Best smartphones of MWC 2016: PhoneArena Awards


And just like that, another Mobile World Congress is behind us. We had an amazing time checking out the latest innovations in technology – from smartphones, tablets, and wearables to talking human-like robots, virtual reality headsets, and blazing-fast 5G networks. We had a blast witnessing the announcements of the latest products by Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC, and many other companies. We enjoyed snacking on home-made tapas and sipping on locally brewed beer. But now it is time to pack our bags and head home. Indeed, time flies when you're having fun. 

Before we board our flight, however, we think there's one more thing we should do. We feel obliged to highlight the best smartphone we saw at MWC 2016. And if you've been following our coverage, you might not be surprised by our top pick. 

Best smartphones of MWC 2016: Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge


The Samsung Galaxy S6 was already a really good smartphone. So were the Galaxy S6 edge and S6 edge+. This is why Samsung didn't need to deliver anything radically new with the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. It just had to polish its flagship phone and its counterparts a bit further. And so Samsung did.

On the outside, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge look more or less identical to last year's models. Dig a little further, however, and you'll see how they bring a number of meaningful, practical improvements to Samsung's formula. The two new phones sport better cameras, faster processors, IP68 dust and water resistance, and expandable storage. And all of that in a sleek, stylish body. Sure, the phones are a bit thicker and heavier than their predecessors, but we don't mind that at all, knowing that the two pack bigger batteries and their cameras don't stick out as much. Besides, that new Always On Display feature is kind of neat.

So yeah, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge are looking like top-of-the-line Android phones, and we can't wait to give them the full-on review treatment. This is likely to happen very, very soon, as Samsung will be launching them as early as March 11.


First runner-up: LG G5


Few were the phones at MWC that drew as much attention as the LG G5. Many were curious to see its unorthodox, Modular Design in action and to experience its wide-angle, 135-degree secondary camera. Indeed, LG's new Modular Design concept might hold great potential, Although we're not entirely convinced, having tested the modules and accessories made for the LG G5 at the MWC show floor – the camera grip and external audio DAC by B&O being among them. Still, being able to expand the functionality of a smartphone, all while retaining the removable battery and storage expansion, sounds great to us!

As for the wide-angle camera we just mentioned, it is actually something we can see ourselves using – when shooting in tight spaces or when taking photos of grandiose pieces of architecture, for example. And when we don't need the wide-angle feature, the high-quality main camera stands at our disposal. 


Second runner-up: Sony Xperia X Performance


Who doesn't like a pleasant surprise? One came from Sony at Mobile World Congress – the company announced its brand new X-series of smartphones. And the best device in the lineup is the Sony Xperia X Performance, which is shaping up as a great smartphone overall. 

One of the phone's highlights is the latest Qualcomm SoC beating inside it – the Snapdragon 820. Then there's the 23MP camera, featuring Sony's latest – and supposedly really fast – autofocus technique. All of this, along with a 5-inch screen, a 13MP front camera, and expandable storage slot, are housed in a stylish, metal-made body with a traditional Sony feel to it.

All in all, the Sony Xperia X Performance could be a great all-around device – a smartphone made to deliver a no-nonsense smartphone experience, with none of the bells and whistles found on competing devices. Whether that's the case, however, will be known in a few months, when the Xperia X Performance hits the shelves.

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69 Comments

55. Duskun

Posts: 41; Member since: May 09, 2015

X series is the star attraction of MWC 2016

54. nycguy54

Posts: 64; Member since: Dec 13, 2014

I like X Performance

53. T-Dizzle

Posts: 160; Member since: Jul 21, 2015

The Xiaomi mi5 isn't listed here because they don't spend big ad money with Phone Arena. This site isn't objective, it is a business.

49. dazed1

Posts: 815; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

MI5??

47. bobby2803

Posts: 32; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

what about hp elite x3. it was like boss among these kids all work and no games.

44. GerminatorX135

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 25, 2016

I think the Xiaomi Mi 5 should be on the list instead of the X Performance. My least favourite phone for this year's MWC because it would replace the Z phones.

50. dazed1

Posts: 815; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

Absolutely.

