The best phones of MWC 2019

MWC 2019 is already coming to a close, but a huge amount of devices debuted during the show. From foldables to 5G, this year’s event saw a lot of innovation in a space many would say has been stagnant. While many amazing devices were shown off at this year’s event, only a few can reign supreme.

These are the best phones of MWC 2019.

Huawei Mate X

While Samsung jumped the MWC gun by announcing the Galaxy Fold days before the annual Barcelona event, Huawei was quick to bite at its heels with the Mate X. With an enormous 8-inch unfolded display and a still fairly massive 6.3-inch main display in its default state, Huawei’s model shows the potential of unfolding your device to give your content a much bigger display to play on.

Huawei’s model has no notch of any kind, instead opting to mount the cameras on a small grip on the side of the device. This solves multiple problems, making the phone easier to hold unfolded and also letting someone having their photo taken see their image on the other side of the phone.

It may seem strange not to include Samsung’s Galaxy Fold on the list, but we actually got to touch the Mate X at MWC this year. The experience made us stop thinking of this device as just a weird concept and accept that it is actually a unique and interesting product.

The Galaxy Fold may very well be equally interesting. Without actually seeing and touching the device outside of a glass box on a show floor, we’re reserving judgement until we can test it in full.

Samsung Galaxy S10 / S10 Plus

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 series wasn’t technically unveiled at MWC 2019, but clearly the company wanted reviewers to experience the device in the beautiful and challenging conditions of MWC 2019 Barcelona. Samsung unveiled the device just a day before most of us got on planes headed to the event, so while it didn’t hold a press event at the actual show, we think the devices still deserves a mention.

We’re still working hard on our full review of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, but our initial impressions have been incredibly positive. Samsung has been refining the design of these devices for almost a decade now, and the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus feel like the apex of the company’s ethos.

With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in the base model, this is one of the best devices on the market from a pure power perspective. Add that Samsung has maintained all the bells and whistles like wireless charging (and reverse wireless!), IP68 water and dust resistance and even a headphone jack, and you’ve got a phone that already firmly secures a spot as one of the best phones of 2019.

We don’t won’t to go too in depth on this device since our full review is coming shortly, but it only makes sense for this device to be on our list of the best devices of MWC 2019.

Nokia 9 PureView

The Nokia 9 PureView has been leaked and rumored for quite a long time, but it still surprised us with its innovative penta-camera array and relatively low price. While specs might indicate this device is a top of the line 2018 flagship, the unique features and competitive price make it a lot more interesting.

The phone’s three monochrome cameras mean it can capture an astounding amount of detail — almost three times more than a standard RGB camera sensor. We saw how powerful monochrome sensors can be on the Huawei P20 Pro, but with three sensors it’s anyone’s guess how amazing the camera on this device will be. This device can capture 1200 layers of depth, compared to the standard three to seven captured in most smartphones, which means it could theoretically rival a traditional DSLR or mirrorless camera system.

We’re eagerly waiting to review this device, but our hands-on time indicates it could be a sleeper hit. We’ve always adored devices in the Android One program due to their simplified software, and Nokia has continued to surprise us with delightful experiences since its resurgence with HMD Global.

Sony Xperia 1

While Sony has had a hard time selling mobile devices recently, the company has always tried hard to create phones showcasing the best it has to offer. With a 4K 10-bit HDR display tuned by the Bravia team and a triple-camera system developed alongside the Sony Alpha team, we’re excited to see what Sony can deliver in the Xperia 1.

At our briefing for the device, Sony told us it scrapped the “XZ” naming scheme to indicate it was completely reimagining what its devices should be. Arguably the biggest design change is the phone’s new 21:9 aspect ratio, which Sony thinks is superior for content consumption. While most online content is still 16:9, we have seen a radical shift towards the cinema standard for a lot of content, even some on YouTube.

It’s clear Sony is pushing this idea hard, allowing the device to shoot photos and video in 21:9, as well as record in 24fps, the traditional standard for motion pictures. For someone who wants as many high-end content creation capabilities as they can get, this device looks incredibly exciting.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G logo

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G

While Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 was announced about four months ago, the new 5G variant excites us because of the precedent it sets for the cost of 5G devices. Because 5G is still so new, manufacturers are charging much more for phones that support it. Xiaomi is looking to live up to its legacy of low-cost, high end devices with the Mi Mix 3 5G.

The Mi Mix 3 5G costs just 599 euros, and while we recognize that is a lot of money, the original device already cost ~418 euros. The new device also comes packed with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 chip, which is reason enough to pick it over the original Mi Mix 3. While the baseline storage has been downgraded to 64GB from 128GB, Xiaomi is clearly trying to find every possible corner to cut to keep this phone as affordable as possible.

