It’s the final day of MWC 19, and most of the new hardware expected to be unveiled at the Barcelona-based event has finally seen the light of day. With foldable phones and 5G receiving much of the attention, there may be a few things that you have missed in the fanfare.
That’s where this list comes in, as we round up five devices that were announced here at MWC 19, but may have slipped by your new tech radar.
To that end there are quite a few smartphones listed, some from manufacturer which don’t have a presence in South Africa, along with a piece of augmented reality tech, and a Bluetooth headset.
Whether all of them will find their way to SA remains to be seen, but they’re worth mentioning regardless.
Sony Open-Ear Stereo Headset
Kicking things off is Sony, which held its MWC 19 press conference on the morning of the 25th, when the week-long event officially opened its doors.
While the new Xperia 1, Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus got most of the attention, particularly when it comes to their 21:9 aspect ratio sporting displays, but Sony also showed off some hardware from their audio range.
What drew our focus in particular is the new Open-Ear Stereo Headset, which appeared alongside some of the new smartphones at their MWC 19 booth.
As the name suggests, these earphones are designed to leave its wearer’s ear canals free from obstruction. As such you won’t need to jam them further inside the ear to ensure they’re in place and possibly risk doing some damage.
They also wrap around the ear lobe, and feature a neckband. Sony adds that they are quite comfortable too, and boast a built-in voice assistant to handle queries and manage calls.
The Open-Ear Stereo Headsets may not be the coolest thing here, but they certainly have practical applications and should get the job done if Sony decides to bring them to SA.
Microsoft HoloLens 2
One of the big themes here at MWC is 5G, and with the new broadband standard, the reduction in latency could mean a myriad applications in the AR and VR fields. To that end Microsoft decided to reveal their new HoloLens 2 headset, along with making it available for pre-order in select regions for $3 500 (~R48 531).
The early reaction to the headset has been promising, and instead of the experiential focus of its predecessor, Microsoft is looking at more practical applications for the HoloLens 2.
In particular when it comes to training and learning in the medical field, and designing in the engineering industry.
Unfortunately there is no mention of whether South Africa is one of the regions where the HoloLens 2 will be made available, but given its potential application in the mining industry, there is certainly scope for it landing locally.
Hopefully Microsoft SA make it happen.
ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G
There have been a slew of 5G devices revealed at MWC 19 this week, and joining the fray was another Chinese firm in ZTE. Their device is the Axon 10 Pro 5G, with it being the first commercially available 5G handset that they’ve brought to market.
With a relatively small presence locally, it’s still to be seen if SA will be one of those said markets.
As for what’s powering their 5G device, ZTE has leveraged heavily on Qualcomm’s silicon, not just for the processor, but for the modem too, utilising the X50 5G model for the latter.
Regarding when it will be made available, ZTE did not offer a precise date, but noted that it will be launched in China and Europe in the first half of the year.
Xiaomi Mi 9
Camera quality is another aspect that many manufacturers have taken into account at MWC 19. We’ve already seen the five camera array of the Nokia 9 PureView in action, but Xiaomi is another company which is betting big on camera.
Their new Mi 9 for example is packing a mammoth 48MP lens for its primary camera, along with featuring a design that reminds us of a high-end version of the Huawei P Smart 2019.
As for the primary camera, it’s supplied by Sony, but what about the rest of the device?
Well it’s not lacking on the specifications front. It’s got a 6.39″ Amoled display from Samsung, with a tear drop notch at the top. Said notch houses a 20MP front facing camera, along with a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the screen.
Beneath all that an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset keep things ticking over, along with 6GB RAM and 64GB / 128GB of onboard storage.
As such, it looks like a very tidy flagship phone package.
LG G8s ThinQ
Rounding things off is the third new device that LG brought with it to Barcelona – the G8s ThinQ. Much of the device is like its G8 brethren, with the only real big difference being the camera setup and some of the touch-less gesture controls.
Other than that, this is every inch a modern flagship phone.
It’s got a 6.2″ FullHD+ OLED display, with a triple lens setup on the rear (13MP wide, 12MP standard and 12MP telephoto) and dual lenses up front (8MP standard, Z ToF).
Internally the Snapdragon 855 is powering things, with 6GB RAM and choice of either 64GB or 128GB internal storage.
Whether all three LG devices will be launched in SA remains to be seen, but if it is and the price tag is competitive, the G8s ThinQ could prove a good value for money contender.