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Best of MWC 2023: Award winners from this year’s Mobile World Congress

MWC 2023 has been jam-packed with product launches this year – here are the ones that impressed us the most

The annual mobile tech show, MWC 2023, has returned with a long list of high-flying product announcements. This year’s conference will perhaps best be remembered for its rollable and foldable displays, concept devices and a focus on sustainability – we even had our first glimpse at what 6G networking might have in store for us in the future.

After a brief pandemic break, the Expert Reviews team was again out in full force, covering all of the announcements that mattered directly from the show floor. Below, we’ve listed our favourite products we thought earned an Expert Reviews “Best of MWC 2023” award, including a liquid-cooled smartphone, a high-mileage electric scooter and a low-cost handset you can repair at home.

Honor Magic 5 Pro

The Magic 5 Pro is Honor’s ultra-premium flagship smartphone for 2023, with the company also launching a range of products at MWC, including a Z Fold 4-like foldable handset. This phone doesn’t have a bendy screen, but it’s very special in its own right, with a gorgeous 6.81in OLED display, speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and 50MP triple camera setup.

It’s those cameras that impressed us the most. A new photography feature called AI Motion Sensing detects quick movements inside the frame, capturing clear images at the best possible moments – the apex of a basketball slam dunk, for instance. We don’t have UK pricing, but at €899 the Honor Magic 5 Pro is as competitively priced as it gets, and I expect it to be a surefire success when it launches later in the year.

Nokia G22

One of the cheapest smartphones announced at this year’s MWC, the Nokia G22 is a bit of an oddity, but in a good way. With a keen-eyed approach to sustainability, Nokia’s £150 budget handset incorporates easily replaceable components, including the battery, display and USB-C charging port. A battery swap, for instance, can be completed in under five minutes and requires just a single screwdriver and pry tool.

Nokia has partnered with iFixit to do this, with easy-to-follow how-to guides and affordable replacement parts. And if you did need to perform a repair, it wouldn’t void the three-year warranty, and it won’t compromise the phone’s IP52 waterproof rating, either. It might not be the flashiest smartphone on the show floor, but the Nokia G22 is certainly the most interesting.

OnePlus 11 Concept

It won’t see a full release, but the OnePlus 11 Concept is a great sign of things to come. The first smartphone with a liquid cooling system inside, OnePlus promises all sorts of benefits with this new technology, including lower temperatures, higher frame rates and faster charging speeds. It helps that it looks pretty cool, too, with its clear back demonstrating the blue liquid pumping around inside the handset.

It’s still early days with this technology, of course, but there’s plenty of potential for future releases. OnePlus says it will incorporate this system in an upcoming launch, and if it looks as eye-catching as the OnePlus 11 Concept, I’m sure we’ll be just as impressed.

OnePlus Pad

The Pad is OnePlus’ first Android tablet, and it’s a well-designed iPad competitor. We don’t yet know how much it costs – or when it releases – but it’s the hardware that makes a strong first impression here, with a large 11.61in 144Hz display, MediaTek Dimensity 9000 processor and large 9,510mAh battery (with 67W wired fast charging).

We also really liked the OnePlus Magnetic Keyboard and Stylo pen after trying it out on the show floor. These could make the Pad a viable laptop replacement, although you’ll have to pay extra for the accessories. Even so, if the price is right and performance is up to snuff, the OnePlus Pad could be the first Android tablet worth picking up over the iPad.

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Xiaomi 13 Pro

It should come as no surprise that the priciest entry into Xiaomi’s 13 series of smartphones is the one that excited us the most. Key highlights include a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, a large WQHD+ AMOLED display and blisteringly fast charging that claims to take the battery from empty to full in just 19 minutes.

All of this is very impressive, but the standout with the Xiaomi 13 Pro lies with the cameras, which were developed in partnership with photography legend Leica. The main lens measures a full one inch, making it the largest Xiaomi camera sensor to date, and the biggest on the market right now, according to the brand. The partnership with Leica also yields additional features, including two distinct shooting modes, and the ability to export 10-bit RAW files, for an easy transition into Photoshop.

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra

While the phones were undoubtedly the stars of Xiaomi’s pre-MWC 2023 showcase, the biggest surprise of the launch came in the form of the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra. As the first of Xiaomi’s scooters to use a dual suspension system, the 4 Ultra promises smoother riding than previous models, with the 10in DuraGel Tires claiming to be puncture-proof and self-sealing.

The most exciting aspect of the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra is just how far you’ll be able to travel on it. The brand lists a maximum range of 70km, which dwarfs most competitors and even reaches further than the current winner for range on our list of the best e-scooters. Add to this a powerful 940W motor and a sleek, durable design, and the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra is looking like a winner.

Lenovo’s rollable laptop and smartphone concepts

They’re not going to make it onto shop shelves any time soon, but Lenovo’s two concept rollables were the most interesting things we saw during our time at MWC 2023. The laptop takes a 12.7in display that’s rolled into the body of the machine and extends it up vertically at the touch of a button, expanding to a massive 15.4in, giving extra screen space for document editing, coding and the like.

The Moto rollable phone, on the other hand, has a display that wraps around the outside of the phone at the bottom and extends from a 15:9 aspect ratio to 22:9 at the touch of a button. It also has a neat trick of unrolling automatically whenever you’re playing a full-screen video.

Both are concepts but were so convincing and clever that we just had to give them an award.

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13

Lenovo’s flagship ThinkPad Z range didn’t showcase anything quite as dramatic as a rollable display, but we did appreciate its focus on sustainability. The Z13’s new retail box is made from a combination of bamboo and sugar cane and is not only recyclable but home-compostable as well.

Not only that, but the ThinkPad Z13 also comes with a new “flax fibre” material adorning its lid. The fibres that make up the core of this material are a by-product of the flax seed harvest and they’re combed straight, then turned into a laptop part using “bio resin” to strengthen and stiffen it up. The result is a laptop that looks like no other, backed up by traditional ThinkPad strengths such as a super-comfortable keyboard and bomb-proof build quality.

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