Opinion: The best phones of the 2017 Mobile World Congress

Emma Brannam reports on technology for Newshub.

OPINION: It was a clever move. Remove the smart and make it simple and bring back the snake. Yes, that's right, one of the hottest phones announced this morning at the Mobile World Congress wasn't high-tech at all.  Drum roll, please - the Nokia 3310 has made a welcome return.

Nokia 3310

The Nokia 3310 in red (Supplied)
The Nokia 3310 in red (Supplied)

Ok, so this was the most basic phone unveiled by Nokia at MWC but the one that raised the most excitement. The Nokia 3310 - the phone you or your parents probably had in 2000.   You can still only call, make texts and play snake all day, but who cares? It's in colour. Yes, you heard me, colour!

The new 3310 qualifies as a "feature phone" rather than a smartphone, as it only provides limited internet facilities. It's got 2.5G connectivity - which has slower data speeds than 3G. Its single camera is also restricted to two megapixels. It's also got an impressive battery life - up to a month's standby time and more than 22 hours of talk-time.  The launch price is a mere NZ$72.

Of course, there were three other pure android phones unveiled by Nokia. That means no bundled third-party apps, no User Interface customizations, and regular security updates. Interesting, yes, but what I really want is a 3310.

For Kiwis though, it's not all good news. Spark customers won't want to buy a 3310 as Spark doesn't offer 2G capability.  For now, Vodafone and 2degrees customers should still be safe.

 

Huawei P10 

The Huawei P10 (Huawei/Facebook)
The Huawei P10 (Huawei/Facebook)

Huawei has built on the successes of its rather formidable P9 with the P10, a phone that's even better.

As expected, there are two sizes: a 5.1-inch device with a 1080p display and a 5.5-incher, called the P10 Plus, with WQHD resolution.  Huawei's own Kirin 960 processor lies at the heart of both, powering its EMUI 5.1 software built atop Google's Android.

Huawei's hook-up with Leica continues to strengthen, and the dual lens returns for the P10. A 20-megapixel monochrome sensor and a 12-megapixel - one for sharper detail and more light, which the other essentially colours in.

A welcome addition in the P10 is Portrait Mode that iPhone fans will know exists in iPhone 7 Plus.

Huawei claims to have created an imaging algorithm based on extensive research of various different face shapes and skin colours so portrait enhancements can be applied in a customized and more natural way. For example, dynamic illumination looks at the position and size of a subject's nose to add the right lighting and shadows.

A major design change is the removal of the back fingerprint sensor, thank goodness. Now it's on the front and hidden under the glass. It replaces the navigation bar, making the screen view bigger and smart touch faster and easier.

The new P10 comes in a range of interesting colours from the traditional black and whites to a dazzling green. My test unit is a rather snazzy blue. It's also got some texture to it, with something called a 'hyper diamond cut' finish.

The P10 will retail at $999 and P10 Plus at $1199 when they drop on April 12.

Watch the video at the top of the article for Newshub's exclusive look at the P10.

LG G6

LG G6 (LG/Facebook)
LG G6 (LG/Facebook)

LG has played safe for 2017, dumping the modular design of its last device and re-entering the market with an altogether more traditional phone.

It's thinner and slightly smaller than last year's model, with a bigger display of 5.7 inches (14.5cm). It's also added support for high-dynamic-range video playback. This makes compatible footage appear more vibrant and detailed in the shadows.

The new phone is designed around Android 7's support for split-screen software, allowing two same-sized square interfaces to be seen either side-by-side or one-above-the-other, depending on how the phone is held.

For those of us who like to use our phones in the bath, it can be submerged under water for up to half an hour.

Blackberry KeyOne 

The Blackberry KeyOne (Blackberry/Facebook)
The Blackberry KeyOne (Blackberry/Facebook)

Rejoice, all those with skinny fingers and a passion for qwerty keyboards!

The beloved Blackberry is back.

The KeyOne looks like we'd expect, and its specs are modest.  It's an Android device, loaded with BlackBerry security and software designed by TCL to appeal to both those who want a touchscreen and a keyboard. The device will ship with Android 7.1, but Assistant won't be preloaded.

The phone's market is pretty limited, something TCL know. When originally considering making the device, it asked whether people wanted a keyboard device. 25% said yes. That was enough for them to go ahead and make it.

Overall, it's more for work than play and that's made clear in the battery department with a beefy 3,505mAh battery that promises a day of use.

Motorola G5

The Moto G5 (Motorola/Supplied)
The Moto G5 (Motorola/Supplied)

Lenovo's subsidiary Motorola is ditching the old plastic housing in favour of metal for its new Moto G5 models.

Moto G5 has a 5-inch display, while the bigger G5 Plus will sport a 5.2-inch screen.  There is a 12 megapixel dual camera on the back and 5 megapixel wide angle front camera with auto-HDR.

The phone is splash-proof, with rounded edges, a fingerprint sensor and NFC for mobile payments for most markets.  Frustratingly, the fingerprint sensor underneath the display still isn't a home button by default.

The rest - Sony, Apple, Samsung

The last of the big six, Sony, has yet to unveil its offering, while Samsung isn't unveiling the S8 until next month.  Apple doesn't attend MWC, preferring to hold its own events.

Emma Brannam reports on technology for Newshub.

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