We loved the slider mechanism and fullscreen display of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and we’re sure the 5G model will be every bit as exciting. Until 5G networks are actually live, you’ll still get 4G speeds, but this an investment into the future of wireless tech. You’re definitely future-proofing with this device.

A number of other interesting and innovative devices were announced at MWC 2019, but these are our top picks this year. Have a different opinion? Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments! Let’s get that discourse going!

MWC 2019: Here’s what we expect to see

What is MWC? Mobile World Congress is one of the biggest and most exciting events in the mobile industry every year. It’s where a lot of big players like Samsung, LG, Sony, and Huawei usually show off their latest and greatest phones, tablets, smartwatches, and other tech products.

When is MWC? MWC formally kicks off Monday, Feb. 25, and ends on Thursday, Feb. 28. However, a lot of products will be announced at press events a day or two before the show officially starts.

Where is MWC? As with every year, MWC will take place in Barcelona, Spain, at two venues — Fira Gran Via and Fira Montjuïc.

Most companies are keeping details under wraps for now, so we’re not entirely sure which products they’ll announce at MWC 2019. However, we can make some educated guesses based on the latest rumors and the products that made their debut at last year’s show. Here’s a roundup of what we expect to see at MWC 2019 from companies like Samsung, Huawei, Nokia, and many others.

Samsung at MWC 2019

Samsung Logo MWC 2019

Unlike last year, Samsung won’t reveal its latest Galaxy S phones at MWC. The devices will debut on Feb. 20 in San Francisco, five days before MWC, but the company could show off its long-awaited foldable phone at the event — rumored to be called the Galaxy F (learn more about it here).

There’s also a chance Samsung could announce the Galaxy Sport smartwatch at the show, the successor to the Samsung Gear Sport. Unofficial renders of the watch have leaked a few weeks ago, revealing that it may come with Bixby on board, run Tizen, and sport 4GB of storage. Other specs and features remain a mystery for now.

Samsung Gear Sport smartwatch OnLeaks

In addition to the foldable phone and Galaxy Sport smartwatch, Samsung could use MWC to introduce a few 2019 Galaxy A smartphones. They weren’t revealed in December or early January like last year and the year before, so we could see them in Barcelona.

Some — or all — of these devices could also debut alongside the Galaxy S10 series in San Francisco. However, we think Samsung is saving something for MWC, as it usually announces a device or two at the show in Barcelona.

Huawei at MWC 2019

Huawei logo MWC

Huawei’s MWC press event is scheduled for Feb. 24, a day before the show officially kicks off. According to the latest rumors, the company could take the wraps off the P30 series in Barcelona. The latest leak suggests one of the phones will come with a triple-camera setup on the back, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and a headphone jack, which was missing on the P20 series (learn more here). However, it’s possible the company will announce its new flagship phones at a separate event sometime after MWC, just like last year with the P20.

Editor’s Pick

Huawei’s Richard Yu announced on Jan. 24 that the company would unveil a 5G foldable phone at the trade show. Details about the device are scarce at the moment, but we have heard it may sport an 8-inch display and pack the latest Kirin 980 chipset under the hood.

Huawei even teased the foldable phone in an event invite sent out to the press. The invite reads, “Connecting the future.” That tells us the foldable phone will likely feature 5G connectivity.

The company also said it plans to launch 5G smartphones powered by its new Balong 5000 5G modem and could also reveal a new tablet at MWC 2019. It announced the MediaPad M5 at MWC 2018, so we could see its successor at this year’s show.

LG at MWC 2019

LG MWC 2019

According to various reports (including our exclusive report), LG will announce the G8 ThinQ at MWC 2019. Alleged renders of the device recently leaked showing it may look very similar to its predecessor. However, LG said the renders are “not real,” so we have no idea of how the phone will look. As far as specs go, we hope to see a triple-camera setup like on the V40 ThinQ, a headphone jack, and the latest Snapdragon 855 chipset, among other things.

Rumors have it LG will announce a phone with an optional second display at MWC 2019.

LG is also rumored to announce a phone with an optional second screen. There’s no word on whether LG will market this as a variant of the G8 or as a completely new series. It’s said the additional screen will arrive as part of a case for the phone, and will presumably make use of the USB-C port or perhaps a proprietary connector.

LG is also reportedly working on a 5G-enabled V-series smartphone. This would be the first time new entries in LG’s V and G series launch simultaneously. Confirmed specs include a 6-inch display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset, a 4,000mAh battery, and a vapor chamber cooling system.

Like Samsung, Huawei, and many other manufacturers, LG is also working on a foldable phone. Details about it are scarce at the moment, so we don’t believe it will be officially announced at MWC 2019. However, LG could show off an early prototype or perhaps just share some info about the upcoming device.

