MWC 2018: all the news, launches and hands on reviews from the show

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Update: MWC 2018 is over, drawing to a close another huge show for the smartphone world.

MWC (or Mobile World Congress to give it its full name) is one of the biggest events on the mobile calendar.

This year it gave us a whole host of exciting, intriguing and expensive devices, inlcuding the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact, LG V30S ThinQ, Nokia 8 Sirocco and 8110 4G, and the Vivo Apex Concept.

That's not all though, with Huawei, ZTE, Alcatel, Lenovo and more all unveiling new products too, including laptops and tablets alongside the slew of mobile handsets.

You can find out everything that launched below, with links to our fabulous hands on reviews, giving you an insight into every product that showed up in Barcelona.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The biggest phone show of 2018
  • When is it? It ran from February 26 to March 1 2018

MWC 2018 news

As well as all the new device launches at MWC 2018, the show also kicked up a load of other news, giving us insights to future product launches, the direction of 5G and some of the more left-field activities going on.

Samsung's Bixby smart speaker is coming for Apple's HomePod
It was easy to get lost in all the Galaxy S9 news, but at this year's show Samsung’s mobile president DJ Koh also confirmed the long-standing rumors of a Samsung smart speaker and said it'll be coming in the second half of 2018.  

Nokia 8110 4G was so nearly a spring-loaded Matrix phone
The return of the banana phone at MWC 2018 certainly turned heads, but we were disappointed that it lacked the spring-loaded slide from the The Matrix - however, it very nearly did.

Energizer smartphones have batteries that just keep going
When Energizer release a phone, you know it's going to focus on battery power. At this year's MWC it's revealed the Hardcase H590S with a whopping 5800mAh battery. It's a rugged phone with an impressive lifespan, but the rest of its specs aren't exactly stellar. 

(Image: © Amazon)

McAfee is keeping your WiFi network safe with an Alexa skill
McAfee security is getting in on the Alexa action with a skill of its very own. Now, with the right network router, you can ask Alexa to find out if there are any unfamiliar devices on your network and boot them off.  Even better, support for Google Assistant and Apple's Siri is coming. 

Moto G6 is a no show at MWC but it's 'coming soon'
After recent leaks we had hoped that Lenovo might unveil the upcoming Moto G6, G6 Plus and G6 Play at this year's MWC but that's not been the case. Instead, Lenovo took the chance to dedicate a wall of its booth to the line and tease that it will be "coming soon."

Ericsson tells operators: 5G is ready
5G is steadily moving from being a dream to a reality, Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm has told its service provider customers. Ericsson has signed 38 memos with operators and expects to complete some commercial deployments by the end of 2018. That means gigabit speeds, huge capacity and low latency sooner rather than later.

This phone of the future has a pop-up selfie camera and a half-screen fingerprint scanner
This is Chinese manufacturer Vivo's glimpse of future phones, and we checked out the Apex Concept at this year's MWC. As a concept phone, there were some pretty cool features, but they didn't always behave themselves.

Blackberry is here for you, whether you like it or not
Blackberry knows it's not the phone brand for all, but that doesn't mean it's going anywhere. The company told TechRadar it feels that it's established the Blackberry brand over the past year, and will continue to grow in the year to come. 

It's too easy to say the Samsung Galaxy S9 is boring
The long-awaited launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9 has finally happened and we'd be lying if we didn't say this is an incredibly minor upgrade in terms of looks. But we also think we need to look beyond the cosmetics of our smartphones – this is the most powerful Samsung handset yet and to say it's boring is missing the point.

Huawei MateBook X Pro has an awesome pop-up camera, so why copy Apple?
The tiny button hidden in the F6 key of the MateBook X Pro was enough to draw gasps at Huawei's press conference this year. Yet it spent a large portion of time trying to best Apple's Macbook line. TechRadar's Gareth Beavis thinks Huawei can do a lot more than be another 'and me' brand.

Samsung at MWC 2018

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Samsung Galaxy S9

It's the one we've been waiting for - the Samsung Galaxy S9. It's got a camera that's out to impress, and certainly succeeds, and its fingerprint sensor is definitely in a better place. But it's hard not to notice the similarities to last year's now cheaper S8. 

The Samsung Galaxy S9 will launch globally on March 16 for £739 ($719.99, around AU$1,300). Pre-orders in Europe are open now and US pre-orders will open March 2.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The bigger and better sibling of the Galaxy S9, you won't want more than the Galaxy S9 Plus. It has a 6.2-inch curved screen and low-light-defeating dual-lens camera and although it looks exactly like last year's S8 Plus, it does at least fix the fingerprint sensor (now center-aligned on the back) and speakers (now in a stereo). 

