Sunday 25 February 2018

The 5 best phones and gadgets from Mobile World Congress 2017

Stock photo
Stock photo
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Mobile World Congress is where the world's main phone companies come to show off their latest technology. Here are five of the coolest phones and gadgets from this year's show.

1. Sony Xperia XZ Premium

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 e 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.

Sony has also launched a few other phones at this show, but this is the one that we think will be the big draw.

2. Huawei P10

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. This is because 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 a country like Ireland, that could come in very useful outside the main cities and towns.

3. Nokia 3310

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 and comes in bright colours. And everybody seems to love it. Technically, its basic color 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 in to 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. Cubroid coding blocks

If you want to teach your kids how to code with immediate effect, these cute little blocks may a great crash course. They're engineered to synchronize with a coding app (for iOS or Android) and can connect to one another and move themselves about. There's even a car set that adds wheels so your little creation can zoom about the place.

5. Kino-mo holograms

We all dream of one day being like Marty McFly when, in the future, a giant shark hologram reaches out to snap at him from a cinema advertising billboard. That day is getting closer, thanks to technology such as that used by Kino-mo. A combination of fast-moving propellers and LED lights create the illusion of a hologram before your eyes, without any need to wear special glasses. To start with, the company behind the technology is hoping to license it for advertising, marketing and promotion activities. But it could soon connect with other purposes.

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