1. GALAXY S7 EDGE
More than 100,000 international visitors recently attended the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2016) in Barcelona, Spain, and were rewarded with several major debuts. Samsung announced a new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, both with rounded Corning Gorilla Glass 4 backs and 5.1" Super AMOLED 1,440 × 2,560 pixel displays. They run the latest Android OS, v. 6.0 Marshmallow, on Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820. Internal memory is 32/64GB with 4GB RAM, and a microSD slot offers up to 200GB additional space. The primary camera is 12MP with an f/1.7 lens, phase-detection autofocus, and LED flash. Other features include geotagging, simultaneous 4K video and 9MP image recording, touch focus, face detection, and panorama views. The camera will record video with 2,160 pixels at 30 fps. The secondary camera is a 5MP, f/1.7 with auto HDR. Communications include Wi-Fi 802.11, Bluetooth v. 4.2, GPS, NFC (enabling Samsung Pay), and microUSB. The on-board sensors include fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, and heart-rate monitor. The new Galaxy S7s are available in black, white, gold, and silver. www.samsung.com
2. LG G5
Also launched at the MWC was LG’s new G5, noteworthy for its modular design. At the bottom of the phone, there’s a removable battery module for an additional power source. The slot also is there to receive the other two modules LG offers: the LG Cam Plus, which is a camera grip with a shutter button and a zoom wheel for stills or video, as well as a battery; and the Hi-Fi Plus, which is a digital-to-audio converter with an audio grille, USB Type-C port, and 3.5mm headphone jack. There are only three modules and not much discussion about more in the near future. The G5 has three cameras—16MP (78-degree wide) and 8MP (135-degree wide) rear cameras and an 8MP front camera. The OS is Google Android v. 6.0 Marshmallow running on a Snapdragon 820 chipset, and there are 32GB of internal memory, 4GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of additional storage on microSD cards. www.lg.com
3. GARMIN VIVOACTIVE HR
The new Garmin Vivoactive HR is a smartwatch with a sunlight-readable, high-res color touchscreen, an activity tracker with GPS, and a sports app. It will display information from your smartphone (Apple or Android), including incoming calls, text messages, e-mails, and calendar alerts. And it will send activity tracking information to your Garmin Connect app. The built-in sports app includes GPS-enabled running, biking, swimming, and more—with no phone connection needed to track your information. And it has carried over the original Elevate optical heart-rate sensor that was on the Vivosmart HR fitness tracker. www.garmin.com
4. XIAOMI MI 5
Another interesting new smartphone previewed at the MWC was from one of China’s largest manufacturers Xiaomi. The Pro version of the Mi 5 has a ceramic back, 4GB of RAM, Android 6.0, and the Snapdragon 820 processor with a 200% increase in performance. With a 5.1" screen, the Mi 5 is thinner and weighs less than either Apple’s iPhone 6s or Samsung’s Galaxy S7. A fully loaded version of the Mi 5 was reported to be $413, or about 50% cheaper than the Galaxy S7 and 60% less than the iPhone 6s. Release dates have been set for the Chinese market and India, but not for Europe or North America. The spokesperson for Xiaomi said, “Other markets are on the radar.” See www.mi.com/en/mi4i for specs on the Mi 4i.