What is MWC? Mobile World Congress is one of the biggest and most exciting events in the mobile industry every year. It’s where a lot of big players like Samsung, LG, Sony, and Huawei usually show off their latest and greatest phones, tablets, smartwatches, and other tech products.

When is MWC? MWC officially kicked off on Monday, Feb. 25, and ended on Thursday, Feb. 28. However, most of the products you see below were announced at press events a day or two before the show officially started.

Where is MWC? As with every year, MWC 2019 took place in Barcelona, Spain, at two main venues — Fira Gran Via and Fira Montjuïc, with various other events dotted around the city.

Announcements

Many companies, including Samsung, Xiaomi, and Vivo didn’t wait for the official beginning of Mobile World Congress 2019 to start showing off the goods. These were announced just before the show and for most of them, we had full reviews prepared in time for the start of MWC. We’ve updated this post to include all of the major announcements at MWC, with a full list of links to everything else at the very bottom.


Samsung at MWC 2019

Samsung had a massive launch event just before MWC 2019. It included a whopping five phones, three wearables, and a pair of wireless earbuds. Among them include three new Samsung Galaxy S10 models along with the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, new Galaxy Watch Active, two new Samsung fitness trackers, and, of course, the earbuds. However, the star of the show was the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Samsung spent most of its event talking about all of the ridiculous tech that went into it.

The devices took home several world firsts, including first Wi-Fi 6 devices and first official 5G smartphone. The family of devices should be among the best in all of Android in 2019. We covered everything.

Recommended reading for Samsung’s announcements:


LG at MWC 2019

LG announced a few new devices that should define most of its 2019 product line. That includes the new LG G8 which can, among other things, read the hemoglobin levels in your veins to unlock your phone. We don’t think anybody was expecting that. In addition, the LG V50 is LG’s first 5G phone and it should be exclusively for Sprint in the United States, at least initially. The LG G8 and V50 are both strong contenders. However, a lack of change in the design of both phones may prove to irk those who wanted something a little different in the looks department from LG.

Still, both phones feature their fair share of unique technology and both come with LG’s OLED displays. LG also announced a trio of budget phones ahead of the show.


HMD Global (Nokia) at MWC 2019

HMD Global announced nearly half a dozen phones just prior to MWC 2019. The Nokia 9 PureView has an astonishing five camera sensors on the back of the phone, the first phone in the world to have that feature. In addition, there were four mid-range, budget phones to help fill out the lineup. The four other devices include the Nokia 1 Plus, the Nokia 4.2, the Nokia 3.2, and the Nokia 210. The Nokia 210 is a feature phone and the others have potential to make a splash in the mid-range market. However, the Nokia 9 PureView is the big story here.


Huawei at MWC 2019

Huawei also made quite the splash just before MWC 2019 with its own folding phone. The Huawei Mate X features a folding display while also remaining surprisingly thin when folded out to its full screen. It also comes with a 4,500mAh battery, an 8-inch display, and a neat little grip to tuck the fold into when folded closed. It’s going to retail for around $2,600, giving it the distinction of the most expensive smartphone announced so far at MWC 2019. It’s a strong player in the market, even if its plastic screen will never be protected from the elements, as is par for the course with Chinese foldables right now.


Sony at MWC 2019

Sony quite literally upped its game for MWC 2019 with three new phones with mega-tall 21:9 aspect ratio displays. The most newsworthy of the bunch is the Xperia 1, which replaces the XZ series as Sony’s flagship line. As well as the extra-long 4K HDR OLED 6.5-inch display, the Xperia 1 also has a triple camera and Snapdragon 855 SoC. We’ll have to wait until “late spring” for the Xperia 1, but Sony has two phones dropping on March 18 — the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus. The 10-series phones as mid-range handsets with lower specs to match but the 6- and 6.5-inch LCD screens have the same 21:9 display ratio as the Xperia 1.


Xiaomi at MWC 2019

Xiaomi was among the first to announce new devices just ahead of MWC 2019. That’s a bit unfortunate for them because the phones they announced are quite good, but have been overshadowed a bit by huge folding phone announcements from Samsung and Huawei. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is an above average phone with high-end specs at a decent price. Meanwhile, the Mi Mix 3 5G represents Xiaomi’s first jump in to the 5G world. Not one phone in any of its iterations cost more than $629. That’s pretty impressive. We actually got our hands on the Xiaomi Mi 9 much earlier than its announcement, so we went ahead and just did a full review of that phone. You can find the video linked above and the article below.


