During MWC this year I was overwhelmed with all the technology on show and posting about every single thing I photoed would take far too long. So here are some of the highlights from my experience of MWC this year.
3 new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 based phones announced
Samsung dominated the show as usual with the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, depending on where you live you may get a Snapdragon 845 or an Exynos 9810. The phone has a heavy emphasis on its camera performance and introduces AR Emoji which is basically an Animoji clone, and it will no doubt be one of the best phones of the year. However, for me, with the same design as last year and a price of £739 for the S9 it is a little hard to get excited about, especially when they continue to use a 3000mHh battery.
On the flip side of that, you have the Asus Zenfone 5z which has caused some polarising opinions on the internet due to its iPhone X similarities. During the launch, there were unapologetic comparisons to the “Fruit Phone” and many people are criticising its derivative design. If you can get over the Apple comparisons it is a beautiful phone at a bargain price of around 480 Euros for the 4GB/64GB model. It has some neat little tricks up its sleeve to, including plenty of AI features that will adjust the picture mode of your photos based on the detected object, or intelligently charge your phone based on your wake up time. It is in 19:9 format too, however when watching media it will black out the notches giving you a more common 18:9 aspect ratio. I would have liked to see them squeeze a 4000mAh battery instead of 3300 in there but if you can live with a Fruit Phone clone you will get a lot for your money. Sadly it is not available until June which makes me worry that it will lose out on sales
The only other high-end option is the Sony Xperia XZ2 sits somewhere between the other 2 phones. The design isn’t particularly unique but they are not an iPhone X clone and many people like the new style over the previous XZ. It could be said that Sony is deliberately not copying other brands as they have chosen to keep just one camera on the rear, while they perfect the new dual camera set up they have been working on. Instead, the new phone is all about the screen and its ability to shoot in 4K HDR. During my demo of the unit, I was shown an old XZ1 playing SDR and the new playing HDR and the difference were striking. They have also included a new haptic feedback system, which I am not totally sold on myself, but I am sure it would be good for gaming. The Sony also sits in the middle based on its battery and price, the full-sized model has a 3180mAh battery. There isn’t any confirmation of the XZ2 pricing but one of the reps said the Compact should be about £520, and I suspect they will price the full-sized model under the S9.
5G was everywhere
5G was all over the show, and Qualcomm are the company leading the way in this technology, they had a large presence at the show and were demoing several of the technologies. The Qualcomm stand had an interesting demo of how 5G antennas are very directional, just holding your phone a different way can affect the speeds you get, and this is something that OEMs are working on. There were several real-world demos of 5G and the potential speeds are mind-blowing. There were many other aspects of 5G on show including several demo vehicles with full 5G capabilities and an array of V2X features that allow vehicles to intelligently know what obstacles are ahead of them by communicating with them.
Nokia didn’t realise a flagship phone this time around, but they announced 3 new Android phones, and an updated Nokia 8, as well as the revived Nokia 8110 banana phone. Being priced at around $85 the Nokia one will sell in great numbers around the world but as a tech geek, both the Nokia 7 Plus and the beautiful Nokia 8 Sirocco were much more exciting. The rumoured price of €749 for the Sirocco could be an issue when you can pick up the Asus Zenfone 5z for considerably less. However, some retailers have the Nokia 7 Plus as £349.99 which is an absolute bargain, and many people claim the Snapdragon 660 offers close to 835 performance at mid-range prices.
Sony Xperia Ear Duo
I am not entirely sure how successful it will be or if it will even be any good in real life but I found the Sony Xperia Ear Duo announcement quite exciting and my demo of it was very positive. This unusual earphone will allow you to hear the environment around you while listening to music or notifications and it will dynamically alter the volume based on what is going on around you.
The ZTE Axon M might have gotten more attention for its weird dual screen set up, but as far as weird phones go I would take the Gemini PDA any day. This retro style device is huge and reminds me of my Nokia E90 (I never had a Psion PDA, I am not that old). This quirky device can dual boot into Android or Linux and uses a Mediatek Helio X27 10-core (2+4+4) SoC for its processing power. During my brief use, it was surprisingly quick to adapt your typing for it and I was quickly typing out sentences far faster than a mobile or tablet. It is a bit of a weird device but could be a great tool for any blogger or reporter on the move all the time.