"5G is here," said the Qualcomm booth at Mobile World Congress this year. But while this may be true for the chip maker, the reality is much more complicated. Operators are still upgrading their networks to launch 5G ready-to-use services, and even then the proportion of coverage will remain low.
Even if they will not be ready a little longer, the phone manufacturers have not wasted time advertising the 5G devices at the next MWC. Huawei, LG, Samsung, Xiaomi and ZTE have introduced their own 5G handsets with vague release dates, while Sony, Oppo and OnePlus have already introduced prototypes.
Whether or not these devices are a viable purchase will depend a lot on when your local area needs to be upgraded to 5G. In the United States, Sprint launches its 5G services in May, as T-Mobile and Verizon announced the launch of 5G services by the end of the year. Meanwhile, AT & T's 5G network was launched technically at the end of last year, but it will take a little more time before it can be used, regardless of the deceptive "5G E" logos. .
Uncertainty about when these 5G services will be available has not prevented manufacturers from advancing and advertising their 5G devices. Here are the largest 5G phone announcements from CMM, based on the information we received about them.
Huawei Mate X
The foldable design of the Mate X is without a doubt the most attention-grabbing feature – so much so that it's almost easy to overlook the fact that it's the first 5G device announced by the third global manufacturer of smartphones. 5G connectivity is provided via the Huawei Balong 5000 5G modem, instead of the Qualcomm models favored by most devices in this list, and is compatible with the mmWave frequency spectrum and below 6 GHz.
The Huawei Mate X is at the top of the list because it lacks two elements on all other 5G devices announced at the show. a month of release and the price. Huawei announced that the phone would be available in June this year at a price of 2,299 euros.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is part of a trend that we already see a lot, that a phone takes an existing handset and produces a 5G variant. Here, the original non-5G device was announced last October and includes a 6.4-inch 1080p OLED screen in full screen and a back that slips upward to reveal the camera facing the front.
Apart from its 5G connectivity, the biggest change concerns its processor, which has been upgraded from a Snapdragon 845 to an 855.
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 will be available in May 2019 at a price of € 599 ($ 679).
LG V50 ThinQ
Like the Xiaomi phone, the LG V50 ThinQ is a 5G version of one of LG's existing phones – the V40. You can say it's the 5G version because it literally has a shiny 5G logo on the back.
In addition to 5G connectivity, the V50 and its predecessor have some differences, including a larger 4000 mAh battery and a faster 855 Snapdragon processor. It is also a bit larger, probably for the adaptation of its large 5G antennas.
LG says the V50 will be ready for commercialization by the end of March, but adds that its effective release will come when the first 5G networks of its operator partners will be ready in the coming months. In the United States, the company has announced that the phone will be launched exclusively on Sprint. Prices have yet to be announced.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Samsung likes to be one of the first to adopt new technologies, so it's not surprising that it also has a 5G handset. The Galaxy S10 5G was announced last week with the rest of the S10 lineup. It has a 6.7-inch screen larger than the rest of the range, a larger battery of 4,500 mAh and an additional camera in the front and on the back for better AR performance.
Unfortunately, probably because of its larger 5G internal components, the model does not have the microSD card holder of the other S10 models.
The Galaxy S10 5G does not yet have a definitive release date beyond the first half of 2019, but will be exclusive to Verizon's network during its first launch. Prices are also to be confirmed.
ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G
Stop me if it seems a little familiar, but the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G is powered by a Snapdragon 855, whose prices have yet to be confirmed and whose release date is scheduled for the first half of 2019. Words he is very similar to almost all other 5G prototypes exhibited at this year's show.
Otherwise, it has a 6.47-inch 1080P OLED screen with a drop-shaped notch, 6 GB RAM and a 4000 mAh battery.
Alcatel 7 5G
Alcatel is a brand best known for its economical handsets, but it has also surprisingly introduced a 5G prototype at this year's show. The Alcatel 7, not to be confused with the non-5G Alcatel 7 released last year, has a 6.5-inch screen, a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB of RAM and a 4000 mAh battery.
An Alcatel representative who I spoke to said that the phone could be released by the end of 2019, but will likely be a 2020 model. Prices have not yet been confirmed, but if the price of the phone has not been confirmed. we consider the first Alcatel 7 sold for $ 179.99, it could be one of the cheapest phones on this list.
OnePlus 5G Prototype
To this end of our turn around, the MWC 5G phones are prototypes without fixed design or other features confirmed outside 5G connectivity. This OnePlus 5G prototype is a good example. Enclosed in a thick plastic case, itself safely protected in a clear plastic cube, the prototype has done everything possible to hide all its features beyond its 5G connectivity.
OnePlus used its MWC demonstration to show the handset a streaming game streamed from the Shadow cloud-based online streaming service. Beyond knowing that the phone will come out in the second quarter of this year, we do not know much about it. OnePlus has not yet confirmed its price, but its CEO recently said that he expected 5G devices to initially cost between $ 200 and $ 300 more than their 4G counterparts.
Oppo 5G Prototype
In addition to the OnePlus device on the Qualcomm booth, a 5G prototype from Oppo has also been introduced to Shadow game content. CNET indicates that the device should be powered by a Snapdragon 855 and that it will be equipped with a 5G X50 modem.
Oppo has not shared much more details about its first 5G handset beyond its network connectivity. The device on the Qualcomm booth was even concealed in a box that hid the details of its screen. Its release is scheduled for the second quarter of this year.
Sony 5G prototype
Sony also had its own 5G handset to show at the MWC 2019. The device, which Pocket-Lint reported internally at Sony under the name "AG-1", a streaming demonstration of 4K video content streaming from a nearby base station via mmWave 5G.
A Qualcomm representative confirmed that the prototype was equipped with the company's X55 modem and that the phone also had the same 21: 9 ultra-wide screen as the Xperia 1's flagship product, also announced at the show. As expected, Sony has not announced any information on pricing or availability.
Honorable mention: HTC 5G hub
HTC's first 5G product announced at the show was not a phone at all. Instead, it was a hybrid of three devices; namely a 5G receiver, an Android entertainment device and a battery. The HTC 5G Hub integrates all this into a form factor very similar to a smart screen.
In practice, this means that you have a 5G hotspot equipped with a screen and a battery large enough to charge external devices in addition to staying powered. The connectivity is managed by a Snapdragon X50 modem and the content is displayed on its 5-inch screen or transmitted to an external display via USB-C.
HTC has yet to announce pricing for the 5G hub, but has announced plans to release it in the spring of this year.