Finally, LG confirmed on Jan. 24 it will launch a 5G smartphone at MWC, complete with a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 4,000mAh battery, and a vapor chamber cooling system. You can read more about that device here.

Sony at MWC 2019

Sony sign

Unlike most other phone makers, Sony updates its flagship every six months or so. The company announced the Xperia XZ2 at MWC 2018 in February and the Xperia XZ3 and IFA in August. At MWC 2019, Sony is expected to take the wraps off the Xperia XZ4, which is rumored to come with the latest Snapdragon 855 chipset, a triple-camera setup, and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner — learn more about it here.

Don’t miss: Here are the best Sony Xperia phones

There’s also a chance we’ll see the Xperia XZ4 Compact make its debut at the show. We came across leaked renders of the device in December, suggesting the phone will launch soon. However, a Sony executive recently hinted the company might be killing off the Compact series, meaning the XZ4 Compact won’t be released at all.

Nothing has been confirmed yet, so things can still go either way. If Sony decides to keep the Compact series alive, the Xperia XZ4 Compact will most likely make its debut at MWC 2019.

OnePlus at MWC 2019

The OnePlus logo.

OnePlus has confirmed it’s working on a 5G phone and that it will launch “before the end of May,” though we’re not expecting an MWC launch. It will initially be available in the U.K., exclusively via the wireless carrier EE.

The OnePlus 5G phone could retail for as much as $850.

The handset will likely look like the OnePlus 6T, sport the Snapdragon 855 chipset, and cost around $200 to $300 more. This means it could retail for as much as $850, making it the most expensive device OnePlus has ever produced. However, company co-founder Pete Lau, said the device will actually be priced without profit in mind. So the reason for the price hike will be the high cost of 5G components.

Lau also said the 5G phone probably won’t sell in large numbers, as the technology is still in its early phase. However, he thinks that may change in 2020.

Oppo at MWC 2019

Oppo promised to demo its 10x hybrid optical zoom technology at MWC 2019. The company’s press event is scheduled for Feb. 23, which is two days before the show kicks off. The new camera tech uses a triple-camera setup and is quite an improvement over the 5x hybrid optical zoom Oppo announced at MWC 2017.

Editor’s Pick

The company might also show off its new in-display fingerprint scanner, which already debuted in China last week. The sensor is said to be 15 times larger than current solutions available and can read two fingerprints at the same time for improved security.

Additionally, we might see a foldable phone from Oppo at the show. A company executive has confirmed Oppo is working on such a device and hinted it may be announced in Barcelona, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

HMD/Nokia at MWC 2019

Nokia MWC logo

Rumors suggest we’ll see the highly anticipated Nokia 9 PureView at MWC 2019. What makes the phone so interesting is it could come with five rear cameras. It’s also expected to sport an in-display fingerprint scanner, the Snapdragon 845 chipset, and a 6-inch display. The Nokia 9 PureView will likely be part of the Android One family, which means it will offer a clean, bloat-free software experience.

We could see the Nokia 9 PureView and Nokia 6.2 at MWC 2019.

There’s also a chance we’ll see the Nokia 6.2 at the show in Barcelona. We’ve come across several rumors about the device, which suggest it will be a mid-range phone featuring a 6.2-inch punch-hole display, the Snapdragon 632 chipset, and up to 6GB of RAM.

Nokia could announce a few more mid-range and entry-level devices at the show, but there’s no word on which ones. We’ll find out soon enough, as MWC 2019 is just around the corner.

Xiaomi at MWC 2019

The Xiaomi logo at MWC

Xiaomi’s MWC event will take place on Feb. 24, and the company is rumored to announce a 5G variant of its Mi Mix 3 slider phone. The handset is said to pack Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem under the hood, which is capable of download speeds up to 2Gbps.

Editor’s Pick

The company could use the event to reveal a few more devices, although there’s no word on which ones. We likely won’t see the Mi 9, as we haven’t heard a lot of rumors about it so far. Besides, its predecessor was launched in May last year, three months after MWC 2018.

More likely, Xiaomi will share more info about the new in-display fingerprint scanner it showed off via a video last week — check it out below. Its active authentication area is 25mm x 50.2mm, quite a bit larger than current in-display fingerprint scanners on the market.

The company could also have its foldable phone prototype at the trade show. It’s just a prototype for now, so there’s no telling if it’s ready to display at a trade show as big as MWC.

Many other companies will be at MWC 2019, including HTC, Vivo, and Asus. We don’t know which products — if any — they’ll announce at the show. We’ll make sure to update this post as soon as new rumors hit to keep you up to speed with all the latest.

Meanwhile, let us know which MWC 2019 products are you most excited about in the comments below.