MWC 2020 Preview: Everything we expect from this jam-packed event
MWC, short Mobile World Congress, is an annual event held by GSM Alliance in Barcelona, Spain. MWC is the world’s largest event to showcase mobile technology, and that is exactly what happens every year. Every year, OEMs around the world use MWC as a platform to announce their latest consumer-ready products, giving us smartphone enthusiasts plenty to drool over for the coming months. At MWC 2020, scheduled for 24-27 February, we are expecting a slew of releases, with major launch events lined up before as well as during the exhibition. Here we give you a lowdown on what to expect from MWC 2020.
HMD Global has used the MWC stage in the past to release Nokia-branded smartphones, and the company will be present this year too, so we can expect to see some Nokia-branded phones. Nokia will also be present at the event this year, but its talks center around 5G, so Nokia’s talks could be focused around the infrastructure more so than phones.
We don’t know much about HMD Global’s plans for its Nokia-branded smartphones at MWC 2020. HMD Global previously confirmed, during Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit, that they will launch phones using the Snapdragon 765 and Snapdragon 865 platforms. The company could unveil these phones at the event. We could also see more budget and mid-range phones as HMD Global is known for. Unfortunately, though, we haven’t seen any reliable leaks for the devices that could be at the show, but early unverified rumors suggest a Nokia 8.2 5G, Nokia 5.2, and Nokia 1.3 for this year’s event.
One wildcard could be the Nokia 400, which could be the first feature phone with Android. This mysterious device has been rumored for a while and we’ve seen hints at Android running on a feature phone. We really don’t know much about this phone, which leads us to believe it won’t be at MWC, but it is a possibility.
Huawei will also be present at MWC 2020, with “new products and solutions.” While the wording is very wide, Huawei will take the stage to talk about 5G for sure, as they reveal on their own website. This could relate to 5G infrastructure as Huawei has a significant presence in that area, so we aren’t entirely confident about whether we will see a new phone or tablet launches at MWC 2020. The Huawei P40 series is expected at a separate event in March 2020, so it is unlikely that the phone will be unveiled at MWC 2020 as that would render the separate March launch event pointless. Plans can change, of course, so we leave the door open to surprises.
For Honor, we have a better idea of what to expect, even if the particular details on some products are hazy. Honor sent out media invites announcing that the company will be showing off devices that will be launched in Europe, including the Honor 9X Pro and View 30 Pro. Honor says they will also have a “special edition” of the MagicWatch 2 smartwatch and wireless earbuds at MWC.
Honor 9X Pro
The Honor 9X Pro has been around for a while, but it has taken Honor some time to release it in all markets. Back in October, the company announced they would be releasing a different version of the Honor 9X Pro in Europe. It did make its way to a few European countries, but at MWC, Honor will be announcing an even wider global availability. The Honor 9X Pro is rocking a 6.59-inch display, the Kirin 810 processor, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and has a 4,000mAh battery. The device features three rear cameras: 48MP, 8MP wide-angle, and 2MP depth sensor. The front 16MP camera is housed in a pop-up mechanism and the device comes in purple and black colors.
Honor View 30 Pro
The Honor View 30 Pro is expected to be the global rebranding of the Honor V30 Pro that was launched in China in November 2019. We largely expect the phone to come with the same specifications, but we cannot rule out smaller changes for the different regions. The Honor V30 Pro comes with a 6.57″ FHD+ LCD with dual-punch holes for the front camera, the HiSilicon Kirin 990, a triple camera setup consisting of a 40MP primary, 12MP wide-angle, and 8MP telephoto cameras. The front setup on the V30 Pro comprises of a 32MP primary and an 8MP telephoto shooter. The V30 Pro supports dual-mode 5G, so we expect to see that carried over to the View 30 Pro too.
LG has been a regular at MWC for a few years now, as it takes the stage to announce its latest flagship that will compete against flagships from other top-tier OEMs. This year, we expect to see the LG V60 ThinQ with a dual-screen accessory and the LG G9 ThinQ launched at the event, at the very least.
LG V60 ThinQ
The LG V-series used to see a release in the second half of the year, but LG broke its tradition by launching the LG V50 alongside the LG G8 at MWC 2019, and then following up with the LG G8X in the second half. Thus, we expect to see the V60 ThinQ this year, and the device is expected to focus on the dual-screen experience through an accompanying second-screen accessory, much like the LG G8X. The folding structure is expected to see an upgrade — though the exact upgrade is still a mystery. And of course, there will be 5G.
LG G9 ThinQ
While the LG V60 ThinQ has not seen render leaks yet, the LG G9 ThinQ has, giving us a fair idea of what to expect from the upcoming LG flagship. The LG G9 will have a waterdrop notch for the singular front camera, indicating that there will be no hand gesture-based gimmicks this time around. The leaked renders show off a quad rear camera setup as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom, making this phone from LG one of the very phones in 2020 to still retain the port. The phone is also expected to have minimal bezels on a flat display, as well as an in-display fingerprint scanner.
