MWC 2015

Best new Android & Windows smartphones at MWC 2015

Samsung, HTC, Sony and others debut brand new smartphones at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

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Best at MWC 2015

Samsung, HTC, Sony, Microsoft and others are using the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona to debut their latest smartphones and other gear. Here’s a look at the new Android and Windows devices.

ALSO: Read all the stories out of MWC 2015

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Samsung Galaxy S6

The latest Galaxy Android phone swaps out its plastic frame for one made of metal and glass. The 5.1-inch screen size hasn’t changed since the S5, but resolution has been improved to 1440x2560. Other features: 5mp camera on front, 16mp camera on back; Samsung octo-core processor; 32/64/128GB storage options; 3GB RAM; integrated wireless charging. Missing: water resistance, microSD card slot and user-replaceable battery. Available globally April 10. Pricing hasn’t been disclosed.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

This premium edition of the S6 has most of the same specs as the regular S6, but sports a screen that curves around its left and right sides.

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HTC One M9

The company’s flagship Android 5.0 phone is based on a Snapdragon 810 processor running at 2GHz, includes 3GB of RAM and boasts a 5-inch screen. It features a 20mp front camera and 4pm rear one. HTC has partnered with Dolby to provide great sound. Best Buy lists a 32GB version for use on AT&T’s LTE network in the US for $650.

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Silent Circle Blackphone 2

The Swiss company’s privacy-focused device will be targeted at enterprise customers in July, probably for about $630. The phone will have an 8-core processor, 32GB of memory and a 5-inch screen. What separates it from other phones is a hardened Android-based operating system dubbed PrivatOS as well as Silent Meeting, a secure conference-calling system, and a company-vetted app store. A new Blackphone+ tablet is on the way as well.

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Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

This waterproof device is a midrange Android offering that will cost about $335 when it launches in Q2. It has a 5-inch, 720x1280 pixel screen, a Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor and integrated support for LTE. The phone has a 13mp camera on the back and a 5mp camera on the front. Sony boasts of a two-day long battery life, but didn’t get into anymore specifics.

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Acer Liquid M220

Acer says its new phone will come with Windows Phone 8.1, but will be upgradeable to Windows 10 when the operating system is released later this year. This $89 phone has a 4-inch screen, dual-core processor, 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, two SIM slots, and 5mp rear camera and 2mp front camera. It comes chock full of Microsoft apps like Cortana and OneDrive. It does not support LTE.

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ZTE Grand S3

The unique thing about this phone is its biometric authentication system, which enables users to log in via eye scanning using EyeVerify technology. Down the road, the feature could work with apps. The smartphone runs Android 4.4, has a 5.5-inch screen, a Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage that can be expanded to 64GB via a microSD card. The back camera is 16mp and the front one is 8mp. The phone is initially available in China for about $480.

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Microsoft Lumia 640 and 640 XL

These midrange Windows phones have 5- and 5.7-inch screens, respectively, and are upgradeable to Windows 10 when it is released later this year. Other specs: 1GB of memory, a quad-core Snapdragon processor running at 1.2GHz, an 8mp camera on the 640 and 13mp camera on the 640 XL. LTE support available on dual-SIM models. The 640 rolls out in April, the XL – a small phablet -- in March. Pricing is expected to be in the $300 range for both.

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LG Magna

LG revealed this new phone ahead of MWC, but gave people a first chance to play with it at the show. This Android smartphone has a 5-inch, 720x1280 pixel screen and 1.2GHz or 1.3GHz quad-core processor. It has an 8mp front camera and 5mp back one, plus 1GB of RAM and 8GB of integrated storage. Extended battery life and support for LTE are also touted by LG, which is expected to price the phone no higher than $250.

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Lenovo A7000

This Android 5.0 smartphone has a 5.5-inch display, plus Dolby Atmos technology for audio. Powered by a MediaTek True8Core processor and supporting LTE, the phone has a dual SIM card slot for allowing use of separate phone numbers. The A7000 goes on sale in the US in March for $169.

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Lenovo VIBE Shot

This is a camera-first Android phone that includes a 16mp rear camera with a six-piece modular lens and superfast shutter speed, as well as an 8mp selfie camera. Powered by a Snapdragon processor, the phone has 32GB of storage expandable to 128GB. It will sell for $350 when it becomes available in June.

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BlackBerry Leap

OK, this isn’t an Android or Windows phone, but it bears at least a mention among the devices launched at MWC. BlackBerry is targeting young professionals (at start-ups!) with this $275 all-touchscreen phone that runs the BlackBerry 10 OS and features a 5-inch screen, 16GB of storage upgradeable to 128GB, an 8mp camera and 25 hours of battery life.

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Alcatel OneTouch Hero 2+

This $300 6-inch phablet is the result of an Alcatel OneTouch partnership with Cyanogen, whose OS is based on Android. The unlocked phone is powered by a 2.0 GHz octa-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor, supports 4G LTE connectivity and features a 13mp back camera and 5mp front camera, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, expandable to 32GB via MicroSD.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.