The official Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus release date is March 16, and it’s coming out on the same day worldwide. S9 and S9 Plus pre-orders are available in Europe right now but you’ll have to wait until March 2 for US pre-orders to open.

The Galaxy S9 Plus price is more expensive than is was last year in the US and UK: In the US, it'll cost $839.99 for the S9 Plus unlocked through Samsung's official website. In the UK, the Galaxy S9 Plus is even more expensive at £869.

Huawei at MWC 2018

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Huawei MateBook X Pro

The MateBook X Pro may only be Huawei's second ever laptop but we're impressed by what we've seen so far. 

This is a machine that's geared to compete with the best offerings from Apple and Microsoft and though we think that's pretty ambitious, we're not inclined to dismiss it from what we've seen so far. An excellent screen, powerful innards and sleek design have left us keen to see more.

Huawei MediaPad M5

It sounds like one thing, but Huawei's MediaPad M5 is actually a range of three tablets. Two by the name of MediaPad M5, and one with a Pro fixed to the end. 

These are premium entries into the tablet market with design and specs that reflect this. We liked what we experienced in our hands-on time, but a lot is going to depend on pricing when it's revealed.

Sony at MWC 2018

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Sony Xperia XZ2

The Sony Xperia XZ2 is the company's latest flagship and it's packed full of new features, including an 18:9 display, a whole new look with smaller bezels, and an unusual new Dynamic Vibration System which adds vibrations to media. 

In our hands on time we weren't thrilled by the fingerprint scanner location and the bezels are still bigger than we'd like, but we were otherwise impressed with the design and performance. How impressed we are will largely depend on the price though.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact packs flagship specs (including a Snapdragon 845 chipset and 4GB of RAM) into a 5.0-inch shell, which is a rare combination. 

We're not sure how long the 2,870mAh battery will last and pricing remains unknown, but in our hands on we were impressed by the design and specs.

Sony Xperia Ear Duo

A slightly odd one this. The Sony Xperia Ear Duo are a newly announced pair of wireless earbuds designed to let you hear music and the outside world at the same time, so you can hear approaching vehicles and even carry on a conversation. In our hands on review we found them a bit bulky, but liked the general idea.

LG at MWC 2018

LG V30S ThinQ

We've already had our first taste of LG at this year's show with the V30S ThinQ. This handset takes a lot of what we loved about the original V30 when it was unleashed on the world just six months ago, but brings more RAM, new internal storage configurations and a new blue color to the table. 

We like what we've seen so far but its specs are behind the competition now, so a lot depends on what price LG decides to set. 

Nokia at MWC 2018

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Nokia 8110 4G

Nokia hit a winner with the trip down nostalgia lane that was the 3310. Now, it's going for it again with the return of the Matrix banana phone: the Nokia 8110

But this time with 4G. This is a low cost phone with a killer battery life, and it's a great blast to the past. But its limited functionalities might not appeal to everyone. 

Nokia 8 Sirocco

Nokia 8 Sirocco is Nokia's flagship offering at MWC and its a big step forward for HMD Global. Here you'll find a premium design, wireless charging and the kind of flagship feeling fans of the brand have been asking for since the Nokia 8. 

And as proof it's really keeping up with the latest flagships, there's not headphone jack. Last year's chipset is disappointing considering the price but this is a solid foundation for HMD. 

Nokia 7 Plus

The Nokia 7 Plus is a big-screen mid-ranger with a stellar battery life. Here you'll find a reasonably premium design with a high-end dual camera all bolstered by a reasonable price tag. It's just a shame it's not out until April.

Nokia 6 (2018)

The 2018 iteration of the Nokia 6 is a thoughtful upgrade from HMD. It has more power, fast-charging and it actually looks a little more interesting. It's more expensive too but it still falls firmly into the mid-range category. 

Overall, this is shaping up to be a phone that doesn't drastically revamp the Nokia 6 brand, but it does make some needed improvements. 

Nokia 1

Nokia 1 is the super cheap member of the MWC 2018 Nokia family. Its design definitely won't blow your mind and its load times err on the side of slow but at $85 (around £60, AU$110), it's extremely affordable. 

In fact, this is the first Nokia branded smartphone to come in at under $100 yet it's still a solid Android experience thanks to the less demanding Android Go OS. 

Lenovo at MWC 2018

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Lenovo Smart Display

We might just have a genuine competitor for the Amazon Echo Show with Lenovo's Smart Display. A big bright display, a powerful speaker and all the benefits of Google Assistant technology make it an interesting prospect. 

If you wish your Google Home had a screen and you're not put off by the price, it could be one to watch this year. 

