The obvious standout at last month’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) was Samsung’s latest version of its flagship smartphone in a 5.8" Galaxy S9 and a 6.2" S9 Plus. The biggest difference in the new phones is the significant upgrading of the camera. Both phones now have a variable aperture for control in low-light situations, and the S9 Plus has two lenses, normal and telephoto. The telephoto mode provides selective focus within a scene or portrait. The long list of camera specifications itemizes a number of other improvements. Also new is the even smaller bezel around the screen; the 2018 models have framing that’s 1.2mm less than before. And the fingerprint reader is now easier to reach in the middle of the back of the phone. The choice of body color, beyond black and gray, now includes coral blue and lilac purple. The displays are full HD+, which can be changed to Quad HD+ in the settings. The operating system is the latest Android 8.0 (Oreo). Both have 64GB of internal memory—the S9 has 4GB RAM and the S9 Plus has 6GB RAM. The audio features stereo speakers tuned by AKG with Dolby Atmos surround sound. www.samsung.com


The Lenovo 300e Chromebook is an 11.6" touchscreen dual laptop with a 360-degree hinge and a surprising $269 base list price. Aimed directly at the classroom, this laptop/tablet also serves as a great second computer for general use around the house. Its academic profile includes a 2.1 GHz quad-core ARM processor running on the Chrome OS operating system with thousands of educational apps on the Chrome Web Store, including Activity Learn, the G Suite for Education, and more. You can work with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and connect via email, chat, and even videoconference. The 300e is durable with rubber bumpers, it’s been drop-tested up to 29.5", and the keyboard resists spills and has mechanically anchored keys that can’t be pulled off. It has a 10-hour battery life, USB 3.0 port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and an SD card reader built in. ­www.lenovo.com


The Asus Zenfone 5 also debuted at MWC. The 5Z version is the flagship model with a number of advantages over the basic 5. The 5Z has a more powerful processor, the Snapdragon 845, with a choice of three memory configurations: 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage, or 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage. Otherwise, the Zenfone 5 features a 6.2" IPS Full HD display with 1,080 × 2,246 resolution. The back is glass with a fingerprint sensor in the middle and a dual 12MP Sony IMX363 image-­sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a second 120-degree wide-angle camera. The Zenfone 5 runs Android 8.0 (Oreo) and will accommodate microSD cards up to 400GB. www.asus.com

4. NOKIA 8110 4G

Keanu Reeves used an original Nokia 8110 in The Matrix, and now it’s back as what one reviewer says could be the ultimate backup to your smartphone. Announced at MWC, the new Nokia 8110 4G (by HMD Global) has an updated design and 4G connectivity, and it comes in black or banana yellow. The cover slides to reveal the keypad. The screen is bright, though only 2.4", and the 2-megapixel camera on the back has a flash. The operating system is KaiOS, and there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 205 dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB internal memory, and a microSD slot. The 8110 will be available in April for $97. www.hmdglobal.com

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