You may be wondering why Samsung, the world’s largest phone maker, is not present at Mobile World Congress, the largest mobile trade fair. Of course they are, we’re just not expecting any new products this week. Samsung unveiled Galaxy S phones at MWC, then switched to its own event to ensure it could keep all the headlines to itself.
The mega brand still has a presence in Barcelona as the show is all about mobile networking technology, mobile components as well as finished phone products and Samsung is involved in every aspect of the mobile industry from start to finish. We’ll be meeting with Samsung this week to make sure we don’t miss any surprise announcements from the brand.
As for the other big names in phones, Apple has never bothered with big trade shows outside of its own events. The original iPhone was actually announced around CES, but not in Las Vegas at the official CES show. It was at an event in California. We don’t expect any Apple news this week unless there are rumors or leaks, to keep the attention on track.
We knew the Bullitt Group would have a new Motorola Defy with satellite capabilities, but we were surprised to see the Motorola Defy Satellite Link. This accessory connects to your phone via Bluetooth and allows you to send text messages to anyone via a satellite connection.
It relies on a Bullitt Group messaging app to decide whether or not you need to use the satellite. If you send a message to someone who doesn’t have the app installed, the first message that person will receive will be a link asking them to download it. Then they can communicate with you no matter where you are.
I wish there didn’t have to be an app middleman, but nonetheless, this is the first truly consumer-friendly satellite messaging device we’ve seen. It’s available on the upcoming Motorola Defy 2 smartphone as well as the amazing new Satellite Link device.
We spent a little time with Xiaomi’s new camera phone in our Xiaomi 13 Pro review, but Xiaomi’s entry-level model isn’t a problem either. While only the Pro model gets the large 1-inch camera sensor, both phones benefit from Leica tuning.
We’ll have to spend more time snapping photos with each phone to see how much they benefit from the standout camera maker, but we’ve seen mixed results with these partnerships in the past.
The current OnePlus 11 has a partnership with Hasselblad, but that deal appears to cover color matching and processing. With Leica, Xiaomi also seems to have gotten some help with the design of the camera’s lenses and components, which could make a difference.
One phone we’ll see soon is the OnePlus 11 concept phone. OnePlus told us last month that it would have a concept device here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and has since posted a preview on its website showing the back of the phone.
The picture looks like the kind of liquid cooling we’d expect from a gaming PC, so we think OnePlus could have its sites on some serious gaming claim with the new concept device. With its concept title, it’s not clear if this is a OnePlus phone you can actually buy or just a technology demonstration. We hope to get our hands on the new phone soon.
OnePlus has also teased a OnePlus Pad tablet, and we expect to see the company’s first iPad competitor here at the MWC show. We’ll have practical details and a full rundown as soon as we can spend time with the new devices.
Xiaomi’s new phones aren’t the first major Mobile World Congress launch we’ve seen. I had the chance to preview satellite news on a Motorola Defy prototype earlier this year, and now Motorola and the Bullitt Group have announced it Motorola Defy 2 and the Motorola Defy Satellite Link.
Both the rugged, waterproof Defy 2 and Satellite Link can send messages via geostationary satellites. Unlike the iPhone 14 family of devices, which can use satellites for emergency messaging and SOS, the Moto Defy 2 and satellite connection are good for boring, everyday messaging that doesn’t require a helicopter rescue.
The Defy Satellite Link will launch in the US and UK for $99/£99, while the Motorola Defy 2 will retail for $599/£549. The satellite news is free for a period of time and then costs $4.99/€4.99 for 30 news per month via satellite.
Will Xiaomi’s big sensor challenge the Galaxy S23 Ultra? The new Xiaomi 13 Pro features the same 1-inch camera sensor as the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, the Sony IMX 989 sensor module. This phone was so good that one of our writers called it the best camera phone he had ever used.
While Samsung’s latest ultra-premium phone far outperforms the Xiaomi 13 Pro in megapixel count, the size of the sensor is more important than the number of pixels. The sensor from Samsung measures about 3/4 inch diagonally. The Sony sensor in Xiaomi’s new phone is 1-inch, the same size as many professional DSLR cameras.
Of course, photography is complicated and the sensor is only part of the equation. Both phones also benefit from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform, which includes Qualcomm’s image signal processor.
We’ll have to spend a lot of time with Xiaomi’s new 13 Pro before we declare it our favorite camera, but it certainly packs the right specs to take on the champion and we’re happy to see it’s more widely adopted than Xiaomi’s previous camera.
Welcome to Barcelona, mobile fans! We are present at the Mobile World Congress in Spain, the largest trade fair for mobile technology. We expect a lot of news and Xiaomi has already started with a big global announcement.
The Chinese company will finally bring its highly acclaimed Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro to global markets. The Xiaomi 13 Pro’s 1-inch camera sensor and Leica-branded lens will be available in the UK and many markets beyond, although sadly it won’t make its way onto US soil.
We got our hands on both of Xiaomi’s new phones, as well as the revamped Xiaomi 13 Lite, a bargain model that’s also launching globally. We’ll have a more detailed Xiaomi 13 review soon, so keep checking back.
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