What was presented at MWC 2023?
Mobile World Congress 2023, the world's largest exhibition of mobile technologies, took place this week in Barcelona. Traditionally, it brought together hundreds of companies that presented their latest products and solutions, as well as tens of thousands of visitors: business representatives and the press.
Although MWC 2023 brought together a huge number of companies from all over the world, including such giants as Samsung, Dell, Qualcomm and Intel, the most fascinating for the mass public were the announcements of Chinese companies. We are talking about Xiaomi, Honor, Realme, who presented their new flagship smartphones at MWC 2023.
Global Xiaomi 13/Pro
Xiaomi, one might say, opened MWC 2023, announcing on the “zero” day of the exhibition the international versions of the flagship smartphones Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro, which debuted in China at the end of February, so everything was already known about them. Everyone expected the announcement of a super-flagship in the face of Xiaomi 13 Ultra, but this did not happen. And the only brand-new Xiaomi smartphone at of MWC 2023 was the mid-range model Xiaomi 13 Lite. Prices:
- Xiaomi 13/13 Pro. Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro are typical modern flagships: they are built on Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, equipped with high-quality OLED displays and advanced cameras with Leica optics. As far as I could see at the exhibition stand, the cameras shoot really well, especially with the Xiaomi 13 Pro, where the main module is built around a large, 1-inch Sony IMX989 sensor. And the smartphones themselves feel like real flagships, not inferior to their kind.
- Xiaomi 13 Lite. As for Xiaomi 13 Lite, it is built on a mid-range platform – Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, has a fairly bright AMOLED display, as well as a triple 50-megapixel rear and dual 32-megapixel front cameras. Even the flagships cannot boast of a dual selfie camera, so this middling camera surpasses them in some ways.
- Prices. Since everything was already known about Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro, the main intrigue was the price of their international versions. And here the Chinese manufacturer really surprised. For the base Xiaomi 13, they asked for 1,000 euros, and for Xiaomi 13 Pro – 1,300 euros! So much in Europe are, respectively, the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro. Moreover, for comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S23 starts at €950 in Europe and the Galaxy S23 Ultra starts at €1,400.
Honor Magic 5 Pro
Honor held perhaps the brightest presentation at MWC 2023, presenting a new battery technology, as well as four smartphones at once, of which three are in the higher price category. New in Honor:
- AI Motion Sensor Capture. The senior flagship Magic5 Pro took center stage at the Honor presentation. This smartphone is distinguished by an advanced screen with high brightness and high-quality color reproduction, as well as a high-end camera. And the latter is so good that DXoMark experts recognized the Magic5 Pro as the smartphone with the best camera in the world. Honor itself drew attention to the very high speed of the camera in the new smartphone, which will give you the opportunity to take stunning pictures of moving objects. And since it can be difficult to catch the right moment yourself, AI will come to the rescue – in the AI Motion Sensor Capture mode, the smartphone takes a series of shots and chooses the best moment.
- Magic5 Lite. The base flagship Magic5 was also introduced, which has a simpler screen, and the camera is not so perfect. But still, it is a powerful smartphone with a wide range of features and high-end equipment. But the younger Magic5 Lite is a classic representative of mid-range smartphones, somewhat less powerful than the Xiaomi 13 Lite described above.
- Magic VS. Special attention deserves Magic Vs, the first Honor smartphone with a folding screen, which was introduced to the international market. True, it also has an undoubted minus: it is no longer based on the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 platform. However, on the other hand, everything works smoothly, and the stock of last year's flagship Qualcomm chip is good.
- Prices. Although Honor did not raise prices like Xiaomi, it did not become modest either. The Magic5 and Magic5 Pro will go on sale in the second quarter of this year for €900 and €1,200 respectively. The younger Magic5 Lite has already been released at a price of 380 euros. A smartphone, the book Magic Vs, is priced at 1,600 euros, which is 100 euros cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4.
- Battery. Finally, Honor unveiled the industry's first silicon-carbon battery at MWC 2023, which has a 12.8% higher energy density than current lithium batteries. The focus is that it retains charge better than traditional solutions at low voltage. If the lithium battery is already nearly empty when its voltage drops to 3.5 volts, then the Honor battery retains 240% more charge at this voltage.
Realme GT3 240W
While most manufacturers compete in smartphone performance or mobile photography quality, Realme has chosen a different path this year: it is ramping up charging power. At its presentation, the Chinese manufacturer boasted a lot about how it actively introduces fast charging into smartphones of all price categories. Over 90% of new Realme devices support 33W or more charging. This is undoubtedly a gigantic plus because no one likes to wait for this smartphone to finally charge. Realme New:
- 240W. At MWC 2023, Realme unveiled the pinnacle of its work on fast charging – the Realme GT3 smartphone, which has the fastest charger in the world. It is capable of accepting 240W power and charging from 0 to 100% in just 9 minutes 30 seconds. Less than 10 minutes for a full charge – it's wonderful! And yes, a power supply with the required power is included in the kit. Not like some!
- Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. Another interesting feature is the presence of a backlit rectangle on the back that signals notifications, charging status and other things. It seems like a trifle, but it catches the eye. Otherwise, this is a completely ordinary flagship, and not on the newest platform – last year's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is used here.
- Price. Compared to the Honor and Xiaomi flagships described above, the new Realme is seen as a quite affordable solution – the Realme GT3 smartphone is priced at only 650 euros.
Huawei Watch GT Cyber
Huawei at the MWC exhibition, although it occupied almost the entire pavilion, however, there were almost no really new consumer products in it. Is that the global version of the Watch GT Cyber smartwatch. Their main feature is the ability to change the design at will: the novelty can be replaced not only with the strap, like most smartwatches, but even with the case itself. Huawei Watch:
- Watch with a quick change case. The Chinese manufacturer describes the novelty as a “watch with a quick change case” — the owner can quickly adapt the appearance of the device to any style by simply inserting the main part into the new case with a strap. You can also replace the side wheel. And without the case, the novelty resembles an old pocket watch – all that remains is to attach the chain.
- Harmony OS. In terms of features and capabilities, the Watch GT Cyber is nothing special. They have a 1.32-inch display, provide up to 7 days of autonomy, run Harmony OS, support notifications, various applications, can monitor heart rate, sleep quality and other health indicators.
While studying the booths of various companies at MWC 2023, I accidentally stumbled upon a previously unfamiliar Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Unihertz. Attention was drawn to a series of Jelly smartphones – according to the manufacturer, these are the most compact smartphones in the world with 4G LTE support. And it's easy to believe this statement: the dimensions of the latest Jelly 2E model are only 95 × 49.4 × 16.5 mm. The smartphone has a tiny 3-inch screen by today's standards, a quad-core processor, a 2000 mAh battery and even two cameras: a 16-megapixel main camera and an 8-megapixel front camera. There are two slots for SIM-cards.
The smartphone is running full Android 12. And there is also a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which has no place in much larger full-sized smartphones. In addition, Unihertz offers a secure version of the smartphone described above under the name Atom. It has an even tinier 2.45-inch screen, but a thicker and stronger body, as well as protection against dust and moisture in accordance with the IP68 standard. Finally, Unihertz unveiled a more traditional Luna smartphone at the Barcelona show with luminous lines on the transparent back panel. In some ways, this is very much like the idea of Nothing, implemented in Phone (1). Well, the appearance of imitators can be considered a sign of success. Although, Unihertz went further and made the backlight colorful.