With 5G and foldable phones entering the market in 2019, this year’s Mobile World Congress was full of excitement, but not all products are created equal, and some are more eye-catchy than others. Here’s what we think is worthy of your attention, in no particular order.
Huawei Mate X
A head-turner, the Huawei Mate X foldable phone was the buzz talk of the show. It has an industrial design that is completely opposite of its arch-rival, the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei makes a convincing preview of a foldable smartphone that behaves like a regular large-display phone when folded, but becomes an 8-inch tablet when open.
Samsung Galaxy S10
Foldable phones might be sexy, but with prices north of $2000 they’ll be out of financial reach for most people. The Galaxy S10 series is Samsung’s tip of the spear in the high-end Android market and what a product! It has a beautiful design, feels lighter but yet has a large screen and an awesome camera system, which we ranked as the best in the world at publishing time.
The LG G8 was launched by LG as its 2019 flagship (high-volume) device at the high-end. Every year LG finds a new way to differentiate its product from the competition, and this time it has included a ToF (time of flight) 3D sensor which can not only help with Bokeh but make the LG G8 act like a Kinect motion controller. As such you can unlock the phone using an infra-red Palm Scan, and control certain functions with finger gestures!
OPPO 10X Optical Zoom
A mere 2X zoom often sounds boring because it is, but after years of tech coverage, we know that everybody like a high-powered zoom lens, which is why OPPO went all-out with a 10X optical zoom technology preview. It uses a periscope-style lens to give the user a 160mm (35mm eq) focal length! The prototype phone had a 3 camera-system going from 16mm (ultrawide) to 160mm (ultrazoom) – hence the 10X number.
Xiaomi Mi 9
The Xiaomi Mi 9 is a powerful 3-camera high-end phone that is equipped with the Snapdragon 855 and a 6.39″ AMOLED display with a teardrop selfie camera. We’re very excited to see what Xiaomi can do with the 48 Megapixel primary camera in the back. We’ve seen in on the Honor View 20 but Xiaomi phones like the Mi Mix 3 have a great camera tuning that we find very appealing. Stay tuned!
Microsoft HoloLens 2
When we reviewed the original HoloLens, we said that it was near-perfect at integrating 3D objects in the real world and that it was 10X better than a 2D display in terms of productivity in specific cases. Now, Microsoft has fixed the only weak point it had: a narrow field of view. By doubling the field of view while keeping the same pixel sharpness, Microsoft makes a leap in Augmented Reality with HoloLens 2: the best AR system at near-consumer prices.
Nokia 9 PureView
Nokia was generating a lot of buzz and questions with their new 5-lens rear camera system. Unlike triple camera systems in which each camera module as a specific role (wide/ultrawide/zoom), the Nokia 9 PureView cameras work together, taking simultaneous shots which will be combined into a final photo. In principle, it should work, but everyone is waiting to see how it will perform in the real world. What’s your take?
Sony XPERIA 1
The XPERIA 1 is Sony’s new high-end smartphone, and it adopts a 6.5” full-view display with a cinematic aspect ratio of 21:9, which makes it noticeably longer than pretty much any phone on the market. Sony is also entering the triple-camera game (ultrawide , wide, zoom) and coming from the #1 camera sensor maker in the world, it’s always something we pay attention to.
Nubia α Wearable Phone
We’ve seen that foldable phones are all the rage, but wearable electronics where the other promise of OLED, something that Nubia is innovating on at MWC. Called Nubia alpha, this bracelet has a screen that goes around the wrist. It has the usual functionalities of a smartwatch, but with a new, striking design – and comes in 4G as well.
HTC 5G HUB
5G isn’t just for phones, and HTC reminds us of it. The HTC 5G HUB replaces your traditional DSL or Cable modem to give you a home Internet access via a 5G wireless connection. 5G speeds are much faster than traditional connection options, but the home installation is infinitely easier once the public infrastructure has been laid out. We love the modern design of this unit and can’t wait to learn more about coverage and speeds.
Energizer Power Max P18K Phone
The Energizer Power Max P18K is really a 18000mAh battery pack turned into a phone. We called it “ridiculous”, but it’s also for these kinds of products that we love technology and tradeshows. It’s awesome that someone tried to build it, and while it’s not for everybody, there are use cases where you want a one-week battery life for your phone. Hat tip to Energizer!
Huawei Matebook X (2019)
The Huawei Matebook X 2019 is mostly a component refresh from the original Matebook X introduced precisely one year ago. It means that one of the best has gotten a bit better and along with the new hardware, the laptop has new file sharing capabilities that are super-convenient… if you have a Huawei phone.
Lenovo ThinkVision M14 External Monitor
Any business traveler knows that working on a laptop’s screen is cramped and less productive than a large monitor or dual-monitors. Lenovo aims to solve this with this ThinkVision M14 external monitor. As the name indicates, it is a 14-inch FHD screen with a brightness of 300-NIT and USB-C connectivity for power and signal. It weighs about 1.3 Lbs which is nothing for someone who needs the extra screen real estate.
Qualcomm X55 5G Modem
Qualcomm is dominating the 5G modem market in North America but isn’t resting on its laurels. The company has introduced the Qualcomm X55 modem, which is capable of handling both 5G and LTE communications in one chip. Built on a smaller semiconductor process, it is more efficient and will come with new features to take 5G to the next level. Because it simplifies the design and lowers the cost of 5G, that’s probably the modem of choice for high-end U.S devices in 2020.
Sandisk 1TB microSD Card
Phones can easily match, if not outpace, laptops in storage capacity. Sandisk has announced a 1TB microSD card that you can insert into a phone such as the 512GB Galaxy S10+ to reach an eye-popping 1.5TB of storage in a mobile phone! If you don’t need that much storage, you can find joy in the fact that all lower capacities will drop in price soon.