“MWC 2019 began with major launches from brands such as Huawei, Nokia, Xiaomi, LG, OPPO etc”
MWC 2019 has officially kicked off, with major brands such as Nokia brand licensee HMD Global, Huawei, Xiaomi etc hosting events a day earlier to keep the focus on their new phones. Of course, 5G and foldable phones are in the limelight at the pre-MWC 2019 events, though there is something or the other for the budget buyers and the photography enthusiasts out there. But whether it’s Xiaomi or Nokia or Huawei, all the brands headed to MWC 2019 are coming out all guns blazing to showcase the best they have to offer. Here’s a list of all the major announcements from the tech expo:
Indian smartphone manufacturer CENTRiC also attended the MWC in Barcelona to introduce its latest products. At the event, the company has unveiled its first smartphone with a pop-up selfie camera and an in-display fingerprint sensor called the CENTRiC S1. The smartphone also comes with the Pump Express fast charging technology, which is rated to charge the device up to 50 percent in 20 minutes. Other key features of the phone include a 6.39-inch full HD+ AMOLED display, a MediaTek Helio P70 12nm SoC, 16MP + 5MP dual rear cameras, and a 3,800mAh battery.
Related read: CENTRiC S1 first impressions
The CENTRiC S1 has been priced at around Rs 24,000 for the base variant, and will be available in India starting June. Apart from the CENTRiC S1, the brand has also unveiled a handful of budget smartphones called the CENTRiC A2, L4, G3, and G5, which will be available at the starting price of around Rs 6,400.
A number of phone makers introduced their first foldable smartphones at the MWC. Most of these devices can be used in two form factors including as a smartphone and a tablet. However, China’s nubia has taken a different design approach with its first foldable handset called the nubia Alpha. nubia’s first offering in this segment is a wearable smartphone with an OLED screen. The device can do all the major things that your smartphone can like make calls, send texts, access the internet, capture photos, and more. Powered by a custom wearable OS, the nubia Alpha also have all the major fitness tracking features that are found on smartwatches, and is said to feature up to two days of regular usage. The wearable smartphone will initially go on sale in China in April at the starting price of €449.
Related read: nubia Alpha first impressions
nubia has also introduced its first 5G-enabled smartphone at the MWC called the nubia Mini 5G. The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, and is equipped with a Snapdragon X50 5G modem. Unfortunately, the brand hasn’t revealed anything else about its first 5G offering. Additionally, nubia has unveiled nubia Pods, a pair of truly wireless tiny earbuds, which offer up to 6.5 hours of continuous usage.
The Chinese premium smartphone maker OnePlus also came to the MWC, but it didn’t announce a new phone. Instead, the brand teased its first 5G handset. Showcased at the Qualcomm booth, the handset was placed inside a glass case and its design was camouflaged. The device was connected to a local 5G base station, and its screen simulated a setting of 5G cloud gaming, where gamers would only require a phone and a gamepad.
In another scenario, the phone was displaying a live feed of messages left by the brand’s community members from across the world. OnePlus has already confirmed that its 5G phone will utilise a Snapdragon 855 processor, accompanied by a Snapdragon X50 modem. Notably, the prototype handset had an aspect ratio of 21:9, which suggests that the next-gen OnePlus offering could sport a screen resolution higher than full HD. The phone is expected to hit select markets in the second quarter of this year.
At this year’s MWC, ZTE has also unveiled its first 5G smartphone called the Axon 10 Pro 5G. Similar to the recently launched 5G-enabled offerings from other brands, ZTE’s first 5G handset is also equipped with Qualcomm’s latest top-notch Snapdragon 855 processor as well as the Snapdragon X50 5G modem. The phone is capable of hitting peak download speeds of up to 2Gbps, claims ZTE. The brand hasn’t revealed many details about other features of the device, but we do know that the handset sports a waterdrop notch, an under-display fingerprint sensor and a triple camera setup at the rear. The smartphone will hit the European and Chinese markets in the first half of 2019.
Apart from the Axon 10 Pro 5G, ZTE has also expanded its range of mid-range offers with the launch of the Blade V10. The biggest highlight of the smartphone is a 32-megapixel selfie camera. The other key specs of the handset include a 6.3-inch full HD+ waterdrop display, a 2.1GHz octa-core SoC of unknown make, Android Pie, a dual 16MP + 5MP rear camera setup, and a 3,200mAh battery. This one will be initially available in China and Europe in March. There’s also a toned-down variant of the Blade V10 called the Blade V10 Vita, which sports an 8MP front camera.
