5G smartphones are all over MWC 2019, but you should not be excited just yet
One of the big buzzwords at this year's Mobile World Congress has been 5G. In fact, 5G was in the spotlight at last year's MWC as well, but it was merely just talk at that time. 5G is real now and we have a bunch of commercially-ready phones to back that up. At MWC 2019, we saw some of these phones being showcased, teasing their imminent arrival.
A lot of mainstream, and not-so-mainstream, phone makers offered at least one 5G smartphone for demo at MWC 2019. From the Galaxy S10 5G to the Mate X foldable phone, there was something new there to tingle our curiosity. The only problem was that these phones were not actually connected to a 5G network, and merely demonstrated that their hardware was ready for the 5G revolution, whenever that happens.
This really brings us to the big question of when exactly 5G will be available. It is one thing having a phone ready for 5G, but without the actual rollout of 5G network, these phones are merely overpriced versions of their regular counterparts, if any. While these phones will be rolling out soon, it will be several months or years even before 5G starts rolling out in a broad way.
Over the next few month, perhaps till the end of the year and into the next, you will hear a lot of phone makers launch devices claiming to be 5G-enabled. This is meant to pique your interest, and provide you that "new thing" that you wanted in a smartphone. But it would be wise not to get swayed by the "5G" tag right now, Unless you're looking for a future-ready smartphone that you won't let go off for a few years, it probably makes no sense to buy a 5G phone if your city isn't getting upgraded to 5G anytime soon.
5G rollout will likely start in the US and Europe first before heading to other places. Jio may have bolstered the speed of 4G rollout in India, but 5G still has ways to go. Companies like Qualcomm, OnePlus, Samsung and Huawei have only just started talking about 5G trials in the country, and a proper deployment of 5G isn't expected until 2020.
While we await the 5G wave, here is a look some of the biggest 5G phones announced at MWC 2019.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
In addition to the Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10e flagships, Samsung also announced the Galaxy S10 5G, which as the name suggests comes with 5G support. This is because this is the only model in the portfolio that comes with a Snapdragon 855 chipset with the X50 5G modem. The modem is key to support 5G speeds, but at MWC 2019 I only got to see a small demo of the potential of 5G. The demo showed a baseball game that could be streamed live over 5G, and could allow you to choose a PoV camera to watch the game. But for this to work seamlessly, both the device, and the source will need to work on 5G speeds.
The Galaxy S10 5G also comes with a bigger 6.7-inch AMOLED display and an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. It gets a quad camera system on the back and houses a 4,500mAh battery. The pill-shaped hole in the top right corner of the display is wider compared to the S10+, because it gets a secondary ToF (Time of Flight) camera. The Galaxy S10 5G is priced around $1,500.
Huawei Mate X
The Mate X is in a whole other league as it not only brings 5G support, but it is also a foldable smartphone. The Mate X sports a large 8-inch flexible plastic OLED display that can bend and close like a book thanks to a hinge design. Upon folding the device, the large display can be used as two displays, a 6.6-inch display on the front and a 6.38-inch display on the back. It is powered by a Kirin 980 chipset and uses a Balong 5000 chip for 5G support. The Mate X will start shipping sometime in mid-2019 and will cost a cool 2.299 euros.
LG V50 ThinQ
The LG V50 ThinQ is LG's first device to support 5G thanks to the Snapdragon 855 chipset paired with the X50 modem. The ThinQ sports a 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED notched display, 4,000mAh battery, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Notably, the V50 ThinQ comes with a secondary attachable screen which is 6.2 inches in size and offers an OLED display. LG is yet to announce the price of the V50 ThinQ or the attachable secondary display.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
The Mi Mix 3 5G is one of the more affordable 5G phones among the lot. Staying true to the company's "honest pricing" promise, the 5G-supported phone comes at a starting price of USD 599 (approx Rs 48,000). The Mi Mix 3 5G is one such phone that already has a normal non-5G version. The Mi Mix 3 was launched in the second half of 2018. The 5G versions, however, gets the Snapdragon 855 chipset with with X50 modem.
OnePlus has already confirmed that it plans to be one of the first companies to bring a 5G phone in India, and at MWC 2019, we saw a device properly covered from all sides that is seemingly the next OnePlus 5G smartphone. The prototype device showcased in Barcelona has a Snapdragon 855 chipset with the X50 modem. Like the Mi Mix 3 5G, the OnePlus 5G phone is also expected to come with a competitive price point when it launches later this year.