It’s the first day of the Mobile World Congress, the largest mobile event in the world, and we’re already off to an explosive start. We have seen Huawei and LG foldable phones for the first time. Plenty of other manufacturers are showcasing their new smartphones, too. Here’s a look at what happened over the weekend and day one of MWC.
The world’s first foldable phone fight
If 2018 was the year of the notch, then 2019 is undoubtedly the year of the fold. Just like the variety of notches we saw last year, each foldable phone announced by Samsung, LG, and Huawei differs in some way. If you haven’t already, make sure to read our full overview of the Galaxy Fold and how it works here.
The Huawei Mate X and Galaxy Fold are similar in some ways, but their overall design and form factor is quite different. The Mate X’s fully folded size comes in at 8 inches, whereas the Galaxy Fold has a 7.3 inch display when folded out. The Mate X is also thinner, at just 11mm thick. The Galaxy Fold is chunkier at 17mm.
Interestingly, when folded out, the Mate X doesn’t have any cameras above the display like a traditional phone like the Samsung Fold does. Instead, there’s a grippy bar on the back that is utilized for the camera tech and also the fingerprint sensor. While this means that there’s not a notch cut out on the Mate X, you don’t actually get any standalone selfie cameras like you do on the Fold. You can still fold it into the smaller 4.6 inch display and at this point the cameras will be pointed towards you.
The Galaxy Fold will launch across the globe in April and May, but the Huawei Mate X doesn’t have a release date set in stone yet. We’re expecting half-way through 2019. Both devices aren’t going to come cheap. We’ve seen starting prices at $2600 (£1988) for the Mate X and $1980 (£1514) for the Galaxy Fold. Regional UK prices are likely to be a little different, though.
A new challenger - LG V50 ThinQ 5G
Just when we thought we had enough breathing time to process all of the foldable craziness, a new challenger stepped into the arena; LG. Everybody knew LG were also releasing a foldable phone, but they were certainly more hush hush about it.
It seems that LG aren’t quite ready to announce a fully foldable device, but they clearly didn’t want to miss out on the party. So instead, they unveiled a dual-screen accessory that can attach to their brand new LG V50 ThinQ 5G. When attached, the dual screen can be used to view a second app in full-screen, or be used for touch controls for gaming.
LG is planning to work on more software solutions to utilize the display. We don’t yet know the price for the display or the phone itself, but it could be quite high - it’s a step up from the also announced LG G8 ThinQ. More importantly, though, it has 5G which may bump up the price slightly. It should be a cheaper alternative to the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X.
So, from my personal thoughts, I’d say the Galaxy Fold is the most refined on the software side - it has seamless transitions when you fold out the display and it can support up to three apps at once. The Huawei is, in my opinion, the prettier of the three options. Finally, the LG V50 ThinQ is an option that is there for those that want the ability to size up their display without being forced to carry around the extra bulk that comes with such a device.
More announcements at MWC day 1
The announcements at Mobile World Congress - MWC day 1 don’t stop there. In fact, some other smartphone manufacturers took the time to announce new devices on the first day of the event, too.
Firstly, a quick note about Huawei - whilst they didn’t announce the new P30 range, it has been made clear that a launch event will happen on March 26. Xiaomi also made their first appearance at MWC, well, ever. They confirmed their recent Mi 9 flagship will come to Europe, and they also announced the Mi Mix 3 5G, which is a refreshed variant of the last Mi Mix device, but at £100 more for 5G capabilities.
Nokia 9 Pure View - Impressive Camera
Nokia also announced a number of new devices, including a mid range Nokia 4.2 and a low end Nokia 3.2. However, it’s the Nokia 9 PureView that has got everybody talking. The PureView has five camera sensors on the back, but they all work in tandem to create more visually appealing photos. Other multi-sensor smartphones use each sensor for a different purpose, so it’ll be interesting to see where the Nokia 9 PureView ranks on the camera quality scale when more people get it in their hands.
Vivo is back with yet another bezel-free smartphone with a pop up selfie snapper. The camera this time is an impressive 32 megapixels, making it a powerful alternative to something like the Mi Mix 3, which has a slider design to hide the selfie camera behind the display.
Sony is back too, and they’ve finally picked out a naming convention for their smartphones that’s a little less confusing. We have the Xperia 1, the Xperia 10, and the Xperia 10 Plus, all of which have the previously rumored 21:9 ultrawide cinematic displays. This essentially means the Xperia is taller than other 18:9 and 16:9 smartphones with the same display size, and also less wide. The Xperia 1 also has an incredible 4K HDR display, giving the Samsung S10’s display a run for its money. The Xperia 10 and 10 Plus are cheaper devices with less RAM and the more typical 1080x2520 resolution.
So there we have it, the biggest highlights of MWC 2019. Check back tomorrow to see our full thoughts on the newly announced Microsoft HoloLens 2, more MWC highlights from day 2, and an in-depth look at all of the exciting tech and mobile releases to be announced this year in Barcelona.