Just like last year, the Japanese tech giant Sony was also present at the MWC in Barcelona to introduce its latest products. The brand has unveiled the Xperia 1 as its latest flagship, which is being touted as the world’s first 4K OLED smartphone with 21:9 CinemaWide display and HDR remastering technologies. Notably, the Xperia 1 also happens to be the company’s first handset to boast a triple rear camera module, which comprises of a trio of 12MP shooters including RGB, super wide-angle lens, and a telephoto lens with OIS. The smartphone will be available in select markets starting this Spring, but the brand hasn’t revealed the price yet.
Related read: Sony Xperia 1 first impressions
Apart from the Xperia 1, Sony has also introduced the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus mid-rangers with the taller 21:9 aspect ratio. The former utilises a Snapdragon 630 SoC, while the latter is backed by a Snapdragon 636 processor. Both the handsets offer dual primary cameras at the rear, and boot Android 9 Pie out of the box. In addition, Sony has also outed a budget smartphone called the Xperia L3, which sports two cameras at the back and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. All three of these handsets will go on sale in select markets starting February 25th at an undisclosed price tag.
Related read: Sony Xperia 10 and 10 Plus first impressions
TCL Communications-owned brand Alcatel introduced a trio of the budget to mid-range smartphones including the Alcatel 1s, 3, 3L, as well as a tablet called the 3T 10 at MWC 2019. The Alcatel 3 is the most high-end offering of the lot. The handset sports an attractive gradient design, a “Super Full View” 5.9-inch HD+ display, a Snapdragon 439 SoC, dual rear cameras, and a beefy 3,500mAh battery. The Alcatel 3L is a toned-down variant of the Alcatel 3 with a Snapdragon 429 SoC. As for the Alcatel 1s, it is an entry-level offering with a 5.5-inch 18:9 HD+ display, Android Pie, and dual rear cameras. Pricing of the new Alcatel phones starts at €109 and goes up to €189.
Talking about the Alcatel 3T 10, the 10-inch tablet comes with a detachable optional docking speaker called the Audio Station, which turns the device into an on-screen hub. The 4G LTE-enabled tablet is fuelled by a 4,080mAh battery, and its detachable speaker also gets a 2,000mAh power cell. As for the pricing, the 3T 10 tablet is priced at €179, while the Audio Station costs €229.
After Samsung, OPPO, Xiaomi, and Huawei, LG has also joined the club of 5G smartphone makers at MWC 2019. The South Korean tech giant has introduced the LG V50 ThinQ as its first 5G offering. The handset utilises Qualcomm’s latest top-of-the-line Snapdragon 855 SoC, accompanied by the Snapdragon X50 5G modem. Interestingly, the V50 ThinQ sports a modular design, and lets you attach an additional screen to it by popping the handset in a cover case. The phone will be available later this year in markets where 5G service will be launched this year, including the US, South Korea, Australia as well as several European countries.
Related read: LG V50 ThinQ first impressions
Apart from the LG V50 ThinQ, the company has also expanded its range of G series smartphones with the launch of the G8 ThinQ and G8s ThinQ flagships. Both the handsets are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset, but miss out on 5G connectivity. The new G series smartphones boast an 8MP selfie camera with a second ToF 3D camera that offers Hand ID biometric authentication, which reads characteristics of veins in your palm to unlock the devices. LG has refrained to reveal the pricing and availability of these smartphones at the moment.
Related read: LG G8 ThinQ first impressions
At this year’s MWC, Microsoft took the floor to unveil the HoloLens 2. The brand’s mixed-reality headset has received an upgrade after almost three years since the launch of the original model. The new HoloLens brings a more comfortable design, apart from several significant improvements. The Redmond-based tech giant has given the device a major upgrade in the optics department. The new wearable offers a more-than-doubled field of view, which provides a more immersive mixed-reality experience.
There’s also a new Time-of-Flight sensor on board, which can now recognise up to 21 points on tour hand, allowing for an improved experience for hand gestures. The other notable upgrades in the HoloLens 2 include a Snapdragon 850 chipset, a second-gen Holographic Processing Unit, an iris scanner, five microphones, spatial audio speakers, and up to three hours of battery life. As for the pricing, the HoloLens 2 has been priced at $3,500, and is available to pre-order in select markets.
At this year’s MWC, HMD Global – the firm that makes and sell Nokia devices – introduced a handful of smartphones and a feature phone. The lineup includes the Nokia 9 PureView flagship smartphone, Nokia 3.2, Nokia 4.2, Nokia 1 Plus, and the Nokia 210 feature phone. Starting with the Nokia 9 PureView, the handset with its penta-lens setup is making enough headlines in the smartphone world. The smartphone is the first to sport as many as five sensors on the back panel, including two 12MP RGB sensors and three 12MP monochrome lenses, all of which feature autofocus and f/1.8 aperture.
