BARCELONA – a smartphone that uses the unique vein structure in your palm to verify your identity. Another model combines five rear cameras for an extremely detailed picture. At the Mobile World Congress, which is the largest annual meeting of the mobile industry, there are many innovations at the smartphone fair. Here are some of the key products that surround us:
Huawei Mate X
Undoubtedly the most exciting device at the Mobile World Congress this year, Huawei Mate X is behind the glass, away from the curious hands of journalists.
But until I could touch it, I was able to look very close to the third folding smartphone that will be presented after the efforts of Samsung and Royole.
Mate X has a slim, foldable 8-inch Oled screen when unfolded. This is slightly larger than the 7.3-inch Galaxy Fold, the Samsung's folding device announced a week ago. Both devices have a flexible polymer layer instead of a solid glass over the screen.
There are other differences. Mate X resembles a typical smartphone when it's folded, but with a 6.6-inch screen in front and a 6.4-inch rear screen. This asymmetry is due to the sidebar that acts as a grip on the phone.
It features camera modules and a USB Type-C charging port.
In contrast, the Galaxy Fold opens as a book and has a second 4.6-inch screen called Cover Display on its front (when it's closed).
Thanks to the way it is designed, Mate X has just one set of Leica-marked cameras – no difference between the front and the rear. On paper, this would result in more impressive shots than the standard smartphone, since the latter usually has a lower front camera.
The bonus – there is no display because there is no need for one now with this design.
Huawei boasts that Mate's patented hinge, which allows the screen to fold flat, without space between the two layers, unlike the Galaxy Fold gap, is made up of over 100 components. Based on the previews provided by Huawei, the hinge reminds me of the bindings used by the Lenovo Yoga computers.
Like the Galaxy Fold, Mate X has a side power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor.
To adapt to the foldable design, it comes with double batteries – because batteries can not yet be folded – for a total capacity of 4,500mAh. This is slightly higher than the 4,380mAh of Galaxy Fold.
The Mate X power supply is the Huawei Kirin 980 processor, which is also present in its other leading devices. But Huawei has added its own Balong 5G chipset, which according to the Chinese company makes Mate X the world's fastest 5G smartphone. The Galaxy Fold will also be available in the 5G version.
There are still questions about how the apps will appear and will adapt to the larger expanded screen, but Huawei plans to sell Mate X in the middle of the year. Prices will start from € 2,299 (S $ 3,524) for a model with 8GB of memory and 512GB of internal memory.
LG G8 ThinQ
You can not blame LG for the lack of innovation as its latest LG G8 ThinQ smartphone, introduced to Mobile World Congress this week, throws a bunch of interesting technology on the wall.
With some luck, some of these new features will stick to and will find traction in the industry. But I am skeptical of several of them, namely Air Motion.
Instead of using your fingers or voice to control G8 ThinQ, you can control it from a close distance from the screen using hand gestures. Some of the movements include rotating an imaginary dial in the middle of the air with a hand to control the volume of the device. Other possible commands include making a screenshot and switching between apps.
Unless you try to use the phone while you eat a fried chicken with both hands, I do not see the appeal of those gestures. It also takes a while for them to get used to, as the gestures should be executed at the exact distance from the phone so the G8 camera can shoot them.
Z camera, which is a flight time camera based on Infineon's 3D image, can accurately record depth information. This feature, along with infrared sensors, enables the palpation of the palms to be verified.
This identification scheme can identify individuals by recognizing the shape and thickness of the veins in their palms. LG says the chances of two individuals having an identical vein structure are less than one in a billion, making it less likely to be deceived than with a fingerprint or face recognition sensor.
From what I saw is also fairly fast once you know where to put your palm on the camera. Unlocking the face is also supported if your palm is not a cup of tea.
Z The camera is also used to enable some sophisticated camera tricks, such as creating background or bokef, for video, not just for pictures.
