In Depth

Mobile World Congress 2019: Huawei Mate X, Sony Xperia 1 and more

Foldable phones and 5G networks are all the rage at this year’s tech gathering in Spain

Mobile World Congress (MWC), the biggest smartphone event of the year, officially opened in Barcelona on Monday. 

The show, which runs until Thursday, has already played host to a number of product launches. The most significant announcement so far is probably the Huawei Mate X, a new foldable smartphone that will go head-to-head with Samsung’s Galaxy Fold which was only unveiled a week ago. 

5G networks have also been a major talking point at MWC. The new mobile connection, which is due to roll out across the UK by the end of the year, will provide users with broadband-rivalling network speeds while they’re out and about. 

Most of the tech giants attending the event have announced the launch of new handsets capable of connecting to the 5G network. This puts rival gadget maker Apple, which traditionally shuns MWC, under serious pressure. The company is rumoured to be forgoing the technology on its next iPhone

Here are some of the biggest smartphone announcements at this year’s tech event:

Huawei
BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26:The new Huawei Mate X mobile phone is shown on display at the Huawei booth on day 2 of the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2019 on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona, Sp

dr3_6050_2019022625358736.jpg

2019 Getty Images

Image credit : David Ramos/Getty Images

Huawei kicked off MWC by announcing its new Mate X [above]. It’s the Chinese smartphone maker’s first attempt at a foldable smartphone. 

Unveiled just days after Samsung’s Galaxy Fold – the world’s first flexible mobile – the Mate X uses a bendable OLED display that lets users fold the phone and slide it into their pocket.

The Mate X consists of a single foldable panel split into three different displays: a 6.38in screen at the back, a 6.6in version at the front and – when unfolded – an 8in tablet-style display with a resolution of 2,480x2,200 pixels, reports T3

The phone has a trio of cameras on the back but Huawei hasn’t yet announced the specs for the three lenses.  

It will have a price tag of £1,996 when it goes on sale in June. 

LG Dual Screen

Huawei isn’t the only company to have unveiled a foldable smartphone at MWC. LG has announced its own take on this year’s mobile trend at the show, only it’s different to the other foldable handsets on offer.

The LG Dual Screen is a novel accessory that lets users clip another screen onto the company’s new 5G-compatible V50 ThinQ smartphone, says CNet. The accessory is aimed at people wanting to use a separate screen as a controller for video games, or as a keyboard for writing emails. 

While it isn’t quite as hi-tech as the flexible Huawei Mate X or the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the V50 ThinQ’s Dual Screen accessory should provide a similar user experience to its rivals at a more affordable price, the tech site says. 

LG has yet to announce pricing or a release date for the V50 ThinQ smartphone and Dual Screen accessory. 

Nokia

Owning a smartphone with a camera on it seemed like a luxury ten years ago. Now most smartphones are designed to take photos, although the quality does vary. Nokia’s new 9 PureView, for example, is on course to become one of the best with more cameras than any of its rivals.

Dubbed one of the most interesting new phones from MWC by Wired, the Nokia 9 PureView boasts a rear-facing camera system comprising five lenses. All five sensors go off when you press the shutter, after which the phone stitches the images together in order to deliver the best overall picture. 

The cameras have been developed in conjunction with cult camera maker Leica, which suggests the five-lens system is no gimmick. 

At £536, the phone is considerably cheaper than Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 and the Google Pixel 3, and you won’t have to wait long to buy one. Orders are expected to open over the next two weeks, says the mobile news site NokiaMob.net

Sony

Samsung, Huawei and Apple may be stealing the headlines in the smartphone world, but Sony’s devices are often a popular choice among film buffs. That’s because the Japanese tech giant’s products have some of the highest quality displays on the market. 

The new Xperia 1, which was unveiled at MWC, is equipped with a 6.5in OLED display that boasts a 4K resolution and supports HDR content, a video format with more realistic lighting effects compared to standard videos, reports US news broadcaster CNBC

What’s particularly interesting, though, is that the new mobile comes with an aspect ratio of 21:9, the broadcaster says. It’s the same aspect ratio as most movie projectors, which means users can watch films on their smartphone “without any black bars on the sides, top or bottom.”

The Xperia 1 is due to go on sale in the spring, with prices starting at £849, says TechRadar.

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