Well we're almost done with Day Two at the world's largest Mobile get-together - Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona - and Entropy is ready to hand out a few of our 'best in show' awards. Granted, although we photo-bombed a few legitimate tech reviewer videos the past 36 hours (can you blame us?) - we are in no way the authority on these devices, so everything below should be taken with a grain of salt. But hey, we’re geeks – and entitled to our opinions…
So without further ado, here are a few products (and companies) that have us begging them to take our money!
OK BlackBerry's time is more than over - we get it - but we were absolutely smitten with the new KeyOne, the TCL-built revival of the BlackBerry brand, complete with an incredibly ‘clicky’ keyboard (much improved over the mushy and unsatisfying Priv of 2015), fingerprint scanner, and all those lovely touchpad/keypad gestures that had us all aflutter a few years back.
Granted the specs leave us wanting (ahem...Snapdragon 625 and only FHD resolution), but the build quality is top notch, and man oh man…that keyboard. If a mobile phone could ever come close to the feeling a mechanical keyboard imparts the first few times you try one - this would be it (admittedly this tiny keyboard would never be mistaken for Cherry MX or Topre switches...but still).
So this is a solid buy for Entropy – and would have likely garnered Best in Show if it weren’t for the….
If we had to pick one Best in Show it would simply have to be the revamped LG super-flagship – the drop-dead gorgeous G6. Sure, you have to knock LG a few points for the placement of their LOGO on the front bottom bezel (aside: when will manufacturers like LG, Sony and Samsung realise that a logo placement on the FRONT of a device is cheesy, garish and just plain wrong?), but all in all, you cannot fault the look of this handset.
And while we could wax on about the all-metal body and near bezel-less Quad-HD LCD display - the real star here is the screen dimension - an elongated 18:9 aspect ratio that produces a staggering 90% screen-to-body ratio.
Crucially, this massive screen is executed tastefully retaining a slight bit of bezel to grip the phone comfortably without triggering accidental screen taps. We test drove the ludicrous Xiaomi Mi Mix concept phone recently and LG has done absolutely the correct thing showing some restraint on the total obliteration of a bezel.
Simply put, the proportions are just perfect - and the handset may ruin us for all other devices from this point forward. You just can’t go back to 16:9 after this.
And it’s not all about aesthetics as the 18:9 ratio means almost perfect dual-app multitasking - meaning two Android apps side by side or on top of each other are in perfect harmony with plenty of space to interact and work in both windows. If like us, you're a huge Android Nougat multi-tasker - the LG G6 is an absolute must.
Thanks, LG – the Pixel XL in our pocket now looks like a mid-2000’s Nokia (but more on that in a second).
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
We love 4K screens - just love them. But for the life of us, we couldn't really appreciate the 4K HDR-enabled monster that is the new Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Even up close. The problem is, QuadHD is more than enough pixels for anyone to enjoy - and 4K, while possible, is just plain overkill.
The phone is still decent - and the specs (including the first handset to feature Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 835 SoC) are rock solid. But the bezels just kill this phone as Sony has recycled the same tired Xperia form factor yet again - meaning the chin and forehead are just outlandishly big. And we’re talking iPhone big, something that for Android folks is a no-go area.
So props to Sony for blowing the spec sheet out of the water, and while it’s worth a mention, this is not a handset we will be racing to pick up anytime soon.
Nokia 3310 (Part II: The Revenge)
Which brings us to perhaps the biggest star of the show - and mind you, we're talking about a very dumb feature phone originally released in the year 2000 - the retro and hyper-cool Nokia 3310 (take 2).
Sure we saw crowds jostling to handle the LG G6, a few Huawei phones, and even the new Sony 4K demon, but by far the most active crowd (we're talking 3-4 people deep) were huddled around a small table at the far end of the Nokia stand.
While the Nokia Reps were no doubt hoping to talk IoT and their other enterprise services, 3310 acolytes were literally queuing three-deep to get a chance to hold one of these cosmically anachronistic feature phones.
And I see why – as they are absolutely dripping with retro-cool.
Impressively, Nokia added just the right amount of modernity to these handsets - meaning while it respects the general style of the original 3310, it exudes a contemporary edge that can only be described as the "Snapchat Spectacles-effect".
Sure there's no sane reason this odd ‘candy bar’ phone from the noughties should ape the excitement for cutting edge octo-core, 4K phones with 6GB of RAM. But in an odd twist - I think most people will remember their quick few moments with the 3310 over almost any other device at MWC.
We're calling it now - the retro phone trend is in full effect - and as one of our twitter followers pointed out, Motorola needs to quickly get their factories pumping out retro RAZR handsets ASAP lest they leave some serious money on the table.
So that's it - four quick hits on four very different devices.
Our top pick? We're going to have to go with the LG G6 - as this is really the future of Smartphone form factors - with a modest shout out to BlackBerry and Nokia for giving us a much needed dose of nostalgia.
Which one are you going for? Let us know...and stay tuned for some proper reviews once we get our hands on these devices. Our pre-orders are already in...