In Depth

Mobile World Congress 2016: New smartphones revealed

Latest Samsung Galaxy handset and the LG G5 among those being launched in Barcelona

The Mobile World Congress is the flagship event for smartphones in the calendar and this year, there are lots of hotly anticipated handsets to be seen.                

Here's a rundown of some of the big names on show Barcelona.

Hewlett-Packard

The Elite X3 is HP's new six-inch Phablet, featuring an AMOLED screen and running Windows 10.

Much like the Microsoft Lumia 950, the phone can be specced with a few optional accessories to turn it into a pocket-sized PC. All you need is a dock with which to hook it up to a monitor and there you go.

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 mated to 4GB of RAM and a huge 4,150mAH battery, the Elite X3 can do more than imitate a desktop computer, though. HP also revealed the Mobile Extender – a 12.5ins ultra-lightweight laptop add-on powered solely through the X3. Alphr says the demonstration they saw was certainly pre-production, but "it could be a remarkably clever way of getting laptop functionality in an ultra-light, ultra-portable package".

HTC

Taiwanese firm HTC brought along three new mid-range smartphones – the Desire 530, 630, and 825.

According to Pocket-Lint, the phones' hardware specs are "average" and fairly run-of-the-mill, but the designs inject a bit of fun and desirability into them. Rather than being a single colour, a "Micro Splash" finish sees a splatter of colour added to the handset for totally unique finishes.

The company also announced that its Vive virtual reality headset will be available to pre-order from 29 February, with a price tag of £650.

LG

In one of the big reveals of the show, LG displayed its new G5 flagship smartphone – with big changes.

The design of the phone has been completely overhauled - creases and lines have changed and there's a new back – but it's the G5's modular make-up that is truly garnering attention.

Push a button and the bottom of the phone slips out with the battery, opening up a port for a range of accessories, such as a camera companion and speakers.

Lighting up the front is a 5.3ins Quad HD display, perfect for looking at pictures taken through the dual-camera setup.

Samsung Galaxy S7

From one of Barcelona's big reveals to probably the biggest. Samsung showcased its new Galaxy S7 flagship handset at a pre-event launch before putting the phone on display in Spain.

It's an interesting evolution of the S6, with many of the "new" features actually being old ones brought back from the dead, such as Micro SD card support and waterproofing. There is, however, a new camera setup.

The biggest difference is that between the standard model and the curved Edge, which is now 5.5ins compared to the 5.1 inches of the normal phone. The S7 is out next month.

Sony

Sony used Barcelona to introduce two new mid-range phones. The Xperia X and its curved, edge-to-edge display XA sibling both use a Snapdragon 650 processor and will be available in a wide range of colours. The phones are out this summer, but there's no price details yet.

Xiaomi

China's Xiaomi unveiled the Mi5, its eye-catching new flagship handset with a ceramic case. It has a 5.1ins display and uses the Snapdragon 820 chipset and a Sony sourced 16-megapixel camera setup.

It launches in China on 1 March, priced from 2,699 yuan (£297) – a price that would undercut by considerable margins rival handsets with comparable specs, such as the iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S7, if introduced to the UK, reports the BBC. However, some outstanding intellectual property issues could mean that if the phone does makes its way west, the price could crank up.

Nevertheless, the European reveal suggests the company is interested in expanding into the market for good.

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