MWC 2023. Day two. The triumph of Chinese smartphones - Honor, realme, Tecno


Barcelona is a showcase of the latest technologies, but major manufacturers have been ignoring in recent years

Congress, for them it is unprofitable, they do not want to beworn out among all the others. For example, Samsung is holding a presentation and launching sales early. The main thing is to collect all the sales that are possible. Competitors voluntarily or involuntarily focus on models from Samsung, and this is clearly seen not only in flagships in the classic form factor, but also in flexible screens - this year there will be many Fold analogues in Europe. The question here is in the volume of production and sales, as well as in the cost on the shelves. Announcements by Chinese companies show that prices are often equal to Samsung models or even higher, other things being equal. And this, frankly speaking, is an amazing effect of the crisis, everyone starts counting money.

Talking about MWC 2023, we can safely say thatthat this is a review of the achievements of Chinese companies. It is they who play the first violin and actually compete with each other, gradually taking away sales from both Samsung and Apple along the way. Little by little, slowly, but they bite into the market. And so, speaking about the second day of the exhibition, I want to draw your attention to three companies - Tecno, Honor and realme. Each of them has its own approach to the market, but together they describe well the competition between companies. Let's see how their approaches differ.

Tecno - flexible PhantomV Fold and focus on development

I will not write much about Tecno, since we have a first look at the Phantom V Fold, as well as a comparison with the Galaxy Z Fold4.

First look at Tecno Phantom V Fold - a smartphone with a flexible screen

The first smartphone with a flexible screen from Tecno, a model created in the style of Fold. The first experience of a Chinese company and an application for the future.

Compare Tecno Phantom V Fold and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 - flexible smartphones

The newcomer from Tecno against the flagship from Samsung, the first generation against the fourth. Who will have the advantage - youth versus experience.

For Tecno, the performance at MWC 2023 is one ofthe first events of this magnitude, and it was interesting to see what exactly the company wants to demonstrate, what to focus on. Developments and technologies of the future are at the forefront. Moreover, these are not just exhibition samples to demonstrate something, but a combination of technologies and devices.

So, Tecno got Chameleon technologyColoring Technology, but so far this is a prototype. The special material changes its color (1600 shades) when an electric current is passed through. You can change the color of the phone case for certain events. Durability - up to 2 million color changes. During the day, if the case changes color a hundred times, the battery consumption will be negligible (like watching a short video). This is not the first attempt to create a material that changes color. It is interesting whether such models will appear in practice or not, the main thing here is that the color can change depending on events.


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It is clear that in China manufacturers are activelyexperimenting with how to paint phone cases, make them come alive. This is the last feature. For example, OnePlus 11 Concept demonstrates a real cooling system, liquid tubes are illuminated by LEDs on the back. You can scroll the promotional video to the very end, where you will see how this system works.

It won't be used in real life, butshows exactly the same. Companies are trying to find their way to change the look of the phone case. That's just how to be with covers, it's completely incomprehensible.

Honor - a bet on flagships and flexible screens, a magical announcement

Let me remind you that Honor is in freeswimming, the company is independent of Huawei, although the common past cannot be crossed out - many design elements, technical solutions, and the design of the models themselves are similar to their counterparts from Huawei. But with each announcement, there are more and more discrepancies, a drift gradually begins, or, if you like, a conscious movement towards the search for one's own uniqueness. At the same time, like other companies, Honor is limited to those public components that everyone has.

The highlight of the program can be considered a smartphone with a flexible screen - Magic Vs, we first saw it three months ago in China.

The version for sales in the world market receivedAndroid 13, the shell was slightly updated to MagicUI 7.1, only the older model is available - 12/512 GB. Compared to the Chinese version of the smartphone, the cost has risen sharply! In Europe, the smartphone is offered at a price of 1,599 euros, delivery time is this spring. For comparison, in China, the price is less than 400 euros, if you convert currencies. Either this is space for a subsequent cost reduction, or higher logistics costs. While it is possible that competition inside China is so aggressive that such smartphones are sold without margin at all, this explanation seems to be true.

The form factor of this smartphone is completelycorresponds to the Galaxy Fold, but reading with some nuances. The internal screen with a diagonal of 7.9 inches and a resolution of 1984x2272 pixels supports a frequency of 90 Hz, which is low in modern times. The external screen is 6.45 inches, here it just has a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. Snapdragon 8+ Gen.1 processor. The set of cameras is typical for the company - IMX800 from Sony with a resolution of 54 megapixels as the main module, as well as additional modules of 50 and 8 megapixels. Front camera 16 megapixels. Battery 5000 mAh.

You have to walk around with this smartphone to get the impression of it, while it looks like one of a family of Chinese models with a flexible screen, the price is too high.

For most, the Magic5 and 5 Pro models will be of interest. Let's start with the base model Magic5.

The characteristics of the smartphone are as follows: 6.73 inches, OLED screen, 1224x2688 pixels, HDR10 +, AoD. The screen has an optical fingerprint scanner. Snapdragon 8 Gen.2 chipset, 8/256 GB of memory, no memory cards. The front camera is 32 megapixels, the set of main cameras resembles that of Magic Vs, the main module is 54 megapixels. Telephoto gives optical zoom x2.5. Battery 5100 mAh. The price of this model is 950 USD/EUR, which makes it a direct competitor for the Galaxy S23+. Each of the devices has its pros and cons, but the head-on collision of these models looks curious. Moreover, the S23 + is already on sale and gets an advantage for at least a couple of months. The slow release of such models is due to the fact that Qualcomm gave chipsets late, for what reasons, one can only guess. Let's take a look at the older Pro model.

