Mobile World Congress 2018 is wrapping up, and it’s time to count the stars of the cellularly-obsessed show. Familiar names find themselves joined by some unexpected additions this year, as the mobile industry attempts to find its feet – and its next big selling-point – amid smartphone upgrade apathy. Read on for the best phones, mobile devices, and innovations from MWC 2018.
Best Smartphone – Samsung Galaxy S9
Imagining a Mobile World Congress without a huge Samsung Galaxy announcement is tough at this point, and sure enough the Galaxy S9 and S9+ arrived this year in Barcelona. Sticking to the tried-and-tested design language of their predecessors, the new flagships focused on refinement over reinvention, fixing ergonomic complaints like the fingerprint sensor position However, they also introduced new features, like the dual-aperture camera, which help keep them ahead of the competition and earn our Best Smartphone award for MWC 2018.
Best Rugged Phone – Cat S61
When waterproofing and Gorilla Glass are table-stakes, you can either go big or go home if you want to stand out in ruggedization. The Cat S61 opts to go big, cladding its Android smartphone in a shell that could resist whatever an unforgiving worksite might throw at it. You’re not just getting toughness, mind: innovative features like a laser measuring tool, heat-tracking camera with Facebook Live streaming, and an air-quality sensor all make the S61 more than just another sturdy Android device.
Best Design – Nokia 8110 4G
Nokia’s retro mining of its length history is either tremendous or tired, depending on who you speak to, but there’s no denying that the new Nokia 8110 4G has a distinct charm of its own. Pairing old “banana phone” style with modern components, it’s a reminder of a time before plain glass slabs, when imagination was part and parcel of the cellphone experience. As Nokia’s reinvention continues, we’re glad to see it can still surprise and delight along the way.
Best Tablet – Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8
If you’ve wanted a tablet for both work and play, the iPad Pro has been your go-to for some time now. Huawei, though, brought the alternative to Mobile World Congress, in the shape of the MediaPad M5 10.8. Sleekly matching its iOS rival with sturdy metal construction, and pairing Android with a pressure-sensing stylus and removable keyboard-case, the MediaPad M5 10.8 tops it off with a surprisingly affordable price tag that makes this laptop-replacement well worth considering.
Best Laptop – Lenovo Yoga 730
Lenovo’s Yoga convertibles continue to offer some of the most flexible, affordable computing around, the new Yoga 730 is no different. Distinguishing itself not only with Lenovo’s clever design but both Cortana and Alexa in the same hardware, it’s doubly-smart on the AI front. Factor in competitive pricing and up to 8th Generation Core i7 processors, and you can see why the Lenovo Yoga 730 is our Best Laptop pic of MWC 2018.
Best Accessory – Sony Xperia Ear Duo
Sony brought new smartphones along to Mobile World Congress, but we’re more excited by the accessory they graduated from concept to production product. The Sony Xperia Ear Duo aren’t your typical Bluetooth earbuds, promising to let in environmental sound while simultaneously playing music. The result is entertainment without isolation, which makes the AI assistant support the icing on some seriously clever cake.
Best Technology – Vivo Apex Concept
Vivo may not be a household name in the US or Europe, but the smartphone-maker is quickly building a reputation for itself with cutting-edge concept phones. After the in-display fingerprint scanner it showed off at CES 2018 last month, Vivo raised its game with the Apex Concept courtesy of some wafer-thin screen bezels and a slick pop-out front facing camera. Production ready? Perhaps not, but in a segment currently obsessed with screen notches we’re more than pleased to see a different take.