bits. – MWC, duelling giants and the underdog

Mobile World Congress was made even more exciting this year by some very anticipated announcements: The LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, and Xiaomi Mi5.

The two giants, LG and Samsung, came into MWC with contrasting concepts. Samsung opted for an iterative approach by presenting the further refined Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The much lauded premium design and feel of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have been further enhanced with smoother edges throughout the design, a more comfortable curved glass back, and many other subtle but well thought out changes to the device’s design. Well-missed features of the Galaxy S5 such as water resistance and expandable storage make their return as well. The S7 and the Edge variant are now further distinguished by their difference in size.  Although the 5.1″ screen remains on the S7, there is now a 5.5″ screen on the S7 Edge. Samsung also touts an improved 12 megapixel camera. Despite the downgrade in megapixels, image quality, especially in low light, is said to be improved. The protruding camera is no more as Samsung has increased the battery capacity by adding a millimetre of thickness on both devices. One gripe tech buffs may have is the lack of a USB-C port. Samsung has retained the tried and tested Micro USB port. The S7 series shows a different Samsung, one that is trying to listen to its user base by attempting to reconnect with those it alienated following some dramatic, if not controversial design decisions.

Here are the specs directly from Samsung:

Galaxy S7 Galaxy S7 edge
OS Android 6 (Marshmallow) Android 6 (Marshmallow)
Dimensions 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g
AP Quad-core 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz processor Quad-core 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz processor
Memory (Portion of memory occupied by existing content) 4GB RAM (LPDDR4) 4GB RAM (LPDDR4)
32GB internal storage 32GB internal storage
External microSD card (up to 200GB) support (sold separately) External microSD card (up to 200GB) support (sold separately)
Display 5.1” Quad HD Super AMOLED 2560×1440 (577ppi) 5.5” Quad HD Super AMOLED 2560×1440 (534ppi)
Dual edge screen
Camera Rear: Dual Pixel 12MP with OIS (F1.7)
Front: 5MP (F1.7)
Rear: Dual Pixel 12MP with OIS (F1.7)
Front: 5MP (F1.7)
Battery 3,000mAh 3,600mAh
Charging Fast Charging, Fast Wireless Charging (wireless charging pad sold separately) Fast Charging, Fast Wireless Charging (wireless charging pad sold separately)
Payment NFC, MST NFC, MST
Connectivity WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), MU-MIMO WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), MU-MIMO
Bluetooth® v4.2 LE, ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC, Location Bluetooth® v4.2 LE, ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC, Location
Sensor Accelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Fingerprint, Barometer, Hall, HRM Accelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Fingerprint, Barometer, Hall, HRM
Environmental IP68 IP68
Colors Black Onyx, Gold Platinum Black Onyx, Gold Platinum, Silver Titanium

LG, on the other hand, introduced a totally redesigned G5. Gone is the plasticky feel of past LG devices. There is no optional leather backing or removable back cover at all here.  The G5 is a total departure from the design of the G4 before it. Featuring a curvy, all metal build with a unique twist: a modular design which allows for a removable battery and a slew of other modular add-ons. The unique and distinguishing rear placed volume buttons will be missed as they are now found on the left side of phone. The power button with integrated fingerprint scanner remains on the rear, a design choice that echoes that of the newer Nexus phones. The well received 16 megapixel rear camera makes a return this time accompanied by a wide-angle 8 megapixel sensor, however only the 16 megapixel shooter has optical image stabilization. LG hopes to distinguish the G5 with it’s LG Friends, a range of accessories and modules which enhance the devices functionality.

Here are the specs directly from LG:

Chipset Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 Processor
Display 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum Display (2560 x 1440 / 554ppi)
Memory 4GB LPDDR4 RAM / 32GB UFS ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)
Camera Rear Standard 16MP, Wide 8MP / Front 8MP
Battery 2,800mAh (removable)
OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Size 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm
Weight 159g
Network LTE / 3G / 2G
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / USB Type-C / NFC / Bluetooth 4.2
Colors Silver / Titan / Gold / Pink

Next, and not to be forgotten, is Xiaomi. Although their recent efforts have been focused on low to mid-range devices, they introduced the impressive Mi5. Not only is the Mi5 a powerhouse with its Snapdragon 820 processor, high speed storage format and 16 megapixel camera, it will also retail for an impressively affordable ~$300 US for the 32GB variant, ~$350 US for the 64GB and ~$410 US for the 128GB pro. The design of the device is reminiscent of the Mi Note before it, but in a more compact form factor. It will be the first Xiaomi device with a physical home button; this also houses a fingerprint sensor. It has a 16MP optically-stabilized  camera powered by a Sony sensor which is flush with the rear. It will be running on Xiaomi’s own MIUI 7, running overtop of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. No word yet on wether we will see the device internationally, let alone in Canada.

Here are the specs via Android Central:

Display 5.15-inch FHD display
Processor Snapdragon 820
OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow, MIUI 7
Storage 32GB, 64GB, 128GB (plus SD card)
RAM 4GB LPDDR4
Camera 16MP rear with 4-axis OIS, 4MP front
Sony IMX298 sensor
Battery 3,000 mAh, QC3.0
Dimensions 69.2 x 144.55 x 5.12 mm
Weight 129g (with 3D glass back)
Other USB-C, NFC
Colors Black, white, gold
Price $306 (32GB), $352 (64GB), $460 (128GB)

If MWC is any indicator, 2016 is going to be an awesome year for phones. We’d like to get our hands on at least one of these powerhouses for a future review. Let us know what you think, which of the three are you most excited about? Or perhaps, which one would you like to see us review in the future? Let us know in the comment section below.

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David R

An HR champion by day, an avid techie by night.

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