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Six clicks: Top smartphones revealed at MWC 2014

We saw several new smartphones launched at MWC this week, but most are evolutionary products offering a few improvements over existing devices. Here are the best.
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By Matthew Miller, Contributor on
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1 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Introduction

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is held yearly in Barcelona and it is where companies introduce the smartphones we can expect to see in the first half of this year. There were no product that put itself about the rest as nearly all the smartphones at WMC are evolutionary products offering slight improvements over last year's models.

I've ranked these six smartphones , but the one I personally have my eye on, and hope to see launched in the US this year, is the Sony Xperia Z2.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story contained errors in the sequence of images and captions. Our sincerest apologies.

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2 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

BlackBerry Z3

Number 6: While BlackBerry continues to lose market share, they are not giving up the fight with their new CEO announcing the BlackBerry Z3 and Q20. The Z3 is their largest all touchscreen device while the Q20 brings back the useful trackpad to the QWERTY line.

The BlackBerry Z3 is powered by BlackBerry 10 and offers an improvement in the internal specs, as compared to the Z10 and Z30. It is targeted for a launch in Indonesia and comes with a 5-inch display, extended life battery, and FM radio.

We haven't heard about a US release at this time.

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3 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Nokia X line

Number 5: Nokia is launching a controversial, as we will see next week in the ZDNet Great Debate, three device lineup of custom Android-powered smartphones called the Nokia X, X+, and XL. The devices look like all the other existing mid-range Lumia phones, but run a Nokia customized version of Android.

Like the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, you will find the Android experience on the Nokia X devices to be different than what is seen on typical Android smartphones. Nokia is bringing their own and Microsoft services to the Nokia X line with a look and feel much like Windows Phone.

I personally still feel that Windows Phone is compelling at the low end and that Nokia should have stuck with that strategy. They will now have Asha, Android, and Windows Phone devices to manage and maintain.

 

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4 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Samsung Galaxy S5

Number 4: Samsung probably got the biggest splash at MWC when it introduced the Galaxy S5. It looks a lot like the Galaxy S4 and III with some evolutionary improvements. ZDNet's Jason Perlow thinks it is just another Android device, but I have to say it may just be the best Android device available for the enterprise customer in the first half of 2014.

Advanced features include a fingerprint scanner, heart monitor, IR blaster, Knox 2.0 security, Gear 2 and Fit smartwatch connectivity, and the latest Snapdragon 801 processor.

 

 

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5 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

HTC Desire 816

Number 3: Like a few of these new smartphones, we may not see all of these new phones launched in the US. The HTC Desire line is popular outside the US and the new Desire 816 looks to bring many of the great features of the HTC One to a mid-range plastic Android smartphone.

The HTC Desire 816 includes front facing stereo BoomSound speakers, 13 megapixel rear camera, slick Video Highlights functionality, 5.5 inch HD display, and more.

It is possible we could see the Desire 816 launch with a prepaid carrier or two, but there are no details yet on availability.

There were many other smartphones revealed at MWC 2014, including some from Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, Acer, Alcatel, and more. We also expect new smartphones from HTC, Apple, Google, and others in the first half of 2014.

Related story:

Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC One KitKat and Sense 5.5 update (gallery)

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6 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Number 2: LG has been rolling out some fine devices over the last year and the new LG G Pro 2 improves on the Optimus G Pro with a 5.9 inch IPS display and that excellent minimal bezel design that LG is getting a reputation for.

The G Pro 2 improves on the Knock capability with Knock Code that allows you to setup custom taps for unlocking and using the G Pro 2. The device includes a 13 megapixel camera with OIS and advanced camera software.

It is launching in Korea, but there is no word on availability or pricing in the US at this time.

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7 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Sony Xperia Z2

I am still considering the Xperia Z1s on T-Mobile, but have not been satisfied by the washed out display. Sony has improved the display on the new Xperia Z2while still offering a high-end camera in a waterproof shell.

The Xperia Z2 includes a 5.2 inch Triluminos HD display at 1920x1080 pixels resolution, 2.3 GHz quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 20.7 megapixel camera, Android 4.4 KitKat, and more.

We don't yet know when the Z2 will be launching in the US and if the Z1s is any indication it may not appear here until the second half of 2014.

 

 

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