Skip to main content

Look but don’t touch: OnePlus’ 5G prototype phone sits behind glass at MWC 2019

Aside from foldable smartphones, 5G is all the rage at Mobile World Congress 2019. It has even lured OnePlus — a company that hardly has a presence at any major convention — to show off a prototype smartphone connected to a super-fast 5G network.

But no one can touch or pick up this phone — it’s in a glass box and most of it is obscured from view. Only the screen is mostly visible, and one of the two devices showed off the capabilities of game streaming with 5G. The game itself is Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown for the PlayStation 4, and game streaming means everything is being powered by data centers owned by the streaming provider — in this case Shadow — meaning you don’t need a powerful phone to play the game. The OnePlus phone is simply maintaining the 5G connection.

The game streaming technology is similar to Google’s Project Stream, which let people play Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey on its Chrome browser — no gaming PC needed.

The OnePlus phone was tethered to a TV, where it was displaying the contents on its screen, and there was a person that paired a Bluetooth game controller to it to play the game. The person’s inputs were instantly registered in the game, showcasing the impressive low latency 5G brings, but keep in mind this was a controlled demo.

The phone in question is quite possibly the rumored OnePlus 7, though the company could easily release a separate device for these 5G capabilities — similar to Samsung’s strategy with the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10 5G. The OnePlus 7 will likely debut in late spring or in the summer, but there is a good chance the 5G phone could be delayed for the second half of the year as the “T” version.

OnePlus isn’t the only manufacturer showing off 5G devices — Sony’s 5G phone was also in the same Qualcomm booth (both use the X50 modem in the Snapdragon 855 processor to work with 5G), and it was incredibly thick, and very much a prototype. Meanwhile, Huawei, LG, Samsung, ZTE, and Xiaomi all have phones at the show that are 5G ready, now we’ll just need to wait for carriers to bring 5G networks online.

Julian Chokkattu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Julian is the mobile and wearables editor at Digital Trends, covering smartphones, fitness trackers, smartwatches, and more…
OnePlus Nord N20 5G hands on review: OnePlus settled
Hand holding the OnePlus Nord N20 5G.

The OnePlus Nord is a confusing line of phones. There are different variants for different parts of the world at different price points. Now, add in a little carrier exclusivity to the mix, and the whole Nord series just feels a little aimless. Fortunately, here in the U.S., the picture is a bit clearer. There's only one variant here going forward and it's the subject of this review: The OnePlus Nord N20 5G.

Despite having used OnePlus phones off and on from the beginning, until now, I'd never had the opportunity to use a OnePlus Nord device, and I admit I've been curious. I wanted to see what it was all about so I've been using the OnePlus Nord for about a week as my personal phone on T-Mobile's 5G network, and I'm ready to share some thoughts.
Design and hardware

Read more
I don’t charge my phone at night because OnePlus broke me (and it’s awesome)
OnePlus 10 Pro charging port.

Here's a fun fact for you. I have absolutely zero idea as to what charge level my phone is at right now. It's on; I can tell you that. But what battery percentage is it at? I couldn't tell you. I couldn't care less and that's because I don't have to. At first, it was scary, but now it's just beautiful.

Here in the U.S., we don't really have to worry about charging phones; we charge them overnight. Maybe we set our phone down on one of the best wireless phone chargers, or we snap on a MagSafe charger (even on Android), or we simply plug the phone in. I used to be one of those people.

Read more
Is 5G dangerous? We asked an expert
5G

As 5G rolls out across the nation, we're all looking forward to faster download speeds and reliable high-speed connectivity. One of 5G's biggest breakthroughs is harnessing millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum for faster data speeds. But there are concerns this very high-frequency spectrum could pose adverse health effects for the public, including some very pervasive 5G conspiracy theories.

These kinds of concerns aren’t new -- consumer anxiety concerning whether radiofrequency radiation can increase the risk of cancerous tumors existed long before cell phone towers were even a thing. To get some concrete answers on the subject, we reached out to the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA), a government agency that is responsible for protecting public health through the control and supervision of not only food and medicine but also electromagnetic radiation emitting devices. We further supplemented those responses with information sourced from the American Cancer Society and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. So is 5G dangerous? Keep reading to find out.
What is radiofrequency (RF) radiation?

Read more