In the older model, we see an improvement in allCharacteristics: LTPO screen, its diagonal is 6.81 inches. The front camera has an additional ToF camera to read a three-dimensional face image (mostly marketing, since it is extremely difficult to break face recognition on one camera), the resolution of the front camera is 12 megapixels. Memory - 12/512 GB (UFS 4.0). We were not shown other options from memory, which is surprising!

The main camera consists of three modules, each withresolution of 50 megapixels. The telephoto module gives an optical zoom x3.5. There is a laser autofocus. 5100 mAh battery, wired charging up to 66 W, wireless charging at 50 W, just like in the younger model. There is protection against water - IP68. Enters the market in the second quarter, the price is 1,200 euros. In theory, the S23 Ultra should be listed as a competitor, but in reality these are models of different class. There is competition with the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and its model from Honor wins with ease due to its capabilities.

In the aspect of filling, I like what appearsdifferent chips that diversify the use of devices. For example, there is the AI ​​Privacy Call 2.0 function, when talking, it lowers the volume of the interlocutor's voice so that others do not hear your conversation. This is not just a decrease in volume, but a transcoding of the voice, its change. Of course, the function is disabled.


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realme GT - fast charging just got faster

I am captivated by the fact that Chinese companiesreally invest in development, when they start to get something, they increase their investment. Some time ago, realme came up with an interesting idea - fast battery charging. And they became the company that consistently reduced the charging time of their smartphones. We've seen power packs go up, and in the company's flagships, it took about thirty minutes to charge a 5,000 mAh battery. And this is a great result. GaN adapters have also appeared so that there is no heating.

Teasers that GT3 will have a charger240 watts was enough. Just think, a complete charger with a power of 240 watts. It's amazing how quickly we got there. While most fast chargers are 25W.

Under the USB Type C standard, charging ismaximum power, nothing more powerful can be created. The charging speed of the 4600 mAh battery is amazing, 20% in 80 seconds, full charge in 9 minutes 30 seconds.

To achieve this result, in realmeused GaN not only in the adapter, but also in the phone itself, this avoids heating. The adapter combines three chips, each of which is responsible for a separate section of the battery charge. At the same time, charging is small in size, as far as possible for such a device.

The kit comes with a special wire for 12A,Only with it such fast charging of the battery is possible. The next problem facing engineers is how to prevent the battery from heating up while charging. Initially, thirteen temperature sensors were placed in the case (damn dozen, evokes different thoughts). Also, the cooling system covers the battery on 61.5% of its surface.

According to realme, the durability of the batteryis 1600 cycles (loss of up to 20% capacity), while in the industry it is 800 cycles. In short, the battery and cooling system in the GT3 has been well done, it will be interesting to see this device in action.

Another important point is the design of smartphones from realme, bright colors, unusual solutions for coloring the body or materials. Smartphones from realme are always alive.

In GT3, on the rear panel near the camera appearedthe space in which the LEDs are located, they can pulsate depending on events (all this is called Pulse Interface Design). We recall the OnePlus attempt described above, we understand that the struggle is not for life, but for death: who will be the first to figure out how to decorate the back of the phone.

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Short conclusion

Despite the difference in the approaches of companies, we see thatthat the model for copying and borrowing ideas is Samsung, which in itself is not bad. In the old-fashioned way, at presentations, Chinese manufacturers talk about the advantage over the iPhone, but the feeling that they have written off Apple products does not pay much attention to it. The competition between Chinese companies is very aggressive and fierce.

A common denominator is thatalmost everywhere, from the most budget models to flagships, 5000 mAh batteries are used. There is a struggle for their miniaturization, as well as for the speed with which they can be charged - in the latter there is a clear winner, this is realme. Ten minutes to fully charge a smartphone is a world record without any discounts.

Another trend is the search for identitydesign, the ability to change the color of the smartphone case, make it interactive. In China, the thought of this has been bubbling for the second year, but it is in 2023 that we see approaches to the projectile from different companies. The unobvious consequence will be that models with such changes will most likely not need cases, they will kill the new identity. And this is logical, why hide such beauty? As an opponent of cases, I worried for a long time that I had to use them on new models, without them there are drawbacks in ergonomics. Now companies are trying to make cases become unnecessary again. Whether this approach will win or not is unclear. But the fact that outwardly interesting solutions will appear, and with interactive cases, is absolutely certain. And here is one more step before the appearance of second screens on the rear panel in mass products, which will work when the phone is simply lying on the table.

Barcelona in 2023 is a triumph for Chinesemanufacturers, others are simply lost and not visible against the general background. A couple more years, and Chinese companies will start eating away the market from Apple and Samsung, the pace of this process will increase. The crisis provokes companies to invest in development, it is new technologies that make it possible to distinguish themselves from others. Therefore, you need to watch China closely, in the next couple of years a lot of interesting things will happen in this market.

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