MWC 2019 Recap: Our Favourite Phones
March 5, 2019 Andrew Cheng

MWC 2019 has come and gone, and as always, we’re left with a lot of mobile devices to look over. Foldable phones are becoming a reality, 5G-ready devices are aplenty, and surprise surprise, the majority of smartphones now come with at least three cameras on the back. Some devices, like the Nokia 9, pushed it all the way to five lenses.

It can be tough to follow every single device introduced at MWC 2019, so we’ll highlight the most interesting products announced at the trade show right here.

Huawei Mate X

Of course we have to talk about the Huawei Mate X. Compared to other foldable phones unveiled so far – including the Samsung Galaxy Fold – the design of the Mate X is probably the most popular one. When it’s folded, this phone doesn’t have any noticeable gap, and it’s relatively thin too at 11mm. When it’s opened up, it measures only 5.4mm – that’s pretty darn impressive.

Part of the reason why the Mate X can be so thin lies in the way its display is folded. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, which folds the display inwards, the Mate X has its display folded on the outside. It’s similar to the Royole FlexPai‘s design, but the Mate X doesn’t have a noticeable gap when it’s folded.

Of course, there is one big problem with this design: the display is not protected whatsoever. When folded, the screen wraps around the phone, so it’ll be subjected to daily wear and tear. Considering the fact that the Mate X also has a plastic display, it’ll be very easy to scratch it.

At a glance, the Mate X does not have the most practical design, but who knows – perhaps Huawei has a solution to this. We’ll only find out once the Mate X starts shipping sometime in the middle of 2019.

Nokia 9 PureView

Yes, foldable phones are very impressive, but the Nokia 9 is our favourite device at MWC 2019. While its five-camera system isn’t the most versatile configuration (they all have the same focal length), the camera performance is very, very promising.

Beyond its camera performance, other aspects of the Nokia 9 are relatively good too. It looks and feels premium, it doesn’t have any notch or hole-punch cutout, and thanks to its Android One status, this phone offers a clean, stock version of Android with timely updates.

That being said, some of the Nokia 9’s hardware could be better, especially its Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset. It’s still a capable SoC, but the competition are shipping with faster Snapdragon 855 processors.

Xiaomi Mi 9

Not only is the Xiaomi Mi 9 a competent flagship smartphone, it’s priced very competitively too. In China, it retails from only 2,999 yuan, which comes up to about RM1,825. If it arrives in Malaysia with a sub-RM2,000 price tag, it will be a very attractive flagship smartphone.

We only managed to spend a brief time with the Mi 9, but we’re impressed with it. It has promising camera performance, a fast Snapdragon 855 chipset, and a minimalist, functional design. However, it does have a notched display, even though it’s a minimal one.

LG G8 ThinQ

Okay, the LG G8 ThinQ isn’t a spectacular flagship, but there’s no denying the sheer fun factor of the Z Camera and its Air Motion gestures. It allows users to control the G8 without actually touching the phone, and the feature works quite seamlessly. It’s a little gimmicky, but it is genuinely fun to use.

But it’s a shame the G8 as a whole isn’t particularly impressive. It has a wide notch, average camera performance, and a conventional rear fingerprint scanner – no fancy in-screen sensor here.

Oppo’s 10x Lossless Zoom Camera System

Unlike most phone makers, Oppo didn’t come to MWC 2019 with a product. Rather, the company showcased its latest triple camera system, which can do 10x lossless zoom. We tried out the camera for ourselves, and we are legitimately impressed with the results.

That being said, the camera is still rough around the edges – it’s still a prototype, after all. Nonetheless, we’re definitely excited to see the camera system debut on an Oppo smartphone sometime in the second quarter of 2019.

Energizer Power Max P18K Pop

You bet we’re gonna include this power bank phone in our list. The Energizer Power Max is large, chunky, and it has a huge 18,000mAh battery. Does this make up for the fact that it’s a big, impractical phone? Not exactly. But is it an interesting device? Absolutely.

We don’t think there will be huge demand for the Power Max, but for folks that want absolutely amazing battery life, this phone promises just that.

The annual MWC show has always been interesting, and it’s no different this year. The best part is, we’re still in the first quarter of 2019 – there are still a lot more devices to look forward to, especially the introduction of more foldable phones.