After three days of industry professionals and super-fans bustling through the Mobile World Congress neon-lit halls, it is clear that 5G has arrived. All the necessary evidence is in the lineup of these brand new premium 5G phones.
While every flagship phone is unique, there are common themes in the list below. The makers of these smartphones seem determined to let users know that 5G isn’t a minor step for the industry, but a revolution in what our devices are capable of doing for us. 5G means superfast speeds, dramatically lower latency, multiplayer gaming with little to no lagging, live streaming in 3D, and more uses for AR and VR in everyday life. Beyond these exciting use cases, the other common theme to note is that the most advanced Android smartphones announced at the show are running on Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platforms. These are the capabilities that define the first lineup of 5G devices, which are anticipated to be in users’ hands in the first half of 2019.
1. LG V50 ThinQ 5G: Kicking off our list is the V50 ThinQ 5G, which is expected to be launched at Sprint and other global operators in the coming months. There is a lot to look at here — largely thanks to a screen that covers virtually the entire face of the device. The 6.4-inch OLED screen and incredibly rich color palette will help users get the most out of the two cameras on the front and the three-camera system mounted on the back of the device. These cameras are capable of applying cinematic effects to moving images thanks to 5G’s incredible speeds. To give users an even more immersive experience, LG developed Dual Screen as an optional accessory. Designed to resemble a cover case, Dual Screen opens up to give V50 users a second 6.2-inch OLED display for double the viewing, gaming and multitasking experience.
2. Motorola 5G mod attaches to Moto Z3: Motorola is taking a different path from its peers by offering an add-on device that can be clipped onto the Moto Z3, a 4G phone that Motorola unveiled back in August. By making the Z3 the first 5G-upgradeable phone in the world, Motorola has also made the first wave of 5G far more affordable for its Z3 users. This democratizing step means that Motorola users looking to get in on the Snapdragon mobile platform will not have to pay for a whole new phone to enjoy the speed and responsiveness of 5G.
3. OnePlus prototype: OnePlus decided to showcase a prototype of its upcoming 5G smartphone at MWC. The company wanted to demonstrate what a 5G device is capable of. In this case, OnePlus showed off 5G’s ability to play a console-style game entirely through the cloud with extremely low latency. Users can expect a debut of a OnePlus 5G device later this year.
4. OPPO: After indicating that they were working on a 5G device last December, OPPO exhibited its 5G prototype at MWC, with hints that a device would be revealed later this year. At its smartphone exhibit, OPPO showed off 5G’s ability to render 3D videogames, stream 3D games to a TV, and sustain multiplayer gaming with little to no lagging. It is expected that the final product will be released the second quarter of this year.
5. Samsung Galaxy S10 5G: Samsung gave us a glimpse of the Galaxy S10 at their Unpacked event, but MWC helped users get a better idea of where the Samsung 5G smartphone stands in a rapidly growing field of 5G devices. The Galaxy S10 uses 5G to let users experience live stream TV in 3D and make video calls in 4K with substantially less lag. Bonus points go to the S10 for maintaining a sleek design while incorporating multiple camera ports, including a 3D depth camera, on its back, as well as Qualcomm Technologies’ advanced ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the display.
6. Sony Mobile 5G Prototype: Another 5G prototype with a lot of promise, Sony Mobile’s mmWave prototype is expected to feature that same 21:9 aspect ratio display found on the recently announced Xperia 1 smartphone and favored by most film directors. This gives the prototype a long, slender and classy appearance, and it is meant to pair with the device’s 4K live-streaming abilities to provide the ultimate video and gaming experience.
7. Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G: Beyond being a 5G phone, the Mi MIX 3 5G brings its own innovation to the table: a magnetic sliding screen face that hides the forward-facing camera lenses so that the screen covers the entire front surface of the device. The Mi MIX 3 5G best demonstrates the capacity of 5G with its multi-view video streaming, but it is the price point that is sure to make waves among users. At €599 euros ($681 USD), it is one of the most affordable 5G smartphones with a price tag so far.
8. ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G: Finishing our list is the Axon 10 Pro 5G. Similar to other 5G smartphones, ZTE’s device comes with three cameras, including an AI camera, and offers live video streaming with drastically reduced lag. What makes this smartphone stand out is its strikingly slim body, which ZTE claims fits a large enough battery to keep the phone running longer than its competition. The phone is anticipated to be released at some point in the first half of 2019, but we will have to wait for more details.
The exact release dates of most of these devices are still under wraps, but it is clear that the next five months are going to be packed with exciting 5G product announcements. While the MWC rollout was just the beginning, it gives us a glimpse of both new phones and prototypes packed with features only made possible by 5G’s superfast speeds. Based on the smartphones listed above, we have a pretty good idea what to expect between now and June, but it is certain that the 5G ecosystem isn’t finished delivering surprises.
How can you stay up to date on 5G news? Stay tuned to Digital Trends’ coverage of the next smartphone revolution here: Everything You Need to Know About 5G
Content sponsored by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.