Top 5 Smart Devices Highlights from MWC 2014

Last week was the biggest mobile trade show in the world – Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. This is the biggest conference and exhibition where every major brands and vendors with any mobile or telco related products and services showcases their best portfolio. Telco executives from  mobile operators to phone manufacturers to solution providers all gather in a sea of suits in the large convention centre.

Mobile World Congress 2014 in Fira Barcelona (*Image Source : TechRadar)

Years ago, when I was working in the Mobile Telecommunications industry, I attended the conference in Barcelona but was mostly busy with the conferences, seminars, panels and meetings. Now, I am no longer in the industry and likely  (*sob*sob*) no longer get a chance to visit MWC again.

Nevertheless, with the power of internet and social media, we got to know all about the conference almost instantly as it happens halfway around the world. For gadget geeks like me, I was following the event’s announcements from all the major smart device manufacturers, drooling over all the pictures of gadgets on display.

I scoured my RSS news feed, read as many articles as I can on the major smart device announcements and bring you this “Highlights” post of the best gadgets showcased this year in MWC 2014.

 

1. Nokia X

Nokia X (*Image Source : BGR)

I call this the biggest announcement of the event, from a smartphone perspective. Nokia, the smartphone manufacturer of Windows Phone 8 devices, has announced an Android smartphone, called Nokia X.

In case you’re wondering, it’s not pure Android OS with the usual Google services integrated like Google Maps, Gmail, Google Play Store, etc. It’s actually a forked version of the OS – meaning they use the underlying source codes of Android and completely build their own User Interface and navigation on top of it. One that’s more closely integrated with Microsoft’s service instead.

You get a phone that looks like Nokia Lumia series, build on an underlying version of Android, integrated with Microsoft services (like Outlook.com, Skype) along with some Nokia goodies (like Nokia HERE Maps, Fastlane).

Nokia Conversation’s official blogpost announcement >> Nokia Conversations : Xtraordinarily Xcellent: The Nokia X Family

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pdTuFWbcNI

For more information, check out the Nokia X product page at http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/nokia-x/

Read the first impression / hands-on reviews:-

 

… PLUS Nokia X+ and Nokia XL

And Nokia didn’t announce one, but 3 devices in the Nokia X family – Nokia X, Nokia X+, Nokia XL.

Nokia X family – Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL (*Image Source : DesignBolts.com)

Check out the Nokia X+ product page at http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/nokia-x-plus/ or Nokia XL product page at http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/nokia-xl/

 

2. Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2 (*Image Source : Xperia Blog)

Everything good comes in 3s, huh? Because Sony Mobile also took MWC with the announcement of 3 of their new devices for 2014 – Sony Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 Tablet and Xperia M2.

Yes, Sony Xperia Z2, their latest 2014 flagship Android superphone is announced, less than a year since the released the Sony Xperia Z1 (read my review here). This time, they really listened to their customers and fixed some of the issues that were the biggest complain – the display screen.

Personally, I didn’t really noticed anything dissatisfying with the Xperia Z1’s display, but it seems the viewing angle was not great. Now, the Xperia Z2 has improved IPS screen and a resolution so High Definition that it displays 4K (Ultra HD) resolutions!!!

Sony Xperia Z2 official Press Release >> Sony Blog : Sony introduces Xperia™ Z2, its new premium flagship waterproof smartphone with best ever display, 4K recording and Digital Noise Cancelling technology

For more information, check out the Sony Xperia Z2 product page at http://www.sonymobile.com/global-en/products/phones/xperia-z2/

Read the first impression / hands-on reviews of Sony Xperia Z2:-

 

…PLUS Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet and Sony Xperia M2

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet official blogpost announcement >> Sony Blog : Sony introduces its most innovative tablet yet with Xperia™ Z2 Tablet – the world’s slimmest & lightest waterproof tablet

For more information, check out the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet product page at http://www.sonymobile.com/global-en/products/tablets/xperia-z2-tablet/

Read some Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet reviews:-

 

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet official Press Release >> Sony Blog : Introducing Xperia™ M2, the best smartphone technology in its class

For more information, check out the Sony Xperia M2 product page at http://www.sonymobile.com/global-en/products/phones/xperia-m2/

More reading for Sony Xperia M2 (mid range) reviews :-

 

3. Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 (*Image Source : BGR)

No doubt, the most anticipated announcement will have to be the unveiling of “The Next Big Thing” (Samsung’s slogan) – the Samsung Galaxy S5 – the latest 2014 flagship Android smartphone from the South Korean manufacturer.

Unveiled in the annual Samsung Unpacked event, Samsung revealed the latest flagship that they’ll be promoting like mad in the next few months. The smartphone that will no doubt sell in gazillions that every other person you meet in the near future will be holding one! The Galaxy S5 is not a major design change from the previous Samsung Galaxy S4 (read my review here) though. Other than a predicted faux-leather back like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (read my review here), the leather / plastic back now has dimples for better grip in your hands.

