Mobile World Congress 2012

We check out some of the latest mobile and wireless technologies at the MWC in Barcelona.
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01.Day 1 - Handsets

On Day 1 of the MWC there were a mountain of new handset releases with many form factors, price points and tastes catered for. 

Here are some of the latest smartphones from the first day of the Mobile World Congress. Click the information icon for photo descriptions.

Nokia makes impressive showing, but is it enough?

nokia-lumia-600Nokia has one of the largest areas at the show, with all focus on the top line Lumia 900 following the Lumia 800 launch late last year at the top end and the Lumia 610 at the bottom end of the market. 

There is no doubt that the 900 feels solid to hold and operate, with the Windows Phone 7.5 fast and responsive and its refreshing to see a clear alternative to the Android and iOS way of doing things. Apart from the power on volume and camera button, the body is a very simple candybar shape with yet another another 4-inch plus screen. 

The Lumia 610 (pictured right) is an affordable alternative for anyone wanting to get into the world of Smartphones. It may also be a good option for the kids as it seems destined to be priced at the $250 to $350 mark. If it´s anymore in Australia, questions should be asked - the word is that the street price here should be well below the 200 Euro mark. 

It does not feel as solid as the Lumia 900 or 800 but it does provide the ability to take out the battery which some people may want. As with all phones in this range, the main difference is the processor, so don´t expect the same performance as the Lumia 900 when working with multimedia or multitasking. 

There is a strong positive reaction overall to the Nokia offerings - some Apple fans even delivered grudging admiration for the effort in delivering a true alternative. However, it remains to be seen whether the resurgence has been delivered in time to save the company - as one iPhone user noted ´I like the Lumia 900 and think it even does some of the social networking stuff better than my phone, but I´ve got so much invested in music, apps and other content, I can´t afford to change".


HTC takes it to the beat 

HTC has made a big deal about the audio experience to be enjoyed with the latest HTC phones with Beats Audio (pictured right). There was a crush around the stand to not only look at the phone but also listen on the Beats Audio headphones

The sound was as good as you´ll get from a portable media device and anyone wanting to impress their friends with their ´gear´will appreciate the use of the bright red Monster Audio cable on the headset.

Phones you may not see in Australia

The world is now one online market so it seems unusual not to be able to access some of the more interesting handsets that have shown up at this year´s show. 

Many CHOICE readers may be surprised to know that Panasonic has a significant mobile phone range, with handsets focused on simple talk and text models for the elderly, right up to Android-based smartphones that integrate within the home network. 

One of the more interesting models is the Panasonic Eluga, an Android phone (2.3.5 with automatic upgrade to 4.0 in April) that is slim and light, with a 4.3 inch screen and 8MP camera. 

Its performance is good using a 1GHz dual core processor and it supports the standard 3G bands in Australia as well as HSDPA support (14.4Mbps). While all these figures are good, it might be lost among the many other handsets with similar specifications except you can drop this phone in the water and Panasonic say it will continue to work for one hour with an IP57 certification - meaning immersion in water but not too deep. 

panasonic-elugaWhile we have mentioned the Hz0 waterproofing technology at the CES this is the first time I have seen a non-ruggadised phone able to survive immersion in water. Hopefully this is just the first of many models that can survive the occasional dunk. 

If you want to do more than just dunk your phone in the water, the Emporia Solid Plus is dust and water proof up to one metre with an IP67 rating. It´s a GSM-only phone but has an AGPS and an emergency button that sends a distress text or voice message to up to five separate numbers. 

Again, lets be clear that there is no announcements on these models being available in Australia through the normal channels, but if you don´t mind looking online they do support the relevant Australian GSM and 3G bands. 



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