At the Snapdragon Tech Summit, Motorola had announced that it would launch at least one phone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 and at least one phone with the Snapdragon 865. AndroidHeadlines reports that Motorola had sent out press invites for an MWC 2020 event, where the company is expected to announce this flagship phone. In addition to the flagship, three other Motorola devices have also leaked in the last few days — the Moto G8, the Moto G8 Power, and the Moto G Stylus. So it is possible that these three phones also make an appearance at MWC.
The Moto G8 is expected to come with a 6.39″ HD+ LCD, likely with a single hole-punch for the front camera. The fingerprint sensor will sit embedded within the Motorola batwing logo on the back of the phone, as the leaked renders corroborate. The phone is expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 665 and is likely coming with a 4,000 mAh battery with 10W charging. The phone is likely to come with a triple rear camera setup with a 16MP primary, 8MP wide-angle, and a 2MP macro camera; along with an 8MP front camera.
Moto G8 Power
The highlight of the Moto G8 Power is expected to be its 5,000 mAh battery and 18W fast charging support. The Moto G8 Power is also expected to come with a 6.36″ FHD+ LCD, and the batwing logo on the rear will house the fingerprint scanner. The camera setup is expected to be similar to the Moto G8 — but with an extra 8MP sensor on the rear, and the front seeing an upgrade to a 25MP shooter.
Moto G Stylus
Motorola is also expected to launch a phone in the G-lineup with an included stylus, though we do not expect the stylus to compete in functionality to Samsung’s S-Pen. We recently just learned more about this mysterious device. It has a 6.36-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64/128GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery. On the back, there is a 48MP main camera, 2MP macro camera, and 16MP wide-angle camera. Motorola will include some rudimentary software features for the stylus as well.
OnePlus has not confirmed any plans for MWC 2020. OnePlus typically does not announce new products at the event, but there’s always a possibility they could still do something. For example, at CES 2020, they showed off the Concept One smartphone. It’s possible we’ll see OnePlus demo its 120Hz display tech at the event, but I doubt we’ll see a full-fledged announcement of the OnePlus 8 series. OnePlus is a company that tries to grab headlines as much as possible, so we definitely expect some news from the event.
OPPO has confirmed that it will be present at MWC 2020 to talk about 5G technology, so we can expect the Chinese OEM to further mark its presence in some way. While no phone releases have been officially confirmed or announced by the company, it is a possibility that they lift the wraps off the OPPO Find X2 and OPPO Find X2 Pro. MWC 2020 would also be a good time to announce the global launch of the Reno3 series.
OPPO Find X2/X2 Pro
At OPPO Inno Day in December 2019, OPPO had confirmed that its next premium flagship, the Find X2, will launch in Q1 2020. The Find X2 Pro, on the other hand, received no such comments, but the device was recently spotted in NBTC certification filings. They will come with new technologies like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, Sony’s new 2×2 On-Chip Lens solution, and a better display with an emphasis on the display resolution, refresh rate, colors, and dynamic range. OPPO also had announced that they have signed a multi-year collaboration agreement with Pixelworks, so we can expect to see the Iris 5 visual processor in these devices too.
OPPO Reno3 Series
The OPPO Reno3 series was launched in China last month and we know it will eventually launch globally. OPPO’s press release said to “stay tuned” as the Reno3 series will “hit the other market[s] around the world,” after all. As a recap, the Reno3 has a 6.4-inch flat display, MediaTek Dimensity 100L processor, 8/12GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4,025mAh battery. The rear cameras are 64MP, 8MP wide-angle, monochrome, and portrait. The Reno3 Pro has a 6.5-inch curved display, Snapdragon 765G SoC, 8/12GB of RAM, 128/256GB of storage, and a 4,025mAh battery. The rear cameras are 48MP, 13MP telephoto, 8MP wide-angle, and 2MP monochrome.
The Reno3 was priced around $485 for the 8GB+128GB variant and $530 for the 12GB/128GB variant. The Reno3 Pro cost $570 for the 8GB+128GB variant and $640 for the 12GB/256GB variant.
Qualcomm will have an event at MWC, but it’s unknown if the company will unveil any new SoCs. They could announce adjacent products like improvements to their WiFi and Bluetooth tech. We don’t know much about their plans yet. Last year, the company announced the X55 5G modem just days before MWC. We’ll keep our eyes open for a similar announcement.
Realme has confirmed their presence at MWC 2020, with at least one 5G phone expected to be shown off as part of its global launch. This 5G phone could be the Realme X50 5G with the Snapdragon 765G that was announced in China recently, or a new smartphone with Snapdragon 865 (possibly called the Realme X50 Pro) as per more recent reports, or even better, both.
Realme X50 5G
The Realme X50 5G has already been launched in China, so we know what to expect unless there are any variations. One of the highlights of this device is the 120Hz refresh rate 6.57″ FHD+ LCD with an elongated camera cutout for the dual front cameras. The phone comes along with Snapdragon 765G, 4,200 mAh battery with 30W VOOC 4.0 fast charging support, a quad-rear camera setup consisting of a 64MP primary, 8MP wide-angle, 12MP telephoto, and 2MP macro camera, as well as a 16MP primary and 8MP wide-angle camera on the front. There’s a side-mounted fingerprint scanner too.
