Saturday 16 December 2017

The top new phones unveiled in Barcelona

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Our technology editor picks the best phones from the Mobile World Congress 2017.

1. Sony Xperia XZ Premium (€699)

SONY has launched what it calls the "ultimate" cameraphone, with new photo technology that can record slow-motion video at 960 frames per second.

The 5.5-inch Xperia XZ Premium uses new sensor technology that allows it to control the photo flow in such a way that it becomes far more powerful. And it doesn't pare the quality right back at that slow speed - the resolution is a very decent HD-lite level of 720p.

There are loads of other tech bumps that the phone gets on its 19-megapixel camera too, such as better stabilisation and bigger pixels (for better performance in low light).

To top it all off, Sony has put on a pretty jaw-dropping 4K HDR screen onto the phone that makes colours pop and blacks seem blacker.

It's no major surprise that Sony has come up with this as it makes the camera sensors for half the other phones out there, including Samsung and Apple.

2. Huawei P10 (from €649)

Sony isn't the only one with a major new challenger in the best cameraphone stakes.

Huawei's successor to this Leica collaboration, the P9, has some pretty impressive improvements. In particular, the 5.1-inch P10 (and 5.5-inch P10 Plus) have used their dual camera lenses to give its people photos even more punch. The second lens creates a shallow depth of field (a blurry background) that you normally only see on very expensive proper camera lenses. The result is a beautiful, sharp portrait shot that almost no other cameraphone can match.

The P10's other noteworthy trick is a quad-antenna that boosts reception coverage by up to 30pc. In Ireland, that could come in very useful outside the main cities and towns.

3. Nokia 3310 (€50)

Arguably the hit of Mobile World Congress, the Nokia 3310 has no 4K video and no 20-megapixel camera or virtual reality compatibility.

But it's cheap (€50), fun, comes in bright colours and everybody seems to love it.

Technically, its basic colour screen is little more than two inches across while its camera is an ultra-basic two megapixels. It has an elementary mobile web browser that won't let you get sucked into social media moan-fests. It might suit festival-goers (as a second phone), travellers (it has a great battery life) and those determined to go on a digital detox for a while.

4. BlackBerry OneKEY (€649)

Meanwhile, BlackBerry has unveiled the OneKEY, a 4.5-inch Android touchscreen phone with a full physical 'Qwerty' keyboard tucked in underneath.

All of its 52 physical keyboard buttons can be programmed as shortcuts to launch applications such as Facebook or Twitter. It has a 12-megapixel main camera and a larger-than-average battery. It is calculated to appeal to tens of thousands of former BlackBerry users who still miss the availability of a full keyboard on their modern smartphone.

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