The Nokia 9 PureView also has the Snapdragon 845 chipset ticking at its core, vanilla-Android OS, 20-megapixel front camera, and a 5.99-inch QHD+ pOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The device has been priced at $699 (about Rs 50,000) and the handset comes in 6GB + 128GB configuration.
Other than the flagship offering, the vendor also introduced its first waterdrop-style notch display with Nokia 3.2 and Nokia 4.2 smartphones. It has also updated its entry-level lineup with Nokia 1 Plus – which is an Android Go (Pie Edition) phone – and Nokia 210 feature phone with dual SIM support.
Huawei took the floor at this year’s MWC to introduce its first foldable smartphone called the Mate X. Notably, the device has arrived as the world’s first foldable handset with 5G connectivity. Unlike the recently unveiled Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Mate X features a large 8-inch display that folds outside, with the screen on either side. Notably, the device features an all-screen front without any notch or cut-out. On one side, the smartphone sports a strip, which has three LEICA-powered cameras with their accompanying flash and a push-button latch that holds the folded device in a closed position. 5G connectivity on the phone is provided by Huawei’s Balong 5000 7nm multi-mode chipset. Other key features of the smartphone include a 7nm HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor, a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a beefy 4,500mAh battery capacity. The Mate X will go on sale in Europe from mid-2019 at a staggering price tag of €2,299 (about Rs 1.8 lakh).
Apart from the Mate X smartphone, Huawei has also introduced a refreshed version of the MateBook X Pro laptop, as well as new MateBook 13 and MateBook 14. The new MateBook X Pro offers the artistic design as its predecessor, but gets improved performance as well as higher storage options. The new laptop comes with up to Intel Core i7-8565U processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU, four speakers with Dolby ATMOS, and a new Thunderbolt 3 port.
Related read: Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019) first impressions
As for the MateBook 13 and MateBook 14, the notebooks sport FullView touch-enabled displays with 3:2 aspect ratio and 2,160 x 1,440 pixels resolution. They are being offered with up to 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processors, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of storage. Huawei’s new MateBook X Pro will be available starting at €1,599, while the MateBook 13 and 14 models will go on sale starting at €999.
Related read: Huawei MateBook 13 and 14 first impressions
Xiaomi made a couple of major announcements at MWC 2019, though the products were a little familiar to those who track the industry. First up is the Mi MIX 3 5G that, as the name suggests, 5G networks. Powered by the Snapdragon 855 SoC and X50 modem, the smartphone will be available to purchase in Western Europe starting May 2019. While the company did not detail the variants we can look forward to, it said the Mi MIX 3 5G price will start at EUR 599 (about Rs 48,999). As for the features specifications, Mi MIX 3 5G is pretty similar to the standard model, with a 6.39-inch full-HD+ display, a magnetic slider that houses the dual (24MP + 2MP) selfie cameras, ceramic body, dual 12MP cameras on the back, and a 3,800mAh battery with Quick Charge 4+ support for fast charging.
The Mi 9 is the other major product Xiaomi brought to MWC 2019, days after it China unveiling. Unlike its sibling, the handset will not work with the next-gen 5G networks and is aimed at those who want to purchase premium smartphones that don’t cost a bomb. The Mi 9 price in Spain, Italy, and France is EUR 449 for the 6GB + 128GB variant and EUR 499 for the 8GB + 128GB option.
Related read: Xiaomi Mi 9 first impressions
The Mi 9 specifications remain the same as the China model, with the buyers getting a handset with a 6.39-inch full-HD+ display, Snapdragon 855 SoC with dedicated Game Turbo mode, triple rear cameras (48MP + 12MP + 16MP), and a 20MP front camera. Other than this, the smartphone has an in-display fingerprint sensor and a 3,300mAh battery with 27W fast-charging and 20W wireless charging support.
While OPPO did not announce a new smartphone at MWC 2019, the brand did bring a smartphone that showcases its new 10x lossless zoom tech to the event. The technology allows smartphones to take high-resolution images while zoomed in, without losing any details. OPPO showcased it on a smartphone with a 48-megapixel primary sensor, accompanied by a 120-degree wide-angle lens as well as a telephoto lens. This setup is able to shoot images at focal lengths ranging from 16mm to 160mm. A smartphone with this technology has been confirmed to hit the market in the second half of the year. Along with this, OPPO announced a Snapdragon 855-powered 5G phone at MWC 2019, in partnership with telecom operators Telstra, Optus, Singtel, and Swisscom.