Samsung already has its own Galaxy Unpacked event, where it is expected to unveil the new Galaxy S20 series and the Galaxy Z Flip. Galaxy Unpacked 2020 is not coinciding with MWC 2020 as it is held a good two weeks before MWC. As a consequence, we do not expect Samsung to show off any flagship phones at MWC 2020, but instead, use the opportunity to show off its new phones that would have already been launched by then. There is a possibility that Samsung does unveil new releases in its A-series lineup though.
Sony has confirmed that it has scheduled a press event at MWC 2020. We’re expecting to see the 21:9 aspect ratio Sony Xperia 5 Plus (or whatever its final marketing name would be) to be announced at the event.
Sony Xperia 5 Plus
The Sony Xperia 5 Plus is expected to carry forward the 21:9 trend from Sony with a tall 6.6″ OLED display with thin bezels as well as dual front-facing stereo speakers and an 8MP front camera. The phone is expected to also retain the rectangular boxy look from recent Sony flagships. This phone is also expected to come with a triple rear camera setup with an additional ToF sensor, and a 3.5mm headphone jack too. Leaked renders have suggested a side-mounted fingerprint sensor too, indicating that Sony is not yet ready to make the jump to in-display fingerprint sensors just yet.
TCL took the stage at CES earlier this year to announce its self-branded smartphones: the TCL 10 5G, TCL 10L, and TCL 10 Pro. The CES announcement showed off the design of the device and some preliminary details, and TCL mentioned that they will announce complete details on the lineup at MWC 2020.
The TCL 10 5G offers sub-6GHz 5G connectivity thanks to a Snapdragon 7-series SoC (likely the Snapdragon 765). The official renders of the phone show off a phone with thin bezels and a quad-camera module (with a 64MP primary camera) above the physical fingerprint scanner on the rear. The highlight of the device will be its price, as the TCL 10 5G is expected to be priced under $500, which should make it one of the more affordable 5G smartphones in the US market.
Vivo has also announced its presence for MWC 2020. But much like last year, the company is expected to use the event to show off a concept smartphone, presumably in the APEX lineup.
Last year, the Vivo Apex 2019 was shown off as a 5G concept phone made out of a glass unibody, with three pressure-sensitive capacitive buttons on the side as a replacement for conventional press buttons for power and volume. This glass unibody design led the way to eliminate all ports on the device — so the Vivo Apex 2019 had no USB port, no speaker grill, no SIM tray, and of course, no headphone jack. The phone also featured a full-display fingerprint scanner, which means that the in-display fingerprint scanner works to recognize fingers placed anywhere across the display. Of course, as a concept smartphone, the phone was not meant to go under mass production, so Vivo removed the front camera too, because why not. With these risks taken already, we’re very curious where Vivo leads us this year.
Xiaomi isn’t listed for a press event at MWC 2020 yet, but they do have a booth on the ground. Xiaomi has confirmed that the Chinese OEM will launch the Mi 10 with the Snapdragon 865 in Q1 2020, so that is the likeliest of possibilities of what we can see in their booth — though how they will handle an announcement remains to be seen. We might also see the Mi 10 Pro, whose existence was very recently confirmed.
Mi 10/Mi 10 Pro
At least two phones exist within the Mi 10 lineup, and conventional naming techniques suggest these would be the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro. The Mi 10 Pro will support 66W fast charging. We’re hoping to get more quality leaks for these devices as the event approaches.
ZTE has confirmed attendance at MWC 2020 with a 5G-focused event. Of course, the conversation will revolve around 5G, but it is within the realm of possibility that we also see the company announce the ZTE Axon 10s Pro 5G with the Snapdragon 865. The phone has passed through TENAA, so we have a fair idea of what to expect out of the device if it does indeed get launched at MWC.
ZTE Axon 10s Pro 5G
The ZTE Axon 10s Pro 5G looks nearly identical to the Axon 10 Pro, but there are several key updates. First and foremost, as the name implies, this device will support 5G connectivity. This will be a major point of focus at MWC and ZTE will be onboard with it. ZTE has revealed that the device will feature WiFi 6 with support for dual-WiFi acceleration, LPDDR5 memory, and UFS 3.0 flash storage.
ZTE also let the cat out of the bag about the SoC, which will be the Snapdragon 865. Further leaks have filled-in some of the other details as well. The phone will come in 6GB, 8GB, and 12GB RAM variants, as well as storage options ranging from 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. It has a 48MP main sensor, and what we expect to be a 20MP wide-angle and 8MP telephoto sensor. The battery should be 3,900.
MWC 2020 is set to be another huge show for the mobile industry. While we already have a decent idea of what we’ll see at the event, there will absolutely be more than what’s listed on this page. You’ll want to keep up with everything that happens in Barcelona by following our MWC 2020 tag. Who’s excited for a big show?