Barcelona is once again teeming with technology experts as the Mobile World Congress 2023 is in town. The sun might not be shining this year, but the future of tech products looks brighter than ever.
As you would expect from the name, smartphones are the focus here, but not exclusively. Among the exhibitors, there's everything from laptops and VR headsets to electric scooters and connected smart home gadgets.
Among the new products, it's not unusual for manufacturers to tease future releases or deliver concepts of what could be. These concepts push the boundaries of technology and while might not come to fruition, are often some of the highlights of the show.
We've been scouring the sprawling seven halls of the Fira Gran Via to find the best that MWC has to offer. These are a mixture of new releases and concepts that not only demonstrate why this is an important date in the tech calendar but also that 2023 is going to be an interesting year.
These are the T3 Best of MWC Award winners:
Xiaomi 13 Pro
Xiaomi's new flagship phone is created in partnership with Leica, and therefore unsurprisingly focuses on its photographic credence. The triple-camera array on the Xiaomi 13 Pro includes Leica optics and a huge 1-inch sensor for the main camera with a 50MP resolution.
The camera isn't the only great thing about the 13 Pro though. There's a 6.73-inch 120Hz AMOLED display, a second-gen Snapdragon 8 processor and 120W fast-charging to go from 0 to 100% in under 20 minutes. If that wasn't enough, it looks gorgeous too.
Honor Magic 5 Pro
Honor also dropped its new flagship phone just as MWC opened its doors. The new Honor Magic 5 Pro is also a photography heavyweight, featuring three 50MP cameras from ultra-wide to periscope telephoto, all arranged in a giant circular bump.
There's a 6.81-inch 1800-nit OLED curved display, a second-gen Snapdragon 8 processor and a 5100mAh battery. It also comes in a fetching meadow green colour that stands out from the usual black and grey of high-end smartphones. There's plenty of options in the premium smartphone market right now, and this is definitely one to shortlist.
The OnePlus Tab isn't just another Android tablet. This sleek-looking 11.6-inch device has a 7:5 ratio making it slightly squarer than most. This gives you a bit of extra height compared to other displays its size. That display also has a 144Hz refresh rate (complete with Dolby Vision HDR), making videos and animations as silky smooth as the green brushed aluminium finish on the casing. This is paired with four speakers to deliver great sound, with Dolby Atmos compatibility.
Under the hood, there's a Mediatek Dimensity 9000 chip with WiFi 6 and 8GB RAM. Perhaps the most impressive feature though is the battery life. The 9510mAh battery claims to deliver 12.4 hours of playback or up to 30 days of standby.
Motorola rollable phone concept
Though not on display on the show floor, Motorolla brought something special to MWC this year, aside from the excellent Defy Bullit Satellite Messenger. Its rollable concept is a 5-inch that extends to a 6.5-inch display at the touch of a button.
One nice consequence of the rolling screen is that the bottom part can be used as a rear screen for the device when not extended – which is handy for selfies or basic call info. When writing emails or watching videos the screen extends automatically – allowing you room to type or to watch full 16:9 in landscape mode.
This phone didn't feel like a wild concept either. Everything about the model seems thought out and almost ready to launch. We'd love to see this come to market in the near future.
Lenovo rollable laptop concept
Lenovo also employed its rollable concept to one of its laptops. The regular 4:3 format 12.7-inch laptop screen here extends upwards until you have a larger portrait format (8:9) 15.3-inch display. It's a handy solution for those long spreadsheets or where you might want to use a split-screen setup, for things like video editing or gaming.
Of course, rolling screens aren't new – LG's rolling TV went on sale in 2020 – but bringing the concept to a laptop almost feels more useful. Perhaps it's actually tablets where this rolling technology will eventually find a home though. We've already seen Samsung's extending tablet at CES 2023 but this could allow you more flexibility.
How could we not give the Realme GT3 an award? This handset delivers something that no other phone in the world can offer: super-fast charging. With a 240W system the GT3 can accelerate to a full charge in under 10 minutes. That's mind-bendingly impressive.
Realme has had to think particularly carefully about safety due to this super-fast charging, too, with the design catering for this with impressive cooling for heat-reduction and receiving TÜV Rheinland certification, ensuring that speedy charging isn't ever going to slow you down.
Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition
The Xiaomi stand was one of the busiest at the show this year, with everything from flagship phones to robot dogs on display. But one of the most talked about products was a concept pair of AR glasses.
The Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition offers one of the best display resolutions on the market, features electrochromic colour-changing lenses, houses a Snapdragon processor and is super-lightweight and balanced when worn.
Huawei GT Cyber
Huawei's smartwatch game has gotten pretty inventive in recent months, no more so than the Watch Buds but it's not stopping there. The GT Cyber takes customisation to a new level by allowing you to swap not only the strap but also the casing.
The actual watch is just a pebble-like screen that fits inside a selection of case-strap combos. To change it, you simply press down on the face to pop it out of the current case and then push it into the new one. There are six cases available, in three different styles. The only issue is that this model isn't scheduled to come to Europe or the US, so if you want one, you need to go to China (or parts of Latin America) to get one.
Motorola Defy Satellite Link
While many were enthused with Motorola's rollable phone, another new product hit the stands which caught our eye. The Motorola Defy Satellite Link is a dongle that can connect via Bluetooth to almost any handset, giving users the ability to send satellite messages through the Bullitt Satellite Messaging platform.
Users can make SOS calls – similar to the Emergency SOS feature on the iPhone 14 – but can also send regular satellite messages to friends and family to check in when out of range. It’s built like a tank, too, so it’ll be perfect for adventurers.
OnePlus 11 Concept
If you're sick of your phone getting hot in your hands, when it's working overtime, this OnePlus concept could be the answer. This concept version of the OnePlus 11 is liquid cooled, allowing it to stay cool and therefor function more effectively.
It uses Active CryoFlux , a liquid used in cooling systems for gaming PCs, with thin tubes running the length of the phone body. The concept model shows these in bright blue on the back of the phone, which also looks pretty stylish. Of course, a cooling system would allow for more powerful chips to be placed inside mobile devices, which could mean big leaps in mobile gaming. It's just a concept right now, but we wouldn't surprised if a cooled phone comes to market in the near future.