MWC 2019 injected a much-needed shot of excitement into the mobile industry.
After what seemed like years of incremental updates—smalller bezel, slightly better cameras, more RAM—this year saw the introduction of two potentially industry-changing technologies: flexible displays and 5G.
While both these technologies are undoubtedly in their infancy—most people won’t buy a phone with either tech this year—they both have the potential to change the way we use our mobile devices.
As well as these two breakthroughs, there were plenty of other cool new products at the event. Here is a look at some of the best of them.
Folding display: Huawei Mate X
Huawei unveiled its vision of a foldable future with the Huawei Mate X. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which Samsung unveiled at its own event just before MWC, the Mate X folds outwards, meaning the screen is on the outside of the device. It’s a fantastic looking phone and different enough from Samsung’s version that it has set up a genuinely interesting battle between the two manufacturers.
5G and Dual Screen: LG V50 ThinQ 5G
The LG V50 ThinQ 5G is the first 5G phone from LG. While the phone itself seems pretty similar to the LG V40, the biggest upgrade—alongside 5G capabilities—is that LG has created an optional case that comes with a second screen. This promises to give users some of the benefits of a foldable phone, such as more screen real estate, while still keeping the familiarity of a regular phone.
5G at a reasonable price: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
While there were plenty of 5G phones at MWC 2019, what made the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G stand out was its price. The device is set to launch starting at only 599 euros. Other than 5G, the device has similar specs to the regular Mi Mix 3, meaning it will have a 6.39-inch full-screen display with a slider that reveals a dual 12-megapixel camera.
Improved mixed reality: Microsoft HoloLens 2
While much of MWC 2019 focused on mobile tech, Microsoft used the platform to announce an upgrade to its HoloLens mixed reality headset. Coming in at $3,500, the HoloLens 2 is firmly aimed at businesses, not regular consumers. We didn’t get a chance to try it out. However, the initial reaction to the headset seems to have been positive. Engadget was impressed with its wider field of vision and improved fit.
10x optical zoom: Oppo
Oppo used its MWC platform to introduce 10x optical zoom camera technology. While it still isn’t fully polished—it won’t make it to a phone until the second half of the year—it is nonetheless an incredible feat of engineering. Most phones with optical lenses only have 2x zoom.
21:9 aspect ratio and 4K: Sony Xperia 1
While perhaps a bit more subtle than the other technologies on this list, the 21:9 aspect ratio and 4K tech found in the Sony Xperia 1 will no doubt offer users a unique viewing experience—assuming you can find content that supports it. If you can’t find content, you could always simply shoot your own—the phone can record 4K video at 24 fps in 21:9 widescreen. This is the same aspect ratio that many movies are shot in.
Smartwatch with flexible display: Nubia Alpha
Part smartphone, part smartwatch, the Nubia Alpha is definitely one of the more out-there products unveiled at MWC 2019. Featuring a 4-inch flexible display that folds around your wrist, the watch should be able to do much more than your average smartwatch. However, this comes at a price; the phone isn’t exactly the sleekest or most subtle gadget out there.
1TB microSD cards: SanDisk and Micron
If you’re the type of person who shoots hours of 4K video, then the 1TB microSD cards released by SanDisk and Micron are likely to be a dream come true. If—like most of us, I’d imagine—you don’t shoot a ton of 4K video, you stream most of your media, and you use cloud storage, then you can still appreciate the fact that the companies have squeezed 1TB of storage onto such a tiny card. Welcome to the future.
Five rear cameras: Nokia 9 PureView
The Nokia 9 PureView stands out for one reason. It has five rear cameras, as well as a ToF depth sensor. Unlike most multi-camera setups which use different lenses to provide different shooting experiences—such as zoom or wide angle—the Nokia PureView’s cameras all have the same aperture and field-of-view. While this means the phone can’t produce ultra-wide or close up shots, Nokia says it will produce very high-quality photos. It also means the rear of the phone has an incredibly unique design.