The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is one of the most exciting technology events on our calendar. Over 100 000 attendees from around the world flock to Barcelona annually to see what’s on show from over 2 300 exhibitors. Most of the Android smartphones announced here make it to our shores, so here are three you should pay attention to:

Samsung S9

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ flagships put major emphasis on the consumer experience, with the introduction of augmented reality (AR) emojis, a revamped camera and mobile entertainment. Similar to Apple’s animoji, AR emojis go a step further through personalisation with a selfie. It works the same way as Bitmojis and can be shared on WhatsApp or social media and you can record videos in AR emojis.

The revamped 12-megapixel cameras have dual-aperture modes that are adjusted according to light conditions and promise better low-light pictures than the previous-generation S8. A new super slow mo feature shoots videos at 960 frames per second (fps). A live demo of pouring water into a glass showed more detail in the replay than your eye is capable of seeing. It can be saved as a GIF or in reverse mode.

Watching Netflix or ShowMax is common on our smartphones these days and, with that in mind, Samsung put stereo speakers on the handset with Dolby Atmos surround sound, which is really loud and brings a cinematic experience to your handset. The S9 and S9+ will be available in South Africa on March 16, and come in a new “lilac purple” shade.

Sony XZ2 Compact

Sony’s Xperia XZ2 Compact is not exactly “compact” at 5 inches (12.7cm), but if you want the standard XZ2, it’s a whopping 5.7 inches in size. Noticeably different on these handsets are the smaller bezels, so the screen looks less chunky at the top and bottom. Important to note is that Sony removed the headphone jack, but included an adaptor and headphones in the box, which may be a bit of hit and miss. The XZ2 Compact features a 19 megapixel camera with 960fps slow motion video, a feature that Sony introduced at the MWC last year. This time around you can shoot in full high definition. Both handsets are capable of recording 4K high-dynamic-range videos – a world first for smartphones. The front camera takes 3D selfies with a face-mapping feature. It sports a dedicated fingerprint sensor at the back, whereas previously this feature was shared with the power button. If you want premium features like wireless charging and the dynamic vibration system, which is meant to enhance music, videos and games, look at the XZ2. Both handsets should be available in South Africa in the second quarter of the year.

Nokia 8110 4G

Still playing the nostalgia card, and probably good news for some of you, Nokia has revived the 8110 “banana phone” from The Matrix, but this time it has 4G support. Unlike last year’s Nokia 3310, you can now download WhatsApp on the 8110 4G. So you can get a cool, retro-looking handset in an eye-catching bright yellow and message your friends without worrying about costs and make use of a Wi-Fi hot spot feature. It runs on the KaiOS operating system and will feature Facebook, Twitter and Google apps. One of the most attractive features is the low price point of €79 (R1 132), although local pricing has not been confirmed. Nokia announced four other handsets at the MWC: the flagship Nokia 8 Sirocco, a mid-range Nokia 7+, a second-generation Nokia 6 and a low-cost Nokia 1. All phones should be in South Africa in the second quarter of the year.

TECH