MWC 2019: The coolest gadgets and tech that impressed us in Barcelona

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Attendees take pictures of the Mate X foldable phone just outside of Huawei’s booth at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. (Express photo by Anuj Bhatia)

Another MWC is over. The world’s biggest mobile show, held annually in Barcelona, Spain, had a lot to offer this year. We saw many new smartphones and gadgets over four exhausting days. Some felt flat and failed to impress us. But there were a few gems that bring innovation to the table.

We tried to pick five coolest gadgets and tech that really stood in the halls of Fira Gran Via in Barcelona. Here are our favorites.

Nokia 9 PureView

While the jury is (still) out on whether we need five cameras on a phone, Nokia 9 PureView seemed promising in the little time we spent with the exclusive, limited-edition phone. Nokia 9 PureView caters to pro users who understand the fundamentals of photography, so the phone is super niche in terms of the demography it caters to. But even then the idea of selling a smartphone with six-module cameras (five lenses + Time of Flight) co-designed with Zeiss and Light in itself is fascinating.

What’s interesting here, is how the device takes shots on all five cameras together, then stitches the results together to create a single image. The implementation is not only different, but it’s also unique. No word on local pricing or availability, but HMD Global’s Ajey Mehta has confirmed to indianexpress.comthe launch of Nokia 9 PureView in India is a done deal.

Huawei Mate X

We have always dreamt of a device that’s pocketable and handy as a phone, but offering much larger screen (similar to a tablet) when required. The Mate X is such a device that blends a phone and a tablet together. The reason why everyone’s talking about Huawei’s Mate X is that it does not look like a concept device.

Of course, it won’t be an easy task for Huawei to convince users to buy a foldable phone. The challenges are innumerable; like the cost of manufacturing, software issues and to ensure the foldable screen can withstand a lot of drops and pressure. Nevertheless, the $2600 Mate X did manage to create a positive impression about the future of foldable phones. Undoubtedly, the Mate X is by far the best foldable phone we have seen so far, easily beating the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and Royole Flexpai. Read our first look of Huawei Mate X.

Call it a phone or a smartwatch, the Nubia Alpha is an unusual device. It offers a full-fledged smartphone experience but wraps around the wrist like a smartwatch, thanks to a flexible OLED display. But while the Nubia Alpha is pitched as a “wearable smartphone”, we doubt consumers are ready to own a device that is half-baked. Also, we are not sure who would like to shell €549 on a strange, alien-looking, device. For now, Nubia Alpha might not be practical but as the technology progresses and foldable screens get better, consumers might be interested in a bendable phone.


LG G8 has been introduced with something called Air Power, a new gesture-driven interface. It’s actually more interesting than the phone itself. Instead of touching the device, you can use hand motions in front of the phone’s front-facing 3D camera to turn up the volume, skip tracks, take screenshots and more.

Given those motions are customisable, it’s easy to assign gestures in specific apps. It’s kind of cool, though we felt the implementation wasn’t as precise as it should be. The problem is, you need to find the right distance between your hands and the camera to use those gestures.

Look, we get it. The hands-free gestures may seem gimmicky and not many are convinced by LG’s new Air Power interface. But contrary to what others say, we believe those hand motions are a glimpse of what’s possible in the near future, especially with the first wave of foldables round the corner.

Oppo 10x lossless zoom camera tech

At MWC 2019, Oppo showed the industry’s first 10x lossless zoom camera technology for smartphones. While most smartphone cameras have a maximum optical zoom of 2x, Oppo’s periscope solution offers 10x optical zoom on a phone. To achieve 10x lossless optical zoom on a phone, Oppo included three cameras that cover a range of 16mm to 160mm, hence a 10x zoom. We tried our hands-on with Oppo’s 10x lossless zoom smartphone prototype, and found it impressive what we shot in the limited testing. The Chinese company said a phone with the new 10x optical zoom camera tech will be introduced in Q2 2019, but was not ready to offer more details.