Mobile World Congress (MWC) remains the most significant mobile tradeshow of the year. It's a platform for the biggest names in the industry show off their latest flagship phones and cutting-edge mobile devices. This year, there's even more buzz than usual, thanks to the advent of several new and exciting technologies. We're talking foldable displays, 5G devices, and a slew of headsets that push both the envelope and convention. Here are the most notable smartphones debuted at this year's MWC.
Huawei Mate X
There's simply no way to talk about MWC 2019 and not mention Huawei. Beleaguered by some bad press as of late, the Chinese telecom giant pushed all that aside with the debut of its first foldable smartphone, the Mate X. Thinner and prettier than the Samsung Fold, and with no screen gap whatsoever, the Mate X is the clear leader in the new foldable smartphone category. In fact, not only did it steal the spotlight at MWC 2019, it also brought home a Best in Show award. But here's the question: Will we ever get one? Hard to say. Reportedly, it's not going to be sold in the US at all. Plus, it looks like it's going to carry a €2,299 price tag ($2,615), so, yikes. And then there's the whole China-and-the-US-sparring-over-whether-Huawei-phones-are-secretly-spying-on-us thing. Bottom line: It's not looking good. But that doesn't mean the technology behind such a gorgeous handset won't one day make it to US shores. Until then, looks like we'll just have to admire the Mate X from afar. However, if anyone is "listening," please know that I will absolutely turn over all my personal data for a Mate X. Browsing history, credit score, whatever you need. Someone, please just give me this phone.
Sony Xperia 1
Instead of a foldable display, Sony's latest flagship, the Xperia 1, offers a taller, wider one. Specifically, its screen measures 6.5 inches with a 21:9 aspect ratio. If you're asking why Sony made such a large lad, the answer appears to be so that you can better enjoy video and gaming content. Most films are shot at a 21:9 ratio, so there's a legitimate argument to be made that the Xperia 1 will deliver content that is as close to the director's original vision as possible on a smartphone. It's not just about the aspect ratio, either. The Xperia 1's display is the world's first 4K HDR OLED, which means we might be talking about the best movie-watching experience you can get on a phone. Put the aspect ratio and screen quality together and we might be talking about the best option for users who prize video above all else. If this is a little too pricey, Sony has launched the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus with similar designs and features; however, it does opt for a standard LCD instead of an OLED.
Nokia 9 PureView
New screens weren't the only tech trend making waves at MWC. Serious advancements in smartphone camera technology also turned heads, none more so than from the Nokia 9 PureView, which boasts five—that's right, five—rear lenses. What's really interesting about the PureView's setup is that all five lenses shoot the same number of megapixels (12) and have the same aperture (f/1.8). Two of those five shoot RGB, while the other three are monochrome. The general idea is that when you snap a photo, each of the five cameras shoots a different exposure, and then all that information is merged into a final, highly detailed shot. Because each camera automatically adjusts the exposure across the scene—as opposed to a single focal point—you'll get a wide dynamic range, as well as enhanced detail in sunlight and shadow areas. Add to that a deep feature set, the fact the entire penta-camera system is backed by ZEISS optics, and what you get is arguably one of the most sophisticated camera setups ever put into a smartphone.
LG G8 ThinQ & V50 ThinQ
LG doubled up at this year's MWC, introducing not one, but two stellar smartphones. The first is the G8 ThinQ, which, in terms of innovation, isn't as conspicuous as some of the other devices on our list. Instead, what the G8 offers are a lot of nice upgrades to last year's severely underrated G7 ThinQ, as well as a couple of unique features that will help it better make its mark. The most notable upgrades are the display, which is now a 6.1-inch 1440 x 3120 OLED panel, boosted front and rear camera setups, and a new Crystal Sound OLED speaker. If you're familiar with the LG G-series at all, you're probably aware that it historically features one of the best smartphone audio systems in the world, so any upgrade is noteworthy. In terms of innovation, the G8 does come with an intriguing feature LG is calling Hand ID. Basically, the G8 maps the veins in your hand with an infrared pulse to create a very specific security mechanism. This "Hand ID" can be used to unlock your phone, as well as perform other tasks—answer calls, adjust music, etc.—using gesture controls.
LG's other big MWC announcement is the LG V50 ThinQ. Now, brandishing a new Snapdragon 855 processor, 5G capability, and boosted battery is newsworthy in itself, but what really has people talking is LG's answer to the arrival of foldable phone: the Dual Screen. A folio case with a second, 6.2-inch OLED display built into it, the Dual Screen accessory snaps onto the V50, in effect giving you a second screen. It's not quite as aesthetically pleasing as a foldable display, but it achieves many of the goals, including giving users the added screen real estate they desire.
What did you think about all the new tech at this year's MWC? Which of these innovations are a fad and which are here to stay? Let us know your opinion, in the Comments section.
Nokia Pure 9 is indeed incredible...
Hi, Tung! Thanks for the comment. Have you had a chance to use the Nokia 9 yet? I'm getting ready to do a Hands on Review and I'm super excited to try out the camera.