Internally, there’s less bloatware and fanciful Samsung features that I thought slowed down the device’s speed and performance like the previous S4. This time, Samsung said that they’ve streamlined and focused on the features that consumers value the most, and not pack it with too much features. Quite a 180 change from the message last year with the S4. There will still be a number of features that Samsung will push – a better 16 megapixel camera lens and technology, better display screen, better health / fitness related apps (Heart Rate Sensor, S Health) and way better battery life and overall performance (Power saving mode, Download booster).

And just like the competition, Samsung Galaxy S5 is now waterproof and dustproof (like the Sony Xperia series) and has a fingerprint scanner (like the iPhone 5S).

Personally, I can’t wait for the launch here in Malaysia, hopefully soon, so I can get my hands on this… and of course, share with you the review. *wink*

Samsung Mobile’s Official blogpost announcement >> Samsung Tomorrow (Global) : Samsung unveils Galaxy S5 to focus on what matters most to consumers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqPtA4hxpK4

For more information, check out the Samsung Galaxy S5 microsite at http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxys5/

Read the first impression / hands-on reviews:-

 

… PLUS Samsung Gear 2, Neo and Fit

It’s the year of wearable tech. It’s the year of plenty of smartwatch announcements.

With the Samsung Galaxy Gear (read my review here), Samsung tried again with 3 new smartwatches this year. To be more accurate, it’s 2 smartwatches and one fitness band with a display. They also dropped the name “Galaxy” in their smart wearables, mostly because the smartwatches are no longer powered by Android OS, it’s their own Tizen OS.

Samsung Gear 2, Neo and Fit (*Image Source : Extreme Tech)

Read the first impression / hands-on reviews:-

 

4. Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ (*Image Source : Android Central)

Remember when Lenovo hired actor, Ashton Kutcher as their Product Engineer? No? Let me remind you with the 2 videos below…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a9K59G0Z0g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQRp9FPvFF0

Shortly after that happened in October last year, Lenovo has gone and refreshed the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 with  Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+. Judging by the name, you’d guess right that the refreshed tablet has better display screen… along with other enhancements.

I am  currently reviewing the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 – the 8 inch version of the tablet, which Lenovo (thankfully) didn’t announce any refresh for at MWC this year. So stay tuned for that review coming up on the blog soon.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ official Press Release >> Lenovo Newsroom : Lenovo Refines Multimode Tablet with New YOGA Tablet 10 HD+

Read the first impression / hands-on reviews:-

 

5. LG G Pro 2

LG G Pro 2 (*Image Source : Eurodroid)

Phablet devices continue to dominate and it’s not dying anytime soon. With the success of Samsung Galaxy Note 3, almost all major phone manyfacturers have their own version of  large screen mobile devices. LG has their LG G Pro last year, and now they’ve refreshed it for 2014 with the LG G Pro 2.

With a 5.9″ display, externally, it almost looks like the previous LG G Pro but with a much slimmer bezel of 3.3 mm. As with the G Pro, this new one once again features a button-less front but with the button built in at the back of the phone instead, right under the rear camera.

While this was a shocking design choice last year, where LG explains that it’s a natural access for a large screen device this size. So, they continued it with the renewed smartphone.

I didn’t get to review the 2013 LG G Pro, unfortunately. Let’s hope the LG Malaysia folks are reading this and hook me up with this new LG G Pro 2 in the near future? *hint*

LG G Pro 2 official Press Release >> LG Newsroom : LG’S NEWEST G SERIES DEVICE LG G PRO 2 UNVEILED IN KOREAN MARKET

Read the LG G Pro 2 first impression / hands-on reviews:-

 

…PLUS LG G2 mini

LG G2 mini (*Image Source : Phandroid.com)

With a large screen device, there comes a smaller, single-handed use friendly LG G2  mini.

At 4.2″ screen, these days, it deserves the “mini” moniker. *ahem*iPhone*ahem* The LG G2 mini is more of an every person, mass consumer market device with a mid-range Snapdragon processor and qHD display.

LG G2 mini official Press Release >> LG Newsroom : INTRODUCING G2 MINI, LG’S FIRST “COMPACT” SMARTPHONE

Read the first impression / hands-on reviews:-

 

Conclusion

Of course, there are a bunch of other announcements last week at MWC 2014, such as super-slim Android tablet, Huawei MediaPad X1 and M1, dual screen Yotaphone  with  e-ink display, super secure Blackphone, HTC’s mid-range HTC Desire smartphones and a lot of wearable smartwatches and fitness trackers.

Have you been following any of the gadget announcements at MWC 2014 in Barcelona like me? Yes or no, which device are you most excited about? Which ones are you eager to see hit Malaysian shores?