36. sssm23 unregistered

with out Nokia nothing well

39. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

out since 2002 lmao

33. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2267; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

i agree samsung gs7 is the same as s6 in design, upgraded camera and UI ONLY. it should be called S6-U upgrade. lg G5 IS the new and should get grand prize,..lol

41. John-Knotts

Posts: 380; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Because it's new? Seriously? Just no...

25. Sondae

Posts: 291; Member since: Jan 02, 2013

Can't wait for s7 review.

43. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

It will get a 9.3 just like the iPhone to avoid flame wars

13. LittleGaGaKiller

Posts: 290; Member since: Jan 19, 2015

GUYS!!!!! I have just tried S7 edge today at Saturn (local store in Germany) IT IS AMAAAAAAAZING AND THE FEELING IN THE HAND IT'S JUST...... VERY COMPACT AND COMFORTABLE TO HOLD !!! I can't believe how small it is when i compared it to my iphone 6 plus there although both are 5.5 inches! And i gotta say, the Black color is CLAAAAAAAS and luxurious looking! Bye iPhone, it was a great/painful journey since September 23rd 2013 !

24. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

I was really impressed with the gold

27. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

No FM-radio = no buy for me. Otherwise it would have been the perfect smartphone for me :(

29. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

FM radio is nothing I care about nowadays, but what choices do you have?

30. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

G5, M10 and Z6 (if there will be one) all have FM radio, but waterproofing and good battery life are also a must for me, so I'll probably have to wait till IFA for a possible Z6...

35. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

didnt they already said that Z line is dead, and X will replace them?

7. GhostRider

Posts: 8; Member since: Dec 01, 2012

Where's the HP Elite X3? The phone is IP67 water-resistant, has dual front facing Bang & Olufsen speakers, has Windows Continuum and has a laptop shell that can connect to the phone wirelessly, has a MicroSD card slot for up to 2TB additional storage, has a 4150 mAh battery, the same Snapdragon 820 as the rest of these, and has an iris and fingerprint scanner. How is such a beast of a phone not on this list? It's definitely better than the Xperia X Performance, and even the G5.

10. KillTheKardashians

Posts: 93; Member since: Feb 19, 2016

Because Windows & Plastic

52. dr_fajardo12

Posts: 134; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

phone arena = wp hater. or maybe phonearena = ms hater

11. meanestgenius

Posts: 23093; Member since: May 28, 2014

I was just going to comment something similar. The HP Elite X3 was the best (TO ME) smartphone of MWC. As you said, it's a BEAST. At the very least, it should have been somewhere on this list.

12. GTNavy

Posts: 55; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

This is a anti-Windows website. They are punishing Microsoft for their monopolistic past by embracing a new monopoly. The HP Elite x3 had just as equal specs and superior features even. Everything and the kitchen sink. This whole site really disgusts me.

19. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Yeah the Elite X3 really looked like a winner as well. But i agree with some comment the design of the phone was nothing special. Still its should be top 3 much more than the S7 thats bring nothing new really..

20. Landon

Posts: 1249; Member since: May 07, 2015

Dang. This phone is pretty impressive!

21. jellmoo

Posts: 2701; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

I really like the device as well, but we have to be honest, it's a niche device. The G5 and S7 are the better mass market devices and will better suit *most* people. The Elite x3 nails the productivity market very well, but it is a niche sector.

40. jkyap

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 26, 2016

OF COURSE IT IS NOT ON THE LIST SIMPLY BECAUSE IT DOESNT HAVE THE OUTSTANDING CAMERAS OF THE BIG PLAYERS, AND AN EXQUISITE DESIGN. it is not excellent OVERALL, in short. camera and design are the two most important aspects nowadays, because they are probably something that just cant easily be made and something that can make you happy to brag about.

48. jellmoo

Posts: 2701; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Two points: 1) How on earth do you know that it does not in fact have an outstanding camera? 2) Are you under the impression that you somehow magically prove your point by yelling?

67. JumpinJackROMFlash

Posts: 464; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

Also the fact that HP is selling only to enterprise customers which makes it unavailable to regular consumers would be a huge part of this decision! A phone you can't buy as a regular Joe isn't that interesting to a regular Joe.

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