other devices that came out.

      • lolwut

        It’s stuff like this that makes really disappointed that Disqus disabled the down vote feature

      • corona10

        You don’t know much about the new One. That much is obvious.

  • ineptone

    Nothing Samsung introduced should make this list given that everything they showed was rather ho-hum. Though, Tizen was somewhat interesting in that it represents another potential player in the mobile OS arena.

    As far as phones that caught my attention go, the gen 2 YotaPhone certainly piqued my interest given it now looks like something worth owning and seems to have addressed some of the E-ink screen compatibility shortcomings. And the Desire 816 is probably the best looking phone I’ve seen in some time. It could be a killer for HTC if it’s priced well.

    If I were to pick a winner of MWC it would definitely be the new SanDisk 128 GB microSD card. Bring on the big storage! Hopefully it sells well so that OEMs realize some people, myself included, hate streaming and cloud services and simply want more local storage.

    All-in-all, though, I’d say this year’s MWC was a rather big disappointment.

    • Joseph Kool

      Who gets exited about SD cards? Especially when 128 gb micro sd cards have been available fore a while.

      • CGS

        I do.

        • lolwut

          ditto

  • steveb944

    YOTA! This should be the only item on the list as it’s the most innovative.

  • CGS

    Is that Nokia X running an Android skin designed to resemble Windows or something? I’ll watch the vid when I get a minute…but god damn who’d even touch that.

  • Matthew Merrick

    Xperia Z2 – AKA the closest thing to a perfect phone yet.

    what would it take to actually make it perfect (at least for me)?

    -5.5″ screen, move to AMOLED so it can have moto-style notifications
    -64 GB storage
    -3MP front camera (or better)
    -back in a material that is not glass or glossy plastic
    -an “always listening” ability like the moto x and the gs5

    and yeah, that would be perfection (at least for me).

    • My name is….

      So, you want a totally different phone? :p

      • Matthew Merrick

        If you think about it, it’s less difference than the Z to z1, or the z1 to z2. This seems like a pretty fair request for the Z3, if ask me. And in the meantime, this is still probably the closest to perfect phone to date.

  • chris_johns

    that sony tablet though…man i never wanted a big tablet till now…if sony made a 7″ gpe edition id buy it in a heart beat…and that phone would be the perfect phone if it had smaller bezels like the moto x or g2

  • My name is….

    Sony should be on top with Z2 line

    Trully amazing phone and tablet, exactly what i would need from a phone.

    I dont even wanna hear about Samsung any more, they dont know how to make phones

  • http://a5-studios.blogspot.in Aaditya Menon

    Strange….Everyones excited about Xperia Z2??

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