MWC 2015 highlights - HTC, Samsung, Sony and more

The big story at MWC was the emergence of virtual reality, with Dolby and HTC showing off VR experiences and headsets. But there were big new phone launches, too, plus a smattering of tablets and headphones,

Day 1 saw HTC and Samsung both launch new flagship smartphones, the One M9 and the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge respectively, plus new products from LG and Huawei.

And while smartphones and tablets normally dominate MWC, and the new flagship phones will still grab the headlines, there was an obvious focus on watches and wearables, plus a show-stealing announcement from HTC and Valve.

High-res audio was on the radar, too, and there was a "hi-fi" wireless headset that doubled as an activity tracker.

MWC Day 2 saw Sony take the stage to announce its new Xperia Z4 Tablet, while Lenovo announced the first Dolby Atmos phone and two Atmos tablets.

There were headphones, too, with the AKG N20 in-ears claiming to offer a uniquely universal remote+mic that will work with Android and Apple devices.

Read on for all the highlights, watch our video for hands-on reviews of all the best new products, or check out our MWC in pictures round-up...


A £100 pair of earphones won't send too many shockwaves around MWC in Barcelona but the AKG N20 in-ear headphones were of note for their univeral mic+remote, which AKG claims will work with both Android and Apple devices.

Eagle-eyed readers will be well aware that AKG makes a mean pair of headphones, not least at this more affordable(ish) end of the market, so we'd expect them to sound pretty good, too.

They were launched alongside sister brand JBL's Reflect Response headphones, which were first revealed at CES earlier this year and claim to be the first gesture-controlled in-ear sports headphones. This means you can change tracks and adjust the volume without having to find the remote. Neat.

MORE: AKG N20 headphones remote+mic works with Android and Apple


The HTC One M9, HTC's new flagship phone, was finally officially announced. An update to the five-star One M8 and the latest in a line of excellent HTC smartphones, the phone may look all but identical to its forebear but it has some notable upgrades inside.

Most notable is the inclusion of support for high-resolution audio, the One M9 joining phones such as the LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z3 in supporting 24-bit/192kHz tracks.

There's also a new interface, upgraded processor and improved camera. As ever, the proof will be in the testing. You can read our first impressions now in our HTC One M9 hands-on review. The phone is set for release on 31st March.

HTC's press conference also sprung a few surprises. There was no sign of the widely anticipated HTC Watch, the company instead showing off the HTC Grip wearable fitness tracker and, somewhat out of nowhere, a virtual reality handset called the Vive. The HTC Vive has been built in conjunction with video game firm, Valve, with the collaboration promising to deliver a consumer-ready VR headset by the end of the year.

HANDS ON: HTC One M9 review

MORE: HTC reveals flagship One M9 with high-res audio support


Huawei's smartphones haven't exactly set our world alight as the Chinese company attempts to make its mark in the UK and Europe - but it did show off an interesting headset at MWC 2015.

Alongside the company's first smartwatch - called the Huawei Watch - and the TalkBand B2 wearable fitness tracker, was the TalkBand N1 headset.

This is billed as the world's first pair of "hi-fi" wireless sports headphones, and Huawei claims to have used premium speaker components, so there's clearly been an element of focus on sound quality.

Thanks to 4GB of integrated storage the headset doesn't need a smartphone to play music, though if you do want to connect a device there's aptX Bluetooth built-in for wireless streaming.

The TalkBand N1 headphones are expected to go on sale next month for around £100.

MORE: Huawei launches world's first "hi-fi" wireless sports headphones


Chinese company Lenovo is number two in the world in the PC market and has serious ambitions for mobile. MWC saw the company release two new smartphones, three tablets and a pocket projector.

The USP here was the inclusion of Dolby Atmos - the first time it's been on a phone, and only the second company (after Amazon) to release Atmos tablets.

How useful the surround sound format can really be on a portable device remains to be seen but with Dolby having its own ideas for Atmos expansion in to the virtual reality landscape, it's clear there's plenty of ambition for expanding the format's reach away from Atmos cinemas and Dolby Atmos in the home.

MORE: Lenovo launches first Dolby Atmos smartphone and two Atmos tablets


LG held a pretty low-key press conference at MWC 2015, with most of the focus and excitement around the company's already announced G Flex 2 curved phone.

However, it did have a range of midrange phones to show-off, with the curved design spreading down the line-up for the first time. LG Magna and LG Spirit are the two new curved mobiles, while the LG Leon and LG Joy (no, we don't know where these names are coming from either) were their flat friends.

These are all smaller and lower-spec than the flagship G3, and there was no sign of a new flagship G4. We'll look out for an LG launch event later this year, then.

A new product that was on show was the LG Urbane. LG's latest smartwatch is noteworthy as the first watch to allow mobile payments via NFC, beating the much-rumoured Apple Watch to the jump on that feature. The premium Urbane LTE model is also the first to support LTE mobile networks and can make calls and send messages without a smartphone. Sadly, that one may well not make it out of LG's native Korea.

HANDS ON: LG G Flex 2 review


Samsung has broken with recent tradition by announcing its new flagship phones at Mobile World Congress rather than at a standalone event. And there are two new phones: the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge.

Both devices see Samsung finally opt for metal casing rather than plastic, while the S6 edge brings us the world's first phone with a curved body on both the front and back. And it looks rather nice.

Quad HD screens, upgraded processors and faster, brighter cameras have whetted our appetites, but the inability to remove the battery or upgrade the storage via SD card may seem like a retrograde step to some.

That said, there is no denying they're the best-looking smartphones we've seen from Samsung.

HANDS ON: Samsung Galaxy S6 review

HANDS ON: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

MORE: Samsung ditches plastic for Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge


Sony didn't bring out a new flagship phone - the Xperia Z3 did only come out at the end of last year - opting instead to showcase one of the few top-end tablets that we've seen at MWC this year.

The Xperia Z4 Tablet features a 2K screen, supports high-res audio and is waterproof (to an extent). Also new was the Xperia M4 Aqua midrange 4G phone.

MORE: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet hands-on review

MORE: MWC 2015 in pictures

MORE: Best smartphones to buy 2015

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).