As we wrap up another MWC, it's time to talk about the shining gems that we've seen this year. Android had a huge presence this year, with several huge announcements along the way. There were things announced here that could easily be the start of major shifts in the mobile market we play in today, as well as incremental but no less exciting improvements to the technology we rely on every day. We've seen a ton of new things on the show floor this year, but as is often the case there are a few things that stood out in the crowd, and that's what we're going to talk about now.
Here's a look at what we thing was the best of Mobile World Congress 2015. It's an exciting list, but perhaps even more exciting is the knowledge that we're only just now entering the third month of the year. With an opening like this, it's clear there are going to be fun times ahead.
MWC Top Pick: The Samsung Galaxy S6
There should be little surprise that Samsung's Galaxy S6 is sitting here at the top of our list. Having stepped away from glossy plastic and into some beautiful new glass and metal, with plenty of software changes to match the new looks, it feels like Samsung has really stepped up their game this year. As our Editor in Chief put it —
The Galaxy S6 sports a new take on industrial design for the South Korean manufacturer. It's definitely more sophisticated than the previous iterations, but it'll be interesting to see how the glass back holds up. And we can only hope and pray that the U.S. carriers choose to offer the beautiful blue and green options.
Check out our hands-on preview if you haven't already. We'll be spending a lot more time with this device soon, and that's where it'll be time to really put the device through its paces. Until then, consider us impressed.
HTC One M9
HTC's launch event was full of its own surprises, but most of them didn't have anything to do with the next iteration of their flagship line. The HTC One M9 looks like an even higher quality M8, with refined software experiences to match that elegant-looking hardware. We're not talking about monumental leaps in either space, but when talking about the successor to the HTC One line, we're not sure that's even necessary.
HTC delivered a quality experience last year, with a few complaints from us in the camera department. If that 20MP sensor on the back and Ultrapixel front facing camera can deliver the experiences HTC is promising, this phone is going to do incredibly well. Check out our hands-on for more details!
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Left-handed folks can stop complaining about the Galaxy Note Edge now! Samsung's unique curved display concept has grown a second curve and is now an alternative to the Galaxy S6. The way the display melts off the side of the device is incredibly cool to see in person, but perhaps more important is the software that lets users use the phone in a ton of new and interesting ways.
If you're concerned about what happens when the regular Galaxy S6 is dropped, one can only imagine what the Galaxy S6 edge will be like. Fortunately, we're not going to have to imagine for particularly long.
LG Watch Urbane
The folks at LG caught the attention of the world with the launch of the G Watch R, and it's clear they have no intention of letting those eyes wander. The LG Watch Urbane takes all of the good things from the Watch R and bumps the quality up a notch, leaving us with a classy looking Android Wear device that promises performance and battery life improvements among other things.
We're not quite ready to call this a second generation Android Wear device just yet, but it's worth taking a look at how much the company has improved on their own designs in a year. To go from the G Watch to the Watch Urbane in so short a time is fantastic, and it's clear the number of quality watch options we're going to have at our disposal by the end of the year will be significant.
LG Watch Urbane LTE
LG's other Watch Urbane may not be running Android Wear, but it's impressive all the same. We first spotted this gem hidden among the Audi people at CES, and with an official announcement it has become clear that LG plans to explore a standalone webOS device on the wrist. The LG Watch Urbane LTE requires no tethered device, and can essentially act as your only connected device if you felt compelled to leave your phone behind for whatever reason. WebOS looks and feels amazing in this watch form factor, and in the quality casing offered in this model it all comes together to make something special.
Our hands-on with this device left us asking more questions than it answered, but we are no less excited about spending more time with it soon.
As if one classy-looking Android Wear device at Mobile World Congress wasn't enough, Huawei demonstrated on stage that they have all of the tools necessary to make a jewelry-quality device for your wrist that has its own design language and feature set. The Huawei Watch is sporting high-end materials like sapphire crystal for the display and unique motion sensors for developers to take advantage of later on.
After our hands-on with the Huawei Watch, it became clear that this is the golden standard for Android Wear device moving forward, and it will be interesting to see where this device sits among our top Android Wear devices once we've spent more time with it.
Lenovo pocket projector
It's not often an accessory catches our eye and finds its way into our Top Picks, but after spending a few minutes with Lenovo's pocket projector it became clear this was something we were going to spend a lot more time with very soon. It's not that the device is exceptional in any one way, in fact as projectors go a 50 lumen bulb creating a 480p throw to a maximum 110-inch screen wasn't impressive a decade ago. What makes this device special is the size and feature set. This 4-inch device is packing a battery that claims 150 minutes of activity, as well as support for DLNA streaming or Miracast receiving, effectively making it an inexpensive way to take your Android device and blow it up onto a wall or ceiling no matter where you are.
This will absolutely be something we spend more time with as soon as possible, so stay tuned.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Sony's latest Xperia device is the only tablet at Mobile World Congress that genuinely impressed, but it did so by a truly massive margin. The Xperia Z4 Tablet took everything that is great about the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact and improved it. The sleek, thin, waterproof design has been slimmed down even further, while a Snapdragon 810 processor and 2560x1600 resolution display fill in what little space remains.
It's a beautifully crafted tablet with Android 5.0 and a handful of Sony's software enhancements onboard. Check out our hands-on for a deeper look at what makes this device special.
Alcatel Idol 3
Big events like Mobile World Congress are usually all about seeing what the top tier manufacturers are doing to make the highest quality Android devices worth the price tags that are attached to them, but if the last year has taught us anything it's that the budget market has really started to shrink the gap between low and high end smartphones. A perfect example of this trend continuing is the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3.
It's not often you see a phone that's $250 off contract with features like a 13mp camera and a suite of non-stock apps that are actually worth using, but that's exactly what is being offered by the Idol 3. It's clear Alcatel OneTouch is going to work hard to get everyone's attention this year, and devices like the Idol 3 are doing a great job making that easier.
SanDisk 200GB microSDXC card
For those of us who still see the value in removable storage, the folks at Sandisk have stepped up and announced a single card that can hold 200gb of data. When you're done remembering that this little card has more storage than your first computer and you've recovered from the shock of a $400 price tag, you can start imagining just how much data you'll be able to store on your phone or tablet.
Sandisk has really pushed the envelope here, and while you can be sure other storage companies will respond quickly this is going to be a big deal to those of us who enjoy local storage, even if there seem to be fewer and fewer devices that support us every day.
What were your favorites?
These are the top pics from Android Central at MWC 2015, but we want to know what you thought of all the announcements at the show. Whether you have some additional insight on one of our picks here or were more interested in something that we didn't mention, be sure to let us know in the comments!
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