Mobile World Congress (MWC) is typically reserved for just smartphones and related technology, but this year we saw an uptick on Windows 10 devices including Microsoft's long-awaited followup in mobile holographic computing. Toss in a couple of PCs, portable displays, and other important advancements, and MWC may be expanding to more than just phones. Here's what we liked best from this year's show.
Best of MWC 2019
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The only wearable holographic computer
Four years ago, Microsoft surprised the world with a wearable holographic computer called HoloLens. In 2019, its sequel – HoloLens 2 – was announced with many advancements. Just as interesting is the rapidly expanding ecosystem around the technology and Microsoft's push into an open platform letting companies like Epic Games endorse the category. Doubled filed-of-view, doubled-resolution, tripled comfort level and now hand tracking makes this the most advanced wearable tech yet.
A different take on the folding phone, and it's available to buy this year
We usually don't focus on Android phones, but we must give it to Huawei for the Mate X – its first foldable phone. Even though Samsung was first to announce its Galaxy Fold, the consensus seems to be that Huawei upstaged the company with a better design. It goes to show you just how big a deal Chinese technology companies are – no longer do they just copy, but they're leading now. Sure, the €2,299 ($2,612) price is absurd, but the same could be said for the first home PC and smartphone. Will it be any good? We have no idea, but this is the start of a new revolution in mobile.
Super portable and light
Portable secondary laptop displays are nothing new – we've reviewed a few in the past – but Lenovo's new ThinkVision M14 pushes the boundaries. First, it's preposterously light compared to others on the market. Next, it has a neat flippy kickstand that lets you align the screen to your laptop's, making it evener. While the screen quality looks to be just OK at full HD, the sheer thinness and portability make this a fun travel item for those who need more than one screen.
Now even better
Huawei wowed the world in 2018 with its MateBook X Pro, which seemed to effectively perfect the laptop. The new version for 2019 doesn't radically change things – which is a good thing – but the new "Whiskey Lake" processor, updated MX250 GPU, Huawei Share 3.0, 4x Thunderbolt 3, and overall refinements make it still one of the best laptops – and values – on the market.
More storage for that 5G world
Just a few years ago it was common to find smartphones (and a few PCs) with 32GB of storage. Now in 2019, you can get 1TB of extra memory in an expandable format – which is crazy. With 4K content, people shooting in RAW, and reduced prices, these cards are great for Surface Pro users or anyone with an Android phone. The price is still high at $450, but those will fall soon enough.
5G for the Always-Connected PC
5G networks are slowly becoming a thing and if you put aside the hype, the low latency and data speeds will be the future backbone for mobile connectivity and game streaming. That's why it's important that we get the Snapdragon x55 modem for PCs. Next time you buy a Windows laptop, tablet, or ARM-based device the Snapdragon x55 is likely to be your 5G option for super-fast connectivity. Why should phones have all the fun?
Mobile World Congress 2019 was not a huge show for Windows, but the few announcements – especially HoloLens 2 – look to shape our mobile and computing future. The few things we did see are deserving of our Best of MWC award, and we can't wait to try them soon.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.