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
The phone streamed
Onto our demo with Samsung, you should know there were a number of conditions we were told before we saw the device. Samsung’s 5G phone was connected to Verizon’s test 5G network in Hawaii, and we were able to watch it stream 4K video from the web and display it on a 4K TV. Samsung told us we couldn’t touch the phone because it was positioned in such a specific way to connect well to the 5G network. We couldn’t even walk behind the phone, as we could have caused an interference. These are a few caveats of 5G we mentioned previously, but ideally when the network is in place you won’t be seeing a lot of these issues.
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
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
Samsung’s 5G demo wasn’t the only phone on show at the event. Motorola showed off the upcoming 5G Moto Mod for the Moto Z3 smartphone (available now), and like the Samsung phone, it couldn’t be moved for network connectivity reasons. This demo also had strict conditions. A Motorola-built app downloaded files of difference sizes. A 1GB file took around 19 seconds to download, which equates to a data speed of around 0.42Gbps — far less than that promised 1Gbps+ speeds we’re hoping to get when 5G fully launches. It’s still incredibly fast, especially considering today’s download speeds, but it’s just not as surprising.
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