BARCELONA – Mobile World Congress is winding down in Barcelona and leaves plenty of exciting new hardware in its wake. The world's biggest smartphone manufacturers showed off their latest and greatest devices and set the stage for an exciting spring.
There's no doubt Samsung and LG owned most of the conversation on the ground amongst show-goers. Samsung's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge and LG's G5 are high-class handsets that pack a punch. Samsung smartly waterproofed its flagship phone, while LG took a unique approach with a modular accessory system.
These three phones will hit the US market shortly, but cost a pretty penny.
HTC and Sony surprised with solid midrange handsets. The One X9 from HTC marries the best features of the One M9 and A9 to make for a compelling smartphone. Sony has changed up its design language, too, with the Xperia X series smartphones. The X Performance is a powerhouse of craftsmanship and capabilities that sets a new standard for Sony.
Alcatel took a big step forward with its refreshed Idol series, which drops the plastic shell of last year's design for a more premium metal-and-glass handset. Alcatel may be aping Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 a little bit, but the Idol 4 costs half as much.
Xiaomi also borrowed some ideas from the Note 5 to create the Mi 5, its flagship handset for the year. Xiaomi's phone may not reach the US directly, but at prices starting under $300 it's hard to beat the Mi 5's value.
[Read more about Samsung's Galaxy S7.]
Panasonic and CAT are targeting field workers with their latest smartphones. The ToughPad Phones were inspired by Panasonic's rugged line of laptops, tablets, and convertibles and come with a barcode scanner. Like Panasonic's TouchPads, these phones can take a heck of a beating. Similarly, the CAT S60 is fully ruggedized and includes a thermal camera to capture heat signatures.
HP surprised everyone with the Elite x3, a huge Windows 10 phablet that can double as a laptop or a full Windows PC. This interesting phone may bridge the divide between phone, tablet, and PC.
Here are the 10 smartphones we found most impressive on the show floor of Mobile World Congress.
(All images by Eric Zeman for InfromationWeek unless otherwise noted.)