Aside from the Z Camera, another innovation is the use of the 6.1-inch Oled screen on the G8 as a diaphragm, with the engine vibrating on the screen to produce sound. This screen also becomes a speaker on the handset.
The rest of the G8 is more secular. Like most smartphones this year, it will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor. There will be 6GB of memory and 128GB of internal memory. It has a triple camera on the back, including a camera with a standard lens, a telephoto camera and an ultra-wide angle camera.
But I am quite concerned about the 3,500mAh battery, which is now smaller. The LG V40 ThinQ did not have the best battery life and the G8 could suffer a similar fate. We will know when it will be sold somewhere this year – there is no price or availability available.
Nokia 9 PureView
Nokia's long hearing 9 PureView has finally made its debut at the Mobile World Congress this week.
And he does not disappoint him with a unique system of five cameras arranged in a circle that reminds me of the eyes of an insect or the holes in the lotus seed.
Three of the five cameras have monochrome sensors, and the other two have RGB sensors.
While other smartphone manufacturers have added telephones and ultra-wide cameras to complement the main camera, the five Nokia 9 cameras have a 12-megapixel Sony sensor and a f / 1.8 aperture. They use Zeiss optics.
HMD Global, which designs and builds Nokia smartphones, says the monochrome sensor captures more detail, as it captures 2.5 times more light than the color sensor. Data from all cameras, ranging from 60 megapixels to 240 megapixels (when capturing panoramas), are used to create a 12-megapixel image with lots of details.
This five-camera system also captures a lot of depth information – 1200 layers – which can be used to change the focus of a photo after it's made. The monochrome sensors on this phone will also result in a better dynamic range for photos taken in black and white.
From a design point of view, I found that Nokia 9 is a bit obsolete compared to other Nokia smartphones. On the one hand, it does not have a window display on its 5.99-inch screen, while the top and bottom frames are not the thinnest.
It is also powered by the leading Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor last year and not by the new 855 model that is found in almost every new smartphone released this year. HMD Global said they had worked with Qualcomm to allow the processor to process image signals to support five cameras. Perhaps the long incubation period for this device is the cause of the lack of trend.
It has other leading features such as wireless charging, and water and dust (IP67) resistance. It even has an optical fingerprint sensor.
Nokia 9 PureView is expected to be available globally next month and is priced at $ 699 (S $ 943).
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Samsung's 5G version of its flagship smartphone Galaxy S10 was announced last week at the Unpacked event of the South Korean company.
But only at the Mobile World Congress, Samsung has allowed everyone to have a taste of what will probably be one of the first smartphones to support 5G networks.
In terms of design and craftsmanship, the S10 5G is similar to the one in the series. This is a full glass smartphone with a front two-hole camera in the top right corner.
What is different from other S10 phones is the size of Oled's display. It's a 6.7-inch QHD + Amoled screen, from the 6.4-inch S10 + display.
As a result, it feels great in the hand, though not to the same extent as the massive 7.2-inch Huawei Mate 20 X.
The S10 5G has an additional 3-D camera on the back, making it a four-cell phone compared to the three S10 + rear cameras.
This depth camera and the information you capture are used for a new Live Focus Video feature that lets you adjust the amount of background blur or the bokeh effect for videos using the camera application slider. This is an extra trick that is not possible with other Galaxy S10 handsets.
The other S10 features, from the super fast wireless charge feature to the ultrasound fingerprint sensor on the display, are on this 5G version.
If you live somewhere with 5G networks in the near future – in other words, not Singapore – a key part of the S10 5G is its support for these fast next generation mobile networks.
Depending on the market, the functionality of the 5G will be activated by the Qualcomm X50 or Samsung's own 5G modem. The version I tried is powered by Samsung's Exynos processor and has 8GB of memory and 256GB of internal memory. In particular, it does not have a microSD card slot.
Samsung has no confirmed issue date or pricing. The first one probably depends on when telecoms will release 5G networks. You can expect that it will cost more than S10 +.