T3's 2018 Mobile World Congress Awards winners: who was best in show?

There were some excellent products at MWC18, but these in particular stood out from the crowd

T3 MWC 2018 awards
(Image credit: GSMA)

Mobile World Congress 2018 saw the world's mobile phone and tech industries descend on Barcelona, Spain, over the past few days, and T3 was in attendance to bring you all the news and reveals, as well as detailed hands-on reviews of new flagship devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S9, Sony Xperia XZ2 and Nokia 8 Sirocco.

Naturally, we also scoured the event to find the tech that excited us most, all so we could recognise its brilliance with a prestigious 'T3 Loves' Award. And, at a show where so much good new technology was unveiled, it was harder than it has ever been to pick the winners. After much deliberation, the winners have been chosen, and below you can discover the products from the show that are worthy of your attention.

Best Phone Award: Samsung Galaxy S9

Mobile World Congress 2018 Awards

There's been some really stiff competition for Samsung's mobile team at MWC 2018, with the Sony Xperia XZ2 and Nokia 8 Sirocco turning heads and turning up the heat, too.

However, after spending a significant amount of hands-on time with both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, we decided in the end that Samsung's new 5.8-inch flagship had done enough to win our super prestigious Best Phone Award.

And, while it certainly helps, that has come not purely from the S9's hardware offering. Yes, the S9 packs that hyper-luxe Super AMOLED display, powerful new Exynos 9810 (Snapdragon 845 in the US) processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage – all of which are very competitive and lead to a great hardware experience – but it was not iterative spec bumps that won the S9 this award.

Mobile World Congress 2018 Awards

In reality it was Samsung's remixed focus on delivering a more holistic user experience that impressed us most, with a series of neatly integrated features like AR Emoji and Bixby Vision based around its new 12MP, dual-aperture rear camera, which itself is absolutely fantastic for taking photos and videos.

By fleshing out its overall experience package, something achieved by taking a step-back from the evolutionary hardware war, Samsung has delivered a super-polished flagship smartphone that is an easy-to-recommend purchase if you are shopping at the high-end of the Android market.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 releases worldwide on March 16 for £739.

Best Tablet Award: Huawei MediaPad M5

Mobile World Congress 2018 Awards

There's simply a lot to love about the new Huawei MediaPad M5 tablet range. Both the 8.4-inch and 10.8-inch versions of the tablet come with a fabulous 2560 x 1600 IPS panel (359 ppi on the former, 280 ppi on the latter), both come with up to 128GB of internal storage, and both offer over 10 hours of Full HD video playback.

Each M5 also comes running Huawei's fast Kirin 960 octa-core processor and a cut-above most other tablets 4GB of RAM.

The speakers on both variants are tuned by audio maestros Harman Kardon, too, with a dual speaker system on the 8.4-inch and quad speaker on the 10.8-inch delivering powerful, well-defined audio reproduction, while a 13MP rear camera and 8MP front camera complete the tasty package.

Huawei also demonstrated a third edition of the M5 at MWC, the M5 Pro, which adds in a Huawei S-Pen capable of 4,096 pressure levels and support for tilting and shading, although we felt the non-Pro M5s were the products of choice.

Best Wearable Award: Sony Xperia Ear Duo

Mobile World Congress 2018 Awards

Sony's Xperia Ear Duo won our Best Wearable Award at Mobile World Congress 2018 thanks to its unique approach to delivering the opposite of noise cancelling headphones.

The Ear Duo are designed to deliver a dual listening experience, meaning that when you are wearing them you can both listen to your music and, at the same time, hear the environmental sounds happening around you. 

Mobile World Congress 2018 Awards

So, for example, if you are listening to a podcast at work and your colleague approaches you to ask a question, you can hear them and answer them without taking the Ear Duo out.

We tested the Ear Duo at MWC 2018 and we thought they worked a treat, letting us hear the show floor, the music that was playing, as well as announcements made by our colleagues. They were also lightweight.

In addition, the Xperia Ear Duo are also compatible with Google Assistant and Siri, meaning you are set in terms of AI assistant use on both Apple and Android. They offer four hours of battery life and also come with their own charging case, which can deliver a further three full charges before it needs to be recharged.

A unique and new wearable for those who don't want to or can't tune out the world while at work or play.

The Xperia Ear Duo are out in May for $279.99.

The Innovation Award: Huawei MateBook X Pro

Mobile World Congress 2018 Awards

Huawei's second T3 Loves Award at Mobile World Congress came courtesy of the new – and super lush – MateBook X Pro laptop.

On top of a very competitive and powerful spec, one which includes a 13.9-inch 3K touchscreen with resolution of 3000 x 2000, this system also boasts an almost bezel-free design that grants it a 91 per cent screen-to-body ratio.

The result? It looks stunning.

But wait, there's more. That almost bezel-free design lead Huawei to move the camera out of the top of the screen (after all, there was no room), so what it did is neatly install the webcam in the keyboard as a pop-up button. Simply press the button once and the camera pops up. Press it again and it returns to its button-like state.

It sounds so straightforward, but it is genuinely innovative and, from trying it out at Huawei's MWC 2018 booth, we can confirm that it works a treat.

The MateBook X Pro will go on sale in Q2 and start at €1499.

Mobile World Congress 2018 Awards

Best Accessory Award: Anker PowerWave

Wireless charging is increasingly becoming standard across the industry and, naturally, wireless chargers are starting to drop from left, right and centre to tap into the new demand.

Among a fair few me-too products, though, the Anker PowerWave range of wireless chargers stand out, with the PowerWave 7.5 Pad and PowerWave 7.5 Stand delivering up to 10W of fast charging juice – a fact that means it is compatible with both the Apple and Samsung's fast charging standards.

As the PowerWave range also uses the Qi wireless charging standard, it is also compatible with most other maker's devices, including the recently released new Sony Xperia XZ2 and Nokia 8 Sirocco phones.

The PowerWave range also has another trick up its sleeve: both the Pad and Stand come with an integrated cooling fan. This helps keep the phone and charger cool, adjusting depending on the sensed temperature, thereby ensuring the fastest charging rate possible is maintained.

Coming in March for around €45.

The People's Choice Award: Samsung Galaxy S9

Mobile World Congress 2018 Awards

We asked you what you thought was the best product announced at Mobile World Congress 2018 and you answered equivocally. The Samsung Galaxy S9 was your product of the show.

And, we agree. As we mentioned above, there was a good reason the S9 won our coveted Best Phone Award and, well, Samsung really does seem to be operating at a whole new level now.

Its confidence, no-doubt dented after the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, is now right back up there and, from going hands-on with both the S9 and the S9 Plus, and spending a good deal of time on the Samsung booth at MWC 2018, it is obvious the South Korean maker is on top form.

More than a match for Apple's iPhone X, as well as every other Android device on the market, the Samsung Galaxy S9 was the star product of Mobile World Congress 2018.

Robert Jones

Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. As the editor of PC Gamer, and former Deputy Editor for T3.com, you can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket his two favourites.