Lenovo Yoga 730

Lenovo has revealed another 2-in-1 device with the Yoga 730. This is a limited upgrade on last year's model but it has a nice premium design, Alexa integration and some appealing new fast-charging features that make it worthwhile if you're running an older device and you're looking for an upgrade.

Lenovo Flex 14 (or Yoga 530)

Another 2-in-1 offering from Lenovo is the Flex 14 (or Yoga 530 as it's known outside the US). If you're in the market for a 2-in-1 laptop but you can't quite stretch your budget to the larger Yoga 730, this 14-inch device is a good choice for you. 

From what we've experienced so far, this is a dependable option that will offer a solid performance.

Moto G6 not at MWC but it is "coming soon"

After recent leaks we had hoped that Lenovo might unveil the upcoming Moto G6, G6 Plus and G6 Play at this year's MWC but that's not been the case. Instead, Lenovo took the chance to dedicate a wall of its booth to the line and tease that it will be "coming soon." 

ZTE at MWC 2018

ZTE Blade V9

ZTE's Blade smartphones usually give you a lot of spec for your simoleons and it doesn't look like this has changed with the Blade V9

This is a premium-looking mid-ranger that has some impressive features and a covetable microSD card slot. It's still early days but if the price point of this device is just right we could have an early contender for the best cheap phone of the year.

ZTE Blade 9 Vita

The Blade 9 Vita is probably the cheapest way to get yourself an all-screen phone right now. It's the lite version of the Blade V9 above, offering a more compact design and specs that likely to be more in line with a lower price point. 

Alcatel at MWC 2018

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Alcatel 5

The Alcatel 5 is a phone with a lot of promise - an almost bezel-free display, premium specs and a nice low price point. Oh, and it doesn't look too bad either. 

It's missing a few of the features of higher-end phones (like a dual-rear camera and super high resolution display) but it has a good quality 18:9 ratio display, secure facial recognition technology and a dual selfie camera. You won't find that for €229.99 (about $280, £200, AU$360) anywhere else right now. 

Alcatel 3

The Alcatel 3 is the latest affordable handset from Alcatel and it sits slap bang in the middle of the 1X and the 5. It has a high quality 18:9 display and facial revognition unlock (which is impressive for the price) as well a compact, attractive design. 

But it also has some storage problems and we can't help but feel that Alcatel has made some other impressively affordable handsets that are far more interesting phones in the form of the Alcatel 5, Alcatel 3V and Alcatel 3X.

Alcatel 1X

This is it - the world's first Android Go smartphone. For those on a super low smartphone budget, the Alcatel 1X offers a big screen and pretty decent cameras for the price. 

Prices start from just  €99 (around £90, $120, AU$150) and although it's not quite as cheap as its rival the Nokia 1, it does offer a bigger screen, bigger battery and more storage.

Alcatel 1T

Alcatel is keeping the tablet form going with two brand new offerings that will be available to buy before June this year. The Alcatel 10 inch 1T 10 and 7 inch 1T 7 won't exactly leave iPads struggling in a spec war, but with price points starting from €70 price tag (around £60 / $85 / AU$60) it's hard to complain. 

These are the kind of tablets we think will be perfect for throwing around the house and handing to the kids without fear.

Asus at MWC 2018

Asus Zenfone 5 (2018)

The Asus Zenfone 5 takes its design inspiration from one phone, and one phone only. The iPhone X. There's a distinctive notch at the top of the display, while the rear features a vertical dual camera stack.

It does have a fingerprint scanner, something the iPhone X misses, and its screen is also larger at 6.2 inches. It'll also be cheaper than Apple's flagship, so if you love the design but hate the price of the iPhone X, this could be the phone for you.

Asus Zenfone Max Plus M1

We love nothing more than flagship-quality style for an affordable price and that's what Asus' new ZenFone Max Plus M1 is promising to bring to the table. 

Available in the US for $229 (about £164, AU$291) it's a strong mid-ranger with a 5.7-inch 18:9 aspect ratio display and a large 4,130mAh battery. We'll be reviewing the phone soon to see if it lives up to its promise so keep an eye out. 

Google at MWC 2018

Android Go is making us hyped for a hyper-cheap handset

Google didn't have any hardware of its own to show off at MWC 2018, but the arrival of the Nokia 1 and Alcatel 1X mark an important milestone in the search giant's Android ecosystem.

Both handsets come running Android Go Edition, a lighter version of the operating system that's designed specifically to work on lower powered, budget devices with an aim of providing a smartphone experience to those with very little to spend.

The Nokia and Alcatel devices are just the first of a number that we expect to hit the market in the coming months, and we expect Google to really push its new service in emerging markets.