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Mobile World Congress 2018 - Which gaming smartphones will be announced?

Samsung Galaxy S9, Sony Xperia XZ2 and more
Product: Hardware Group Test | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: Android, iPhone
The annual Mobile World Congress event kicks off in Barcelona on Monday 26th February, and runs until Thursday 1st March.

Why should you care? We're all just here for the games, surely.

While MWC doesn't tend to focus specifically on mobile gaming, it is the largest smartphone event of the year. As such, most of the major smartphone players will have a presence.

Basically, if you want to see what the biggest smartphones of the first two-thirds of 2018 will be, then you should pay attention to what's going on in Barcelona over the coming week.

Here's what we're expecting to see (and not see) at MWC 2018.

Samsung Galaxy S9

The biggest MWC news will likely belong to Samsung. Expect the Korean company to hold a big event around the show to announce its next flagship phone.

Given that the announcement of a new Samsung Galaxy phone is second only to the announcement of a new iPhone on the attention scale, we're pretty excited.

Early rumours and leaks suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S9 (and the larger Galaxy S9 Plus) will look an awful lot like the Galaxy S8 before it, but with a better-positioned fingerprint sensor, a unique variable mechanical aperture camera, and - hallelujah - stereo speakers.

Image: evleaks (Twitter)

Motorola Moto G6

It's not all about expensive flagship phones at MWC. Okay, so it mostly is. But now that you can play most new games with a sub-£200 smartphone budget, cheaper phones are becoming more and more enticing for gamers.

No budget phone line has been more appealing than the Motorola Moto G family, and we could well see a new entry at MWC 2018. Last year's Moto G5 was unveiled at MWC, so there's every chance we'll see something new from Motorola next week.

We don't have many solid details on the Moto G6 as yet, though a dual camera setup and a glossy design has been mooted.

Sony Xperia XZ2/Pro

For all its mastery of the camera and games console fields, Sony continues to struggle when it comes to making a high-end smartphone that everyone wants.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 and the XZ2 Compact (other reports suggest XZ Pro) should be the company's next attempt to win over the Samsung Galaxy/iPhone crowd. Reports suggest that this will be Sony's first bezel-free phone, which will certainly bring it up to current standards.

A more curvaceous design and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor should see Sony moving further towards mainstream standards.

Image: evleaks (Twitter)

No LG G7

Perhaps stung by several successive years of underwhelming response to its flagship phones (aka being pounded by local rival Samsung), LG has already confirmed that it's waiting until a little later in the year to reveal its new headline handset.

The new phone may not even be called the LG G7, if rumours are to be believed. Whether this will be a complete shake-up or a flimsy re-branding exercise, don't expect to hear anything about it at MWC.

What we should see is a revamped version of LG's late-2017 effort, the LG V30. An incremental LG V30S upgrade it is, then.

New Nokia 7 and 8

One of the pleasant surprises of last year was the Nokia brand's low-key re-entry to the smartphone market. The Nokia 5, 6, 7 and 8 were tidy Android phones with clean software and solid designs.

At MWC 2018, rumour has it that Nokia will be launching new takes on both the Nokia 7 (possibly the Nokia 7+) and Nokia 8.

The latter could come with an eye-catching new curved design and a move back to the OLED displays that Nokia used to be known for, while the former is supposedly pictured above.

Image: evleaks (Twitter)


Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy 23 February 2018
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