This year’s Mobile World Congress was one of the biggest and best we’ve ever seen, with a torrent of tempting new phones and plenty of surprises. But just what were the best phones at the show? Naturally there’s a place here for our award winners, but they’re not the only great devices we got our hands on in Barcelona. Here are our favorite phones of MWC 2019.
Huawei Mate X
All the buzz about folding phones has been growing louder and louder, but while Samsung’s Galaxy Fold remained behind the glass, it was the Huawei Mate X that stepped into the limelight at MWC. It folds out to transform from a phone with a 6.6-inch display to a tablet with an 8-inch display. The build quality is excellent, the software seamless, and it supports 5G. Sadly, it’s also expensive at well over $2,000 and it won’t be released for a few months yet.
Read our Huawei Mate X hands on review
Nokia 9 PureView
This is definitely one for all you photographers out there. The Nokia 9 PureView looks unremarkable from the front and it has last year’s Snapdragon 845 processor inside, but flip it over and the spider eye, penta-lens camera reveals what this phone is all about. There are five 12-megapixel lenses, each with a f/1.8 aperture, and when you snap a shot the Light Lux Capacitor inside can fuse them together to create top quality photos. To add to the allure, this is a limited edition, Android One phone.
Read our Nokia 9 PureView hands-on review
Xiaomi Mi 9
With the Mi 9, Xiaomi has confounded our expectations of smartphone value. This phone can go toe to toe with the most expensive devices on the market and yet it costs half the price. Packing the lightning fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, a triple-lens camera, a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen, and a beautiful design, this is an incredible phone for around $500. There’s also 6GB of RAM, a big battery, and fast wireless charging.
Read our Xiaomi Mi 9 hands-on review
With a lovely OLED screen, the latest Snapdragon 855 processor with 5G support, a triple lens camera on the back, and a dual lens camera on the front, the LG V50 ThinQ will be LG’s real flagship this year. The company also revealed the new LG G8 ThinQ at the show. Interestingly, the V50 comes with an optional second-screen accessory that attaches to the phone like a folio case. It could prove handy for multitaskers or for gaming. There’s also a nifty video portrait mode that adds a real-time bokeh effect to your videos. The price is to be confirmed.
Read our LG V50 ThinQ hands-on review
Sony Xperia 1
There’s been a gradual trend toward taller phones, but Sony is the first to adopt a 21:9 aspect ratio. This wide 6.5-inch OLED screen, along with Sony’s picture-processing know-how, makes the Xperia 1 the ideal device for movie watching. Most movies are shot in 21:9, so there’s no need to crop or have black bars around the screen. There’s also a Snapdragon 855 inside, a triple lens camera, and all the trimmings you’d expect to find in a flagship phone.
Read more about the Sony Xperia 1
Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus
We can’t finish up without mentioning Samsung’s tenth anniversary update for the Galaxy S range. It showed off the Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 5G, and the Galaxy Fold, but we suspect most people will buy the S10 or S10 Plus. Featuring a beautiful refinement of Samsung’s design with the best displays in the business that feature hole-punch cameras, and curved glass on the back broken only by a triple-lens camera suite, the S10 and S10 Plus are the picture of elegant smartphone design.