Mobile World Congress is a feast of tech gadgets, so picking the best of MWC 2023 is something of a challenge.
However, with the help of my colleagues here at Big Tech Question – David Artiss, Barry Collins and Lee Grant – I can present eight products and demos that made us raise our eyebrows in appreciation.
Honor Magic Vs
I’ve already had a play with the Magic V – albeit with Chinese software, as it was confined to Honor’s home country – and was suitably impressed by the solidity of the hardware. It folds super-flat too. The Magic Vs isn’t a major change, but as it’s a fraction thinner and therefore more hand-friendly when folded, I’m thrilled that this phone will be coming to the UK.
If you’ve used the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4 then you know what to expect. A bendable OLED screen and clever hinge means a 6.45in phone folds out to become a 7.9in mini tablet. Albeit a square-ish one. It weighs almost 270g, so roughly 50% more than a typical phone, and when folded it’s thick at 12.9mm. Unfolded, that reduces to 6.1mm.
You can read the full spec on the Honor website, but it will be more than speedy enough thanks to a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 – the chip that powered last year’s flagship Android phones. A 5,000mAh battery should keep it going all day under typical use, but you’ll need to charge it if you go heavy.
The price is interesting. We expect it to be around £1,600 in the UK, and if that’s true then it will undercut the Fold 4 by £200. Both have a similar camera array, with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Sign up for notifications here.
Huawei Watch GT Cyber
Huawei focused on its wearables at MWC 2023, having already gained plenty of coverage for the Huawei Watch Buds. Q would have been impressed, with a pair of noise-cancelling earbuds tucked beneath the Watch Buds’ screen.
The Watch GT Cyber is all about modularity. Not content with changeable watch faces and straps, you can actually switch watch cases –useful if you damage one during exercise. Huawei is claiming “military-level durability” too, so this is a watch that should take some punishment.
The bad news? While the Watch GT Cyber is already on sale in China, there’s no due date for the UK yet. Come on Huawei!
Lenovo rollable laptop
And here’s another product that we’ll have to wait some time for… a rollable laptop screen. It’s just a concept at the moment, but as you can see from the video below a motor drives up the screen and then the OLED screen extends upwards.
Now, will this ever see the light of day? Does it really add anything that a second screen wouldn’t? Will its extra weight and cost ultimately mean it never moves from concept to product? We honestly don’t know, but as with most of Lenovo’s innovations we love the idea.
Motorola Defy Satellite Link
We’re not aware that Barry Collins often finds himself exploring remote corners of the world – the pubs near Lewes FC are a more likely hunting ground – but even so his eye was taken by the Motorola Defy Satellite Link.
“Accessing satellite comms in an emergency has suddenly become a big thing in premium smartphones, with the emphasis on the word ‘premium’,” said Barry. “If you don’t want to pay a four-figure sum for your phone but would benefit from satellite comms in the great outdoors, this $99 key fob will allow you to send text messages via satellite from any smartphone.”
He added: “That’s a very clever workaround, albeit one that will also need a separate, cheapish satellite data subscription.”
The Defy Satellite Link uses Bullitt’s proprietary service that debuted at CES. Within the next three months, you’ll be able to buy the device for £99 or as a £149 bundle with a one-year subscription. Head to the Motorola Rugged site to register your interest.
HMD/Nokia has designed a handset built for repair whilst partnering with a trusted brand, iFixit, to deliver sensibly priced parts, much to the surprise of one of our writers. “Who would have tipped Nokia to be at the vanguard of phone tech in 2023?” asked Lee Grant, who also happens to run a PC repair shop owner.
“The Nokia’s timing is interesting,” he added. “Within the next four years, all phones sold in the EU will be required to have user-replaceable batteries. This means iPhones, Pixels and Galaxies will need radical redesigns to accomplish what Nokia has already achieved.”
Lee points out that Nokia isn’t the first here – Fairphone has been building repairable and modular phones for a few years – but he applauds the move nonetheless. “Mobile design needs to be repairable to help stem the overwhelming flow of e-waste being spread around the planet,” he said. “The G22 may not be the perfect phone, but it’s a positive leap forward for mainstream sustainability.”
The Nokia G22 will go on sale in the UK on 8 March for £150 You can sign up for updates on Nokia’s website.
TCL NXTPAPER 11
“The TCL NXTPAPER (hate the name) is a twist on the traditional tablet,” said David Artiss, “giving users a 2K 11in tablet with a paper-like textured surface. Combined with a stylus with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity I’m hoping this will be an ideal solution for artists and writers alike.”
As the pictures show, it’s a colour device, but it does have a grayscale mode dedicated for reading. “It’s great to see some innovation within the market,” added David. “With a price likely to be around the £200 mark, it’s not going to break the bank either.”
The NXTPAPER 11 will be released in Europe in May this year, but the only confirmed price we’ve seen so far is $249.
Xiaomi 300W power charger
Could the next phone Barry buys be a Xiaomi? MWC 2023 has made it a fraction more likely. “As someone who only buys phones where you can count the battery life in days, having a phone that could potentially charge in five minutes would be a game-changer,” he said, after the company demoed a phone going from zero to 100% using a 300W charger in just such a time.
To put that in perspective, most chargers are around the 30W mark. Although we’ve seen a move to 100W or even 200W in a couple of phones already this year.
Back to Barry. “My only fear would be longevity of the battery and the heat it generates. I might let a few others try it out first…”
ZTE nubia Pad 3D
Okay, let’s say from the start that ZTE’s promo video is over-selling the benefits of glasses-less 3D vision, but we’ve seen it in action before so we know it works. Here, the magic comes in a 12.4in tablet that includes a separate layer created by Leia (a 3D tech developer). Together with Leia’s software, and a pair of eye-tracking cameras, it can turn 2D content into 3D – in real-time.
You won’t be watching EastEnders with this tablet, or football matches (sorry Barry), but it’s great for exhibitions, for sales demos and for education (eg showing a model of a heart to medical students).
Price? We don’t know. But it will be available for pre-order later this month and is supposed to go on sale in April, so we don’t have long to wait.