“If you’re going to bring a device in 2020, you’re definitely going to be late for 5G,” Qualcomm’s Jim had said at CES 2019. Taking a cue, every other legacy brand (expect Apple) is heading to MWC 2019 with at least one new 5G-ready smartphone – a mass market-ready 5G smartphone.
All these 5G smartphones (except Hauwei’s Mate X) have one thing in common – all of them unsurprisingly pack Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 855 mobile processor and its 5G X50 modem. Huawei is meanwhile using its inhouse Kirin 980 processor with its Balong 5000 5G modem in the Mate X.
While Xiaomi has launched the Mi Mix 3 5G, LG has launched the V50 ThinQ with a secondary screen attachment ahead of MWC in Barcelona, Spain. Samsung was first to announce the 5G-ready Galaxy S10 at its standalone Unpacked keynote event on February 20 (February 21 in India) in San Francisco though – it is now showing it off to a broader audience at MWC.
Here are all the 5G phones making headlines at MWC 2019:
After demoing a 5G-ready prototype in September last year, Xiaomi has officially announced that its Mi Mix 3 5G is ready for prime-time. Based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset (and using its X50 modem) Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 will bring 5G connectivity to the masses – it is without a doubt the most affordable option of the lot right now.
Touting 5G advantages like the ability to download a 15-minute 1080p video in just 1 second, Xiaomi also demoed its first-ever 5G video call outside of China at MWC 2019 (on February 24) over Orange Spain 5G network. Using the Mi Mix 3 5G.
The Mi Mix 3 5G is the 5G variant of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845-based Mi Mix 3 which was launched in China in October last year. While a brand new next-gen processor and 5G are big upgrades, everything else about the Mi Mix 3 5G stays the same as the original Mi Mix 3.
The phone has a ceramic slider design with dual rear and front cameras – a 12MP (wide)+12MP (telephoto) dual camera system on the rear and a 24MP+2MP (depth) dual camera system on the front. It has a 6.39-inch near edge-to-edge 1080p+ Super AMOLED display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It comes with up to 8GB RAM and up to 256GB storage (non-expandable) and Android Pie-based MIUI 10 software. The phone further packs a 3,200mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging and 10W wireless charging.
The Mi Mix 3 5G will be available in Europe starting from May at a starting price of Euros 599 (roughly Rs 48,258).
Huawei’s Mate X is foldable, 5G-ready and a serious threat to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. The Mate X will start selling in Europe starting from the middle of this year at a price tag of Euros 2,299 (roughly Rs 1,85,219) with 8GB RAM and 512GB storage and in Interstellar Blue.
Huawei seems to have left no stone unturned while designing the Mate X and it has also not cut any corners in hardware. The Mate X give users access to three screen sizes – two independent smartphone-like screens with 6.6-inch and 6.38-inch sizes respectively, and an 8-inch tablet form factor without any notch.
Huawei is using a falcon wing design in the Mate X – a design it apparently took three years to perfect, using a patented hinge with over 100 custom components.
Huawei has also worked extensively on the software side so users will be able to seamlessly transition between smartphone and tablet mode on the Mate X – Huawei is particularly touting “two columns browsing, side by side or multi-window use for so you can double down on work or entertainment.”
The Mate X is powered by Huawei’s Kirin 980 flagship processor with 8GB RAM and 512GB storage, it comes with a total of three Leica-tuned cameras, dual-SIM, and it packs two batteries which entail in a total battery capacity of 4,500mAh with 55W Super Charging which is claimed to offer 85 per cent charge in mere 30 minutes.
While it doesn’t have a palm-sensing 3D Time-of-Flight or ToF camera like the G8 ThinQ, LG’s V50 ThinQ has another ace up its sleeve – it is the company’s first 5G-ready smartphone.
Quite simply put, the V50 ThinQ is a souped up V40 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and a bigger 4,000mAh battery on the inside. And it supports 5G connectivity.
Rest of its spec-sheet is identical to the V40’s (although, it is thicker than the V40). The V50 has the same 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED display (with notch) with support for HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, 6GB RAM and up to 128GB storage which is also expandable, updated Android 9 Pie software and three cameras on the rear: a standard 12MP sensor (f/1.5 aperture), a 12MP telephoto and another 16MP ultrawide sensor with 107-degree field-of-view. On the front, the V50 has two cameras, a standard 8MP camera and another 5MP wide-angle camera for group selfies.
The V50 has one more ace up its sleeve. LG is launching a Dual Screen folio case for the V50 that adds a second 6.2-inch OLED screen to it – you can say it’s LG’s take on the foldable concept. LG is touting a wide range of user cases from gaming to enhanced multitasking. “For example, users can watch a movie on one screen while simultaneously searching IMDB on the other,” LG says.
LG hasn’t announced pricing for the V50 5G but says it is coming to the market in the coming months.
Oppo also briefly showed off its first 5G phone at its pre MWC 2019 keynote event on February 23 alongside showcasing its crazy 10X lossless zoom smartphone camera tech. Although it did not share many details, it is certain that the processor inside will be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855.
OnePlus is also showing off a seemingly functional prototype of its upcoming 5G phone to members of the media and telecommunications industry at MWC 2019. While there is still no word yet on when its 5G phone will be ready for prime-time, the prototype that it is showing off is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor with the demo unit “sealed within a protective case for confidentiality since the devices haven’t officially made their debut yet.”
As previously announced, OnePlus is offering attendees a chance to experience the capabilities of 5G gaming on its OnePlus 5G prototype.
Samsung skipped MWC this year and instead chose to launch its Galaxy S10 trio of phones and other devices like the Galaxy Fold at a standalone event ahead of the trade show. The Galaxy S10 5G was also launched at Unpacked – Samsung's first 5G phone has a 6.7-inch screen and six cameras in all – four on the back and two on the front. It adds 3D Time-Of-Flight cameras on the front and back. It also packs a massive 4,500mAh battery. Rest of specifications as well as the design is similar to the standard Galaxy S10+.