Another year, another batch of stuff coming out of Mobile World Congress. Most of the major players in the smartphone industry show up to this event to show us what they have cooked up for the year, with pretty few exceptions. Apple doesn’t tend to do much at these events, and Samsung already unveiled their Galaxy S10 last week at their own event.
But that hasn’t stopped the rest of the industry from bringing their A game. We’ve sorted through some of the best product announcements from the event that you can find below.
LG still struggles to maintain its own niche in the smartphone market, but every once in awhile they deliver on something that’s legitimately pretty innovative and unique. The LG G8 ThinQ and V50 ThinQ 5G both tick a lot of boxes, even if they’re sticking with an existing design.
At a glance, you really wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this crop of LG flagships and their 2018 predecessors. They feature some upgraded internals, like the Snapdragon 855 CPU, but LG is doing some things that are a little harder to put on a spec sheet.
The V50 ThinQ, for instance, will be one of the first 5G phones on the market. They’re selling an optional second screen case attachment that will turn the phone into something reminiscent of Nintendo’s 3DS family, and the LG G8 can literally sense the veins in your hand for biometric security.
The designs aren’t flashy, but you can’t say LG didn’t bring some serious innovation to MWC this year, and that’s why they’re taking home our Best Smartphone award.
Best Budget Phone – Nokia 4.2
Nokia does a killer job of making excellent phones that won’t wreck your wallet like some other flagship phones, and that’s why we’re excited to see how the new Nokia 4.2 will hold up.
The $199 Android One device looks to pack in just the right amount of performance with a Snapdragon 439 CPU and up to 3GB of RAM, but it’s bringing some otherwise exclusive features down into a price range that usually has to give up some of the really cool stuff.
You’re getting a full Google Assistant button to quickly call up our favorite digital assistant, a notification light built right into the power button, and updates for the next three years. If you’re looking for a 2019 phone on the cheap, the Nokia 4.2 looks to be a serious contender early on.
Android tablets are a product category that’s struggled to stay relevant over the years, and even though I’m not sure that’s going to change, a totally new form factor is here to breathe some life back into Android devices with massive screens. We already saw Samsung’s Galaxy Fold at Unpacked, and Huawei took MWC as an opportunity to show off their take on folding phones.
The Huawei Mate X unfolds into an 8-inch display, which, as far we’re concerned, is basically a tablet. It features blazing fast 5G connectivity, 55W SuperCharge speed for juicing up the battery, plus Huawei’s in-house Kirin 980 CPU with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Huawei may fold some corners, but they certainly didn’t cut them.
The Mate X will launch for an eye-popping €2299 later this year, which obviously puts it out of range for many potential buyers. But if you’re going to jump in an as an early adopter, Huawei might be your best choice right now.
Best Smart Home – HTC 5G Hub
HTC didn’t reveal any smartphones at MWC, but they did show their plan to become the backbone of your connected home going forward. The 5G Hub is a gadget that combines a 5G wireless hotspot with a small Android tablet, making it perfect as a replacement for a streaming box, smart speaker, and router, all in one compact box.
The 5-inch screen on the device runs full-blown Android, so if you want to use it watch videos, play games, or talk to Google Assistant, it can handle that, too. HTC is using a Snapdragon 855 CPU (albeit with only 4GB of RAM) so there’s plenty of horsepower under the hood. You can run it into your TV with the USB-C port to watch videos, or pair some controllers to it for some multiplayer gaming. And since it handles its own internet through its 5G connectivity, it’s easily one of the coolest smart home gadgets we’ve seen in quite some time, especially considering it can connect up your other devices and even charge them in a pinch.
Have you ever been using your phone to try and get some serious work done, but the small screen hamstrung your workflow and made some things totally impossible? Lenovo has a solution.
Technically, tons of manufacturers have their own solution to this problem. Samsung dabbled with DeX with their flagship phones, but it never really caught on. That’s why Lenovo’s idea seems pretty cool.
The ThinkVision M14 is a totally portable, separate monitor that’s powered over USB-C. It doesn’t need to be plugged into anything else, so you can get it connected to your phone or laptop to get a second screen for enhanced multitasking, or in the case of a small phone, a much bigger screen for whatever you need to tackle. Connect a wireless mouse and keyboard and you’ve got yourself a full Android desktop on the go that simply uses your smartphone as the center of your workstation.
That’s not all that happened at Mobile World Congress this year, though. Check out our coverage to see everything else!