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The best smartphones at MWC 2023: the 6 coolest ones we saw

There are usually plenty of new smartphones announced in and around Mobile World Congress, and although the last few years have been a little lacking, MWC 2023 hasn’t disappointed with a wide variety of new and interesting devices.

From foldables, wild concepts, and “normal” phones that check all the right boxes, here are our picks for the best phones of MWC 2023.

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Xiaomi 13 Pro

The Xiaomi 13 Pro held in a person's hand.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Xiaomi launched an entire series of new phones under the Xiaomi 13 name at MWC 2023, but it’s the Xiaomi 13 Pro that we’re most interested in. It’s the current top model in the range (until Xiaomi decides to launch a 13 Ultra), and the big thing about it is the Leica-tuned camera. We’ve tested it out and have been impressed with the photos it takes, and are really keen to review it fully.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is a big phone with a 6.73-inch screen, plus it’s powerful with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor inside. The design is quite simple, but it still manages to look unique. It also has a fast charging system that takes the battery from empty to full in about 20 minutes. Sadly, Xiaomi doesn’t sell its smartphones in the U.S., but the Xiaomi 13 Pro will soon be out in the U.K. for 1,099 British pounds (about $1,315).

Honor Magic Vs

The Honor Magic Vs's open screen.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Honor Magic Vs is the first of two big-screen folding smartphones on our list. We first tried the Magic Vs out last year and were impressed with the hardware. That hasn’t changed upon revisiting the phone at MWC 2023, but we have noted the software and camera need work. This hasn’t entirely dampened our enthusiasm, though, as we’re glad a worthy Galaxy Z Fold 4 competitor will launch outside China for a change.

It’s suitably different from the popular Samsung phone, too, with a slightly bigger cover screen that improves ergonomics, especially for everyday use. The powerful and efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor is inside, a triple-camera setup is on the back, and it has a massive 7.9-inch screen when opened up. It’s every bit the exciting big-screen foldable, and we’re hopeful a timely software update will cure the camera’s woes. Like the Xiaomi 13 Pro, it won’t be sold in the U.S., but in Europe, it will be out in the next few months for 1,599 euros — or about $1,693.

Tecno Phantom V Fold

The back of the closed Tecno Phantom V Fold.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s fine if you haven’t heard of Tecno, as the brand doesn’t sell phones in many markets. However, that doesn’t stop the Phantom V Fold from being exciting, as Tecno has done what many other, better-known brands have not — and that’s to release a folding smartphone. The Phantom V Fold is its first try, and while there are some software issues to iron out, it’s a very solid device that shows promise for the future.

The Tecno Phantom V Fold has a big 6.42-inch cover screen that’s easy to use each day, and a big 7.85-inch screen when it’s open, plus a really robust and varied multi-tasking system as part of the software too. There are three cameras on the back, a sizable 5,000mAh battery inside, and MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000+ processor powering it all. It will first launch in India, where it starts at the local equivalent of $1,000. That’s right — a lot less than the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Nokia G22

The Nokia G22 in its two available colors, grey and blue.
HMD Global

At first glance, the HMD Global Nokia G22 is just another low-cost Android phone, but should you accidentally break the screen or require a new battery, it becomes something more than that. It’s the first device to be enrolled into HMD Global’s QuickFix initiative, which lowers the cost and increases the simplicity of replacing a dead battery or broken screen.

How easy is it? The battery can be swapped in five minutes, and the screen in 20 minutes, all at home and for a fraction of the price a store would charge. The phone is relatively ordinary outside of this, with a 6.5-inch screen, a Unisoc processor, and a 50-megapixel main camera on the back. It will cost 179 euros, or around $180, when it launches soon.

OnePlus 11 Concept

Product render of the OnePlus 11 Concept.
OnePlus

There have been a few concept smartphones shown off at MWC 2023, and although they may not be phones you can buy now, they may influence what’s to come in the future.

The OnePlus 11 Concept, based on the OnePlus 11, has a visible, and very sci-fi-looking, liquid cooling system the company calls the Active Cryoflux. It’s designed to keep the phone as cool as possible when playing intensive games, like similar systems on PCs, and keep the processor running at its best. Plus, the blue, glowing liquid on the back looks stunning.

Motorola Rizr

The second concept that caught our attention is the Motorola Rizr, a phone that shows off how a rollable screen may work on a smartphone. The screen unrolls from the back of the device, where it acts as a notification screen, to the front, extending the original 5-inch display to one measuring 6.5 inches.

It’s a different take on clamshell foldables like the Galaxy Z Flip 4, with the added coolness of watching the screen automatically do its thing. It’s very clear Motorola has a lot of work to do before bringing a device like this to market, but even in its current form, the Motorola Rizr impresses.

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