Vivo at MWC 2019

Vivo also hit the ground running by announcing a new phone before MWC 2019. The Vivo V15 Pro includes a pop-up selfie camera, eye-catching (and nearly no bezel) design, an in-display fingerprint reader, and some decent specs and features. We were able to procure this one before its official announcement so we went ahead and reviewed the phone. It did pretty well. The camera could have been a little better and the phone inexplicably uses a micro USB charging port instead of a USB-C. We have our review video linked up at the top and the written version linked just below.


Nubia at MWC 2019

While other companies are focused on introducing standard-looking handsets with flexible displays, Nubia has announced a smartwatch-phone called the Nubia Alpha. The wearable is equipped with cellular capabilities, a 5MP camera, comes running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset, and features a flexible OLED display.

A Bluetooth-only model will be available in Europe and North America in April for 449 euros (~$510), while an eSIM version will start at 549 euros (~$623) when it becomes available in Q3 2019.


An image of the OnePLus 5G smartphone prototype in a concealing case at Mobile World Congress 2019.

OnePlus at MWC 2019

It seems every company is releasing either a foldable phone or a 5G phone (or both) at MWC. OnePlus isn’t one to be left out in the cold, as the company just (sort of) revealed the OnePlus 5G smartphone for the first time.

OnePlus has confirmed that the 5G smartphone will launch “before the end of May,” and will initially be available in the U.K., exclusively via the wireless carrier EE.

The OnePlus 5G phone could retail for as much as $850.

As the prototype wasn’t ready for the prime time, OnePlus instead focused on the Snapdragon 855’s 5G gaming capabilities. Using an Xbox controller, visitors were able to stream and play games that were hosted elsewhere right on the device.

The handset will likely look like the OnePlus 6T, sport the Snapdragon 855 chipset, and cost around $200 to $300 more. This means it could retail for as much as $850, making it the most expensive device OnePlus has ever produced. However, company co-founder Pete Lau said the device will actually be priced without profit in mind. So the reason for the price hike will be the high cost of 5G components.

Lau also said the 5G phone probably won’t sell in large numbers, as the technology is still in its early phase. However, he thinks that may change in 2020.

Curiously, OnePlus revealed a new micro-site prior to MWC which allows people from around the world to send a message to MWC attendees. It’s not quite clear yet what OnePlus is doing with the messages, but the micro-site suggests it will have something to do with 5G.


HTC at MWC 2019

Just like almost every other company at MWC, HTC decided to jump into the 5G market. But instead of announcing a new smartphone, it unveiled a 5G Hub / smart display.

The 5G Hub is a weird cross between a chunkier Google Home Hub and a boring old Wi-Fi hotspot. HTC says the “first-of-its-kind” 5G Hub will bring 4K video streaming, low-latency gaming, and 5G mobile hotspot functionality to the home, at work, and on-the-go.

The 5G Hub is scheduled for launch in early Q2 2019 through U.S. carrier Sprint, as well as global network partners including EE and Three (U.K.), Telstra (Australia), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), and Sunrise (Switzerland). There is currently no word on pricing.


Sprint

Sprint and Google Fi at MWC 2019

As expected, Sprint used MWC to announce its plans for 5G in 2019. While some of its competition is focusing on MMwave, Sprint will utilize the 2.5GHz spectrum to build its 5G network. This is different than what T-Mobile and Verizon are doing, but it does allow Sprint to reach speeds much faster than LTE.

Sprint plans to cover over 1,000 square miles with its 5G network. Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City will see 5G starting in May. Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. will follow later this year. Currently, the devices that will work on the network are the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and LG V50 ThinQ 5G. Additionally, it will offer a 5G hub/hotspot from HTC.

As an MVNO of Sprint, Google Fi will be gaining 5G capabilities as soon as the network is rolled out. There has been no word on when or what 5G-capable phones will be sold through Fi, but at least it’s good to hear that Sprint will share the new service.


Everything else!