TrustedReviews MWC 2015 Award Winners
2015 saw the biggest Mobile World Congress ever, with more than 90,000 attendees. Aside from the huge announcements from Samsung and HTC there were plenty of other great products and services to experience. It wasn’t just mobiles either. There were plenty of laptops, tons of car tech and even a smattering of smart home products.
Here are the best products we got our hands on...
HTC One M9
It wasn’t a radical departure from last year’s phone, but the HTC One M9 impressed us by improving on all the little niggles of its already great predecessor. More power, more battery life and better cameras make this one of our top all-round phones of MWC 2015.
Why didn’t we give it to the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge? These are such a radical departure from Samsung’s previous phones that we need more time with them to understand what they’re truly capable of, and to see if there are too many compromises to what made Galaxy phones great in the past.
Samsung Pay, on the other hand, was immediately apparent as a brilliant service. The demo we saw was seamless and the combination of NFC and the MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) tech from the recently acquired LoopPay make Samsung Pay a proposition that will work on older swipe card machines, which isn't the case with Apple Pay. In fact it can be used at 90% of US retailers compared to just 10% for Apple Pay.
The Huawei Watch is quite possibly the most handsome smartwatches we’ve ever seen – and that includes the Apple Watch. It’s slimmer than most other Android Wear offerings and comes with one of the best screens we’ve seen on a smartwatch.
Pebble Time Steel
There was another smartwatch that impressed us during MWC and that was the Pebble Time Steel. It’s not the prettiest of watches, but it’s not bad looking either. Where the Pebble Time Steel excels is battery life. The colour electronic paper display looks a lot more interesting than the monochrome screens the company had used previously, and means the Pebble Time Steel can last two weeks before needing a recharge.
It’s not just the tin-foil-hat brigade who should be concerned about the privacy of their information. Leak after leak shows that we’re being watched, and it’s not just big governments, Google or media organisations at it. Unscrupulous scam artists and hackers are constantly looking to get access to our data and financial details.
Silent Circle believes that the BlackPhone 2 is a smartphone that keeps you safer than any other. We agree. The BlackPhone 2 silos your information in different “Spaces” so everything is isolated and hard to get to. Whether you’re a professional who handles sensitive commercial data or just a concerned citizen, the BlackPhone 2 keeps your data secure.
Another firm with a strong focus on privacy is Jolla. Its new tablet runs Sailfish 2.0, a slick and simple operating system that’s refreshing to use. As soon as you start flicking through the menus and pages you can see the Northern European influence. It’s just so clean and devoid of clutter. Sailfish has its own app store, but the Jolla Tablet can run all Android apps from Google Play, so you’re not limited in your choices.
Ford Smart Mobility
A car company winning an award at a mobile event? For a motorised bicycle? That’s absolutely right.
Ford’s Smart Mobility was one of the most intriguing announcements of MWC. It was the first look at Ford’s initiative to reduce emissions and congestion in cities. It consists of two bikes, the first a small foldable electric bicycle with a range of 25km that easily fits in the boot of a car for commuting. The second is larger and comes with a giant rack at the rear designed for transporting goods. The idea is a van parks somewhere in the city and then up to three cycles go and make the deliveries.
It’s the kind of out-of-the-box thinking we love to see at TrustedReviews and we’re looking forward to seeing fewer cars and more bikes zipping through town.
There’s nothing exciting about the mid-range LG Fx0’s specs, although it is interesting to see a mid-range phone sporting Firefox’s mobile OS. This phone wins an award because of its clever looks. Designed by an award-winning Japanese artist, the Fx0 comes with a totally translucent body so you can see inside it.
Microsoft Lumia 640
The fourth phone to win a TrustedReviews Best of MWC award is the budget Microsoft Lumia 640. A combination of low pricing and impressive specs make this a Windows Phone that competes with the sector-leading Motorola Moto G 2. You even get Office 365 free for a year on your laptop or desktop as a bonus.
There are a few products we saw that came close to getting an award.
We’ve already mentioned that it’s a little too soon to decide whether the Galaxy S6 and, particularly, the S6 Edge are great updates to the Galaxy range. However, aside from the HTC One M9, HTC could have received a second award for the Vive – a competitor to the Oculus Rift made in conjunction with Valve. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to test it for ourselves so we’ve yet to see if it lives up to our lofty expectations.
The Kyocera Torque was another interesting concept. A tough phone with a difference, the Torque packs a transparent solar panel in its screen, which lets it charge from the sun or other ambient lighting. Quite how well it works or whether it will ever see a release we’re not yet sure, though.