Well folks, that’s a wrap. The biggest mobile-focused tech show of the year, Mobile World Congress, has come and gone, leaving behind some pretty spectacular phones and a slew of other mobile-related announcements. There’s Samsung’s all-new flagship phone, the Galaxy S9, a new range of chipsets from Qualcomm, and a whole bunch of iPhone X look-alikes.
Here are all the most important things we saw at Mobile World Congress 2018:
Perhaps the biggest and most important announcement at MWC 2018 was the Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung’s latest and greatest new phone. On the surface, the phone isn’t all that different from the Galaxy S8, apart from a few small design tweaks like the fingerprint sensor being placed in a slightly more convenient spot. Under the hood, the device sports the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, along with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
Perhaps the most important new feature is the camera, which is among the first on a phone to feature a variable aperture. What that means is that it should offer much better low-light photos, and give manual shooters a little more control over their photos.
At the show, Alcatel unveiled the new Alcatel 5 Series, which is aimed at offering some premium smartphone features at a relatively good price. The phone features a pretty modern design, including slim bezels and an overall light feel. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it also offers facial-recognition technology — something that we’re set to see in more and more phones this year. It’s all powered by an octa-core MediaTek 6750 processor, along with 3GB of RAM. There’s 32GB of storage, but you’ll also get a microSD card slot so you can expand upon that storage if you so choose. The best thing about the phone? It comes in at 230 euros, or around $280 U.S.
Sony also had a pretty big year at the show. The company launched the new Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ2 Compact, featuring an all-new design style — at least for Sony. Gone are the sharp corners and uninviting look. Sony is now offering nice, rounded corners, with a relatively fun design. On the inside, both phones feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage — which should be more than enough for most people.
The two phones aren’t exactly the same — apart from being slightly larger, the XZ2 also offers wireless charging, which is becoming increasingly important in today’s tech landscape. In classic Sony fashion, the camera is also pretty interesting — it’ll allow you to record video at up to 960 frames per second in 1,080p resolution, though only for 0.9 seconds.
HMD Global, best known for licensing the Nokia brand, also had a big year. At MWC 2018, we saw a range of new Nokia phones, from the beautiful flagship Nokia 8 Sirocco to the so-called “Banana Phone,” the Nokia 8110. There are a total of five new Nokia models in all price ranges, but the Nokia 8 Sirocco undoubtedly stole the show thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB of RAM. It also features a dual-lens camera on the back, with a 5-megapixel wide-angle lens on the front. Safe to say, the phone may well help restore Nokia to the powerhouse status it once held in the phone market.
Huawei didn’t really unveil any new phones at the show, but that doesn’t mean it did nothing. Notably, the company unveiled the new Huawei Matebook X, a beautifully designed Windows 10 laptop that features a webcam hidden in a function button on the keyboard. Why? To make room for the beautiful near edge-to-edge display, of course. The laptop features an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, along with 16GB of RAM and an option for an Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card. In other words, this is a pretty powerful computer.
The company also unveiled the new Huawei MediaPad M5, with either an 8.4-inch or 10.8-inch display. The tablet boasts a resolution of a hefty 2,560 x 1,600, and offers an integrated fingerprint sensor. As far as software goes, you’ll get Android.
Android Go is set to play an important role in bringing ultra-low-cost phones to emerging markets, and several such phones were unveiled at MWC. These include the likes of the Nokia 1, Alcatel 1X, ZTE Tempo Go, and more.
Android Go itself is a super-lightweight version of Android, featuring apps that have been stripped back a bit and an operating system that isn’t as heavy on animations and other unnecessary features. The phones are super inexpensive. For example, the Nokia 1 comes in at only $85, while the Alcatel 1X has a price tag of around $120, and the ZTE Tempo Go costs $80.
Next up is ZTE, which unveiled the new budget-friendly Blade V9. Like many other phones for the year, the device features a Full HD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 450 processor, coupled with either 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, or 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The phone will be available in Spain, Germany, Russia, and Mexico.
Asus launched the new Zenfone 5 series at MWC, and it takes some pretty heavy design cues from the iPhone X. There are three phones in the series — including the Zenfone 5 Lite, standard Zenfone 5, and Zenfone 5Z — the latter of which is the flagship model. The Zenfone 5 Lite features a slightly older-looking design, doing away with the edge-to-edge display on the other devices. On top of that, you’ll find a Snapdragon 630 processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The standard Zenfone 5 features either 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, but uses Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 636 processor. The display, put bluntly, totally copies the iPhone X — a feature that you’ll also find in the flagship Zenfone 5Z. That phone offers the Snapdragon 845, and up to a massive 8GB of RAM.
You might notice something in common with most of these phones — many of them feature a Qualcomm processor. Well, starting pretty soon, we’ll have a whole new range of mobile processors cropping up — the Snapdragon 700 series. The new series is aimed at so-called “premium midrange” phones, and should offer a compromise in power and features between the 600 series and 800 series.
Updated on March 5: Updatedto include everything we saw at MWC 2018.