After years of much hoopla and fanfare, we’ve finally had a glimpse of what could be the first 5G smartphone. At Qualcomm’s annual Snapdragon Summit, Samsung showed off its 5G concept phone in a heavily controlled demo, and it could very well be next year’s Galaxy S10. Here’s what it’s like.
5G has a lot of caveats
Before we start, what exactly does a 5G smartphone entail? It’s the next step after 4G LTE, so you’re going to get gigabit download speeds on your smartphone, and that will change everything. It doesn’t just mean your phone will be able to download 4K movies incredibly fast, but it means a whole new wave of connected cars, appliances, and devices talking to each other thanks to the super low latency 5G brings. It has the potential to dramatically change industries. There are a lot of caveats, though.
The phone streamed 4K movies from Netflix, without a single stutter.
Onto our demo with Samsung, you should know there were a number of conditions we were told before we saw the device.
Samsung was quick to note this is not final hardware. Regardless, the phone looks sleek, though it surprisingly came with a notch — a design Samsung so far has strongly opposed. But this is no ordinary notch. It was located on the right-hand corner of the phone, not in the usual top center of the display. We don’t think this notch will end up on the final design of the phone — Samsung’s likely just hiding the Infinity-O display, where a floating camera sits surrounded by the screen (kind of like a hole-punch in a piece of paper). There’s a dual-sensor camera on the back, though we weren’t able to get a photo of it, as well as a headphone jack. Under the hood, the phone features the newly-unveiled Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset.
So what was the demo? The phone streamed 4K movies from Netflix, without a single stutter, and it was able to output the video to a connected 4K TV. It’s impressive, because streaming 4K content on a cellular connection today isn’t the smoothest experience. But sadly, that’s more or less the extent of what we were able to see, which is a little disappointing. It does raise a few questions, though. Considering carriers currently limit cellular video streaming to 480 or 720p, will
A 1GB file took around 19 seconds to download, which equates to a data speed of around 0.42Gbps
The phone didn’t seem particularly thick, which is surprising. We weren’t able to hold it, but we were expecting the inclusion of
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