Ten smartphones that caught our eye at Mobile World Congress

Samsung's Galaxy S5 may have grabbed the biggest share of the spotlight in Barcelona this week, but there were plenty of other mobile devices that caught our eye.

mwc 2014 phones

Barcelona calling

Wearables may have grabbed some of the spotlight at this week’s Mobile World Congress. But this annual gathering for mobile devices remains a place for phones. And as we walked from one end of the Barcelona exhibit hall to the other, these were the smartphones that caught our eye at MWC 2014.

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What if you could use a phone that promised to keep all of your information strictly in your hands? That’s the premise behind the Blackphone, a new piece of hardware from Silent Circle and Geekphones. The idea behind the joint effort is to offer consumers a more secure smartphone. Its forked version of Android 4.4 KitKat lets you do things like select the individual permissions that each app is allowed. It’s not for sale just yet, but it’s coming soon. 

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Firefox phones

Mozilla debuted its Firefox OS at the 2013 Mobile World Congress. This year it was back, with a Firefox OS-powered phone that costs about as much as a pair of movie tickets. Not only did Mozilla announce its $25 phone, it also introduced several new hardware partners, including ZTE and Huawei, the latter of which is shown here with the latest version of the Firefox OS. 

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Samsung Galaxy S5

You mean haven’t heard about Samsung’s next flagship device, the Galaxy S5? You’ve got quite a bit of reading to catch up then. The phone will be mostly health-focused, and it comes with lots of capabilities not normally offered on stock Android devices

mwc slider htc desire 816

HTC Desire 816

HTC isn’t planning to take the wraps off the successor to its HTC One flagship until the end of March. But it wasn’t an entirely quiet MWC for the phonemaker, which announced the mid-range Desire 816 handset. It has a giant 5.5-inch display, and you can expect it to roll out later this spring.

mwc slider jolla


One of the alternate OSes trying to make a name for itself at MWC this year, Jolla isn’t like other smartphones. It’s based on one of Nokia’s old open source operating systems, Meego, and it’s completely customizable. You can remove the back—what Jolla refers to as “the better half”—and the NFC chip inside the cover will install related apps and interface themes. 

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Lenovo S850

So what if Lenovo doesn’t sell its smartphones in the US? The pink candyshell backing of the S850 proved to be so stylish in person, we wanted a photo to remember it by once we returned stateside.

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Nokia X

Nokia its Android phones, but they’re not like any Android phones you’ve probably seen before. The Nokia X runs on a forked version of Android—as do the other two phones intrduced by Nokia here this week—and the finished result has been skinned to look the the Windows Phone interface that appears on Nokia’s other handsets.

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Sony Xperia Z2

It probably didn’t make the splash that the first Xperia Z enjoyed last year, but the Xperia Z2 boasts that same waterproof feature. It can also record 4K video and features noise-cancelling headphones, which travelers will certainly appreciate.

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LG G Pro 2 and G2 mini

LG sees big things for the phablet market, and it’s hoping the G Pro 2 (left) can deliver. The device with the 5.9-inch display feels lighter than other tablets and it sports rear-facing power and volume buttons. It’s also running Android 4.4 KitKat right out of the box, as is the G2 mini (right)—a phone with a 4.7-inch display that’s on the oppoiste side of the spectrum.

mwc slider yotaphone


We’ve had our eye on YotaPhone, a dual-screen smartphone, since we spotted the debut version of the phone at last year’s MWC. (Pictured in this slide is the battery-saving e-ink screen for reading notifications and messages.) Not only was there a updated YotaPhone at the 2014 edition of MWC, this one might actually make it to North America—if you don’t mind waiting until early 2015.