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MWC 2014 has wrapped up, and what a show it was! Every Android fan has something they’d love to get their hands on, with device releases covering the spectrum of what Android has to offer. Flagship releases, great looking mid-range smartphones, and a slew of mid- to high-end tablets made this year’s MWC an absolute blast.
If you followed our coverage of CES 2014 back in January, you know that we’ve decided to hand out awards to the best of the best at every major trade show this year. While CES was relatively low-key for Android devices, MWC was anything but, and, as such, we have eight categories of awards that we are giving out this event.
Here’s a look at the deserving winners of Android Authority’s Best of MWC 2014 Awards!
Wearable tech is a booming part of the mobile space, and Samsung didn’t hold back with their device releases at MWC, with two new Gear smartwatches making an appearance. But the wearable that we are most excited about is the Gear Fit, a hybrid fitness wristband that takes many elements from the Gear smartwatch and literally turns its design on the side.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Gear Fit is its remarkably vibrant curved OLED display, that can be outfitted with a replaceable wrist band. With fitness in mind, you get a host of apps and functions, including a pedometer, exercise tracker, and heart rate monitor, but you also receive notifications, and can control your media apps directly from the device. The sleek design looks great, and the combined fitness-smartwatch functionality is a huge advantage.
Android Authority’s Best Wearable Tech Award goes to the Samsung Gear Fit!
The long awaited sequel to the amazing Xperia Tablet Z was finally announced at MWC this week, and unsurprisingly, managed to impress us even more.
Sony took things even further with the Xperia Tablet Z2, making it thinner and packing it with top of the line specs that can handle anything you throw at it. Speaking of handling, the device is easy to hold, thanks to even lighter overall weight and magically soft rounded sides.
You get the same dual glass surface, a sturdy aluminium frame, and waterproof construction that have become a Sony design staples. A welcome design improvement comes in the form of the speakers moving from the sides to the front of the tablet, allowing for an even better listening experience.
The Sony Xperia Z2 is the epitome of a high end Android tablet, and deservedly receives our award for the Best Android Tablet!
The Huawei MediaPad X1 is a 7-inch tablet that seems to have an identity crisis. With its voice calling and text messaging capabilities, the MediaPad X1 is either a very sleek tablet, or the largest Android smartphone you can get your hands on. Either way, the device packs a beautiful display, an elegant design with very thin vertical bezels, and mid-range specifications that should provide a more than satisfactory performance at this price point.
And that is why the Huawei MediaPad X1 is the recipient of Android Authority’s Best Tablet Award at MWC!
Large Android tablets aren’t meant to be carried around for a long duration, and, in most cases, require a third-party accessory to prop the device up on a table top. This is an issue that Lenovo sought to address with its latest 10-inch tablet offering, the Yoga 10 HD+.
Taking design cues from its well received line of Yoga laptops, the Yoga 10 HD+ comes with an unique cylindrical end that not only houses a large battery, that Lenovo promises will provide up to 18 hours of battery life, but also comes with a built-in kickstand that lets you place the device in a few useful positions. You also get a nice Full HD display, solid build quality, and impressive specifications that make this tablet a well-rounded device.
We were very pleased to award Lenovo with the Best Tablet award for the Yoga 10 HD+!
We’ve already seen a lot of great mid-range smartphones with premium build quality, and this trend is creeping into the more budget-friendly range of devices as well. One such device that really caught our eye at MWC 2014 was the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2.
What is most striking about the OneTouch Idol 2 is its clean and elegant design. It’s not easy to gauge that the Idol 2, with its solid build material and quality, is a sub-$200 device. Specifications are decent and performance is more than satisfactory for a smartphone at this price point. The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 is our winner of the Best Budget Smartphone Award at MWC 2014!
Manufacturers are increasingly concentrating on offering mid-range devices with a premium feel that we’ve come to expect from our smartphones. HTC is obviously known for its great design, and its latest mid-range smartphone is no exception.
The HTC Desire 816 boasts great specifications, a beautiful 5.5-inch display, dual front-facing BoomSound speakers, and a clean design that you could fall in love with. Further bucking the mid-range trend is a 13 MP rear shooter, coupled with a 5 MP front facing camera.
Considering it will be priced very competitively and it incorporates the best of what HTC has to offer, we are very pleased to offer HTC and its Desire 816 our Award for winner of the Best Mid-Range smartphone of MWC 2014!
Many manufacturers have tried to break into the phablet market that is completely dominated by Samsung with their Galaxy Note series, and while the original G Pro was a good attempt, LG has hit it out of the park with LG G Pro 2. The company has got a lot right with their latest large smartphone offering, with best-in-class specs, a whopper of a camera, and a surprisingly manageable size for a device with a 5.9-inch display.
Its beautiful and expansive screen offer the highest ratio of display to device size in the world and, with LG’s bevy of helpful software features give a boost to your productivity.
We are extremely pleased to see LG continuously bring their best and have decided to award the LG G Pro 2 our Best Large Smartphone Award at MWC 2014!
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is one of the devices where it feels like not a lot has changed, while being significantly different. The design language stays largely the same, but the move away from glossy plastic is a welcome change, along with the introduction of a fingerprint scanner integrated into the home button. While many TouchWiz elements remain they are greatly refined. The introduction of My Magazine, easier multi-tasking, and revamped Settings menu and toggles in the notification drop drown make the UI more desirable and pleasurable to use.
The biggest improvement comes in the form of the 16 MP ISOCELL camera, coupled with a ton of new camera software features that should make smartphone photography that much better. And of course, it’s not a Samsung device if it isn’t loaded with software features including Kids Mode, ultra battery save mode, and numerous others that should provide a fantastic smartphone experience. The introduction of greatly appreciated IP-67 water and dust resistance and beefed up bezel ensure that the S5 will be able to take whatever life throws at it.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is our choice for the Best Flagship Smartphone at MWC 2014! If you’re looking for a chance to pick up this smartphone, don’t forget to check out our Samsung Galaxy S5 International Giveaway.
Honorable Mention – Sony Xperia Z2
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the device that came a very close second in this category. Sony’s latest flagship, the Xperia Z2, retains a lot of what we love about its previous editions, with the same slate design, down to the iconic silver power button and dedicated camera shutter button to the side. The Xperia Z2 comes with an updated display that is not only 0.2-inches bigger than the Xperia Z1, but now also an IPS LCD, allowing for greater brightness and improved viewing angles over its much loved predecessor.
Hardware has been bumped up across the board, with the new Snapdragon 801 making an appearance, along with 3GB of RAM, which ensures that performance is fast, smooth and robust under all conditions. The camera hardware remains the same, but the addition of 4K video shooting and a host of new software features means that the camera experience is even better this time around.
The only unfortunate part of the Xperia Z2 is the fact that it won’t penetrate as many markets around the world, as we know the Galaxy S5 will.
Stay tuned to Android Authority as we leave no stone unturned in our quest to deliver you the very best in all things Android and mobile technology! Let us know what you think of our awards, our choices, and how we’re doing! Stay tuned for more great mobile tech coverage from your friends at Android Authority!