Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mobile World Congress 2012: best of show

Mobile World Congress 2012 was a massively exciting show and true to form brought us so much new kit to be excited about in early 2012. From Intel’s Medfield launch, a 41-megapixel smartphone, a new generation of personal hotspots and even engineered metals using micro arc oxidation, there was never a dull moment. Highlighting what was best, most innovative, or interesting is a tough nut but we’ve done our best to point out the highlights using our impressions — and the occasional arm-wrestling match — to chose the finalists amongst the products and our Editor’s more notable achievements. Fly through to the next page and have a look at our takeaways from this, the most intense mobile tech show of the year.
Best Smartphone: HTC One X

HTC’s One line of handsets were impressive from the One V to the micro arc oxidized One S and while they impressed the One X stole the show. While it almost took fisticuffs to pick the winner, the One X came out on top because of its stellar camera, beautiful 4.7-inch 720p Super LCD 2 non-PenTile display, quad-core Tegra 3 processor and the unibody polycarbonate housing. The One X is running Sense 4.0 with ICS and despite that it absolutely flies. 

Surprisingly the usual sluggishness of Sense is all but gone, though we know HTC has lightened and fine-tuned its overlay, the Tegra 3 CPU no doubt does loads to help give it that silky smooth UI feel. The Beats Audio profiles, rendered via both hardware and software were a lot of fun and do add a great twist to one of a handset’s most popular functions. The camera is also very impressive both in image quality and features, though a dedicated camera button certainly would make it even better.

Best Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

We knew that Samsung planned to launch the Galaxy Note 10.1 at Mobile World Congress, but we didn’t know just how huge its presence and push would be at the booth. It is safe to say that between sketch artists, and Adobe’s Touch apps the super Note was Samsung’s flagship launch at MWC 2012 easily taking up 40% of the booth and a lion’s share of the attention.

While not drastically different then the Note we reviewed, the increased screen real estate, perfect scrolling and build quality makes this our choice. Samsung also pushed out two new Galaxy Tab 2 devices — in both 7.0 and 10.1 sizes –, but this second S-Pen toting iteration of the Touch line still won out.

Best Device Design: Panasonic Eluga

Thin? Check. Lightweight? Check. Completely waterproof? Check. A thing of beauty to gaze upon? Absolutely. Panasonic’s oddly named Eluga set was a stand out for the simple reason that we all agreed it was without question simply the nicest looking set of the show. Its 4.3-inch AMOLED qHD 960 x 540 display is crisp and bright, svelte 7.8mm thinness, and curved edges made it really comfortable to hold. Heck, even if it should slip from your grasp and fall in the fish tank it is waterproof and therefore as happy submerged as not. Sure, it didn’t pack ICS or the biggest display but Panasonic’s Eluga somehow finds a perfect balance of style and features.                More