With so much going on in the world right now, it’s easy to forget that Mobile World Congress, the first of many tech events canceled due to COVID-19, made its triumphant return this week in a format in person in Barcelona. The show, while relatively low-key given the current state of the world, remained center stage for many new gadgets and technologies to debut.
I got my hands on announcements from Lenovo and TCL ahead of time and have articles covering virtually all of their new products (on the site now). Then, as usual, a tsunami of news flooded my inbox and I couldn’t access everything I wanted to cover. And covering the show remotely, my job of sifting through headlines to find the best of the best was a little more tedious than usual. So, I thought I’d spend some time browsing through the news and finding the MWC announcements that I found most interesting for this week’s edition of bugging.
Ultra-fast charging speeds for your phone are finally here
Oppo was among the most compelling presenters with the unveiling of the new 150W SuperVOOC fast charging. fill your phone from 1% to 100% in as little as 15 minutes.
At least that’s according to Oppo citing relatively early testing of the technology. It has yet to deliver the insane speeds on a commercial phone, but devices from OnePlus and Realme will launch with it as early as this year.
What’s even crazier is Oppo’s more conceptual announcement of 240W charging. This version of SuperVOOC charging will be able to charge a 4,500mAh battery from zero to 100% in as little time. only nine minutes, which sounds crazy.
As long as Oppo, OnePlus, Realme and any other company that decides to ship phones with these fast charging speeds can deliver the experience (e.g. keep their phones from getting hot, include a compatible wall wart in the box, don’t charge a huge premium when buying an extra wall wart), we could be about to see seemingly instantaneous smartphone charging speeds become commonplace. That’s very exciting, especially since the fastest charging speeds currently reach 80W and barely a quarter of that of other popular phones.
Oppo’s Find X5 Pro has arrived
Of course, Oppo didn’t stop at charging technology. The company finally unveiled its Find X5 series, and the Find X5 Pro got a lot of attention.
It’s probably thanks to this design, which is simply unique. The camera bump is blended into the rest of the phone’s ceramic backplate, and with the white finish, it’s hard to deny the resemblance to a Stormtrooper.
Specs are also on par with a 6.7-inch 120Hz Quad HD AMOLED display, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, 12GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and a 5,000mAh battery with charging. 80W fast. The cameras are tuned by Hasselblad with a 50MP main sensor on the rear paired with a second 50MP ultra-wide lens and a 13MP telephoto lens. Oppo includes its own MariSilicon X imaging NPU for enhanced 4K HDR video.
Overall, the phone looks like a stellar deal for those in the markets where it will be sold. Unfortunately, those details remain unclear, along with the exact cost of the phone. Sascha Segan at PCMag has a handy piece that details the phone a bit more for those curious about the details.
The Honor’s Magic 4 Pro charges wirelessly at 100W
Talking about both super-fast charging and new smartphones at MWC, Honor took to the stage to announce its new flagship, the Magic 4 Pro. The phone does all the flagship things you’d expect (fast processor, high-end cameras, big battery), but by far the most interesting aspect is its blazingly fast 100W wireless charging speed.
Obviously, Honor will sell its own proprietary wireless charging accessory for the Magic 4 Pro to hit the speeds, and it’ll provide a 100W charging brick for those who prefer wired top-ups. The phone’s 4,600mAh battery will be able to go from zero to 100% in 30 minutes according to the company, which is nothing short of impressive.
If you want more details, Android Authorityby C. Scott Brown went by hand.
TCL’s flexible, foldable and rollable concept phones
I didn’t do a full review on these devices as I ran out of time, but I wanted to mention some of TCL’s concept phones that he briefly talked about during the show.
There’s the 360 degree Ultra Flex which offers a basic hot dog style form factor when folded and laid flat but can then wrap around 360 degrees so you have a screen of both sides of your phone.
Then there’s the Fold N Roll which is definitely the highlight of the two devices. TCL says the device can not only unfold like the Ultra Flex or something like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3, but its screen can also be enlarged by pulling or “rolling down” the rest of the panel.
The Ultra Flex, according to TCL, comes with an 8.01-inch PLP AMOLED display with 2480×1860 resolution, along with support for an active pen. Meanwhile, the Fold N Roll’s screen measures 7 inches when retracted and 8.8 inches when extended. Its 2880×2160 resolution is supported by a 360 ppi. Additionally, the device ranges from 8mm to 18mm thick depending on whether it is folded or unfolded.
TCL does not promise to ship either of these phones in any way. Rather, it’s simple concepts that he emphasizes to say “hey, we’re thinking weird stuff”. And let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a quirky gadget?
Samsung updates its Galaxy Books with 12th Gen Intel processors, 1080p webcams and Multi-Control (aka Sidecar)
In the laptop world, Samsung unveiled some new Galaxy Books in the form of a new Galaxy Book 2 Pro, Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360, and Galaxy Book 2 360. Each of the new devices comes with Full HD AMOLED displays, 12th Gen Intel processors, and 1080p webcams for sharper video calls.
One feature that caught my eye was Multi-Control, exclusive to the Galaxy Book 2 Pro. It lets you pair the laptop with one of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8s and use it as a secondary monitor. It’s the same concept that Apple followed with Sidecar on Mac and iPad. It’s unclear if Samsung is able to match Apple’s rendering quality, but that’s what the reviews are for.
Apart from these changes, you can expect a very similar experience with these Galaxy Books if you are familiar with the Galaxy Book lifestyle. Many Samsung-oriented software features are built in, the laptops remain extremely light, and they are all relatively affordable. The Galaxy Book 2 360 starts at $899.99, the Galaxy Book 2 Pro starts at $1,049.99, and the Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 starts at $1,299.99. They will start shipping on April 1.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X13s is the first to run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3
By far, one of the most interesting Lenovo announcements I covered during MWC was the ThinkPad X13. The laptop is cited as the first to ship with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor, which promises to deliver both performance and efficiency. It is also the first laptop to ship with Windows 11 running on ARM.
Because it’s a Snapdragon chip, Lenovo is able to claim insane battery life, up to 28 hours of use on a full charge. It also includes 5G connectivity and the ability to keep the device always on so you get those instant wake-up times we all enjoy on our phones.
It will retail for $1,099 when it goes on sale in May.
Huawei unveils high-end Android e-reader/tablet with stylus support
If you want more from your Kindle but are tired of waiting for Amazon to give it to you, maybe Huawei has what you’re looking for. The company unveiled its new MatePad Paper tablet which, at its core, is an e-reader with a large 10.3-inch screen.
However, take it a step further and you’ll find that it’s actually an Android tablet (running HarmonyOS and all). The MatePad Paper includes support for Huawei’s M-Pencil stylus for taking notes, and there’s a microphone for recording voice notes. Huawei even includes its app gallery to download new apps.
Admittedly, I don’t know how useful a completely gray Android e-Ink tablet can be, but if you like it, it will launch for €499 (or about $558). Basil Kronfli at Tech Radar has a great handy article if you want to dive deeper.
From bugging newsletter. Subscribe to get columns like this every week in your inbox.